The Journal Gazette
Friday, June 26, 2020 1:00 am

Biden attacks Trump on virus

Campaigns show bit of normalcy in swing states

Associated Press

LANCASTER, Pa. – A presidential campaign that has largely been frozen for several months because of the coronavirus took on a degree of normalcy Thursday when President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden swung through critical battleground states presenting starkly different visions for a post-pandemic America.

Touring a shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin, Trump insisted the economy is “coming back at a level nobody ever imagined possible.”

But in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Biden warned that “no miracles are coming” and slammed Trump's handling of the virus.

“Amazingly, he hasn't grasped the most basic fact of this crisis: To fix the economy we have to get control over the virus,” Biden said. “He's like a child who can't believe this has happened to him. His whining and self-pity.”

With just over four months remaining until the election, the contrasting styles of Trump and Biden are increasingly on display. The president is itching to move past an outbreak that has dashed the economy and killed more than 125,000 people. Biden, meanwhile, is seeking to present himself as a competent and calming leader ready to level with the nation about the hardships that may be required to emerge from the current turmoil.

Beyond knocking Trump's leadership, Biden spent much of Thursday defending the Obama administration's signature health care law and decrying what he said was a White House-led effort to dismantle it via a court challenge.

It was part of a larger Democratic effort to refocus the 2020 election on health care, an issue that helped the party retake the House last cycle and one it hopes will resonate with even more voters amid the pandemic.

After long campaigning virtually from his Delaware home, Biden has in recent weeks begun visiting Pennsylvania, allowing him to target a swing state without venturing far. Lancaster is about an hour and 15 minutes by car from Biden's house, and yet it is the farthest he has traveled lately, aside from a trip to Houston to meet with the family of George Floyd, whose death in police custody sparked nationwide protests.

Trump, by contrast, staged a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last weekend and spoke at an Arizona megachurch on Tuesday. On Thursday, he visited a rural Wisconsin shipyard and taped a town hall to be broadcast by Fox News Channel from an airport in Green Bay.

Biden's team has organized small events and enforced social distancing. Trump has refused to wear a mask in public, and his campaign says Biden is using a cautious approach to hide the fact that he can't draw large, enthusiastic crowds.

Biden donned his mask while meeting in an outdoor courtyard with three mothers and two children who told of benefiting from the health care law. Beyond the police cordon, a group of Trump supporters could be heard chanting “four more years” and “USA.”

Biden scoffed at Trump's suggestion during last weekend's rally that he'd asked officials to slow down testing for the coronavirus because it was uncovering more cases.

“He thinks finding out that more Americans are sick will make him look bad. And that's what he's worried about,” Biden said. “He's worried about looking bad.”

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Top headlines are sent daily