WILMINGTON: Donald Trump has high-rise towers named after him around the world. And Joe Biden? A municipal swimming pool in Delaware.
A visit to the modest – some would say boring – hometown of the president-elect, Wilmington, illustrates the intense change of atmosphere that comes to the White House with the change of power in January.
After four years of Trump, a fan of gold taps and self-proclaimed “the best” at almost everything, comes a man whom Shelly Baker, a local resident, calls “cool” mainly because he looks so much like other people on his feet. on earth. Wilmington.
“Everyone here just calls him Joe. ‘Normal Joe,'” said Baker, 63, admiringly as he waited to see the president-elect after one of the daily transition team events downtown.
Trump has emblazoned his name in huge capital letters, often in largely gold, on glitzy buildings and properties from Las Vegas to Scotland.
In New York City alone are Trump Tower, Trump World Tower, Trump Plaza, The Trump Building, Trump Parc, Trump Park Avenue, and Trump International Hotel and Tower.
Then there are Trump’s books like “Trump: How to Get Rich,” Trump’s golf courses, Trump’s casinos, and more.
The Republican is so in love with his own name that he has a habit of referring to “Trump” in the third person during speeches, as if stepping back to admire himself.
So what about Biden?
He has been a United States senator for nearly four decades and a vice president to Barack Obama, so he is no stranger. But when it comes to self-promotion, the vibe couldn’t be more different.
Take the top three Biden landmarks found in Delaware:
– Joseph R Biden Jr Aquatic Center (the Wilmington pool where he worked as a lifeguard in his youth).
– Joseph R Biden Jr Railroad Station (Amtrak stop in Wilmington, which the future 46th President used every day while in the Senate to return to his family at night).
– And last but not least, the Biden Welcome Center, a stop with restrooms and fast food for motorists on Interstate-95.
Wilmington, with fewer than 71,000 residents, reflects the man who promises to give Americans a relaxing break after four years of Trump turmoil.
The city is not famous for much – most people pass I-95 between Washington and New York.
Its primary economic role as a tax-friendly destination for business incorporation doesn’t exactly translate into enthusiasm.
Efforts are underway to revitalize the depressed downtown, but much of the area remains bleak and dangerous. Pawn shops, bail bondsmen, and bricked up windows are a common sight at The Queen Theater, which Biden’s transition team has made the center of its operations.
The wealthier side of the city features a seemingly endless succession of churches, traffic lights, and car dealerships, before merging with neighborhoods of leafy, winding lanes where Biden’s residence is located.
“It’s not like Miami or New York,” said downtown clothing store manager Toya Darcey.
But the 32-year-old added: “It feels good that he’s from here.”
To say that Biden is based in Wilmington is not an exaggeration.
His son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015, is buried in Saint Joseph at Brandywine Catholic Church. So are Biden’s first wife, Neilia, and their young daughter, Naomi, who died in a car accident in 1972.
Over the years, the cemetery and church, where Biden regularly attends Mass, have become as much a part of the incoming president’s identity as dazzling Manhattan and Florida are to Trump.
A makeshift shrine at the base of Neilia and Naomi’s headstone, apparently left behind by supporters, includes a Covid mask and a rain-soaked copy of the New York Post tabloid that declares “IT’S JOE’S TIME” after their election victory.
Unlike Trump, who downplayed Covid-19 restrictions on holding multiple large rallies across the country, Biden spent much of his campaign broadcasting live from his basement.
Trump endlessly scoffed at this approach, but the background of home videos of books, family photos, and memorabilia like American flags fueled the idea that Biden, a solid local guy who got it right, can be connected.
“Even if he’s been a lifelong politician,” Baker said, “I could trust Biden with my life.”