Former Vice President Joe Biden took his campaign to a county in Florida he called crucial for victory in the presidential election just three weeks away.
Broward County, the second most populous in the state, is “where this election will be determined,” Biden said Tuesday afternoon at a senior citizens’ center in Pembrook Pines.
In 2016, Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by a 2-to-1 margin in the county. But the Republican candidate edged her out in the state total to capture all of Florida’s 29 electoral votes, helping him to become president.
On Monday, Trump held a large rally at an airport in Florida’s Seminole County, which he won four years ago by less than 4,000 votes. It was his first political event since his hospitalization for COVID-19.
The president took his re-election campaign on Tuesday evening to what political analysts consider the other key battleground state: Pennsylvania, where Biden was born.
Trump in Johnstown appealed to “suburban women -- will you please like me? Please, please. I saved your damn neighborhood. OK?”
Trump accused Biden of being a “servant of the radical globalists, wealthy donors and big money special interests” who shipped away jobs, shut factories, threw open borders and ravaged America’s cities.
As he did the previous evening in Florida, the president accused his challenger of handing control of the Democratic Party to the far left, including socialists and Marxists.
“If he was a nice guy, I wouldn't hit him like this,” said Trump. “But he's not a nice guy. He's a bad guy. He's always been a dummy.”
An average of recent major polls shows Biden leading Trump in both Florida and Pennsylvania.
Trump, at both his Florida and Pennsylvania rallies, spoke to large outdoor crowds that were packed together. Most attendees did not wear masks. Trump did not wear a mask. He repeated his claim, not backed up by science, that after his recovery for the coronavirus, he and all others who have battled the COVID-19, are now immune from reinfection.
Biden, in his third visit to Florida in a month, kept a surgical-style mask on throughout his 30-minute live-streamed stump speech before an invited audience of a handful of retirees and a group of reporters in Pembrook Pines. His campaign handed out N-95 masks to the journalists, not satisfied with the efficacy of the cloth or surgical masks they were wearing.
Biden repeated his criticism of President Donald Trump for his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I prayed for his recovery when he got COVID,” Biden said of the president, who spent 72 hours hospitalized for COVID-19. “I hoped he’d come out of it somewhat chastened.”
The president, added the Democratic Party nominee, “hosts super-spreader parties at the White House” where “Republicans hug each other.”
Trump, according to Biden, “still thinks he’s on a game show.”
In a message tailored to the audience of older Americans in a state where a fifth of the population is age 65 or older, Biden said “the only senior Donald Trump cares about is the senior Donald Trump.”
To Trump, “you’re expendable, you’re forgettable, you’re virtually nobody,” Biden told the seniors.
Older voters were critical to Trump’s election victory four years ago, but polls show they have increasingly embraced Biden.
Trump is 74 and Biden is 77.
Biden declined to interact much with the group of reporters traveling with him on Tuesday. He answered only one question from journalists on his departure from Delaware in the morning, which was about when former President Barack Obama could be expected to actively campaign for him.
“He’s doing enough for our campaign,” replied Biden. “He’ll be out on the trail and he’s doing well.”
Biden’s second event of the day in Broward County was in Miramar, a city where the majority is Black or Hispanic and with an all Jamaican-American city council.
There the campaign hosted a drive-in voter rally where honking of horns replaced applause. Biden, on an elevated stage and socially distanced from the crowd, did not wear a mask during his 25 minutes of remarks.