This article appeared online at on Saturday, June 27, 2020: 

Speaking to a tiny group of mostly reporters from the national in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on Thursday presumptive Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden once again showed why he is being kept under wraps. He said: “We now have over 120 million dead from COVID.”

He quickly recovered. Here is the full quote: “Now we have over 120 million dead from COVID, I mean, 120,000 dead from COVID. And you have so many — now, we’re past 2 million — I mean, and we’re talking about it like it’s over. I mean, it’s over. My God.”

But the damage was done and the Trump campaign jumped all over it. Steve Guest, the National Committee’s national chief, posted a clip of the gaffe and asked, “What’s going on with Joe Biden?”

President Trump chimed in: “If I ever said something so mortifyingly stupid, the Fake News would come down on me with a vengeance. This is beyond a normal mistake. Why isn’t the media reporting it?”

Newsweek was the only member of the establishment that this writer could find that covered the event and Biden’s gaffe:

On Thursday presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden said that 120 million Americans have died from the novel coronavirus, though the current total is over 124,000.


“People don’t have a job, people don’t know where to go, they don’t know what to do,” Biden said Thursday. “Now we have over 120 million dead from COVID.”

To its credit Newsweek went on to admit that this is just one more in a series of gaffes uttered by the presumptive nominee for the office of President of the United States:

This is not the first time Biden has misspoken when discussing the novel coronavirus, and in May he made a similar mistake during a live-streamed virtual round table on PBS, when he confused the number of lives lost and the number of jobs lost to the virus.


“We’re in the middle of a pandemic that has cost us more than 85,000 jobs as of today,” he said. “Lives of millions of people, millions of people, millions of jobs.”


At the time nearly 86,000 Americans had died from the new virus, and nearly 36 million had lost their jobs.

Newsweek went on to remind its readers that these are not rare instances that can be laughed off:

Biden also recently mixed up the name of where the coronavirus is believed to be originated as he referred to Wuhan, as “Luhan”, as well as calling the new virus “COVID-9” instead of “COVID-19.”

That may be why the Biden campaign is keeping him under wraps and away from not only large crowds but also off-script moments that could lead to more misstatements from his increasingly obvious mental decline.

For example, a few days before the big Trump rally in Tulsa the Biden campaign let the candidate out to speak to some people in Darby, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Lisa Lerer, a reporter from the New York Times attended, and couldn’t believe what she was seeing:

Over the course of my career covering politics, I have attended hundreds of presidential campaign events.


I’ve never been to one anything like Joe Biden’s economic address in the Philadelphia suburbs today.


There was no soundtrack of carefully selected, inoffensive pop music blasting in the background. No reporters fighting over outlets and positioning. No rope line for the candidate to walk, shaking hands and snapping selfies.


Oh, and hardly any voters.

And those who were there were carefully selected:

About 20 handpicked local officials, small-business owners and reporters sat in folding chairs, each placed within a large white circle taped on the floor of a recreation center to maintain — or at least encourage — social distancing. A few attendees whispered to each other as photographers quietly chatted. You could hear the clack of typing echoing across the room. The silence was striking.

The silence was striking especially when compared to the Trump rally that followed in Tulsa a few days later.

The campaign stop in Lancaster was a repeat. According to local sources there were more Trump supporters out in front waving flags and wearing MAGA hats than there were Biden supporters inside. As Fox News reported, “it was hard to tell if Joe Biden or President Trump would be appearing” at the event.

With Biden apparently leading Trump in the polls Bill Barrow of the Associated Press was wise in warning Democrats about getting too excited about their presumptive candidate. With more than four months to go before November, “the election is far from locked in”, wrote Barrow. And David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager, warned, “In any scenario, ignore the polls and assume this is going to be super close.”

Especially if Biden’s campaign lets him out to debate the president in front of millions of people.

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