Macon – Cornered in a corner and financially strained, US President Donald Trump charged the family of his Democratic rival to the White House and defended their fight to contain the coronavirus pandemic while trying to reinvigorate his ailing campaign to reelection in the so-called Belt of the Sun.
A few weeks before the election, Joe Biden tried to keep voters focused on health care as he traveled through the north-central part of the country.
Trump campaigned on Friday in Florida and Georgia, two neighboring states in which he dominated four years ago and where he must win again to revalidate the presidency. His decision to dedicate prime-time Friday night to Georgia highlights the severity of the challenge: Away from his original plan to expand into Democratic-leaning states, he is working to avoid a defeat of epic proportions.
No Republican presidential candidate has lost Georgia since George HW Bush in 1992. Earlier in the week Trump already had to woo voters in Iowa, a state it won by nearly 10 points in 2016.
In Florida, the president called the Bidens “an organized crime family,” renewing his daily complaints about the candidate’s son, Hunter, and his businesses in Ukraine and China.
With a message more focused on his Florida audience, Trump spoke directly to older people, increasingly resentful of his handling of the pandemic.
“I am moving heaven and earth to protect our elders from the virus in China,” he said, using his usual derogatory term to describe the coronavirus. In addition, he offered an optimistic assessment of the pandemic despite the spike in infections across the country.
“We are winning,” said Trump, promising that, as soon as it is ready, he will deliver the first doses of the vaccine to the elderly.
Despite his harsh rhetoric, Trump’s actions on the ground in Florida underscored the mixed messages his administration has been sending throughout the pandemic. Both his security team and his collaborators were wearing masks when their plane, Air Force One, made landfall, but neither Trump nor the Governor of Florida, Republican Ron DeSantis, did. Many of those attending the rallies did not wear masks either.
Quite the opposite of Biden’s first act in Michigan, at a community center in a Detroit suburb. Following their usual protocol, both the candidate and the participants wore a mask except in their speeches, and a small number of reporters and supporters followed the event from folding chairs separated by circles to guarantee a safe distance.
“He lives in a dream world,” Biden said of the president’s optimistic predictions about the pandemic. The former vice president attacked the Trump administration’s judicial fight to reverse the health coverage law, known as “Obamacare,” including its protection for people with pre-existing conditions, without having a plan to replace it.
“Mismanaging the pandemic is not enough for Trump,” Biden said. “On top of that, he keeps trying to withdraw medical care.”
On the other hand, the president’s campaign released new figures suggesting that Trump could be the first president running for re-election who has no advantage in fundraising in the modern era.
The Trump campaign, along with the Republican Party’s National Committee and other associated groups, raised $ 247.8 million in September, well below the $ 383 for Biden and the Democratic National Committee. As of early October, the Republican campaign officially had $ 251.4 million in the bank, according to the team’s spokesman, compared to $ 432 million for Biden.