Joe Biden called Donald Trump a “climate arsonist” on Monday as he condemned the president’s reluctance to protect Americans “from the ravages of climate change”.
The Democratic presidential nominee used an address in Delaware to denounce his opponent, whose visit to the scene of wildfires in California was widely derided amid accusations Democratic leaders on the West Coast allowed trees to “explode”.
On Tuesday, the 77-year-old will take his election campaign to Florida, where is expected to make an appeal to the state’s Latino and Hispanic voters.
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What’s in store for Biden in Florida today
Joe Biden is making his first trip to Florida as the Democratic presidential nominee, while his campaign is acknowledging concerns about his appeal with Latinos, a voting bloc likely to prove pivotal against Trump in one of the nation’s fiercest battleground states.
On Tuesday, the former vice president will hold a roundtable with veterans in Tampa before marking Hispanic Heritage Month with an event in Kissimmee near Orlando. The visit comes as some Democrats worry that Biden’s standing among Hispanics is slipping in a state where they make up one-fifth of eligible voters.
“I will talk about how I am going to work like the devil to make sure I turn every Latino and Hispanic vote,” Biden said after a Monday speech on climate change in his home state of Delaware.
Biden doesn’t need to win Florida to capture the White House as long as he reclaims the upper Midwestern states that Trump flipped in 2016. But Trump’s path to reelection is virtually nonexistent if he loses Florida, which is why Democrats are focused on it.
A recent NBC-Marist poll found Latinos in the state about evenly divided between Biden and Trump. Democrat Hillary Clinton led Trump by a 59 per cent to 36 per cent margin among Latinos in the same poll in 2016 — and Trump won Florida by about one percentage point.
Biden, who hasn’t been to Florida since last October, has struggles with Latinos that stem in part from the policies of the Obama administration. The former vice president said during the Democratic primary that he regretted the record-setting number of deportations when President Barack Obama was in the White House.
And, unlike his Democratic rival Bernie Sanders, who used strong support among Latinos to notch key primary victories in Nevada and California, Biden has refused to adopt the most liberal positions in his party — especially when it comes to calling for decriminalising illegal crossings of the US-Mexico border and halting all deportations.
As for Trump, despite many of his anti-immigration policies, some Latino voters have responded positively to the president’s embrace of religious conservative positions and his warnings of protest-related violence and socialism. Trump also frequently visits his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, and the president votes absentee in the state.
Biden said Monday that overall his ratings with Latinos were “much higher” than Trump’s, “but they gotta go higher.”
Carlos Odio, a co-founder of the Democratic polling firm Equis Labs, said that, like Obama in 2008, Biden didn’t need the Latino vote to win the primary. But the coronavirus has limited Biden’s ability to get out and actively court Hispanic voters in the way that Obama could for the general election.
That means Biden is “racing against the clock” to persuade Latinos to vote for him rather than simply being an alternative to all of Trump’s negatives, which isn’t a strong motivator for turnout, Odio said.
Trump, meanwhile, has maintained an aggressive Hispanic outreach programme for more than a year. That has succeeded in attracting the support of some Hispanics, mostly men, who have been swayed by the president’s brand as a businessman — an image that has proved durable despite the economic fallout from the pandemic, Odio said.
Trump also has continued to enjoy support among ardent anti-communists, especially Cuban Americans. But Felice Gorordo, a Miami entrepreneur who serves on Biden’s national finance committee, argued that the president’s hard-line stance toward the island has hurt its people rather than its leaders.
Gorordo also said Trump has ignored the plight of Venezuelans, whose country remains on the brink of economic collapse, and instead has openly questioned the results of the upcoming U.S. election to mask his failed leadership.
“Trump’s rejection of our democratic values and processes comes right out of an authoritarian’s playbook,” Gorordo said on a press call Monday.
In a further effort to promote Biden, Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny and Mexican singer Alejandro Fernandez have recorded ads decrying Trump with songs in Spanish. Those are airing in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Florida, where Tampa and Orlando have large Puerto Rican communities.
Biden has repeatedly criticised Trump for the slow federal response in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated it in 2017. During Monday’s speech on climate change, it was no accident that Biden repeatedly mentioned Puerto Rico, noting that it also was damaged by Tropical Storm Laura last month.
“Our fellow Americans are still putting things back together from the last big storm,” he said, “as they face the next one.”
Joe Sommerlad15 September 2020 12:07
Right-wing Twitter excited by Kamala Harris gaffe
Biden’s running mate apparently misspeaking to declare that a “Harris administration” is what’s needed to solve the country’s problems is being met with glee on conservative social media this morning.
She clearly corrects herself but the likes of Eric Trump and Trish Regan are flogging the clip for all it’s worth.
Joe Sommerlad15 September 2020 12:02
Paul Rudd calls on ‘fellow millenials’ to wear a face mask to fight the pandemic
While Joe Biden has been admirable about taking the coronavirus outbreak seriously, self-isolating at home in Delaware and wearing a mask whenever possible on the campaign trail, the president has done the opposite, even mocking his challenger for observing the precautions recommended by his own experts.
With 6.57m cases of Covid-19 in the US and some 194,000 dead, legendarily youthful actor Paul Rudd has teamed up with New York governor Andrew Cuomo to spread the word.
“Masks protect you and your dank squad,” he reminds us.
Joe Sommerlad15 September 2020 11:23
Hillary Clinton says Zoom fundraiser for Biden earns $6m
The former secretary of state and first lady took part in a celebrity-packed call for the Democratic candidate last night and revealed the event had whipped up more cash than Biden managed when he first announced his candidacy last year.
She also took the opportunity to denounce Trump for withholding the truth about coronavirus from the public and for failing to laugh at himself, especially regarding his awful hair.
Joe Sommerlad15 September 2020 10:16
Biden appealing to Hispanic voters in Florida
The Democratic challenger needs to turn his fortunes around in the key swing state home to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and some of his fiercest supporternors, including the boat paraders.
He’s visiting today and promises to “work like the devil” to earn local Hispanic support.
Here’s why he finds himself with catching up to do in the Sunshine State.
Joe Sommerlad15 September 2020 09:49
Accuses president of failing to protect Americans
“You know what is actually threatening our suburbs – fires”, Biden said yesterday as he turned his attention to Trump’s fearmongering in pursuit of middle class votes.
Andrew Buncombe has this on his attack on the president’s Nixonian “law and order” rhetoric.
Joe Sommerlad15 September 2020 09:45
Biden forced to swat bug in middle of climate change speech
Speaking from outside the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Wilmington yesterday, the presidential challenger found himself bothered by a pestering insect, which he was duly forced to swat in order to be able to carry on critiquing the president.
The move somewhat undermined his “save the planet” message but was surely understandable in the circumstances.
Louise Hall has this one.
Joe Sommerlad15 September 2020 09:15
Biden denounces Trump as ‘climate arsonist’
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden dubbed his election opponent a “climate arsonist” in his own speech addressing record-breaking wildfires and the environment.
Here’s Louise Boyle on his reaction to Trump’s talk of “exploding trees” and his prediction that climate change will one fine day just go away on his visit to California yesterday.
Joe Sommerlad15 September 2020 09:11
Hello and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.
Gino Spocchia15 September 2020 08:43