Joe Biden has criticized President Donald Trump’s handling of Covid-19, while courting elderly voters in the key battleground state of Florida.
The Democratic presidential nominee told them that the president saw seniors, who have been more at risk in the pandemic, as “expendable”.
There are sharp policy differences between the two candidates on Covid-19.
In Pennsylvania, President Trump told thousands of supporters he felt like “Superman” after his Covid treatment.
He tested positive for the virus on October 1, spent three nights in hospital and was cleared by doctors to return to the campaign trail at the weekend, holding his first rally in Florida on October 12.
Battleground states like Florida and Pennsylvania are crucial for gathering the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the presidential election, which is not determined by a simple count of votes nationwide.
Opinion polls suggest Joe Biden has a 10-point advantage over Donald Trump nationally, but his lead in some key states is narrower. In Florida, the Democrat is 3.7 percentage points ahead, according to an average of polls collated by Real Clear Politics.
President Trump narrowly won Florida in 2016 in a result buoyed by senior voters. But the latest polls suggest a shift away from the Republican among them this time around.
Joe Biden spoke to a group of people at a community centre for seniors in southern Florida, with social distancing measures in place.
The event was in stark contrast to the president’s mass rally on Monday in Florida.
The Democratic candidate accused the president of dismissing the threat that coronavirus posed to senior citizens.
He said: “You’re expendable, you’re forgettable, you’re virtually nobody. That’s how he sees seniors. That’s how he sees you.”
The “only senior Donald Trump seems to care about” is himself, he added.
Joe Biden also criticized President Trump for holding “super-spreader parties with Republicans hugging each other without concern of the consequences”, while senior citizens couldn’t see their grandchildren. A recent White House event for the Supreme Court nominee led to several attendees testing positive for Covid.
Introducing Joe Biden at the Florida event, congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said it was voters aged 65 or over who would “swing elections in the Sunshine State”.
Joe Biden, 77, and Donald Trump, 74, are the two oldest candidates to contest a US presidential election.
However, President Trump has regularly mocked Joe Biden as a senior citizen who lacks energy and is “sleepy”. On October 13, the president tweeted a doctored image of Joe Biden as a wheelchair-user and the words “Biden for Resident”, implying a nursing home.