US President Donald Trump was yesterday to travel to Pennsylvania for his second campaign rally since his bout with COVID-19, while his Democratic rival, former US vice president Joe Biden, was heading to Florida as the fight for the White House focuses on two of the biggest battleground states.
Trump returned to the campaign trail on Monday night in Florida for the first time since disclosing he had COVID-19, throwing out protective masks to supporters, but not wearing one himself as he talked about his recovery.
“I went through it now. They say I’m immune. I feel so powerful,” Trump told the crowd, who stood shoulder to shoulder, with most not wearing face coverings. “I will kiss everyone in that audience, I will kiss the guys and the beautiful women, I will give you a big fat kiss.”
The rally came hours after the White House said Trump had tested negative for COVID-19 on consecutive days and was not infectious to others.
They were Trump’s first negative COVID-19 tests announced by the White House since the president on Oct. 2 said that he had contracted the virus.
In a memo, his physician, US Naval Commander Sean Conley, did not say when the tests were conducted.
Biden has been critical of Trump’s management of the pandemic. Trump has worked furiously for months to shift public attention away from the pandemic, which has infected more than 7.8 million people in the US, killed more than 214,000 and put millions out of work.
However, Trump’s illness has put the focus of the campaign’s closing stretch squarely on his response to the pandemic, and opinion polls show Trump losing more ground to Biden as the two White House contenders push toward the Nov. 3 election.
Trump was to travel to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, for an airport rally in a state that he carried in 2016 by less than 1 percentage point, and where polls show Biden with a steady lead this time around.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday showed Biden with a 7 percentage point lead over Trump in Pennsylvania, with a majority of voters saying Biden would do a better job of handling the pandemic.
Biden was to head to Florida, where a win over Trump would cripple the president’s chances for re-election. He was to deliver remarks in Pembroke Pines on his vision for older Americans and attend an event in Miramar to encourage residents to make a plan to vote.
Polls show Biden with a small lead and ahead with key demographic groups in the state, particularly seniors.
Trump won Florida in 2016 by 1.2 percentage points.
TAIPEI REACTIONS: Joanne Ou decried China’s ‘gangster diplomacy,’ while MOFA said its Fiji counterpart dealt fairly with the incident and protected the trade office’s rights The world should denounce the actions of Chinese embassy staffers in Fiji against a Taiwanese diplomat during a National Day celebration in Suva, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday as it thanked the Fijian government for its help after the Oct. 8 incident. Two Chinese diplomats tried to force their way into a celebration held by the Taipei Trade Office in Fiji at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Oct. 8, and a Taiwanese diplomat who tried to stop them taking photographs suffered a head injury. MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news briefing that the ministry
The US, Japan and Australia conducted trilateral naval exercises in the South China Sea on Monday, the US Seventh Fleet announced yesterday. It was their fifth joint operations this year in the fleet’s area of operations, it said in a statement. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain joined the JS Kirisame of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Arunta. The Arunta’s commanding officer, Commander Troy Duggan, said that Australia was continuing to build on its already close relationship with Japan and the US. “This activity is a valuable and important opportunity for all three nations,”
ONGOING PROBE: A former Military Intelligence Bureau colonel, major general and another colonel, as well as five other people, have been questioned by prosecutors The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that a retired colonel from the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) calling himself Taiwan’s “first special agent” be detained and held incommunicado as part of an ongoing investigation into espionage allegations targeting at least three former bureau officials. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was seeking to detain former MIB colonel Chang Chao-jan (張超然) over his alleged involvement in introducing retired agents to Chinese national security authorities and passing confidential documents to China. Chang’s actions, if proven, would contravene the National Security Act (國家安全法), which carries a prison term of three to 10 years, and the National Intelligence
Seabed waste off the west coast is 1.5 times higher than the global average, with the mouth of the Tamsui River (淡水河) nearly 90 times dirtier, the environmental consultancy IndigoWaters (澄洋環境顧問) said yesterday. The firm in September last year began collaborating with local oceanographers on Taiwan’s first survey of seabed waste off the west coast, collecting 6,000 samples from near the mouths of eight rivers and conducting 215 inspections. Of the samples, 83.3 percent were found to contain trash, the group said. Based on the survey, every square kilometer of seabed had about 121,074 pieces of trash weighing 102kg, IndigoWaters chief executive Yen