Trump says pandemic almost over, Biden says he did ‘nothing’



President Donald Trump gave a combative, at times agitated defense of his Covid-19 response Thursday while his election challenger Joe Biden — offering a glaring contrast in style in a rival televised town hall — — accused him of doing “nothing” to end the pandemic.

The dueling appearances, scheduled at the same time on rival networks, showed Biden giving unflashy, often in-depth answers to voters in the audience, while Trump delivered a fiery defense of his presidency.

Trump, who is well behind in the polls ahead of the November 3 election, was especially under pressure when it came to the coronavirus that has killed 217,000 Americans and inflicted deep economic damage, reports AFP.

“We’re rounding the corner,” Trump insisted with his usual optimism, even as swaths of the United States see sharply rising caseloads.

But pressed by the host of the NBC town hall in Miami, he became quickly frustrated, especially when he was asked about his previous lukewarm denunciations of extremist right wing groups in the United States.

He notably refused to denounce QAnon, a bizarre conspiracy theory movement that believes Trump is fighting a “deep state” linked to a mysterious global elite running the world’s governments, while also trafficking in child sex.

Trump said “I know nothing about QAnon,” and then continued to say that he liked the shadowy group’s position being “very much against pedophilia.”

The president entered calmer waters when fielding a series of more comfortable questions from members of the audience, one of whom sparked applause with her statement: “You have a great smile.”

“You’re so handsome when you smile,” she said.

– Bipartisan promise –

By contrast, Biden’s appearance on the rival ABC news network mirrored his generally low key campaign, with promises of bipartisan healing in divided Washington and aiming steady fire on Trump’s coronavirus record.

“We’re in a situation where we have 210,000 plus people dead and what’s he doing? Nothing. He’s still not wearing masks,” Biden said of Trump at the event in Philadelphia.

His standout comments at a time of profound political conflict in the country were when he vowed to change the atmosphere, saying “grudges don’t work.”

“We’ve got to change the nature of the way we deal with one another,” Biden said.

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