Biden in Erie Update

Your Local Election HQ

Today Vice President Joe Biden will be present here in Erie, Pennsylvania.

JET 24 has your official Biden update.

At 1 p.m. we learned that from Wilmington, Del. The press bus joined the motorcade near Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s home at 2:07 p.m. They are heading to the airport and then to Erie, Pa. As usual, the pool was tested for the coronavirus and temperature checks were conducted.

The campaign provided this statement: “Vice President Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 today and COVID-19 was not detected.”

Mr. Biden is expected to speak around 4:45 p.m., and his remarks will be livestreamed.

The motorcade arrived at New Castle Airport around 2:26 p.m. Mr. Biden, wearing a mask, got out of his S.U.V. and came over to the pool. He briefly answered two questions —  one about expanding the size of the Supreme Court and another about whether President Trump should be resuming rallies. Then he boarded his plane around 2:30 p.m. 

The press plane was wheels up at 2:49 p.m. Mr. Biden’s plane was still on the ground when we took off. 

Here is a transcript of Mr. Biden’s remarks on the tarmac. It was quite loud. Thanks to ABC’s Molly Nagle for assistance here.

Q: Mr. Vice President, why don’t voters deserve to know where you stand on court packing before they cast their vote? Why wait until after the election?

Biden: Look, the only court packing is going on right now. It’s going on with the Republicans packing the court now. It’s not constitutional what they’re doing. We should be focused on what’s happening right now. And the fact is that the only packing going on is this court is being packed now by the Republicans after the vote has already begun. I’m going to stay focused on it so we don’t take our eyes off the ball here.

Q: Mr. Vice President, should the president be resuming rallies?

Biden: Well, look, I — before I came out again today to go somewhere, I had another test this morning, and I’m clear. I think it’s important the president makes sure of two things. One, that he is clear, he is not a spreader like his, like Dr. Fauci said the super spreader event he had for the Supreme Court announcement. And secondly, I think it’s important that he make it clear to all the people that they should be socially distanced, they can be on the lawn, that’s fine. But in fact, they should be socially distanced and wearing masks. That’s the only responsible thing to do. And I don’t know what’s going on at the moment now, but I hope he does that. Thank you.

The press plane landed at Erie International Airport, Tom Ridge Field, around 3:41 p.m., and Mr. Biden’s plane landed about 10 minutes later. (Ridge has endorsed Mr. Biden.)

Mr. Biden deplaned around 4 p.m. and got into his Suburban without coming over to the pool. The motorcade was rolling around 4:03 p.m. Outside the airport, a crowd had gathered to catch a glimpse of Mr. Biden’s arrival, with some people holding up Biden signs.

The motorcade arrived at the site for today’s event, a plumbers union training center, around 4:20 p.m. There was a large crowd lining the street outside, with many Biden supporters (and also some Trump supporters). 

Mr. Biden went on a brief tour of the plumbers union training facility, making two stops that the pool was able to briefly observe. I will send some color in a subsequent report. Here is a video in the meantime:

Mr. Biden’s speech will be in a parking lot outside the facility. There are about three dozen white circles on the ground, with a folding chair in each, to ensure social distancing. A large white tent covers some of the parking lot, though the front portion of the event — including the lectern and some of the white circles — is not covered. The lectern, with a Build Back Better sign on it, is positioned in front of an array of different kinds of pipes. On one side of the parking lot is a light green metal storage container with letters affixed to it spelling out Build Back Better.

The speaking program has begun, and a livestream is available here:

When the last introductory speaker concluded, and just before Mr. Biden approached the lectern, a man wearing gloves wiped it down quickly. Then Mr. Biden came to the lectern. He took off his mask when he got to the lectern.

A large screen was directly ahead of Mr. Biden to serve as a teleprompter. He began speaking around 5:09 p.m. and concluded around 5:28 p.m. The skies appeared threatening, but he made it through the speech without any sudden rainstorm.

After his speech, Mr. Biden began walking away but then came back and retrieved a baseball cap from the lectern and put it on before walking away. From a distance, it appeared that the hat had the logo of the Beau Biden Foundation.

Mr. Biden did not put his mask back on as he walked away from the lectern, at least not while he was in sight of your pooler.

More updates will be provided as more information becomes available during Vice President Biden’s visit to Erie.

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