Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Friday (October 30) sought support in Midwestern states where the coronavirus has roared back, with U.S. President Donald Trump falsely accusing doctors of profiting from COVID-19 deaths while Biden said Trump had surrendered to the pandemic.
In Wisconsin, where new cases doubled last week, Trump urged the state’s Democratic governor to lift restrictions that aim to slow the virus’s spread. Most in the crowd of several thousand did not wear masks.
“You’ve got to open up your state and you’ve got to do it fast!” Trump said at the rally, with just four days to go before the election.
Earlier in the day in Michigan, Trump attacked the U.S. medical system, falsely saying: “Our doctors get more money if someone dies from COVID.”
A record surge of cases is pushing hospitals to the brink of capacity. The news pushed Wall Street to its worst week since March, undercutting one of Trump’s main arguments for re-election.
Trump, who recovered from COVID-19 weeks ago, has played down the health crisis for months, telling supporters in recent weeks that the country is “turning the corner” even as cases surge. Biden has warned of a “dark winter” ahead and promised a renewed effort to contain the virus.
Biden leads Trump 52 percent to 42 percent in Reuters/IPSOS national opinion polling, partly because of widespread disapproval of his handling of the pandemic. Opinion polls show a closer contest in the most competitive states that will decide the election.
The focus on the upper Midwest underlined the region’s importance in the race. Michigan and Wisconsin were two of the three historically Democratic industrial states, along with Pennsylvania, that narrowly voted for the Republican Trump in 2016, delivering him an upset victory.
Biden leads Trump by 9 percentage points in Michigan and Wisconsin and 5 points in Pennsylvania, according to Reuters/IPSOS polling.