Ahead of President Donald Trump’s rally in the Harrisburg area Saturday night, Joe Biden is criticizing the president’s leadership and response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee and former vice president, issued a statement Saturday morning denouncing Trump’s “refusal to take strong, swift action” to combat COVID-19. Biden said Trump has worsened a pandemic that has claimed 200,000 American lives, including more than 8,000 deaths in Pennsylvania.
“This crisis didn’t have to be this bad,” Biden said in the statement. “Were it not for President Trump’s failed leadership, thousands of Pennsylvania families would not have suffered such horrific loss and countless others would not be faced with economic hardship, including the nearly 20,000 people out of work in Dauphin County today.”
Biden also attacked the Trump administration’s efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which ensures those with pre-existing conditions can get health care coverage. The law is one of the key achievements of President Barack Obama’s administration and Biden has made protecting the Affordable Care Act a central tenet in his campaign. Biden hammered Trump for working to undermine the law in the midst of a pandemic.
“To make matters worse, President Trump is actively trying to strip away health care for Pennsylvanians when they need it most and putting at risk protections for the 5 million Pennsylvanians with preexisting conditions, including Pennsylvanians experiencing long-term side effects from COVID-19,” Biden said.
Trump has pledged to continue the Affordable Care Act’s protections to ensure people with pre-existing conditions can obtain health care coverage without excessive charges. The president has also defended his response to the coronavirus pandemic and said he’s best poised to help the country recover from the economic fallout.
Trump is holding a rally at Harrisburg International Airport Saturday night. Before the HIA event, Trump is slated to announce his nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s expected to name Amy Coney Barrett, a federal judge, as his pick, according to multiple media reports.
Both Trump and Biden have made repeated visits to Pennsylvania, widely regarded as one of the battleground states in the presidential election.
Polls show Biden holding a lead over Trump in Pennsylvania but some surveys show the gap within the margin of error. Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by less than a percentage point, but he still became the first GOP presidential candidate to win the Keystone State in nearly 30 years. Political analysts have said the race for Pennsylvania is wide open.
Biden, a Scranton native, is counting on a win in the Keystone State to deny Trump a second term.
To that end, Biden has consistently focused on the coronavirus pandemic and health care as key elements in his campaign, as evidenced by his statement Saturday morning.
“Families in Harrisburg and across Pennsylvania deserve a president that will put their health and economic wellbeing above his own political gain,” Biden said in the statement. “As President, I will take action to combat COVID-19 and rebuild our economy so Harrisburg workers and families have access to good jobs with good benefits and the option to join a union. And I’ll make sure Pennsylvanians are cut into the deal of our economic recovery, not left to fend for themselves.”