Trump barnstorms US, drawing contrast with Biden
With just 38 days until the US election, President Donald Trump ramped up his campaigning with back-to-back events yesterday in battleground states -- a frenetic pace in contrast with the more sedate approach of Democratic rival Joe Biden.
The 74-year-old president’s grueling schedule includes hosting events in three US states plus the capital Washington in a 12- hour slog that culminates with a nighttime rally in Virginia. Trump -- who trails Biden in national polling and is narrowly behind in several swing states seen as crucial to his path to re-election -- is under pressure to make the most of the remaining weeks before the November 3 election.
Throwing caution to the wind amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, he appears maskless at his events, which often feature crowds that are not socially distanced -- a scenario his own government experts have warned against.
And in a bid to fire up his base over the weekend, the president has said that on Saturday, he will announce his pick to replace liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week at 87. After a boisterous rally in Jacksonville late Thursday, Trump began the day in Florida with a roundtable with Latino voters, a constituency that is crucial to his hopes of holding the critical swing state.
“The opposition has not been good to Hispanics at all, he’s been very bad to Hispanics,” the president said of Biden at the event, which took place at his golf club in Doral, near Miami. “I’m a wall between the American dream and chaos,” he said, adding that Biden would “lay waste to Florida’s economy.”
Trump next flew to neighboring Georgia, which has voted reliably Republican in the last six elections but which is now rated a toss-up, to deliver remarks on black economic empowerment. Later, after gathering with supporters at the Trump-owned hotel in Washington, he holds a Make America Great Again rally in Virginia, where the state’s Democratic governor announced yesterday that he and his wife have tested positive for Covid-19.
Statements do not rally Biden’s campaign strategy has been cautious ever since the pandemic forced several US states into extended lockdown, with the US death toll now topping 200,000. The 77-year-old former vice president spent months hunkered down in his Delaware home.
While he has ramped up campaigning in swing states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, his events are tightly scripted with only occasional interaction with voters. He attended a ceremony yesterday in the US Capitol as Ginsburg lay in state there. Aside from virtual events, there were no other campaign stops on his schedule.
His wife Jill Biden though was headed to Maine to meet with loggers, blueberry farmers, and lobstermen to sell her husband’s economic plan. The Democratic candidate visited Florida last week to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, but the event featured no large audience. His recent go-to strategy to counter Trump appears to be releasing statements that address the president’s various campaign stops.
“Since President Trump’s last visit to Florida just two weeks ago, over 40,000 more Floridians have tested positive for coronavirus and the state marked 13,000 COVID-related deaths,” Biden said Thursday as Trump flew to Jacksonville. “President Trump does not have a plan, but I do -- to beat Covid-19, build our economy back better, and protect and build upon the Affordable Care Act.”