by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is doing little to dispel the “Sleepy Joe” nickname bestowed upon him by President Trump some 50-odd days before the election.
Every four years, Labor Day traditionally marks the start of a fierce fall fight for the White House, when campaigns crisscross the country for rallies and fundraisers, ramp up their get-out-the-vote efforts, and dole out millions of dollars for ads in states where they hope to leave a deeper footprint.
But this cycle continues to defy convention thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
While Trump has already notched up two multistate days in the week since Labor Day, Biden’s team sent his dedicated bunch of pool reporters home three times before 10:30 a.m. EDT because it hadn’t planned any public events for the two-term vice president.
Even before he became the Democratic standard-bearer, Biden, 77, had a light schedule.
After spending the holiday campaigning in neighboring Pennsylvania, Biden’s aides on Sept. 8 announced a press pool “lid” at 8:10 a.m. from his base in Wilmington, Delaware, where he first hunkered down in March because of the COVID-19 outbreak. On Thursday, they called a lid at 10:18 a.m., though Biden still headlined two fundraisers that night, before doing the same on Saturday at 9:04 a.m.
When Biden did hold public programming last week, he averaged two events a day. …
… On the Tuesday after Labor Day, Trump, 74, traveled to Jupiter, Florida, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He held another rally in Freeland, Michigan, that Thursday before attending a Sept. 11 service in Shanksville that Friday. On the weekend, Trump added two events to his itinerary in Nevada, one in Las Vegas and another in Minden, ahead of visiting Sacramento, California, and Phoenix, Arizona, on Monday.
That’s on top of White House appearances that double as campaign stops, including releasing a list of potential Supreme Court nominees and patching phone calls in to Fox News broadcasts.