Saturday, December 5, 2020 | ePaper

As Covid-19 roars back in US, Trump stages rallies in Arizona

  • Print
Reuters, Goodyear :
With less than a week before Election Day, President Donald Trump held a pair of in-person campaign rallies in Arizona on Wednesday despite a U.S. surge in Covid-19 cases and criticism he is prioritizing his re-election above the health of his supporters.
The pandemic that has upended life across the United States this year, killing more than 227,000 people and causing millions of job losses, is roaring back in the days leading up to Tuesday's contest between Republican Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
Biden holds a comfortable lead in national polls, which show a public increasingly dismayed by Trump's handling of the largest public health crisis in U.S. living memory. Polls in battleground states that will likely decide the election are tighter than the national surveys.
At an outdoor rally in Goodyear, Arizona, outside of Phoenix, Trump continued to argue against taking stricter measures against the resurgent virus.
"Biden and the Democrat socialists will delay the vaccine, prolong the pandemic, shutter your schools and shut down our country," Trump told the attendees, who were tightly packed together with just some wearing masks. "And your state is open right? Your state is nice and open."
A number of drugmakers are competing to bring a coronavirus vaccine to market, but one is not expected to be ready before next week's election.
A Trump adviser said the rallies were "priceless" given Biden's dominance on the ad airwaves.
"These rallies generate significant free media coverage that helps offset whatever money advantage Biden has. Fox News basically runs the whole rallies. It's a great asset," the adviser said.
Biden raised about $130 million during the Oct. 1-14 period, about three times the roughly $44 million raised by Trump's campaign, according to disclosures filed last Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.
The adviser said Trump was typically holding rallies in portions of the country where masks are worn less and people are less concerned about the ill effects of COVID-19.
"If you overlay the rallies on a map, you would see they typically run along the same lines of the divide over COVID. So, really, there's only upside," the adviser said.
Each of Trump's rallies in recent days has drawn several thousand people.
Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said the rallies could backfire.
"More exposure doesn't necessarily lead to more votes, and I wonder if some on the fence might be turned off by the total disregard for COVID protocols," Kondik said.
A pro-Biden group, Priorities USA Action, said its recent polling in six battleground states found that when people were told Trump was holding large rallies without mask-wearing requirements, most disapproved.
After a briefing from public health officials on Wednesday, Biden slammed what he called the Trump administration's disregard for safety and failure to develop a plan to contain COVID-19. Polls show Americans trust Biden more than Trump to contain the virus.
"The longer he's in charge the more reckless he gets," Biden told reporters, before casting his own vote in Wilmington, Delaware.
New battleground state polls from Reuters/Ipsos show Biden and Trump in a statistical dead heat in Arizona and in Florida, another key battleground state.
At the Goodyear rally, Trump again suggested, without evidence, that Tuesday's election results could be fraudulent.
"The biggest problem we have is if they cheat with the ballots, that's my biggest problem," the president said. "That's the only thing that I worry about."
In a setback for Republicans in two other battleground states, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to block extensions for receiving mail-in votes in Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Trump has made unfounded claims that voting by mail, a common practice in U.S. elections, leads to widespread fraud.
In all, Trump plans to visit 10 states in the last week of the campaign and will host 11 rallies in the final 48 hours, a campaign official said.
More than 75 million people have cast early in-person and mail ballots, according to data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida. That is a record-setting pace and more than 53% of the total 2016 turnout.
Trump's running mate, Vice President Mike Pence, campaigned on Wednesday in Wisconsin, a state that could help decide the election.
Wisconsin broke one-day state records in cases and deaths on Tuesday. State officials have asked residents to quarantine voluntarily, wear masks and cancel social gatherings with more than five people.
Epidemiologists say rallies posed grave public health risks during the pandemic because people shout and chant while packed closely together, aiding to the spread of the virus.
"Rallies are perfect places for so-called super-spreader events," said Barun Mathema, an epidemiologist at Columbia University in New York, adding that the risk increases when attendees do not wear masks, which is the case for many of the people attending Trump events.
The Trump campaign was taking all necessary precautions at Pence's event, campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN.
Asked whether holding a big rally raised safety concerns given that aides to Pence have tested positive and Wisconsin hospitals are near capacity, Gidley said: "No, it doesn't. ... The vice president has the best doctors in the world around him. They've obviously contact traced and come to the conclusion it's fine for him to be out on the campaign trail."
Reuters/Ipsos polling from Oct. 20 to 26 shows Biden with a solid lead over Trump, 53% to 44%, in Wisconsin, with 52% of voters saying Biden would be better suited to handle the pandemic and 38% favoring Trump on the issue.
U.S. stocks tumbled on Wednesday, with the Dow closing at lows last seen in late July, as coronavirus cases soared globally and investors worried about the possibility of a contested presidential election.

More News For this Category

No passengers can enter BD without Covid-19 negative certificate

Staff Reporter :The government has once again made it compulsory for air travellers arriving in the country to carry a test report certifying that they are coronavirus-negative amid a

Police power is for law and order and not for fighting political provocation

Different opposition political parties on Thursday condemned the Dhaka Metropolitan Police's order not to bring out any processions, hold rallies and use public address systems in the city and

Protesters, police clash outside Baitul Mukarram Mosque

Protesters, police clash outside Baitul Mukarram Mosque

Staff Reporter :Muslim devotees locked into a clash with the police in front of the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque in the capital's Paltan area on Friday afternoon.The confrontation took

1,600 Rohingyas relocated to Bhasan Char

1,600 Rohingyas relocated to Bhasan Char

bdnews24.com :The first batch of Rohingya refugees from the Cox's Bazar camp has reached the island of Bhasan Char in Noakhali.Seven ships carrying 1,642 Rohingya people from Ukhiya reached

Rohingya must have choice on going to Bangladesh island: UN

Reuters, Geneva :Rohingya refugees must be able to make free and informed decisions about relocating to Bangladesh's Bhashan Char island, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday as

Suhrawardy's 57th death anniv today

Suhrawardy's 57th death anniv today

BSS, Dhaka :The 57th death anniversary of the champion of democracy and one of the greatest leaders of undivided India Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy will be observed in the country

Vaccine still a challenge for Bangladesh, many others: Dr Friedman

Vaccine still a challenge for Bangladesh, many others: Dr Friedman

News Desk :As the world awaits a Covid-19 vaccine, a US public health expert says the vast majority of people in Bangladesh and other parts of the world will

Sundarbans-bound tourist launch sinks in River Pasur

UNB, Khulna :A Sundarbans-bound tourist launch capsized after getting stuck on a shoal of the River Pasur early Friday.The launch had 33 tourists on board, but no casualty was

2 housewives 'raped' in Bagerhat, Satkhira; rapists held

UNB :Two housewives were "raped" in Bagerhat and Satkhira on Thursday. And the rapists were held, too, following cases filed by the victims.In Bagerhat, 28-year-old Jewel Mollah forced his

Authorities need to establish ‘old home’ inside jails

Gulam Rabbani :The jail authorities now have to build an old home inside the jails across the country since the apex court had ruled in a judgement that some