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White House 2020: Donald Trump and Joe Biden Hit Swing States

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President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden have been travelling across the nation as the US election enters its closing stage.

Donald Trump visited five battleground states while Joe Biden spoke at a campaign event in Pennsylvania.

Joe Biden maintains a solid national lead in the polls ahead of November 3 general election.

However, his advantage is narrower in key states which could decide the result.

More than 90 million people have already cast their ballots in early voting, putting the country on course for its highest turnout in a century.

The election comes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The US has recorded more cases and more deaths than any other country worldwide, reporting more than 99,000 infections on October 31 alone.

Top virus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has sharply criticized the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic, drawing a rebuke from the White House on November 1.

President Trump had a punishing schedule on November 1, holding rallies in Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and Georgia, followed later by Florida – all states where polls suggest a tighter race.

Speaking in Washington, a town in Michigan north of Detroit, President Trump told his supporters that under his leadership “the economy is now growing at the fastest rate ever recorded”.

He predicted he would take the state again as he did in 2016, and said that the state known for its car manufacturing “didn’t have any auto plants four years ago” when he was elected.

He said: “We brought back your car industry. Your car industry was finished. You would have had nothing left.”

At a later rally in Dubuque, Iowa – joined by high-profile supporters like his daughter Ivanka and aide Hope Hicks – President Trump promised secure borders and more conservative judges in the courts.

Addressing Covid-19, the president told supporters they had a choice between a “deadly Biden lockdown” or “a safe vaccine that ends the pandemic”.

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Donald Trump’s comments came after Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Washington Post that the US is “in for a whole lot of hurt” in the coming months.

“All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors,” he told the newspaper.

Joe Biden was “taking it seriously from a public health perspective”, while President Trump had a different perspective and was focusing on “the economy and reopening the country”, he added.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said on November 1 that Dr. Fauci’s comments were “unacceptable”, saying that the expert chose “to criticize the President in the media and make his political leanings known by praising the President’s opponent”.

Joe Biden meanwhile headed to Pennsylvania, place of his birth and another key state in the election. President Trump narrowly won there in 2016 but polls suggest Joe Biden is slightly ahead this year.

At a rally in Philadelphia the former vice-president addressed the city’s black community, vowing to address “systemic racism” in the US and attacking the president’s handling of the pandemic – something which has disproportionately affected African Americans.

He said: “It’s almost criminal the way he’s handled it.

“It’s a mass casualty event in the black community and it’s totally unnecessary.”

Earlier in the day Joe Biden also courted Latino voters with a tweet in Spanish, speaking of the separation of migrant families at the border and his response to Hurricane Maria after it hit Puerto Rico.

He tweeted: “President Trump has attacked the dignity of Latino families time and again…This will end when I am president.”

Joe Biden also addressed a report by news site Axios which says the president will declare victory on Tuesday night if it looks as if he is ahead.

“The president’s not going to steal this election,” he told reporters.

Joe Biden also criticized President Trump for encouraging his supporters after some forced a Biden campaign bus to stop on a Texas highway, something the FBI has now confirmed it is investigating.

Donald Trump tweeted on November 1 that in his opinion, “these patriots did nothing wrong.”

The president denied the Axios report, but told journalists before his North Carolina rally that counting ballots after Election Day was a “terrible thing”.

“I don’t think it’s fair that we have to wait for a long period of time after the election,” he said.

Joe Biden’s campaign said he and his running mate Kamala Harris would “fan out” to “all four corners” of Pennsylvania on November 2, joined by their partners and Lady Gaga and John Legend.

On November 1, Kamala Harris campaigned in Georgia, another state which President Trump won in 2016 but which the Democratic Party is trying to win this year.