What is a housebound Joe Biden doing all day?

Janet Hook
Former Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks about the coronavirus outbreak in Wilmington, Del., on March 12.  (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

Do you wonder what Joe Biden is doing all day? Now that the former vice president’s campaign for the Democratic nomination is all but over, he’s been nearly totally eclipsed by news of the coronavirus outbreak and President Trump’s widely criticized handling of the crisis.

Biden hopes to change that by meeting more frequently with the news media, and got started Friday in a conference call with reporters. He gave a rundown of what he’s doing with his long days at home in Wilmington, Del., where he is cooped up like most Americans because of the COVID- 19 pandemic.

Not surprising for Biden, he’s doing a lot of talking. He said he spends up to seven hours a day on the phone — talking with governors, senators, House members, mayors, policy experts and hospital officials. And of course he talks to his own policy and political staffs, who also are mostly working from home, spread along the Eastern Seaboard.

When people come to meet with him in Wilmington, Biden said, some wear masks and gloves. “We’re following the CDC guidelines,” he said.

He said he was thinking only about the coronavirus crisis, not the unfinished business of his primary fight with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

“That’s been my overwhelming focus and haven’t thought much beyond that,” he said. “You know, dealing with immediate urgency.”

Sanders, who has little chance of catching up to Biden in the fight for delegates for the Democratic nomination, also has kept his public focus on the pandemic and on his healthcare and economic proposals for dealing with it.

On Friday, Sanders held a “virtual roundtable” discussion to lay out his proposals to bolster the economy during the outbreak and aftermath. Speaking alone at a desk flanked by the flags of the United States and Vermont, he had to do without the usual concert-level excitement of his rallies.

On Saturday morning, the Sanders campaign announced that its formidable fundraising operation was sharing with others: The campaign raised $2 million in 48 hours for five charities involved in coping with the coronavirus outbreak.

Biden said during the Friday conference call with reporters that his staff was working on fitting out his Delaware home and nearby campaign office to allow regular public statements and briefings with reporters. He sounded a little like the rest of America, restless with being homebound.

“I want to be in daily or at least significant contact with the American people and communicate what I would be doing, what I think we should be doing, and how we should be doing it,” Biden said. “I promise you that’s on the way.”

The idea, which he hopes to launch Monday, would be to provide briefings as a counterweight to the now-daily briefings that Trump has been holding at the White House.

“I promise you’re going to hear more of me than you want to,” Biden told reporters.

Times staff writer Tyrone Beason in Los Angeles contributed to this report.