Donald Trump on Thursday accused his Democratic rival Joe Biden of “politicizing” the COVID-19 pandemic and rejected his call for mandatory masks in the United States, a topic at the heart of the November presidential campaign.
Former Barack Obama vice president and new running mate Kamala Harris focused on the pandemic on their first day of joint campaigning, seeking to fight Donald Trump over his handling of this major crisis.
With more than 166,000 deaths and five million recorded cases, the United States has the heaviest death toll in the world. The health crisis has also devastated the world’s largest economy.
After a briefing with public health experts, Joe Biden called on the governors of the 50 US states to “introduce immediately the obligation to wear a mask».
This could allow “save over 40,000 livesAcross the country, he told reporters from his home town of Wilmington, Delaware.
«We are in America. Be patriots. Protect your fellow citizensThe 77-year-old Democrat added, while Senator Kamala Harris, 55, listened to him from a distance, wearing a black mask.
A “retrograde (…) and very defeatist approach», Reacted Donald Trump during his daily press conference at the White House on the pandemic, accusing his rival of«politicize the virus».
«Sleeping Joe prefers the idea of locking all Americans in their basements for months to the scientific approach“, He said, using the mocking nickname he gives his rival.
«We called on Americans to wear masks. And I pointed out that it was a patriotic act”Continued the Republican, before, however, casting doubt on their effectiveness.
«Maybe they’re amazing, maybe they’re just good, maybe they’re not that good, but frankly what have you got to lose?»
Despite the recommendations of the experts, the wearing of the mask has become a subject of political division in the United States, Donald Trump having avoided wearing one in public until mid-July.
About thirty American states have established obligations to wear the mask, especially indoors or in frequented areas in the open air, according to the AARP organization which defends the elderly.
In some epicentres, such as Florida or Georgia, the Republican governors did not want to impose.
Kamala Harris criticizes crisis management
He should “return to public health professionals to lead our country’s policy to tackle this deadly pandemicKamala Harris insisted. Without naming him, the allusion to the Republican president was obvious.
From her first vice-presidential candidate speech on Wednesday, she had used her tone of ex-prosecutor to attack Donald Trump on his management of the new coronavirus crisis.
«There’s a reason he’s hit America harder than any other developed nation: it’s because of Donald Trump’s failure to take him seriously from the start.», She denounced.
«His refusal to start screening, his reversals on physical distancing and wearing a mask. His delusional belief that he knows more than the experts».
Trump fuels a conspiracy
Since the formalization of his appointment as running mate, Donald Trump has had harsh words for the former Democratic primary candidate, reminding us that she had to give up the race even before the first ballot.
Kamala Harris is “some kind of crazy woman“, He said on Fox Business on Thursday.
The president has also lent credence to a bogus and racist conspiracy over Kamala Harris’s eligibility for the U.S. presidency, fueling an online disinformation campaign that resembles the one he used to propel his political rise.
Speaking from the White House, Donald Trump told reporters he had “heardRumors that Kamala Harris, a black woman and US-born citizen whose parents were immigrants, did not qualify for the White House. The President said he viewed these rumors as “very serious».
This theory is wrong. Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, California, and she is eligible for the presidency under constitutional requirements. The issue is not even considered complex, according to lawyers who have reviewed his situation.
«Full stop, full stop, end of story, exclamation markSaid Jessica Levinson, professor at Loyola Law School. “Let’s be honest about what it is: it’s just a racist cliché that is put forward when there is a candidate of color whose parents were not citizens.».
An ancient technique
Donald Trump has built his political career on questioning the legitimacy of political opponents. He was a leading force behind the movement birther – the lie that called into question the eligibility of President Barack Obama, the country’s first black president. It was only after being rushed with questions during his 2016 campaign that Donald Trump disowned these claims.
Donald Trump’s comments about Kamala Harris on Thursday add to a storm of other false, racist, or sexist claims that took to social media and conservative websites after Joe Biden picked the California senator. The disinformation campaign is based on lies that have been circulating for months, and which have been propelled by Donald Trump and his supporters.
The new Democratic tandem leaves with an advantage: Joe Biden is ahead of Donald Trump in national polls – between 6 and 9 percentage points in the last 30 days, according to the average of the site RealClearPolitics – and in several key states.
Since the announcement of his running mate, Joe Biden’s campaign has raised $ 48 million in donations in 48 hours, according to a spokesperson for the Biden clan.