Joe Biden, the Democrat nominee, defended the smaller crowds his events have drawn, telling supporters that although it was not optimal, it was a requirement to ensure that we do not want to “become superspreaders.”
The former vice president, who has made criticism of Trump’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic a central point of the 2020 race, appeared at a drive-in rally in Bucks County to discuss his plans for tackling both the economic and public health aspects of the virus. During the event, which drew around 100 vehicles, Biden told supporters that although he missed up-close campaigning with large crowds, it was no longer viable.
“I don’t like the idea of all this distance, but it’s necessary,” the former vice president said, adding that “we don’t want to become superspreaders.”
Although Biden did not mention President Donald Trump directly, the comments come as the incumbent has frequently made reference to the numbers of supporters each candidate draws to public events. Trump, in particular, has argued that his large-scale rallies, which often include more than a thousand supporters, are a better barometer for the state of the 2020 race than polling.
“Nobody shows up to his rallies,” the president said of Biden during a recent campaign rally in Florida, before boasting that “we have tremendous crowds, as you see, and literally on 24 hours’ notice.”
Until Saturday, Biden had mostly ignored such remarks, instead choosing to highlight the fact that at his events masks and social distancing were required to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Despite the precautions that the former vice president’s campaign has taken, a number of coronavirus cases have been traced to Biden’s smaller events and appearances, especially in states like Minnesota.
Even before the onset of the coronavirus, Biden had struggled to attract attendees to public events. As Breitbart News reported in August 2019, the former vice president attracted only 30 supporters to an event held in Manchester, New Hampshire. That event was held at the same time that Trump hosted a rally in downtown Manchester that attracted more than 11,500 individuals.