AFP Allentown, US
President Donald Trump yesterday denied that he is giving up on fighting the spread of the coronavirus, insisting, despite a new surge in infections, that the pandemic is in retreat. “I’m not,” Trump said, when asked about his opponent Joe Biden’s charge that he is abandoning attempts to control the pandemic.
“We’re absolutely rounding the corner,” he told reporters in Pennsylvania where he was giving three rallies.
On Sunday, Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows told CNN that the administration’s focus had moved to mitigation, not stamping out the virus.
“We’re not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations,” Meadows said, comparing the more deadly Covid-19 to the seasonal flu.
Biden then charged Trump with surrender in the crisis, which has killed more than 225,000 Americans, with cases now rapidly spiking.
“It was a candid acknowledgement of what President Trump’s strategy has clearly been from the beginning of this crisis: to wave the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away,” Biden said in a statement.
Trump countered yesterday by calling Biden a “pathetic candidate.”
“He’s waved the white flag on life. He doesn’t leave his basement,” he said.
With eight days to go until the election, President Trump yesterday wooed voters in Pennsylvania, a battleground state he won in 2016 that is crucial to his chances of defeating Democratic challenger Joe Biden and winning a second term.
More than 60mn Americans already have cast ballots ahead of the November 3 election in a record-breaking pace that could lead to the highest US voter turnout by percentage in more than a century.
Surging coronavirus cases in many parts of the country and a Covid-19 outbreak within Vice President Mike Pence’s staff have kept the focus of the race on the pandemic.
Pence tested negative for the coronavirus yesterday, his office said, after multiple senior aides tested positive over the weekend.
A state whose voters can swing towards either major party, Pennsylvania has been heavily courted with frequent visits by both candidates.
A Republican, Trump addressed a rally in Allentown and planned multiple trips to Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin this week, as well as visits to Arizona, Nebraska and Nevada.
“I think we’re going to win Pennsylvania by than more than we did last time,” Trump told reporters before the Allentown rally.
His 2016 victory in Pennsylvania was vital in his victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Addressing supporters, Trump touched on what he called “an existential” issue for Pennsylvania, Biden’s comment during last week’s presidential debate that if elected he would “transition” the US away from oil and natural gas.
“He wants to go with windmills that are made in Germany and China,” Trump said, adding, “Biden’s plan is an economic death sentence for Pennsylvania’s energy sector.”
Biden is scheduled to travel to Georgia today, with stops in Atlanta and Warm Springs, a small town where Democratic president Franklin D Roosevelt, who took office during the Great Depression and rolled out his New Deal recovery programme, died in 1945.
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