Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden on Wednesday canceled political rallies in Florida and Illinois due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and replaced them with what his campaign called “virtual events” in the two states.
Biden and his rival U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont are re-thinking their approach to their campaigns amid widespread warnings from public health officials about the packed crowds and handshaking involved in politicking. Both called off primary election-night rallies in Ohio on Tuesday.
Biden’s virtual events will be held in the lead-up to the next round of primaries to decide who should get the Democratic nomination to take on Republican President Donald Trump in November. The two states will vote on Tuesday along with Ohio and Arizona.
Trump has sought to play down the extent of the coronavirus threat and has held several rallies in recent weeks aimed at stealing the spotlight from the Democrats. On Tuesday his campaign said he would hold a “Catholics for Trump” event in Milwaukee on March 19. Trump is also expected to travel for a campaign fundraiser in Denver on Thursday.
Biden, a moderate who has emerged as the race’s clear front-runner, and Sanders, a democratic socialist, have both criticized the Trump administration over its response to the outbreak.
“This is a matter, this whole coronavirus – is a matter of presidential leadership,” Biden said in Philadelphia on Tuesday night after decisively winning four of the six states that voted.
Biden said he would deliver an address on the U.S. response to the virus in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday.
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