President Donald Trump's visit to Florida on Friday raised some eyebrows due to the state's rising number of coronavirus cases and the impending hurricane. According to a report by The Associated Press, Florida has been setting a new record for COVID-19 deaths each day, and Hurricane Isaias is expected to make the situation even worse this weekend. Still, the president risked a visit to the dangerous state for a campaign event.
Trump reportedly attended a fundraiser, met with law enforcement officials and delivered a campaign speech during his time in Florida on Friday. He met with officials to tour the state's hurricane preparations, remarking on the severity of it as it approached. Analysts say that winning Florida is essential to the president's hopes for re-election, which is likely why he risked the trip, the possible coronavirus exposure and the possibility of being trapped by the storm.
"It's a pretty big storm. I don't know if it's going to be a hurricane or not, but it's a storm. It's significant," the president said on Friday. He reportedly asked Floridians to be "cautious" as well. Isaias achieved hurricane status on Saturday morning and expected to reach Florida on Saturday night.
Throughout his appearances in Florida, Trump reportedly brought hup his tough-on-crime positions often, noting that Black Lives Matter protests and calls for police reform are key issues for Florida voters. He seized on the courts' decision to reconsider the death penalty for Boston Marathon bombing terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev earlier in the day to make his point.
"They protect criminals and Biden opposes the death penalty, even for cop killers and child murderers," Trump said at a campaign rally. "I see in Boston, where you have the animal that killed so many people during the Boston Marathon, they just sent this conviction for the death penalty back to the lower courts. ... It's ridiculous."
To reel in undecided voters, he focused on impugning Biden's mental faculties, saying: "Your choice is me or somebody that has no clue what they're doing."0comments
However, Florida also forced Trump to reckon with his poor response to the coronavirus pandemic, as the results are impossible to ignore there. Voters there reportedly draw a connection between the severity of the pandemic and the president's failed promise to "immediately" replace former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act with his own healthcare legislation. On Friday, he told Florida reporters that this fabled plan is coming "soon."
Current polls show Trump trailing behind Biden among Florida voters as the election draws closer. Friday was the fourth day in a row where Florida reported a record-high number of deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a total of 257.