As a resurgent coronavirus rips through America, tearing especially into states that voted for Donald Trump in 2016, Joe Biden is moving to further weaken the president’s hold by stepping up attacks on his handling of the crisis.
Unlike the initial wave of illness and death from the pandemic, the current surge of cases is hitting particularly hard in several major red states, leaving Trump unable to cast the public health crisis as the fault of mismanagement by Democratic governors or to depict it to his followers as a problem confined to coastal cities.
Against the backdrop of COVID-19 cases surging in states such as Texas and Florida, Biden on Tuesday plans to lay out a case that appears to be gaining traction even with some Trump loyalists — that neglect and mismanagement by the White House has allowed the virus to careen out of control in this country even as other nations have successfully contained it.
The themes Biden will outline in his speech in Wilmington, Del., are not new to his campaign, but they are becoming considerably more potent lines of attack as soaring rates of sickness spread across the South and West and governors find themselves forced to roll back plans to reopen businesses.
According to an outline of Biden’s speech provided in advance to reporters, the former vice president will stress an attack on Trump as a politician who called himself a wartime president but who has surrendered to the virus.
Biden will point to the death toll of more than 125,000 and the economic wreckage that has left tens of millions of Americans unemployed, laying blame on Trump.
He plans to argue that Trump’s refusal to mobilize a competent public health response as the threat emerged made the impact of the pandemic markedly worse for America. He also plans to provide a timeline of “common sense” steps that Trump could have taken to contain the spread of the virus, but did not.
“Studies estimate that had Trump acted earlier, as many as half or more of the jobs we’ve lost would have been saved and tens of thousands of Americans wouldn’t have gotten sick,” the campaign’s preview of the speech said.
“Today, as infection rates are increasing again, Trump is outright ignoring the crisis — golfing, holding rallies and telling a suffering country that he’s the victim. Trump is admitting he ordered the slowing of testing, because the truth about the extent of this deadly outbreak makes him look bad.”
Biden’s remarks come as Trump is struggling in states that he won handily in 2016.
In Texas, two recent polls, one from Quinnipiac University and the other from Fox News, found the presidential race to be a tossup. Trump is also in trouble in Georgia, a state he won by more than five percentage points in 2016. And he is behind in most of the swing states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Florida, all of which he won in 2016, according to numerous recent surveys in those states.
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