Biden Opens With a Joke, but 'I Can't Tell Whether You're Smiling or Not'

By Susan Jones | July 1, 2020 | 8:57am EDT
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden gives a speech. (Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden gives a speech. (Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Striding to the podium for his first news conference in three months, former Vice President Joe Biden opened with what he apparently meant as a joke:

"I'm a few minutes late," he told the (non) crowd:

"This is my polling place. I was trying to vote early, but I couldn't find it. (No audible laughter).

“Anyway, thanks a lot for being here. I can't tell whether you're smiling or not, but thanks for being here,” Biden continued.

"I want to take a few minutes to tell you a little bit about what I think we should be doing right now, and then be happy to take questions.”

Biden launched into a by-now familiar criticism of President Trump's response to the pandemic, then offered his own plan to deal with it.

Among other things, Biden said, "We should be holding and providing a sticker that says 'Safe for Shoppers,' a certification to stores that prove they're minimizing their customers' risk and exposure. We absolutely need a clear message from the very top of our federal government that everyone needs to wear a mask in public, period."

Later, in response to a question, Biden said, "I think we should be talking and actually making people feel guilty for not doing the right thing...Remind people, if you do not wear this mask, you end up hurting someone or you get infected."

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