Among the many important decisions he makes on a daily basis, US President Donald Trump is attempting to get a new nickname to stick to his election opponent Joe Biden. While he usually opts for a the classic jab, “Sleepy Joe,” on Tuesday he threw another name into the mix: Basement Biden. The only problem – other than that name-calling is juvenile and unproductive – is that Trump’s new nickname for Biden isn’t actually an insult.
Based on his Twitter history, Trump has been trying out this new name all summer. He first introduced the origin story of the nickname on June 11 when he accused Biden of refusing to leave his basement. It’s probably just a total coincidence that Trump began accusing Biden of hiding out in his basement a week after the viral news story that Trump was whisked off to a bunker beneath the White House amid nationwide protests creating the nickname “bunker boy.” But, Trump took another jab this morning, inaccurately suggesting that "Basement" Biden is no longer polling well.
Great! Biden is finally being forced out of his basement. Now you’ll be able to see what is going on “up there”. He may do some “limited” campaigning. Basement Biden is no longer playing well in the Polls!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 8, 2020
But Trump's nickname could easily backfire, since it's just an obvious reminder that his opponent has been abiding by guidelines to shelter and stay healthy. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Biden has abided by the guidance given by medical experts to slow the spread of the virus. He has worn a mask, greatly limited his campaigning, and sheltered in place throughout. The former vice president even took his campaign trail online hosting digital-age fireside chats from the basement of his home. In doing so, Biden has positioned himself as a calm contrast to Trump who can connect with voters while still abiding by pandemic safety guidelines.
While some have worried that Biden's lowered visibility to the voting public would hurt his chances of getting elected, he has made it clear that he cares more about the health and safety of people than about how many traditionally public appearances he makes. In an interview on Good Morning America in May, Biden spoke about his makeshift home studio and the real reason he was spending so much time in his basement.
“I’m getting really frustrated with...this whole notion that somehow we can just open, we can move,” said Biden. “I’m anxious to go out and campaign...when I campaign I’m usually the first one there and the last one to leave. I enjoy interfacing with people. I’m not trying to avoid it but I’m trying to set an example as to how we should proceed in terms of dealing with this health and economic crisis.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s actions show that he would rather be in front of people than care about the safety of the greater public. In late August, Trump hosted 1,500 mask-less guests at the White House South Lawn for his nominating speech at the Republican National Convention. The first time he was seen publicly wearing a mask was in mid-July, nearly six months after the coronavirus first reportedly began spreading in the United States.
Of all the things Trump has called Biden, to remind people that Biden is staying home when everyone should be staying home is actually the least insulting thing he could say. This is one of the few times in recent history when staying in your basement or house, in general, is the commendable and responsible thing to do.
A message to Trump: stop trying to make Basement Biden happen. It’s never going to happen.