Joe Biden made his first public appearance on Monday. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee wearing a black face mask has confessed that it feels good to be out of the house.
The 77-year-old has remained in isolation at his home in Wilmington, Delaware. Now, he emerged from more than two months of seclusion during a visit to lay a wreath on the day the United States honours its war dead.
Since March 15, Mr Biden has made his last public appearance, then he faced off against his former Democratic rival Bernie Sanders for a debate in a television studio held with no live audience.
“It feels good to be out of my house,” said the politician who stayed at home, according to the health protocol, which aimed at protecting the elderly and prevent the spread of COVID-19. According to Joe Biden, he and his wife have left their home only for occasional walks or bike rides since mid-March.
“Thank you for your service,” the former vice president said to a well-wisher after paying his respects at the Veterans Memorial Park in New Castle, Delaware.
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Biden wore a mask covering his mouth and nose for the brief ceremony, in contrast with his rival for the US presidency, Donald Trump, who has yet to wear a mask in public.
Biden and his wife Jill placed a wreath of white flowers at the Delaware memorial park and observed a moment of silence during the brief ceremony before returning to their motorcade.
Asked by a reporter if he had a message for the country, Biden’s reply was difficult to hear.
“Never forget the sacrifices that these men and women made. Never, ever, forget,” Biden said through his face mask.
Trump and his wife Melania took part in a wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery, before travelling to Fort McHenry in Baltimore where the president delivered a speech in honor of America’s war dead – and paid tribute to the military men and women who “raced into danger” in battling the coronavirus pandemic.
The health restrictions created big obstacles for Biden’s campaign, at a time when Trump enjoyed high visibility through near-daily White House pandemic briefings.
Biden abruptly cancelled a rally in Ohio March 10, replacing it with a speech to a half-empty hall in Philadelphia that evening, followed by a news conference at a Wilmington hotel March 12.
Although the most powerful Democrat has celebrated primary victories while in confinement, he has been forced to conduct his campaign online for more than two months from a television studio installed in his basement.