“The idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this thing up is nonsense,” Obama said at a coronavirus-safe drive-in rally in Miami, Florida.
“Donald Trump isn’t suddenly going to protect all of us. He can’t even take the basic steps to protect himself,” Obama added, referring to Trump’s hospitalization for coronavirus three weeks ago.
The Biden campaign deployed Obama just over a week ahead of the presidential elections set for November 3 — although nearly 55 million Americans cast their votes early this year as the coronavirus has made in-person voting problematic.
Polls continue to show Biden is leading the race against Republican incumbent Trump.
The first African-American president attacked Trump for failing to denounce white supremacy and for lying in public.
He also criticized Trump for cutting short an interview with journalist Lesley Stahl on US broadcaster CBS’ show 60 minutes, saying Trump’s behavior in the interview demonstrated he “ain’t all that tough.”
Trump hits back
Trump shrugged off Obama’s criticism, saying on Twitter that the former president had only “47 people” at his event.
“No energy, but still better than Joe!” he said. Trump has repeatedly mocked Biden as “sleepy Joe” in reference to his age of 77.
Trump dismissed his performance in the polls: “They want to depress you,” he said of the political and media outlets reporting the numbers. “These polls are much better than four years ago.”
Speaking at a rally in the US state of North Carolina, he told supporters: “This election is a choice between a Trump super-recovery and a Biden depression.”
How has COVID-19 affected the US?
The US has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, claiming over 224,000 lives in the country so far — the highest national death toll worldwide.
The virus has highlighted race disparities in the US, with Black and Hispanic people dying at much higher rates relative to their share of the US population, according to a report by the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based nonprofit public policy organization.
The economy has also been badly affected by measures brought in to try and stem the spread of the virus. It recorded its steepest quarterly drop in economic output on record, a decrease of 9.1% in the second quarter of 2020.
During the height of the pandemic in spring, the unemployment rate hit record levels: at its peak, 3.3 million people filed claims for unemployment during the last week of March. Since then figures have been falling but the economy is still 10.7 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic level, reported news agency the Associated Press.
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