President Donald Trump campaigned in the crucial battleground state of Pennsylvania on Tuesday, telling supporters he needed a second term in the White House to ensure a successful recovery from the novel coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.
At an airport rally in Erie in the northwest corner of the state, Trump said Pennsylvania could put him over the top in the November 3 election and warned that Democratic rival Joe Biden would decimate the state’s energy and manufacturing jobs.
“This is an election between the Trump super recovery, which is happening right now, and a Biden depression,” Trump told cheering supporters, who as at most of his rallies were packed shoulder to shoulder, with many not wearing masks.
“If you want open schools, an open economy and a safe, healthy, thriving country, vote for me,” he said.
Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 220,000 people in the United States and thrown millions out of work, has taken a toll on his re-election prospects.
Biden has criticized Trump for failing to confront the pandemic and rushing to reopen the economy and belittling safety measures such as social distancing and wearing masks. Opinion polls show more Americans trust Biden than Trump to lead on the health crisis.
The former vice president was off the campaign trail on Tuesday to prepare for his debate this week with Trump.
Trump’s trip to Pennsylvania came the day before Biden’s old boss – former President Barack Obama – will campaign in the state for the Democratic candidate, which will play an important role in deciding who wins the White House race.
With two weeks left in the race, more than 35 million Americans already have cast early ballots, according to the University of Florida’s US Elections Project. That represents more than a quarter of the total vote in the 2016 presidential contest.