KEY POINTS

  • Biden hasn't appeared on camera since last Tuesday
  • New York Gov. Cuomo has rapidly emerged as a leader on coronavirus
  • Biden's lack of public presence has some Democrats worried

Over the weekend, #WhereIsJoe trended on Twitter as supporters and critics of presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden pointed out that he appears to have receded from the national stage as the coronavirus crisis worsens. At the same time, Democrats appear to be looking elsewhere for leadership in these times – and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo looks to take that role.

This is forcing some to ask: Who is actually going to be the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee?

Last Friday, Cuomo announced New York would be taking stern measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus, as the state is among those hit hardest by the pandemic so far. Residents are being asked to remain home while all but essential services, such as pharmacies and grocery stores, are being forced to close their doors.

While other states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, took similar measures last week, Cuomo has quickly emerged as something of an alternative authority to President Donald Trump during the crisis. Trump has come under a great deal of criticism in recent weeks over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, in part due to his administration’s conflicting information about the disease and its hesitation in taking decisive steps to curb its spread.

For most, it would have seemed logical to expect Biden to have stepped into this role, especially after his primary victories last Tuesday all but cemented his nomination for president. That, however, has not been the case as the former vice president appears to have stepped back from the national stage, prompting the hashtag #WhereIsJoe to trend on Twitter and even spawning some speculation – including the unfounded claim that he may have been infected with the coronavirus.

Facing mounting pressure, Biden announced on Sunday that he would be making regular addresses concerning the pandemic from his home. The decision follows recent prodding from donors who have asked for him to have a greater public presence during the crisis.

Biden plans his first address for Monday, his first on-camera appearance since last Tuesday.

While Biden hopes to reassert himself in a leadership role during this crisis, his lack of initiative has some Democrats understandably worried. Although Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., remains in the race, his chances of claiming the presidential nomination are less than slim.

Former vice president Joe Biden won primaries in Arizona, Illinois and Florida to open up a commanding lead over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination Former vice president Joe Biden won primaries in Arizona, Illinois and Florida to open up a commanding lead over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB