Cheesesteaks, bugs and obligatory chastity: life on the US campaign trail

Washington (AFP) –


Drive-in stump speeches, enforced chastity on a rapper's campaign trail, pesky critters and a Philly cheesesteak on Air Force One -- with fewer than 50 days before November 3, the run for the White House is in full swing.

- Driving the agenda -

After movies and concerts took a leap back to the 1950s with a return to drive-ins to avoid infection from Covid-19, Democratic hopeful Joe Biden adopted the model Thursday for a speech to voters in Pennsylvania.

Around 100 people drove in to the speech and set up camping chairs next to their cars so they could sit at a safe distance from each other and listen to the former vice president.

The format had its drawbacks though -- the audience was so small and spread out that a message was broadcast during a break asking the viewers if they could clap a little louder.

The small gathering did not escape the attention of President Donald Trump though who described it as "the strangest thing" he had ever seen.

- Say 'cheesesteak' -

Take a bread roll, some strips of beef and melted cheese, peppers and onions to taste and you have the flavor of Pennsylvania, or thereabouts.

Flying back from a campaign appearance in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Trump posted a photo of himself with two Philly cheesesteakds on a plate in front of him on Air Force One. The Twitter picture quickly racked up hundreds of thousands of likes, although natives of the city demanded to know which of the two most celebrated purveyors of the heavy delicacy he had ordered from.

Eating the city's eponymous sandwich has become a rite of passage for politicians passing through the key swing state on the campaign trail. Joe Biden, a native son, has been pictured diving into one while campaigning as former presdient Barack Obama's running mate and then as vice president.

- No 'fornication' -

Rapper Kanye West's bid for the White House may be stuck in court in various states, but that has not stopped the billionaire, whose recent erratic behavior has thrust his bipolar disorder front and center, from crisscrossing the country on a campaign inspired by his religious beliefs, pronouncing himself a "born again" Christian who recently found god.

According to an article in the New York Times this week, the husband of Kim Kardashian wants to bring back school prayer, return religious groups to public life and has even banned his own campaign team from "fornication."

The rapper, who made his name singing about one-night stands, has become extremely reactionary on moral issues and made the same demand of the team working on his last album which came out in 2019.

- Critters -

While making a speech on climate change next to a field in his home state of Delaware, Biden was forced to swat a large insect that was crawling up his neck

"Sorry, that was a bug," he said, adding "speaking of the environment..." before carrying on with his speech.