In split-screen city halls, Trump and Biden squabble over COVID-19 response

MIAMI/PHILADELPHIA: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Thursday (Oct 16) criticised what he referred to as President Donald Trump’s “panicked” response to the coronavirus pandemic, whereas Trump defended his dealing with of a disaster that has killed greater than 216,000 Individuals.

The rivals spoke in simultaneous city halls broadcast on separate tv networks after a debate initially scheduled for Thursday was referred to as off following Trump’s COVID-19 election.

The split-screen showdown provided a stark reminder of the various methods the marketing campaign season has been modified by a pandemic that has prompted greater than 18 million folks to forged ballots greater than two weeks earlier than Election Day on Nov 3.

Biden, talking to voters in Philadelphia on ABC, blamed the Republican president for concealing the deadliness of the virus that has killed greater than 216,000 folks in the US.

READ: Trump and Biden to headline duelling city halls, as early voters swamp polls

“He mentioned he did not inform anyone as a result of he was afraid Individuals would panic,” Biden mentioned. “Individuals do not panic. He panicked.”

Trump defended each his response to the pandemic in addition to his personal private conduct, together with staging a Rose Backyard occasion on the White Home the place few wore masks or practised social distancing, which resulted in quite a few attendees contracting the illness.

“Hey, I am president – I’ve to see folks, I can not be in a basement,” Trump mentioned on NBC in entrance of an out of doors viewers of voters in Miami, implicitly criticising Biden for spending months off the marketing campaign path because the pandemic raged.

He didn’t reply questions in regards to the final time he examined unfavorable earlier than getting the virus, saying he didn’t recall exactly.

Trump, who aggressively interrupted Biden throughout a chaotic debate two weeks in the past, confirmed little curiosity in altering his belligerent tone, sparring often with moderator Samantha Guthrie.

READ: Trump headed for bother – and never altering course

He mentioned he “heard totally different tales” in regards to the efficacy of masks, regardless that his personal administration’s public well being consultants have mentioned sporting them is vital to stopping the unfold of the virus.

The president declined to denounce QAnon, the false conspiracy idea that Democrats are a part of a world paedophile ring, first praising its adherents for opposing paedophilia earlier than saying he knew nothing in regards to the motion.

Trump additionally dodged questions on a New York Instances investigation of 20 years of his tax returns, which he has refused to launch publicly regardless of a long time of precedent for presidential candidates.

He appeared to verify the paper’s report that he has some US$400 million in personally assured loans, arguing that the quantity was a “peanut” in contrast together with his value. He additionally didn’t deny the Instances’ report that he paid solely US$750 in federal revenue tax throughout his first 12 months within the White Home, though he mentioned at one level the paper’s numbers have been “unsuitable”.


The second presidential debate had initially been scheduled for Thursday, however Trump pulled out of the occasion after organisers determined to show it right into a digital affair following his prognosis two weeks in the past. A last debate continues to be scheduled for Oct 22 in Nashville, Tennessee.

READ: Individuals voting early in document numbers in presidential election

Trump, who spent three days in a army hospital however has since returned to the marketing campaign path, is attempting to change the dynamics of the race. Reuters/Ipsos polls present Biden has a big nationwide lead, though his benefit in battleground states is much less pronounced.

North Carolina, a extremely aggressive state, noticed big strains because it started greater than two weeks of in-person early voting on Thursday, following document turnout in Georgia and Texas earlier within the week.

About 18.Three million Individuals have voted both in particular person or by mail to this point, representing 12.9 per cent of the full votes counted within the 2016 basic election, in keeping with the US Elections Challenge on the College of Florida.

Voters are in search of to keep away from in-person strains on Election Day to remain protected as coronavirus infections and hospitalisations proceed to rise, but additionally to ensure their ballots will rely. Many are involved that Trump will problem broadly used mail-in ballots, after his repeated claims with out proof that they have been fraudulent.


The Senate affirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s nominee for a vacant Supreme Court docket seat, prompted cautious solutions from each candidates. Republicans have pushed to seat Barrett earlier than the election after refusing to take action for former Democratic President Barack Obama’s nominee in 2016, saying it was inappropriate in an election 12 months.

Biden mentioned he was not a “fan” of court-packing, the thought promoted by some Democrats of including justices to countermand what they view as a stolen seat. However he declined to rule it out after moderator George Stephanopoulos pressed him, saying: “It relies on how this seems.”

READ: Trump’s nominee Barrett says Supreme Court docket ‘cannot management’ a president

Trump wouldn’t say whether or not he wish to see abortion rights invalidated, an final result that many authorized students consider is extra doubtless with the conservative Barrett on the court docket.

“I believe that she’s going to make an important determination,” he mentioned. “I didn’t inform her what determination to make.”


In an indication of Democratic willpower to defeat Trump, a large amount of cash has poured into the celebration’s coffers in latest months.

Democratic fundraising organisation ActBlue mentioned on Thursday it collected US$1.5 billion on-line from July to September, probably the most it had ever raised in a single quarter. By comparability, main Republican fundraising platform WinRed mentioned on Monday that it collected US$623.5 million in the identical interval.

Biden’s marketing campaign collected US$383 million in September, setting a brand new document for a US marketing campaign for the second consecutive month. The Trump marketing campaign has not launched its month-to-month figures.

Each candidates have been visiting battleground states this week, with Trump holding rallies in Florida, Pennsylvania and Iowa and Biden travelling to Ohio and Florida.

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