Biden bashes Trump's leadership on pandemic in Wisconsin, Trump to visit Ohio

Biden bashes Trump's leadership on pandemic in Wisconsin, Trump to visit Ohio
Biden bashes Trump's leadership on pandemic in Wisconsin, Trump to visit Ohio

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Democratic US presidential nominee Joe Biden gestures as he greets supporters outside after delivering remarks at Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry in Manitowoc September 21, 2020. — Reuters pic

MANITOWOC, Sept 22 — Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden slammed US President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic yesterday, saying the Republican “froze” when faced with the enormous challenge posed by the health crisis.

With US deaths from Covid-19 approaching 200,000, Biden said on a campaign stop in Wisconsin that Trump had fallen short of the level of presidential leadership required to contend with the pandemic's spread.

“He just wasn't up to it. He froze. He failed to act. He panicked,” Biden told workers at an aluminum manufacturing plant in Manitowoc, south of Green Bay.

Biden is looking to keep the focus of the race on Trump's response to the pandemic following the death on Friday of liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Trump is moving quickly to fill Ginsburg's seat in hopes of cementing a 6-3 conservative majority on the court, a key priority for social conservatives, before the November 3 election.

Trump also campaigned yesterday in the Midwest, where Biden is highlighting the faltering post-pandemic economy as he tries to reclaim a handful of key states that backed Trump in 2016. Trump will hold events in Ohio.

In Wisconsin, Biden said Trump could have saved lives with a mask mandate but continued to hold rallies without social distancing or people wearing masks, and worried too much about spooking financial markets.

“Frankly, I've dealt with guys like Trump my whole life ... guys who think they're better than you,” Biden said. “I don't like guys like this.”

In his last visit to the state, Biden spoke with Jacob Blake, the Black man whose shooting by police in the city of Kenosha prompted unrest.

This time, he visited largely white Manitowoc County, which supported the former vice president and President Barack Obama when they ran on the Democratic ticket in 2008.

The county backed Trump in 2016, helping deliver the state to a Republican presidential candidate for the first time since 1984, albeit with less than 1 per cent of the vote.

Trump visited Wisconsin last week, announcing a new round of coronavirus pandemic assistance to farmers of about US$13 billion (RM53.46 billion).

Financial advantage

Opinion polls show Biden leading by several points in Wisconsin, mirroring his overall lead nationwide.

He has built a formidable financial advantage for the campaign's final stretch after a massive fundraising haul in August. The campaign and its party allies will report having US$466 million in cash at the end of August, while Trump's war chest stood at US$325 million, according to officials from both sides.

Early voting, both in-person and by mail, has already begun in a handful of states.

In Ohio, Trump is expected to speak about “fighting for the American worker,” with a focus on the economic themes that dominated his re-election pitch prior to Ginsburg's death, before attending a rally.

Earlier in the race, many Democrats had privately written Ohio off, seeing it as firmly in Trump's grasp. But polls show a tight contest, and Biden's campaign is now pursuing wins in an expanded set of states.

Yesterday, Biden's campaign said it would add Georgia and Iowa to a list of 10 other states where it is running paid advertisements. Meanwhile, campaign finance filings on Sunday showed the national Republican Party transferred US$1.3 million in August to the coffers of the state party in Texas, a longtime Republican stronghold that Democrats also hope to make competitive. — Reuters

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