Deprived of the kind of raucous crowds that draw the performer in him, President Donald Trump delivered on Friday the shortest stump speech yet this cycle: around 21 minutes.
Trump was speaking to an audience of merely 250 people in Rochester, Minnesota. And he was not happy about it. “Your far-left Democrat attorney general, Keith Ellison, and your Democrat governor (Tim Walz) tried to shut down our rally, silence the people of Minnesota, and take away your freedom of assembly,” Trump said to supporters. “They thought we would cancel—but I will never abandon Minnesota!”
Trump lost Minnesota in the last election, but so narrowly that he has been tempted to seek a win there to offset vulnerabilities and potential reverses in his 2016 pathway to victory.
But just four days from the close of polling on Tuesday, Trump is trailing Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, in the state by a wide margin of 8.1 percentage points at this time, in the FiveThirtyEight weighted average of polls and by 4.7 points in the RealClearPolitics average of polls.
The American president is behind Biden countrywide, in fact: by 8.9 percentage points in the FiveThirtyEight weighted average of polls and by 7.9 points in the aggregated average of RealClearPolitics, which also has the former vice-president in the lead by 3.2 points in the top battleground states — Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona.
Biden was in Minnesota earlier in the day at a drive-in rally, which he has preferred to Trump’s old-style rallies, with mask-less supporters packed in shoulder-to-shoulder.
“And did you hear what he said again today?” Biden said, referring to remarks by the president earlier at another rally. “He said that our doctors who are putting their lives on the line busting their necks, are making up deaths from Covid because they “get more money”.”
“Doctors and nurses go to work every day to save lives — they do their jobs.”
The American president had alleged at an earlier rally that doctors were getting paid more to attribute deaths to Covid-19 as opposed to other causes as the reason for the high toll in the US, seeking to shift the blame for it at the same time from his administration’s shoddy handling of the crisis to medical professionals battling the deadly virus.
Biden and Trump addressed rallies in Michigan and Wisconsin, the other battleground states, seeking the support of voters there as they presented their closing arguments in what has been a tumultuous campaign under the shadow of a devastating pandemic that has killed more than 230,000 Americans and infected 8 million, including the president, his wife Melania Trump and their son Barron Trump.
Trump and Biden will be crisscrossing battleground states over the remaining four days, with more than 87 million Americans having voted already in person or by mail in what is proving to be an unprecedented turnout in early voting allowed in the wake of Covid-19.
On Saturday, Biden will address a rally in Michigan along with his former boss and most popular surrogate, former president Barack Obama.