Joe Biden has canceled his convention speech in Wisconsin, halted door knocking and continues to limit public events, part of a strategy that voters will give him credit for taking a more cautious approach to the pandemic than President Trump, who has been more aggressive in his campaigning style.
Democratic party officials announced Wednesday that Biden would not travel to Wisconsin later this month to accept the Democratic presidential nomination and would instead deliver the nomination acceptance speech virtually, from his home state of Delaware.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Biden told a group of supporters at a fundraiser in Connecticut hours after the convention speech was canceled, adding, “I’ve wanted to set an example as to how we should respond individually to this crisis.”
The announcement comes as Biden’s campaign continues to limit in-person events, and instead focuses on rolling out an aggressive digital campaign.
Volunteers for the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee knocked on zero doors last week, while the Trump campaign knocked on over a million, Politico reports.
Trump has attended multiple in-person campaign events since the pandemic began, while Biden has made only a few campaign stops in towns near his home in Delaware, including speeches rolling out his “Build Back Better” plan in front of the press.
A Biden campaign official told Forbes the presumptive nominee is betting voters will view his low-key campaign as evidence he is taking the pandemic seriously—as compared to Trump; the campaign is also worried about the fallout from a public event that turns into a Covid-19 hot spot.
“From the very beginning of this pandemic, we put the health and safety of the American people first,” Tom Perez, the Democratic National Committee chairman, said in a statement. “That’s the kind of steady and responsible leadership America deserves. And that’s the leadership Joe Biden will bring to the White House.”
The Trump campaign has zeroed in on Biden’s lack of public appearances and criticized the candidate for attempting to run a campaign from his house. A new Trump campaign ad released on Wednesday hits at Biden for sitting in his “basement.”
The Wisconsin GOP Chair Andrew Hitt criticized Biden for abandoning plans to deliver his convention speech in the state, saying the move made “clear that Democrats have not learned from their mistakes in 2016 and are poised to repeat them again in 2020.” 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton lost Wisconsin to Trump and was criticized for not campaigning in the state enough.
What to watch for
Though Biden’s campaign has stopped canvassing, it has poured “millions of dollars” into its canvassing operation in preparation for the coming months to match the Trump campaign effort.
Even while Trump ramps up his canvassing operation, his campaign recently paused its TV ad buying to refocus its strategy.