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Biden warns Trump over holding ‘super-spreader events’ as US Covid cases surge

A day after his own chief of staff said the US had effectively surrendered to the coronavirus, Donald Trump told reporters rival Joe Biden, had “waved the white flag on life”, while the Democrat nominee warned the president about holding “super-spreader events”.

“He doesn’t leave his basement,” the president told reporters of Biden, on arriving in the pivotal swing state of Pennsylvania for a campaign rally. “He’s a pathetic candidate.”

Biden, who leads Trump in most national and battleground state polls, did not have any campaign events officially scheduled on Monday.

However, Biden unexpectedly emerged late Monday afternoon, also in Pennsylvania, on his way to a campaign field office in Chester, near Philadelphia, and briefly spoke with reporters, by defending his campaign style versus Trump’s.

He said: “The big difference between us, and the reason why it looks like we’re not traveling, we’re not putting on super spreaders.”

The Recount
(@therecount)

Biden: “The big difference between us, and the reason why it looks like we’re not traveling, we’re not putting on super spreaders.” pic.twitter.com/mcc8JoNV6c


October 26, 2020

Biden also criticized Trump for planning to hold a White House event later in the evening to celebrate the likely confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the supreme court.

The Democratic nominee noted several people who attended last month’s Rose Garden event, where Trump announced Barrett’s nomination, later tested positive for coronavirus.

“And when the president of the United States puts on these super-spreader events, you saw what happened when she was announced – all the people, including his family — thank God they seem to be okay – all the people who came down with Covid, I just hope he was willing to have learned a lesson,” Biden said.



Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Monday. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Biden noted he understood why Trump wanted to celebrate, but he argued it was “not appropriate” given the number of coronavirus infections is surging across the country.

The Democrat expressed hope that attendees would wear masks and practice social distancing to limit the risk of coronavirus spread at the event.

Some Republican senators have even seemed hesitant to attend the celebration, even though they have championed Barrett’s nomination.

Leigh Ann Caldwell
(@LACaldwellDC)

Me: Senator are you going to to the White House for the Amy Coney Barrett celebration tonight?
Sen. Ted Cruz: Uhhh, call my press office


October 26, 2020

Biden added: “Trump is the worst possible person to lead us through this pandemic.”

The president, meanwhile, repeated his insistence that the US was “absolutely rounding the corner” in the fight against Covid-19, despite rising case numbers across the US and an outbreak among senior aides to Mike Pence.

US deaths per day from coronavirus are on the rise again, just as health experts had feared, and cases are climbing in nearly every state.

With election day just over a week away, average deaths per day across the country are up 10% over the past two weeks, from 721 to nearly 794 as of Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Confirmed infections per day are rising in 47 states, and deaths are up in 34.

A spokesman said the vice-president and his wife tested negative for coronavirus on Saturday and Sunday. Pence has stayed on the campaign trail.

The national caseload of more than 8.6m and a death toll of 225,000 continue to be the world’s highest. El Paso, a Texas border city which is the site of a particularly virulent outbreak, has gone back into lockdown.

Battleground states including Michigan and Wisconsin are seeing surging case numbers, health systems creaking under the strain. National new case numbers hit a record high on Friday, at more than 83,000, just missed that mark on Saturday, then dropped to around 60,000 on Sunday. The seven-day average of new cases hit 68,767 – the highest since the start of the pandemic.

One influential study has predicted 500,000 US deaths by February.

At the White House, the chief of staff, Mark Meadows, sought to clarify a remark he made to CNN on Sunday, in which he said: “We’re not going to control the pandemic.”

Asked if the Trump administration was “waving a white flag”, Meadows said: “The only person waving a white flag along with his white mask is Joe Biden. We’re going to defeat the virus. We’re not going to control it.”

Meadows added that the administration would “try to contain it as best we can”, and claimed his remark on Sunday had been taken out of context.

Mike Pence speaks in Kinston, North Carolina on Sunday.



Mike Pence speaks in Kinston, North Carolina on Sunday. Photograph: Jonathan Drake/Reuters

“We need to make sure that we have therapeutics and vaccines, we may need to make sure that when people get sick, that, that they have the kind of therapies that the president of the United States had. Then we can provide those emergency using authorisations. Hopefully they’ll be coming in very short order,” he said.

Trump spent three days in hospital after he, his wife, their son, senior aides and Republican leaders contracted Covid-19, after a White House event held to celebrate the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the supreme court.

Barrett is due to be confirmed by the Senate on Monday evening. Meadows said the White House would host a celebration, adding: “Tonight we’ll be doing the best we can to encourage as much social distancing as possible.”

Democrats, who held the Senate floor overnight in protest of the nomination, said Pence should not attend the vote. Pence had said he wanted to attend but on Monday an aide told Politico he would not unless his casting vote were needed.

After news broke that Pence’s chief of staff and a senior political adviser tested positive for Covid-19, the White House designated the vice-president an essential worker, meaning he did not have to follow federal guidelines and quarantine for 14 days, and could carry on campaigning. Trump is also campaigning at events at which mitigation measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing are not strictly observed.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the most senior US public health adviser, on Monday, Fauci repeated his contention that the US is not yet out of the first wave of coronavirus infections.




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