Biden has no plans to scale back campaign

Joe Biden has no plans to scale back his campaign events so long as the former vice president and those around him test negative for COVID-19, and on Friday carried on with his plans to travel to Michigan for a previously scheduled campaign stop. 

Biden, and his wife Jill Biden tested negative on Friday morning, after news broke that President Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the COVID-19 disease.

Biden shared a stage with Trump earlier this week at the first presidential debate. The two men did not shake hands and were distanced, though they spent a great deal of time shouting at one another from across the stage. 

Biden allies told The Hill Friday morning that he intends to continue on with his campaign schedule. Biden will deliver remarks on the economy in Grand Rapids on Friday afternoon. 

In another sign that the campaign has no intention of slowing down, they announced that Jill Biden would travel to Minnesota on Saturday. And in an effort to help bring progressives aboard, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will also hit the road Saturday, holding a “socially distanced rally” in New Hampshire.
“What is there to scale back?” said one longtime ally close to the campaign. “We’re already pretty scaled back as it is. We’ve been following the guidelines, we’ve been wearing masks, we’ve been following science.”

The ally said those around Biden have been advocating to continue the campaign as planned. As of Friday morning, sources say there has been no change in plans in terms of canceling trips or pulling down advertising in swing states. Some Democrats had wondered if Biden would do so. 

“Everything revolves around the VP and his bubble and seeing if everyone is OK, including staff and Secret Service and then we’ll take it from there,” one longtime ally said. 

In an all-staff email on Friday morning, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon told aides the campaign was taking “every precaution” in light of the Trump news in order to protect Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). 

“First, rest assured that our campaign staff, in consultation with health experts, have continued to take every precaution to protect Vice President Biden, Sen. Harris, their spouses and our staff,” Dillon wrote. “The health and safety of our team has been, and will remain, our number one priority.”

“Second, as this situation continues to unfold, we ask that you refrain from posting about the situation on social media unless otherwise directed by your manager,” the email continues. “We will share additional information and guidance with you as we have it.”

The email came with a post-script that added: “We will continue to do hard things.” 

With Biden ahead in polls nationally and in key battleground states, there also won’t be a change in strategy for Biden. Allies say he will continue to take the same tone, talking about wearing masks and being socially distant. But he does not plan to ramp up the rhetoric on Trump. 

On Friday, hours after the news that Trump and the first lady had tested positive for COVID-19, Biden put out a statement wishing the first couple well. 

“Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery,” Biden wrote on Twitter. “We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.”

Updated: 1:03 p.m.

Tags Bernie Sanders Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Jen O'Malley Dillon Joe Biden Melania Trump Presidential Debate

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