Race to 270: Trump, Biden go back on trail and hold town halls

Courtesy+of+Gage+Skidmore+via+Flickr

Courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr

After contracting and recovering from COVID-19 with less than a month until the general election, President Donald Trump is officially back on the campaign trail. 

Trump held his first in person rally since his diagnosis in Sanford, Fla., on Oct 12. 

Despite Trump’s recent COVID case, the campaign has not changed its attitudes regarding the danger of the virus. Masks were not required at the event, and many attendees chose not to wear them. 

“The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself can. The cure cannot be worse,” Trump said at the Florida rally. “But if you don’t feel good about, if you want to stay, stay relaxed, stay. But if you want to get out there, get out. One thing with me, the nice part, I went through it. Now they say I’m immune.”

This week, Trump also held events in Pennsylvania and Iowa. According to CNBC, senior advisor Jason Miller told reporters that the campaign will be holding “at least in the short term, two or three events a day.” 

With COVID-19 cases still climbing across the country, the virus has become one of the main issues in the presidential race. Both candidates have taken very different views on how to lead the nation through the pandemic. While Trump is still pushing for relaxed restrictions, former Vice President and Democratic Nominee Joe Biden has taken a more cautious approach.

Biden was critical of Trump’s decision to resume in-person campaigning, as well as the statements he made in Florida.

“President Trump comes to Sanford today bringing nothing but reckless behavior, divisive rhetoric, and fear mongering,” Biden said in a statement on his website. “But, equally dangerous is what he fails to bring: no plan to get this virus that has taken the lives of over 15,000 Floridians under control.”

Trump and Biden were supposed to face off in a second debate on Oct 15. The debate was moved online after Trump tested positive, and Trump later backed out of the debate because of this format.

“There is no medical reason to stop the October 15 debate in Miami from proceeding as scheduled, since the President will be healthy and ready to debate,” said Trump 2020 communications director Tim Murtaugh in a statement on the Trump campaign’s website.

Instead, both campaigns held town hall events on Thursday night. The dueling town halls both aired on live television, giving both candidates the chance to answer questions about their platforms from the hosts and members of the audience.

During his town hall, Trump was defensive of how his administration has handled the pandemic and would not denounce the online QAnon conspiracy group when questioned.

Biden, on the other hand, spoke against the White House’s response to the pandemic, citing that the Trump administration shut down the pandemic response office that was established during the Obama administration. 

Biden was more vague on some issues, and would not give a definite answer on whether he would “pack” the Supreme Court with more justices. He did say that he would offer clarity on the issue depending on if Trump’s nominee to the court is approved before the election.