Presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden held a public online discussion with 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton yesterday, where she officially endorsed him for president. The 55-minute long event was branded a “women’s town hall,” as the two veteran Washington insiders discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has hit women in particular.
“I want to add my voice to the many who have endorsed you to be our president,” Clinton announced from her home. “Just think what a difference it would make right now if we had a president who not only listened to the science — put facts over fiction — but brought us together, showed the kind of compassion and caring that we need from our president and which Joe Biden has been exemplifying throughout his entire career.”
Throughout the conversation, where Biden positioned himself as a champion of women and an ally to the #MeToo movement, neither Clinton or Biden addressed the multiple women who have accused the former vice-president of inappropriate touching, nor the newest allegations by his former staffer, Tara Reade, who claims he sexually assaulted her in the Capitol Building in 1993.
Biden has been adamant that he will select a woman as his running mate and that he will choose someone from the right of the party (even floating the idea of choosing a Republican VP). Yesterday’s event fueled speculation that Clinton is in the running to return to the White House. The former senator from New York famously blew an enormous lead over Donald Trump – enjoying a 15-point advantage over the businessman and TV show host as late as the last week of campaigning. In October, a Morning Consult poll found that continued apathy and ill will towards her meant that a Clinton endorsement would be a net negative for any of the candidates in the running. Thus, some described the latest announcement as a “kiss of death” for the Biden campaign.
Biden doing a virtual townhall with Hillary Clinton concerning the impact of covid19 on women just a day after new corroboration of the Reade allegations is the most darkly portentous omen of the race so far
— Elizabeth Bruenig (@ebruenig) April 28, 2020
The women’s town hall did not go particularly smoothly, with the participants not realizing they were live for almost 25 seconds. Biden also appeared to momentarily fall asleep as Clinton was talking. The former Delaware senator stormed into the lead on Super Tuesday, winning the majority of the states on offer, but has still found it difficult to engage and extend his message online. His YouTube channel that broadcast the event has only 47,000 subscribers (in comparison, Donald Trump has 381,000 and Bernie Sanders has nearly 400,000). As of Wednesday, the town hall has 60,000 views and more than double the dislikes as likes.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raged particularly hard through the United States, with official figures showing more than one million Americans have been infected and over 59,000 dead. However, other projections suggest far higher numbers than official reports. Nearly half of all New Yorkers, for instance, know someone who has already died of the virus. For weeks, President Trump insisted the coronavirus was a “hoax” intended to force him out of the White House, claiming in February that, by April and the warmer weather, that the virus would “disappear.” Last week he also promoted the idea of injecting bleach into the human body as a cure, saying at a press conference:
I see disinfectant, where it knocks it [coronavirus] out in a minute—one minute—and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. Because you see it [coronavirus] gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Pence visited a hospital in Minnesota yesterday, refusing to wear even a mask.
We are so fucked https://t.co/tmfZuvXfLP
— Big Structurals (@jamie_elizabeth) April 29, 2020
Americans appear unable to choose between the two options placed before them, in what is increasingly looking like a rerun of the 2016 contest. A survey from Quinnipiac University last week found that Biden enjoyed a small lead over Trump in the key battleground state of Florida. However, only two percent of respondents claimed they would not vote – an impossibly low number. Biden’s supporters are far less enthusiastic than Trump’s, and it remains uncertain that he can convert his small lead into a political victory. Jamie Peck, a journalist, and producer of the Majority Report political program, summed up the mood among progressives watching the events of 2020 play out: “we are so fucked,” she tweeted.
Feature photo | Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets Vice President Joe Biden on the tarmac at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport in Avoca, Pa., Aug. 15, 2016, before traveling together to a campaign event in Scranton, Pa. Carolyn Kaster | AP
Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, The Guardian, Salon, The Grayzone, Jacobin Magazine, Common Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.