WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is hopping from one must-win stop on the electoral map to the next in the leadup to a final presidential debate that may be his last, best chance to alter the trajectory of the 2020 campaign.
As Democrat Joe Biden holes up for debate prep in advance of Thursday's faceoff in Nashville, Tennessee, he's hoping for a boost from former President Barack Obama, who will be holding his first in-person campaign event for Biden on Wednesday in Philadelphia. Obama, who has become increasingly critical of Trump over the three and a half years since he left office, will address a drive-in rally, where supporters will listen to him over the radio inside their cars.
It comes a day after Trump, trailing in polls in many battleground states, stopped in Pennsylvania on Tuesday. Trump was bound for North Carolina on Wednesday as he delivers what his campaign sees as his closing message.
“This is an election between a Trump super recovery and a Biden depression," the president said in Erie, Pennsylvania. “You will have a depression the likes of which you have never seen.” He added: "If you want depression, doom and despair, vote for Sleepy Joe. And boredom."
But the Republican president's pitch that he should lead the rebuilding of an economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic has been overshadowed by a series of fights. In the last two days he has attacked the nation's leading infectious disease expert and a venerable TV newsmagazine while suggesting that the country was tired of talking about a virus that has killed more than 221,000 people in the United States.
Before leaving the White House for Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Trump taped part of an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that apparently ended acrimoniously. On Twitter, the president declared his interview with Lesley Stahl to be “FAKE and BIASED,” and he threatened to release a White House edit of it before its Sunday airtime.
Also trailing in fundraising for campaign ads, Trump is increasingly relying on his signature campaign rallies to maximize turnout among his GOP base. His trip to Pennsylvania on Tuesday was one of what is expected to be several visits to the state in the next two weeks.
“If we win Pennsylvania, we win the whole thing," Trump said in Erie.