Addressing a rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, President Donald Trump told his supporters that “there’s no way” he would have bothered to campaign there – had it not been for the coronavirus pandemic hurting his re-election prospects.
“Four or five months ago when we started this whole thing before the plague came in, I had made it, I wasn’t coming to Erie,” said Mr Trump.
“I mean, I have to be honest. There’s no way I was coming. I didn’t have to. I would have called you and said, ‘Hey Erie, you know if you have a chance get out and vote’. We had this thing won,” he added.
Mr Trump said he had to return to battlegrounds like Pennsylvania because of the damage caused to the economy by the pandemic.
“We were so far up. We had the greatest economy ever, the greatest jobs, greatest everything. And then we got hit with the plague. And I had to go back to work. Hello Erie, hey may I please have your vote.
"I love Erie,” he added.
This is Mr Trump’s second visit in past two weeks to the state of Pennsylvania, while Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden visited Erie on 12 October. Mr Biden stayed off the campaign trail on Tuesday, his team said, to focus on preparations for the crucial final TV debate in Nashville scheduled for Thursday.
Erie had been reliably Democratic since 1988, not voting for a Republican in a presidential election until it backed Mr Trump in 2016. He won the county by only 0.7 per cent or 44,292 votes. The latest polls show Mr Biden has a chance to win it back along, with other blue-wall states that Mr Trump won in 2016.
National poll aggregators, meanwhile, show Mr Trump trails his challenger by around 10 percentage points. Polling by The Independent released on Tuesday showed Mr Biden has the support of 52 per cent of voters against the president’s 42 per cent – though there are warning signs for the Democrat hopeful.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies