Donald Trump and Joe Biden square off with rallies in key Midwestern states on Friday as a resurgent coronavirus further highlights their sharp differences just four days before the US presidential election.
Even with the United States reaching another daily record in new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, President Trump stuck to his strategy of downplaying its dangerousness and calling for businesses to reopen.
He has also ramped up fear-mongering, warning of rampaging “socialists” and seeking to portray his Democratic challenger as intent on shutting the country down.
Biden has sought to persuade the few remaining undecided voters that he would provide a steady hand on the wheel and heal America’s “soul,” calling Trump irresponsible.
The former vice president has held drive-in, socially distanced rallies, while Trump’s gatherings have often seen attendees ignore such guidelines and eschew masks.
The two candidates plan to be in three Midwestern states on Friday, with both campaigning in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Trump will also travel to Michigan and Biden also plans to be in Iowa.
Trump’s wins in Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa helped propel him to victory in 2016.
But polling averages from the RealClearPolitics.com site show Biden up in all four of those states, ranging from 6.5 percentage points in Michigan to just one point in Iowa.
Still, Democrats and Republicans alike have repeatedly warned of the unreliability of polls, pointing to Trump’s shock defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016 despite surveys showing her to be the clear favorite.
Trump and Biden are concentrating their efforts on battleground states that will decide the election in the days before the November 3 polls, and on Thursday both were in the crucial state of Florida.
Trump, 74, held another raucous rally in Tampa, telling the cheering crowd that coronavirus lockdowns under Biden would banish normal life.
“They will allow you nothing,” the Republican said.
“We’re never going to lock down again…. We’re open for business,” he said, telling supporters that his own recent bout with Covid-19 proved that it can be beaten.
“You know, the bottom line is you get better,” he said.
But the pandemic, which has already taken 228,000 American lives, has shown its resilience and is undergoing a long-predicted second wave.
On Thursday more than 91,000 new US infections were recorded, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, the highest 24-hour total since the pandemic began.
Trump however did receive good news Thursday in his argument that he is best placed to bring about an economic recovery.
New figures showed an annual growth rate of 33.1 percent in the third quarter — a jaw-dropping statistic that reflected the economy’s rebound from such a low base.
Biden, addressing a socially distanced drive-in event in Broward County, reminded supporters that of all the states there are few as important as Florida in deciding the outcome of tight elections.
Rebuffing Trump’s central charge, the 77-year-old emphasized his claim that he would bring responsible leadership after months of the White House downplaying the virus’ danger.
“I’m not going to shut down the economy, I’m not going to shut down the country. I’m going to shut down the virus,” he said in Tampa.
While Trump mocks him for holding small campaign events, Biden said he was leading by example, instead of staging the president’s “super-spreader” events.
“The heart and soul of this country is at stake,” he said.
Huge early voting
Trump sets the pace with a frenetic schedule, but Biden’s strikingly quiet campaign is also revving up.
After Florida, Trump flew to Fort Bragg in North Carolina for a meeting with troops. A planned rally in the toss-up state was postponed until Monday due to the weather, the campaign said.
Mother nature intruded on Biden’s Tampa rally too, as a heavy downpour forced him to cut his remarks short.
Trump defeated Clinton in Florida in 2016 but an NBC News/Marist poll released Thursday had Biden with a 51-47 point lead there.
A stunning 81 million Americans have already cast their ballots early in the hugely consequential election.
Arizona Republican likens Trump’s loss to Japan getting nuked while losing WW II — but as a good thing
President Donald Trump on Monday allowed President-elect Joe Biden's transition to proceed -- while vowing he would never concede.
Despite Trump losing the election, some Trump supporters are refusing to accept the outcome.
One Arizona Republican in Congress, Paul Gosar, drew upon the historical knowledge him learned on his way to becoming a dentist in a bizarre analogy he posted on Twitter.
Gosar suggested the Trump movement would be like an Imperial Japanese soldier in World War II who refused to surrender until 1974.
Neal Katyal predicts law schools will teach a ‘Worst Mistakes in Court’ class on Trump’s ‘pathetic’ 20-day fiasco
Prominent lawyer Neal Katyal is best known for having tried over 40 cases before the United States Supreme Court and serving as acting Solicitor General during the Obama administration.
But he also has spent more than two decades as a law professor at Georgetown.
He drew upon all of that experience for a Monday evening appearance on MSNBC's "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.
"Someday a law school class is going to be called 'The Worst Mistakes in Court' -- and it will be just about these 20 days," Katyal predicted. "Because this legal strategy is so pathetic it makes Trump's coronavirus strategy look competent by contrast."
Trump vows he ‘will never concede’ — in 11 pm conspiracy-filled rant
Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential to President-elect Joe Biden, but is still refusing to concede.
White House aides reportedly convinced him to allow Biden to begin his transition by telling him he did not need to use the word "concede."
But that word appeared to be on his mind late Monday night.
"What does GSA being allowed to preliminarily work with the Dems have to do with continuing to pursue our various cases on what will go down as the most corrupt election in American political history?" Trump asked while continuing to lie about the election being corrupt.