‘Trump turned his back on you’: Biden bids to win over voters in Republican stronghold state

Joe Biden is bidding to woo voters in the Republican stronghold state of Ohio, telling a drive-in rally that Donald Trump “turned his back on you” during the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout.

The Democrat challenger took his campaign for the presidency to the red state on Monday, where he made two appearances in Toledo and Cincinnati – as the Senate Judiciary Committee held confirmation hearings for Mr Trump‘s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.

Mr Biden questioned why Republicans had time for Supreme Court hearings but no time to come to an agreement with House Democrats on another COVID economic relief package to help individuals, businesses and city and state governments.

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‘I feel so powerful, I’ll kiss everybody’

Mr Trump’s nomination of Ms Barrett to a vacancy created by the death of liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg has enraged Democrats, who argue a replacement should be decided after the presidential election next month.

Mr Biden criticised the president for playing down the coronavirus threat and mocked his statements that he did not want to panic the American public.

“Trump is the one who panicked. His reckless personal conduct since his diagnosis, as well, has been unconscionable,” he said.

“And the longer Donald Trump is president, the more reckless he gets.”

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It was Mr Biden’s second campaign trip to the state in as many weeks. Mr Trump won the state by eight percentage points four years ago and almost certainly must again to stay in the White House.

No Republican has won the presidency without Ohio.

Supporters listen to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden during a drive-in campaign event in Toledo, Ohio
Image:Supporters listen to Joe Biden during the drive-in rally in Toledo, Ohio

Mr Biden has extended his polling lead after the first presidential candidates’ debate last month – but the election result could still swing either way.

Mr Trump returned to the campaign trail in Florida, 11 days after testing positive for coronavirus.

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His personal physician, Dr Sean Conley, announced the president had tested negative for COVID-19 “on consecutive days”, although he did not give the dates.

A defiant Mr Trump told thousands of supporters at an outdoor rally in Sanford: “I went through it now. They say I’m immune. I feel so powerful.”

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Trump’s niece on his ‘cruel, bizarre behaviour’

Punching the air triumphantly, he threw masks into the crowd and offered to give “a big fat kiss” to “the guys and the beautiful women”.

There are plans for further rallies this week in Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina and Georgia, plus a return to Florida, as he seeks to boost his vote in crucial battleground states before the nation goes to the polls on 3 November.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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