Bearded Pete Buttigieg Pops Up on Social Media: Campaign Update

Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou

(Bloomberg) -- Pete Buttigieg, done with campaigning and now staying at home because of the coronavirus, has reemerged in the public eye with a new look: a beard.

The former Democratic presidential candidate, who dropped out of the race ahead of Super Tuesday and immediately endorsed Joe Biden, debuted new facial hair during an Instagram Live appearance Wednesday with Dr. Dara Krass, an NYC emergency doctor. Pretty quickly, the hashtag #BeardEdgeEdge started to make its rounds on Twitter.

“Obviously I’ve taken advantage of the simple fact of not having to shave everyday,” Buttigieg told viewers on his Instagram live.

On Thursday, Buttigieg gave an interview to Rolling Stone to discuss the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as well as the challenges candidates face by not having rallies or in-person campaign events.

“You’re used to being needed in a certain way that involves showing up somewhere,” Buttigieg says. “And now you’re needed in a shockingly different way, which is to sit tight. And yet, from wherever you are, you have a telephone.”

Trump Campaign Headquarters to Remain Closed: Campaign Update (4:46 p.m.)

President Donald Trump’s own campaign headquarters won’t be able to meet his target for reopening.

A senior Trump campaign aide said the headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, will comply with a directive from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and remain closed until at least April 24, about two weeks after Trump’s Easter Sunday target for reopening the country.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Northam, a Democrat, earlier this week issued a statewide order to close non-essential business and ban gatherings of more than 10 people through April 23.

Trump has said he would like to see social distancing relaxed and the economy re-opened by Easter, April 12. Governors and public health officials have advised caution. The announcement of the month-long closure of his campaign headquarters highlights how difficult it will be for the president to compel governors and local officials to follow his guidance on handling the disease.

Coronavirus has disrupted presidential campaigns, preventing candidates from holding large rallies and forcing states to delay primaries. Large rallies have been a signature of Trump’s campaign going back to his 2016 election. Earlier this month, his campaign said that it would increasingly rely on virtual and digital campaign tools, as Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have done. -- Mario Parker

Trump’s Job Approval Rating Highest Since 2017 (12:01 p.m.)

President Donald Trump’s average job approval rating has spiked over the past week and is now the highest it’s been since his first week in office.

Support for his handling of the coronavirus crisis appears to be fueling the increase: 49.4% approve while 45.3% disapprove, according to the RealClearPolitics average.

Presidents often receive a short-term bump in popularity in times of crisis, a phenomenon presidential scholars call the “rally around the flag” effect.

The RealClearPolitics average of Trump’s job approval polls increased to 47% Thursday. The only time it’s been higher was Jan. 25, 2017, days after his inaugural, when it was 47.3%.

Trump’s overall approval rating is still underwater, however. His disapproval rating, while declining, stood at 49.5% Thursday. -- Gregory Korte

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