President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden took rhetorical swipes at each other on Monday as the presidential campaign entered its traditional homestretch on the U.S. Labor Day holiday.
Trump described Biden, whom he trails in national polls, as a threat to the economy and “stupid,” while Biden took aim at Trump’s reported disparaging of fallen troops.
At a White House news conference, Trump said: “Biden and his very liberal running mate (Kamala Harris), the most liberal person in Congress by the way – is not a competent person in my opinion, would destroy this country and would destroy this economy.”
Trump pushed back again against a report in The Atlantic that he had referred to fallen U.S. soldiers as “suckers” and “losers,” calling it “a hoax.” The story has dominated news coverage for days and threatens Trump’s support among veterans and military members, a key voting bloc.
“There’s nobody that has more respect for not only our military, but for people that gave their lives in the military,” Trump said.
Biden cited the reported remarks while campaigning in the electoral battleground state of Pennsylvania.
Biden’s visit to Pennsylvania on Monday kicked off a flurry of travel to battleground states this week by both Biden and Trump as some opinion polls show the race tightening with less than 60 days to go until the Nov. 3 election.
With the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest over racism and police brutality commanding attention in recent months, Biden is seeking to maintain his edge by painting the Republican president as an ineffectual leader who thrives on chaos and has left the working class behind.