Trump pitches ‘back to normal’ as Biden warns of tough days ahead

 

WATERFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — President Donald Trump dangled a promise to get a weary, fearful nation “back to normal” on Friday as he looked to campaign past the political damage of the devastating pandemic. It was a tantalizingly rosy pitch in sharp contrast to Democratic rival Joe Biden, who pledged to level with America about tough days still ahead after Tuesday’s election.

In a campaign that has been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 227,000 Americans and staggered the economy, the candidates’ clashing overtures stood as a reflection of their leadership styles and policy prescriptions for a suffering U.S.A.

Trump and Biden both spent Friday crisscrossing the Midwest, the hardest-hit part of the nation in the latest surge of virus cases. Trump was in Michigan and Biden in Iowa before they both held events in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

With four days until the election and more than 83 million votes already cast, time is running out for Trump and Biden to change the contours of a race framed largely around the incumbent’s handling of the pandemic. Biden is leading most national polls and has a narrow advantage in many of the critical battlegrounds that could decide the race.

Trump, billing himself as an optimist, says the nation has “turned the corner” from the outbreak that still kills about 1,000 Americans each day. He speaks hopefully of coming treatments and potential vaccines that have yet to receive approval. Biden dismisses Trump’s talk as a siren song that can only prolong the virus, and pledges a nationwide focus on reinstituting measures meant to slow the spread of the disease.

“He said a long dark winter,” Trump scoffed Friday at a rally in Michigan. “Oh that’s great, that’s wonderful. Just what our country needs is a long dark winter and a leader who talks about it.”

Trump’s rallies, which draw thousands of supporters, have served as representations of the sort of “reopening” he has been preaching. With spotty use of masks and a lack of social distancing, they flout state and local guidelinesthat he deems too onerous as he speaks as though the virus has largely disappeared. Trump and his aides speak openly about catering to the support of those “fed up” by state restrictions, and he has encouraged chants among his supporters calling for the imprisonment of local officials who have instituted them.

Biden, for his part, referenced Trump’s comments last summer that the virus “is what it is.” He told supporters in Des Moines, Iowa, that “it is what it is because he is who he is! These guys are something else, man.”

Trump’s closing appeal to “Make America Great Again, Again” paints a halcyon image of the nation ‘s condition during pre-coronavirus times that contrasts with Biden’s charge to “Build Back Better.” The president’s focus on returning the nation’s economy to the boom times of 2019 resonates with some voters, but overlooks the divided and rancorous politics that swirled around impeachment and the persistent problems of inequality.

