President Donald Trump and his Democrat rival Joe Biden held meetings with supporters in Florida on Thursday, where a truly fierce competition for votes has emerged between candidates. The speeches of Trump and Biden demonstrated the complete opposite of their views on the new wave of COVID-19 infections that began in the United States.
Opinion polls show that, nationwide, Biden is significantly ahead of Trump, but the gap between candidates in fluctuating states, where the election results depend, is very small.
According to a poll conducted by Reuters / Ipsos and published on Wednesday, 49% of Florida residents are going to vote for Biden, 47% for the current president.
With the state represented by 29 votes on the Electoral College, winning Florida could be the top prize for one candidate. Trump’s victory in Florida in 2016 largely guaranteed his election as president.
Thousands of people, many of them without masks, gathered on Thursday at an open-air rally in Tampa to hear Trump mock his opponent.
“Can you imagine that this person will defeat me?” – said Trump, adding that he is confident in his re-election.
Joe Biden was at this moment holding his meeting with voters at a college in Broward County, north of Miami. The protesters stayed inside their cars to avoid the possible spread of the virus.
“Donald Trump has given up on COVID-19,” Biden said. He also rebuked Trump for not wanting to pay federal taxes.
The New York Times reported last month that Trump paid just $ 750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, having paid that tax only 10 times in the previous 15 years. Trump did not directly deny the allegations of the New York Times, but said several times that the publication had “incorrect” numbers.
“Why should a firefighter, a nurse … an educator pay a higher tax rate than the super-rich? Why should you pay more taxes than Donald Trump? ” Biden asked.
Trump, in his speech, referred to data released on Thursday, according to which the US economy in the third quarter grew at an unprecedented rate of 33% year on year, thanks to a massive federal economic aid program.
“So glad these huge GDP growth figures were released before November 3,” Trump wrote in a tweet.
Joe Biden, however, can remind voters that U.S. output remains below Q4 2019 levels before the pandemic hit the country.
Trump has canceled a Thursday evening rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina due to a wind warning from Hurricane Zeta, Trump headquarters said. The president plans to return to the Midwest on Friday to hold rallies in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Overall, he plans to visit 10 states in the final days of the campaign and will hold 11 rallies in the last 48 hours before the decisive election day, a spokesman for his headquarters said.
Florida is home to a large number of Hispanics: Cuban Americans living in southern Florida traditionally vote Republicans, while Puerto Ricans in central Florida are more likely to vote Democrats.
Biden’s headquarters on Thursday tried to allay Democratic fears that Biden had failed to win national sympathy with Hispanics compared to the popularity that former President Barack Obama enjoyed among this category of voters.
“We are 100% on track to equal or surpass the number of Latinos who voted for Obama in 2012,” said Matt Barreto, co-founder of research firm Latino Decisions, during a teleconference hosted by Biden’s campaign.