US election: Trump warned ‘sleepy Joe’ rhetoric a ‘fantasy’ as Biden fights to win Florida

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The warning comes from American author Evan Osnos who told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the Democratic candidate in the US elections is as sharp as he was back in 2014 regardless of his age. Mr Osnos said Donald Trump’s notion of a “sleepy Joe” was a fantasy. He said : “I’ll be frank, he is a 77-year-old man. He’s moving more slowly than he was 10 years ago.

“But I’ve seen this man up close, I’ve interviewed him often since 2014 and his voice is raspier but his mind is unchanged.

“And anybody who spends time with him up close, knows that.

“This notion of him being ‘sleepy Joe’ as Donald Trump puts it is frankly a fantasy.

“I think it’s important to judge him on his own terms. Take a look at what he looks like.

“Yes, he is not 37 but he takes this job extremely seriously.”

Furiously battling for Florida’s older voters, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden returned to the state on Tuesday, telling a crowd of seniors that President Donald Trump views them as “expendable” and “forgettable.”

Mr Biden’s visit to the battleground state came a day after Mr Trump, a Republican, made his own trip to Florida – his first campaign trip outside Washington since his COVID-19 diagnosis.

Speaking to about 50 people at a community center in Broward County in South Florida, Mr Biden said Mr Trump had recklessly dismissed the threat that the virus had posed to their at-risk population.

“To Donald Trump, you’re expendable. You’re forgettable. You’re virtually nobody. That’s how he sees seniors. That’s how he sees you,” Mr Biden said.

Mr Trump has touted his management of the coronavirus pandemic.

A Biden win over Mr Trump in Florida would seriously jeopardise the President’s chances for re-election, and most recent opinion polls show the Democrat ahead with key demographic groups in the state, particularly seniors. Trump won Florida in 2016 by 1.2 percentage points.

Early voting ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3 is breaking records across the United States, with more than 11.8 million ballots cast so far, including more than 1.6 million in Florida, according to the Elections Project at the University of Florida.

Mr Biden, 77, has accused Mr Trump, 74, of wanting to gut the Social Security benefit program for retirees, an allegation that Mr Trump’s campaign denied again on Tuesday, saying Mr Biden was trying “to scare seniors for political reasons.”

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Mr Biden later staged an outdoor, drive-in event in nearby Miramar, Florida, with dozens of cars attending, honking their horns along with his speech.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday showed Mr Biden with a 7-percentage-point lead over Mr Trump in Pennsylvania, with a majority of voters saying Biden would do a better job of handling the pandemic.

Mr Trump has planned rallies in Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida later this week as he barnstorms through crucial states just two weeks ahead of the November election.

The President’s schedule, however, sends him to areas friendly to him, suggesting that his campaign is concerned with mobilising his conservative base rather than reaching out to undecided voters, many of who live in the nation’s suburbs.

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