Former US president Barack Obama and his vice president Joe Biden, the current Democratic candidate for the Nov. 3 presidential election, have accused Donald Trump of a massive screw-up in his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Their remarks came on Saturday as a record number of 55,537 new cases were reported and 562 died across the country on the same day with a further surge expected as cold weather arrives.
And while a majority of voters say Trump has handled the crisis poorly, the US president, who is trailing in polls with 9 days to go until the election, remained ebullient.
"That's Donald Trump's presidency," Biden said during a drive-in rally, one of two events in his native Pennsylvania, a critical swing state on Saturday.
"Donald Trump said, and is still saying, we're rounding the corner. It's going away. We're learning how to live with it," Biden said, adding, "We're not learning how to live with it. You're asking us to learn how to die with it and it's wrong."
Also, Obama slammed the Trump administration's response to the disease, telling supporters at a drive-in rally in Miami, Florida, "The idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this thing up is nonsense."
"Donald Trump isn't suddenly going to protect all of us. He can't even take the basic steps to protect himself," Obama added, referring to Trump's hospitalization for COVID-19 three weeks ago.
The former president also touched upon Trump’s failure to denounce white supremacy, and the many times he has lied in public, among other issues, calling on voters to vote for Biden.
"We can make things better... That's what voting is about, not making things perfect, but making things better," he said.
"If we vote up and down the ticket like never before, we will elect Joe Biden."
Meanwhile, Trump, who held three campaign rallies in one day, targeting separate battleground states- North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin - shrugged off both Obama's criticism and polls.
He said on Twitter that the former president had only "47 people" at his event.
"No energy, but still better than Joe!" he quipped.
Nobody is showing up for Obama’s hate laced speeches. 47 people! No energy, but still better than Joe!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2020
"They want to depress you," he said of the political and media outlets reporting the numbers in polls. "These polls are much better than four years ago."
In Ohio, Trump said his campaign was doing well. "We have 10 days, and nothing worries me."
Biden leads Trump in national polls, and has narrower leads in many battleground states like Florida that typically decide the winner of the race for the White House.
However, Democrats are not going to forget the 2016 election Trump pulled off by defeating Hillary Clinton, with Biden working to chip away at the president’s supporters Saturday.
"I understand why some people voted for Donald Trump, they believe they weren't seen, or being respected or heard... I get it. But then he got elected, he immediately forgot the Forgotten Man," he said at a second rally in Dallas, Pennsylvania.
"You know, you'll be seen and you're heard and respected by me... if elected president, there'll be no red states or blue states, only the United States," he said.
Pence to continue campaigning despite top aid testing positive for Covid-19
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence, who has been campaigning ahead of the election, would maintain his current schedule despite his chief of staff Marc Short testing positive for the coronavirus.
Pence spokesman Devin O'Malley said in a statement Saturday, "Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for Covid-19 today, and remain in good health."
O’Malley added, however, that Pence would keep his scheduled "in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel."
The diagnosis, which marks the latest in a list of figures connected to Trump's administration to test positive for Covid-19, comes just weeks after numerous other top White House aides were infected by the virus and Trump was hospitalized for Covid-19 treatment.
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