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Where's Joe? With nine days to go, Trump jet-setting, Biden in his basement

"Do you think that Sleepy Joe would be doing these things?" Trump says at campaign rally.

Updated: October 26, 2020 - 7:33am

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Here's what President Trump did on Saturday: He rose early in West Palm Beach, Fla., took a motorcade to a polling site to cast his early-voting ballot, jetted to Fayetteville, N.C., for a campaign rally, jumped over to Columbus, Ohio, for another packed rally, zipped off to Milwaukee, Wisc., for a third "Make America Great" rally, then headed home, arriving at the White House in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, with nine days to go before Election Day, Joe Biden held two sparsely attended drive-in rallies in Pennsylvania, knocking off in mid-afternoon. 

On Sunday, Trump rolled out at 10:30 a.m., flying aboard Air Force One to New Hampshire for a crowded rally, then headed up to Maine, where he hopes to win a couple of Electoral College votes.

Biden, though, stayed in his basement.

"Joe Biden's campaign has called at lid at 11:27 am, just nine days before the election," Bloomberg reporter Tyler Pager wrote on Twitter. A "lid" means the candidate will have no more public events journalists can cover. "In the last week," Pager continued, "he has only held three campaign events outside of participating in the debate. He was in Durham, North Carolina last Sunday and made two stops in [Pennsylvania] yesterday."

Ironically, a couple hours before the lid, Biden wrote on Twitter: "9 days. Let's go." Trump campaign manager Tim Murtaugh saw the irony. "Biden called a lid before noon, but 'let's go,' sure," he wrote on Twitter.

 

Trump on Sunday ripped the former vice president, 77, for his light schedule.

"This guy has more lids, I don't know, there's something going on; somebody said it's strategy, it's not, because really strategy would be coming out," Trump said in New Hampshire.

"Do you think that Sleepy Joe would be doing these things? I don't think so," Trump said. "He'll go back to bed. Hillary [Clinton] used to spend a lot of time in bed, too. But she had more energy than him. She did."

Trump said Biden is trying to avoid questions about his son Hunter Biden involving alleged lucrative foreign deals.

"I would say the primary reason he's put the lid on again is because he can't answer the questions," he said. "No he can't answer these questions."

The stakes are high, but Biden seems to be following in the footsteps of Hillary Clinton, who got thumped by Trump in 2016. Clinton all but ignored two key states — Wisconsin and Michigan — and Trump won both. Like Biden of late, she chose to focus on Pennsylvania, which casts 20 Electoral College votes, tied for the fifth most of all U.S. states. She lost that, too.

Biden has been barely visible on the campaign trail stretching back to September. On Sept. 19, Biden called a lid — at 8:35 a.m. Three days later, he did the same thing at 9:22 a.m.

"In fact, the lid has come down before noon no less than eight times this month," the Spectator reported. "That would be 36 percent of the campaign days in the month of September in which the Biden campaign has canceled its activities before lunchtime."

The Associated Press has also been tracking the former vice president's barely there schedule.

"Since his Aug. 11 selection of California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate, Biden has had 22 days where he either didn't make public appearances, held only virtual fundraisers or ventured from his Delaware home solely for church, according to an Associated Press analysis of his schedules," Fox reported Sept. 25. "He made 12 visits outside of Delaware during that period, including a trip to Washington ... to pay respects to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg."

During that same time period, Trump had 24 trips that took him to 17 different states, as well as a visit to New York to see his ailing brother in the hospital or weekend golf outings.

Biden aides said then the candidate was adhering to public health guidelines that call for limited gatherings of people and social distancing. Said Biden spokesman T.J. Ducklo, "We are campaigning safely and effectively, and our message is reaching voters in battleground states and generating the enthusiasm and energy we need to beat Donald Trump."

But even members of his own party said that is a "pretty lame excuse."

"I thought he had his own plane," Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said on Fox News. "He doesn't have to sit with one space between another person on a commercial airline like I would."

The trend has continued this month. Trump has been criss-crossing the country, hitting Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania and more. Biden, meanwhile, held no events for the four days leading up to Thursday's final presidential debate in Nashville.

At a rally in Prescott, Ariz., last week, Trump also mocked Biden's lids. "That means he's going to stay in the basement all day," Trump said as the crowd laughed.

The satirical website The Babylon Bee also had some fun at Biden's expense. In a piece headlined "Biden Calls A Lid Until Election Day" — featuring a mock picture of Biden in bed — the Bee wrote: 

"'Biden needs the next eleven days to prepare for his acceptance speech,'" Biden's campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon told reporters as she kept an eye on poll numbers. 'So do not try to ask him questions or get statements from him, because that's just going to confuse him.'

"Dillon then offered that reporters could instead talk to Kamala Harris, but no one wanted to talk to Kamala Harris. They really had a number of questions for Biden, but Dillion explained that there is now a time lock on Biden's basement and that it would be impossible to open the door and get to him before Election Day evening. 'Just basic campaign stuff,' Dillion explained.

"Campaign aides are working feverishly to help Biden recoup from his exhausting debate with Trump and are hoping to keep him going at least until the inauguration when they will likely impeach him for corruption if he's still alive at that point." 

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