During rallies, Trump mocks Biden for ‘staying in again’
>>WASHINGTON: With just about 40 days until the US election, President Donald Trump ramped up his campaigning with back-to-back events on Friday in battleground states — a frenetic pace in contrast with the more sedate approach of Democratic rival Joe Biden.
The 74-year-old president’s gruelling 12-hour, three-state schedule culminated with a night-time rally in Newport News, Virginia. Mr Trump — who trails Mr 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 Nov 3 election.
During his whirlwind day the president mocked his rival for a lower-energy campaign, saying Biden was “staying in again today.”
“This guy never goes out. It’s terrible huh?” he told a black economic empowerment event in Atlanta, where few people wore masks and social distancing was non-existent.
“If I lose to a man who doesn’t campaign... I don’t know,” he told the laughing crowd.
Mr Biden travelled from his home in Delaware to Washington on Friday to attend a ceremony at the US Capitol as late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lay in state there. But there was no in-person campaigning on the former vice president’s schedule.
In a bid to fire up his base over the weekend, the president yesterday planned to announce his pick to replace the liberal icon Ginsburg, who died last week at 87.
Mr Trump began the day in Florida with a roundtable with Latino voters, a crucial constituency in the swing state.
Mr Biden has “been very bad to Hispanics,” the president said at the event which took place at his golf club in Doral, near Miami.
Mr Trump next flew to neighbouring Georgia, which has voted Republican in the last six elections but is now rated a toss-up, where he insisted that as president he did “even more than I promised” for African-Americans.
“I did more for the black community in 47 months... than Joe Biden did in 47 years,” he said, repeatedly swiping at Biden’s legislative record in co-sponsoring 1990s tough-on-crime legislation that many experts say resulted in high incarceration rates for black Americans.
Mr Trump said he was unveiling a “platinum plan” that aims to increase capital to African-Americans, create three million new jobs for the black community and implement “the highest standards of policing.”
Mr Trump then returned to Washington to gather with supporters and flew to a Make America Great Again night-time rally in Newport News, Virginia. The state’s Democratic governor meanwhile announced that he and his wife have tested positive for Covid-19.
“As I’ve been reminding Virginians throughout this crisis, Covid-19 is very real and very contagious,” Governor Ralph Northam said in a statement.
Mr Biden’s campaign has been cautious ever since the pandemic forced several US states into extended lockdown. Mr Biden, 77, spent months mostly hunkered down in his Delaware home. While he has increased campaigning in swing states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, his events are tightly scripted with only occasional interaction with voters. His recent go-to strategy to counter Mr 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,” Mr Biden said on Thursday.