With Election Day just three weeks away, US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden concentrated on battleground states both see as critical to clinching an Electoral College victory.
Trump held a rally in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, making his pitch to supporters at the Johnston airport. In his second rally since contracting the coronavirus, Trump spoke for more than an hour to a crowd of thousands packed in tightly and mostly maskless. He unleashed fierce attacks on Biden’s fitness for office in his opponent’s backyard.
“He’s shot, folks. I hate to tell you, he’s shot,” Trump told the crowd in Johnstown, saying there was extra pressure on him to win because Biden was the worst presidential candidate of all time. “Can you imagine if you lose to a guy like this? It’s unbelievable.”
Trump also appealed to groups whose support he has struggled to retain, including female voters turned off by his rhetoric.
“So I ask you to do me a favor. Suburban women: Will you please like me? Please. Please. I saved your damn neighborhood, OK?” Trump said. “The other thing: I don’t have that much time to be that nice. You know, I can do it, but I gotta go quickly.”
The president returned to the campaign trail this week after being hospitalized for his coronavirus infection. He said he felt like “Superman,” after his treatment at the Walter Reed Medical Center. He repeated his comments that “vaccines are coming soon,” to combat the coronavirus. He revised a popular line from his rally on Monday night in Florida, saying again he’d like to “kiss everyone, man and woman.”
Joe Biden, meanwhile, held a rally that same night in the key battleground state of Florida. The former vice president spoke to a group of people at the senior centre in southern Florida, with social distancing measures in place.
He criticized Trump’s handling of the pandemic while trying to woo elderly voters.
To Trump, “you’re expendable, you’re forgettable, you’re virtually nobody. That’s how he sees seniors. That’s how he sees you,” said Biden.
The “only senior Donald Trump seems to care about” is himself, he added.
Trump narrowly won Florida in the 2016 election in a result buoyed by senior voters. But the latest polls suggest a shift away from the Republican among older voters there this time around.
As Trump races against the clock, Americans are casting ballots early at a record pace. Close to 12 million people have already voted, according to the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida.
The president will stage an evening rally at an airport in Des Moines, Iowa, to galvanise supporters there.