Donald Trump chuckled and smirked as a crowd of supporters in Florida chanted "lock him up" after he mentioned Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and his business dealings in Ukraine.
The president made the remark in Ocala after telling a group of seniors in Fort Myers he views the Bidens as an “organised crime family” even though no US or Ukrainian government entity has accused either father or son of criminal actions.
Mr Trump has spent ample time at campaign and official events this week saying a recent New York Post article claiming to have reviewed emails showing Hunter Biden setting up a meeting with a business partner from Ukraine and his then-vice president father. The Biden campaign denies any official statement shows such a meeting ever happened; the newspaper also reported the emails show the younger Biden trying to sell his influence, including with his VP father.
The Biden’s have denied any wrongdoing, but Mr Trump is painting his general election foe as both senile and corrupt and a puppet of the liberal wing of his party, which the president contends will essentially oust Mr Biden from power, if he is elected in a few weeks.
“The Biden family is a criminal enterprise” that the president says has “handed power” to “Marxists” in his party.
The new claims, which recall some of the accusations that saw the president impeached last year, stem from a story by the New York Post. Both Facebook and Twitter restricted sharing of the story, saying they were acting to slow the spread of false information. Twitter said sharing the story contravened its policy on "directly distribut[ing] content obtained through hacking that contains private information".
The move has allowed the president to say he is not only running against Mr Biden and Democrats but also “big tech.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, whose own Twitter account was briefly restricted after she tried to share the story, led accusations that social media companies were censoring stories critical of the Bidens.
The president’s egging on the Ocala chant came hours after he endorsed another lock-up chant.
The crowd of seniors in Fort Myers chanted “lock her up” about his 2016 general election foe, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, referring to her use of a private email server while serving as America’s top diplomat.
“Yeah, I agree with you,” he said. "I used to just be quiet about it. I agree with you 100 per cent."
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