Joe Biden, Wearing Mask, Appears in Public at a Veterans Memorial

The Four Percent


He and his wife, Jill Biden, wearing black masks, laid a wreath of white flowers in a Memorial Day commemoration that had not been publicly announced before the trip. Mr. Biden, a practicing Catholic, made the sign of the cross.

“Thanks for your service,” Mr. Biden said, saluting a small group of veterans and other onlookers from a distance as he walked out.

Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee and former vice president, cut a sharp visual contrast with President Trump, who has generally declined to wear a mask in public despite federal health recommendations, a posture he maintained again on Monday.

Mr. Trump participated in two Memorial Day events, first attending a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. He did not wear a mask at the event.

Mr. Trump still made the brief helicopter trip to the monument, where he spoke of the sacrifice of soldiers and described current service members as being “on the front lines of our war against this terrible virus.”

Mrs. Trump and two senior officials traveling with Mr. Trump — the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and the national security adviser, Robert C. O’Brien — also did not wear masks.

Supporters of Mr. Trump, many of whom had no masks, waved American flags and chanted “U.S.A., U.S.A.” as he arrived in Baltimore. Protesters urged the president to stay home.

On Monday, Mr. Biden, too, spoke about military sacrifice, a matter he often discusses in personal terms.

“Never forget the sacrifices that these men and women made,” Mr. Biden said on Monday, according to a pool report from his visit to Veterans Memorial Park at the Delaware Memorial Bridge in New Castle, Del. “Never, ever forget.”

“It feels good to be out of my house,” Mr. Biden said Monday, according to the pool report.

Asked whether his Memorial Day outing signaled the beginning of more public appearances, his campaign released a statement emphasizing the particular significance of Monday’s holiday during the crisis — “it’s more imperative than ever that we honor and remember the veterans, and their families, who sacrificed everything for this nation” — without addressing Mr. Biden’s future plans.

Mr. Trump wore one during a visit to a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan last week, but took it off before talking to reporters to avoid being photographed wearing it.

“Nearly 100,000 Americans have died,” read text displayed on the video. “The death toll is still rising. The President is playing golf.”

Also Monday, the Bidens released a video to commemorate Memorial Day, a sign of the continuing virtual campaign and a far cry from the parades and in-person ceremonies often held throughout the country on the holiday.

Mr. Trump, who delivered in-person remarks, said in Maryland: “Today, we honor the heroes we have lost. We pray for the loved ones they left behind. And with God as our witness, we renew our vow to love and protect and cherish this land they gave everything to defend.”

Johnny Diaz contributed reporting.


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