Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and CNN’s Anderson Cooper have faced ridicule online after a video showed them not social distancing when Thursday night’s town hall cut to a commercial break.
A former producer at CNN first flagged with Twitter how Mr Biden and Mr Cooper were breaking social distancing guidelines during breaks in the town hall, which took place outdoors in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
“Joe Biden and Anderson Cooper are making a point of social distancing during the CNN Town Hall while on the stage. But when they think they've gone to commercial break, they get so close to each other that Biden is whispering in Cooper's ear,” Steve Krakauer, a former senior video producer with CNN, wrote in a tweet that included video.
In the video, the CNN camera pans out from the town hall stage and Mr Biden is seen walking towards the MR Cooper to speak to him.
This moment came after Mr Cooper told audience members and viewers multiple times that he would keep his distance from the former vice president throughout the entirety of the town hall.
"As you can see, I’m not wearing a mask tonight. I tested negative for coronavirus this morning. Still, I’ll be keeping my distance, as will all of the participants in tonight's town hall who are here," Mr Cooper said before the town hall started.
Joe Biden and Anderson Cooper are making a point of social distancing during the CNN Town Hall while on the stage.— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) September 18, 2020
But when they think they’ve gone to commercial break, they get so close to each other that Biden is whispering in Cooper’s ear: pic.twitter.com/ClZXrxFfSo
Social distancing only when the cameras are rolling— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 18, 2020
The moment sparked criticism on social media with many people mentioning how it looked as though the pair were only following guidelines when cameras were rolling.
“Social distancing only when the cameras are rolling,” the Daily Caller, right-leaning media site, wrote.
Republicans took the moment during the town hall as an opportunity to ridicule CNN and Mr Biden.
“Where's the outdoor government court to issue them a fine???” GOP national spokesperson Elizabeth Harrington wrote.
“Just like Nancy Pelosi breaking the rules at the hair salon, radical Democrats are all about rules for thee - not for me,” Marc Lotter, the director of strategic communications for the Trump campaign, wrote in a tweet. This tweet was shared by Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr on his own Twitter page.
Where's the outdoor government court to issue them a fine???https://t.co/bWl2VmbogC— Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) September 18, 2020
Just like Nancy Pelosi breaking the rules at the hair salon, radical Democrats are all about rules for thee - not for me. https://t.co/B7kEQsllrb— Marc Lotter - Text TRUMP to 88022 (@marc_lotter) September 18, 2020
The town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania, was unlike anything that has ever been done during a presidential election. CNN created a drive-in style forum with attendees remaining in their cars or in seats by their cars for the outdoor event.
The town hall came just a few days after Mr Trump participated in on with ABC News.