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Richard Luscombe has news on Joe Biden’s movements over the weekend…

From a basement in deepest Wilmington, Delaware, comes a special Easter Sunday edition of the popular podcast Here’s the Deal. Its host is none other than Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, chewing the fat with Reverend William J Barber II, the prominent activist, Protestant minister and board member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

In lockdown and unable to command national attention in the way he would like, Biden has turned to the internet to spread his message. Today’s podcast, the third of a series launched just over a week ago, deals with the coronavirus, a return to civility in the US, and “this guy in the White House.”

“I’ve preached about the soul of America and how we had to restore it,” Biden says, referring to a central tenet of his campaign to unseat Donald Trump in November.

“Well, you’re seeing it not just in those poor folks out there making the minimum wage and busting their neck and putting their lives on the line to help everybody else, you’re seeing it with acts of kindness that haven’t occurred in a long time across the board, in white communities, Asian communities, black communities, Latino communities.

“And that, I pray God, is going to be contagious.”

In the podcast, Biden and Barber discuss their faith, hope that comes from the Easter story and the long fight for civil rights and racial equality in the US.

“God doesn’t bring us viruses, but God works in the midst of pain, just like God worked in the midst of the slavery of the Hebrew people in ancient Israel,” Barber said.

Despite the religious overlay, Biden’s podcast did not stray far from the political. People’s experiences with the pandemic, the vice-president believes, have made them more appreciative of social policy.

“If Hillary had won, if we didn’t have this guy in the White House, it would have been very hard for Hillary to sell some of the things she wanted to sell, and the things that I want to sell, that Bernie wanted to sell, because people didn’t quite get it.

“People now understand. When’s the last time people walked out and thanked the guy who’s cleaning the sewer, for keeping his basement from backing up? When’s the last time that somebody walked out and said, ‘Hey, thanks?’

“Well, people now are seeing every single day people busting their neck, risking their lives, to save other people, these first responders, these nurses, the people that are out there in the ambulances… People are getting their eyes opened.”

Biden also has thoughts about the financial hardships people are experiencing.

We should freeze all evictions for rent, we should freeze mortgage payments, we should be increasing social security payments right now by at least another $200 a month, we should be forgiving student debt,” he said.

“We’re going to need a lot more money spent to deal with this crisis and the aftermath of this crisis.”