Someone please get this man a bowl of soup and a blanket.
Time to Log Off is a weekly series documenting the many ways our political figures show their whole asses online.
At this point in the history of the human species, there have been exactly two presidents of the United States who have been infected with various forms of COVID. And with all due respect to Mr. Marx, the first time, when Donald Trump got ridiculously sick, then ridiculously high, then just ridiculous ... well, that time was the farce. But with the White House’s Thursday announcement that Joe Biden was himself infected with the dreaded ‘rona, well, this one feels decidedly less hilarious than its predecessor.
First there was a wholly underwhelming, “everything’s fine folks, nothing to see here” photograph shared by the Biden administration to assuage any concern over the fact that the oldest president of all time had just caught a particularly nasty variant of a disease that is particularly dangerous for senior citizens. And then, evidently aware that a single pic wasn’t gonna cut it, Biden — a 79-year-old man currently infected with a disease that’s killed millions — put on a collared shirt, sport coat, and nice pair of slacks and schlepped himself onto the White House balcony to reassure the public that there’s nothing to worry about.
It almost worked.
After some benign rambling about how he’s “gettin’ a lot of work done” and plans to “continue to get it done,” Biden concluded his brief message by urging viewers to “keep the faith. It’s going to be okay.”
Well that’s kinda ominous, no? Not that I think Biden’s actually seriously ill — by all indications (and per emphatic, if slightly bumbled, White House reassurances), he’s feeling something akin to a mild cold. That’s good! But the video, as a whole, feels like a misstep. Filming semi-impromptu TikTok-length clips about how tough and on top of it you are was more the last guy’s thing, y’know? It’s been just a few hours since he got diagnosed, and Biden’s already out there on a balcony telling people to “keep the faith”?
Look, I know that a big part of Biden’s presidency is pushing for a return to normalcy, and part of that means projecting an air of unflappable in-control-ness. And I also know that he’s been battling a persistent narrative that he’s too old for the job as is, to say nothing of thinking about running for re-election in two years. I’d imagine those are both powerful reasons for Biden to feel the need to get out in front of his diagnosis by getting out in front of a camera. But boy did this not deliver as intended, at least to me. Like, my guy, you’ve got one of the most stressful jobs in the world, and you’re pushing 80, and now you’ve got COVID too? You can take a breather before going business-casual for a 25-second clip telling people to chill. You chill, sir! Have some chicken soup and watch Love Island for a bit. It’s okay! We’ll understand!
Sir, since you’re new to the “having COVID” game, lemme tell you that even a mild case could very well have you flat on your ass for a week. It sure had me flat on mine! So, yes, it’s good that you’re feeling up to telling everyone else to relax, but you should take a bit of your own advice, and spend the next few days relaxing yourself. And to do that, I must insist that it’s time for you to log off.