54 PHOTOSTrump and Biden on the campaign trailSee GalleryTrump and Biden on the campaign trailPresident Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Phoenix Goodyear Airport, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, closes his umbrella as he boards his campaign plane at New Castle Airport in New Castle, Del., Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, to travel to Florida for drive-in rallies. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)President Donald Trump points to the crowd after speaking at a campaign rally at Phoenix Goodyear Airport Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media outside a voter service center, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, in Chester, Pa. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at HoverTech International, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, in Allentown, Pa. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks with people outside a voter service center, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, in Chester, Pa. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)President Donald Trump waves to supporters after speaking at a campaign rally in Gastonia, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)TOPSHOT – Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden waves as he departs The Queen after taping an interview with CBS 60 Minutes, in Wilmington, Delaware, on October 19, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)Marine One helictopter, with President Donald Trump aboard, lands at the Altoona-Blair County Airport in Martinsburg, Pa, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020 for a campaign rally. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)President Donald Trump applauds after a campaign rally at Tucson International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden waves as he arrives at The Queen theatre in Wilmington, Del., Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)President Donald Trump leaves the stage after a campaign rally at Tucson International Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)El candidato presidencial demócrata Joe Biden hace campaña el 18 de octubre del 2020 en New Castle, Delaware. (AP Foto/Carolyn Kaster)President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Carson City Airport, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in Carson City, Nev. (AP Photo/Lance Iversen)Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden boards his campaign plane at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Morrisville, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, en route to Wilmington, Del. 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With 16 days to go before the November election, President Trump is back on the campaign trail with multiple daily events as he continues to campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event at Riverside High School in Durham, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)CARSON CITY, NV – OCTOBER 18: President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally on October 18, 2020 in Carson City, Nevada. With 16 days to go before the November election, President Trump is back on the campaign trail with multiple daily events as he continues to campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)El candidato presidencial demócrata Joe Biden hace campaña el 18 de octubre del 2020 en New Castle, Delaware. (AP Foto/Carolyn Kaster)President Donald Trump tosses face masks into the crowd as he arrives for a campaign rally at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, in Johnstown, Pa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)ABC NEWS – 10/15/20 ABC News will host a town hall with Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday, October 15, 2020 in Philadelphia.The primetime event , “The Vice President and the People” will be moderated by ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos and will allow voters to ask questions of the candidate.The live, 90-minute special edition of 20/20 airs on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.(Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images)JOE BIDEN, AUDIENCEPresident Donald Trump sits during a break in an NBC News Town Hall, at Perez Art Museum Miami, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – OCTOBER 15: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden prepares for a live ABC News town hall format meeting at the National Constitution Center October 15, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The second presidential debate was originally scheduled for this day but was cancelled due to President Donald Trump’s refusal to participate in a ‘virtual’ debate. Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus and was hospitalized for three days. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)President Donald Trump speaks during an NBC News Town Hall, at Perez Art Museum Miami, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden participates in a town hall with moderator ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)President Donald Trump talks with voters after an NBC News Town Hall, at Perez Art Museum Miami, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and moderator George Stephanopoulos participate in an ABC News town hall event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on October 15, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 15: President Donald Trump is seen through a television at a takeout pizza shop in the U street corridor as he speaks during a town hall on October 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden both participated in simultaneous presidential town halls in Miami and Philadelphia, after the cancellation of the second presidential debate. 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Puskar)PEMBROKE PINES, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 13: Wearing a face mask to reduce the risk posed by the coronavirus, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden poses for a socially-distanced selfie after delivering remarks about his ‘vision for older Americans’ at Southwest Focal Point Community Center October 13, 2020 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. With three weeks until Election Day, Biden is campaigning in Florida. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)President Donald Trump moves to the song YMCA as he finishes a campaign rally at John P. Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)Supporters look on as Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden speaks during a drive in rally in Miramar, Florida on October 13, 2020. – Joe Biden headed for Florida to court elderly Americans who helped elect Donald Trump four years ago but appear to be swinging to the Democratic candidate for the White House this time around amid the coronavirus pandemic. Biden, at 77 the oldest Democratic nominee ever, is to “deliver his vision for older Americans” at an event in the city of Pembroke Pines, north of Miami, his campaign said. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)Supporters listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, in Johnstown, Pa. 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(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)The Florida state flag hands behind Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden as he speaks at Southwest Focal Point Community Center in, Pembroke Pines, Fla., Tuesday Oct. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at John P. Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020.(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)While maintaining social distance, people try to make a selfie as Jill Biden, center, waves to supporters after she was introduced by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, left, with Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Texas, looking while campaigning for her husband and former Vice President Joe Biden in a parking lot event at Fair Park Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)Supporters cheer as President Donald Trump departs a campaign rally at John P. Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)Wendy Nelson holds up posters of Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden as she waits for she waits for motorcade to arrive, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, at Miramar Regional Park in Miramar, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)Supporters cheer as President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at John P. Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pa., Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Miramar Regional Park in Miramar, Fla., Tuesday Oct. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)A crowd of fans cheer on President Donald Trump during a Make America Great Again campaign rally at the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pa., Tuesday, Oct.13, 2020. (John RucoskyMIRAMAR, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 13: Wearing a face masks and sitting in their cars to reduce the risk posed by the coronavirus, supporters listen to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivers remarks during a drive-in voter mobilization event at Miramar Regional Park October 13, 2020 in Miramar, Florida. With three weeks until Election Day, Biden is campaigning in Florida. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)Up Next

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As the nation set new records for confirmed cases, Wall Street closed out a punishing week Friday with the S&P 500 posting its first back-to-back monthly loss since the pandemic first gripped the economy in March.

Friday marked the beginning of the critical final stretch before the election. Trump’s closing sprint includes four stops in Pennsylvania on Saturday and nearly a dozen events in the final 48 hours across states he carried in 2016.

Biden, after visiting Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota on Friday, will hit Michigan on Saturday, where he’ll hold a joint rally with former President Barack Obama.

Biden will close out his campaign Monday in a familiar battleground: Pennsylvania, the state where he was born and the one he’s visited more than any other in his campaign. The Biden team announced the candidate, his wife Jill, running mate Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, plan to “fan out across all four corners of the state.”

After stopping in Green Bay on Friday, Trump will be back in Wisconsin on Monday for a visit to Kenosha. He appears to lag in recent polling behind his 2016 numbers in the GOP-leaning suburbs around Milwaukee, a key area for successful Republican campaigns in the state.

A new Marquette University Law School poll shows Trump with support from 52 percent of likely voters in the eight counties that form the half-ring around Milwaukee. In 2016, he received a combined 61 percent of the vote in the eight counties when he won the state by fewer than 25,000 votes.

Attendance at the president’s later stop in Rochester, Minnesota, has been capped at 250 people at the insistence of state and local officials.

“We have 25,000 people in Minnesota, which is our last stop today — 25,000 people want to be there. And they say you can only have 250 people,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. “They thought I’d cancel. But I’m not canceling and we’ll find out what happens.”

The Minnesota Department of Health has linked 28 coronavirus cases to other recent Trump campaign events in the state.

Biden aims to hold his election night event in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. Trump, who had been scheduled to hold a party at his Washington, D.C., hotel, appeared to be rethinking his plans as a result of the city’s COVID-19 restrictions.

“So we have a hotel, I don’t know if you’re allowed to use it or not, but I know the mayor has shut down Washington D.C.,” Trump said as he headed out from the White House. “And if that’s the case, we’ll probably stay here or pick another location.”

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Miller reported from Washington and Jaffe from Des Moines, Iowa. Associated Press writers Thomas Beaumont is Des Moines and Will Weissert and Brian Slodysko in Washington contributed to this report.

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AP’s Advance Voting guide brings you the facts about voting early, by mail or absentee from each state: https://interactives.ap.org/advance-voting-2020/.

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