As VP can­di­dates visit Wis., Trump, Bi­den trade jabs

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY NOREEN NASIR, ALEXAN­DRA JAFFE AND KATHLEEN RONAYNE

HAR­RIS­BURG, Pa. — Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Joe Bi­den and Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump spent Mon­day di­min­ish­ing each other’s cre­den­tials on the econ­omy and un­der­stand­ing of the Amer­i­can worker as the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign en­tered its fi­nal, post-La­bor Day stretch.

While work­ers live by an “Amer­i­can code,” Bi­den said Trump “lives by a code of lies, greed and self­ish­ness” as he met with la­bor lead­ers in Har­ris­burg, Penn­syl­va­nia, a key swing state. Trump, mean­while, tried to put the halt­ing eco­nomic re­cov­ery un­der the best light in a White House press con­fer­ence where he said Bi­den and his run­ning mate, Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris, would “de­stroy this coun­try and would de­stroy this econ­omy.”

La­bor Day typ­i­cally marks the un­of­fi­cial start to the fall cam­paign sea­son as can­di­dates ac­cel­er­ate their ac­tiv­ity for the fi­nal sprint to Elec­tion Day. Both cam­paigns re­flected that ur­gency Mon­day, as Har­ris and Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence each cam­paigned in Wis­con­sin, a state Trump nar­rowly won in 2016.

While the health of the Amer­i­can econ­omy and sta­tus of work­ers were dom­i­nant La­bor Day themes, both cam­paigns also fo­cused on re­cent protests that have roiled Wis­con­sin and the rest of the na­tion af­ter po­lice shot Ja­cob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha last month.

Har­ris, the first Black woman on a ma­jor party pres­i­den­tial ticket, met pri­vately with Blake’s fam­ily at the Mil­wau­kee air­port af­ter ar­riv­ing in the state, where she spoke with Blake by phone from his hos­pi­tal bed.

Pence touched on the protests in Kenosha dur­ing a speech in La Crosse, where he toured an en­ergy fa­cil­ity.

“We will have law and or­der in ev­ery city in this coun­try for ev­ery Amer­i­can of ev­ery race and creed,” Pence said.

Out on the trail, signs of the pan­demic were ev­i­dent. While Pence didn’t speak with a mask on, work­ers from the power com­pany he toured did as they stood be­hind him. Har­ris was care­ful not to stray far from blue “X” marks taped on the floor to en­cour­age so­cial dis­tanc­ing as she toured an In­ter­na­tional Broth­er­hood of Elec­tri­cal Work­ers train­ing fa­cil­ity. While sup­port­ers gath­ered out­side the can­di­dates’ stops, they had min­i­mal in­ter­ac­tion with mem­bers of the pub­lic be­yond the peo­ple in­vited to their events.

Bi­den spoke to a small group of la­bor lead­ers in a back­yard in Lan­caster, where he crit­i­cized Trump for “re­fus­ing to deal with the prob­lems that af­fect or­di­nary peo­ple” and called for strength­en­ing unions.

Ear­lier in the day, Trump painted Bi­den as a leader in­ca­pable of han­dling the coro­n­avirus and re­viv­ing the econ­omy and pledged his own “undy­ing loy­alty to the Amer­i­can worker.”

PETER THOM­SON/LA CROSSE TRI­BUNE VIA AP

Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence speaks Mon­day at Dairy­land Power Co­op­er­a­tive in La Crosse, Wis­con­sin.

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