In a series of drive-in socially distanced campaign stops in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Biden took aim at Trump’s record on the pandemic and called on Americans to vote, especially Black Americans.
“Donald Trump waved the white flag of surrender to this virus,” the Democratic presidential contender said in Cleveland on Monday. “I’m never gonna raise the white flag of surrender. We’re gonna beat this virus, and we’re gonna get it under control, I promise you. But the first step to beating the virus is beating Donald Trump.”
Referring to Trump’s threats to fire Anthony Fauci after the election, Biden added, “I’ve got a better idea. Let’s fire Trump, and I’ll hire Fauci.” The crowd roared.
Meanwhile, President Trump began his last day of campaigning with a long, rambling interview on Fox and Friends on Tuesday morning. Although he declared that “I think we’ll have victory,” he at times sounded dispirited, subtly referencing a Biden presidency as though it were a foregone conclusion.
“Joe is going to have a hard time,” he said, after Fox & Friends played a clip of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib (the progressive first-termer House “Squad”) talking with Sen. Bernie Sanders. “He won’t be able to handle them,” Trump said. “Joe is having a very hard time.”
Overall, Trump’s Fox & Friends interview was more sentimental than anything else. As host Steve Doocy repeatedly tried to cut him off, Trump discussed his favorite part of his presidency: the rallies that he has continued to host, despite concerns about Covid safeguards and logistical snafus that have left his supporters stranded in the cold awaiting shuttles.
Trump pushed through four battleground states over Monday — North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan — holding a total of five rallies. And his speeches leaned heavily on the grudges he had accumulated in his time as president: He railed against journalists for what he called negative coverage and Fox News for occasionally covering Biden; former Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller for the Mueller report; pollsters for saying he’ll lose; and the Supreme Court for allowing Pennsylvania to count votes that were sent before Election Day but would likely arrive after the election.
Biden: "Trump went on to say he was going to fire Dr Fauci. I've got a better idea, let's fire Trump & I'll hire Fauci... The first step to beating this virus is beating Trump... Trump is gonna be the first POTUS in 90 years to finish his term w/fewer jobs than when he started." pic.twitter.com/fCpbHjYJKw— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 3, 2020
That last Supreme Court decision, issued last week, was the object of particular Trump ire. He repeatedly made the baseless claim that it would allow for widespread voter fraud, especially in Philadelphia.
“Governor, please don’t cheat, because we’re all watching,” he said in Avoca, Pennsylvania, on Monday afternoon. “We’re all watching you, governor. We have a lot of eyes on the governor and his friends.”
On Twitter, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolfe responded, “You can watch us count every vote and have a fair election.”
But by Tuesday morning, on Fox and Friends, Trump had returned to the subject of his rallies. “Honestly, it’s been so much fun for me,” he said. “There is so much love in those rallies. They say, ‘We love you, we love you, we love you.’ They are screaming, ‘We love you.’ And I don’t think it’s ever happened before. People like Ronald Reagan, but that never happened to him.”
In his last campaign stop in Pittsburgh, Biden continued to pitch his working class bona fides to voters, contrasting it with Trump’s record as a tax-dodging billionaire.
“Why should you be paying more than Trump pays in taxes?” he asked, referring to the New York Times report that Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017. “When they asked him about it, he said the reason he always paid that was because he was smart and he knew how to game the system. I am sick of the wealthy guys gaming the system!”
Biden also attempted to position himself as the candidate of national unity, declaring that America was ready for reconciliation. “Black … lives … matter!” he said Monday in Pennsylvania.
Trump, meanwhile, continued to maintain (falsely) that he has done more for Black Americans than any other American president. But in Hickory, North Carolina, on Monday, he struck at least one note that echoed Biden’s appeals.
“To every Black American,” he said, “I am asking you to vote on Tuesday.”