Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden holds his mask as he speaks to members of the media outside a…
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden holds his mask as he speaks to members of the media outside a voter service center, Oct. 26, 2020, in Chester, Pa.

WHITE HOUSE - Democratic Party challenger Joe Biden is accusing the incumbent president of giving up the fight against the coronavirus, while President Donald Trump pushed back against the former vice president during dueling campaign events in a battleground state.

“Donald Trump is the worst possible president, the worst possible person to try to lead us through this pandemic,” Biden said in Chester, Pennsylvania, during a quick campaign stop Monday afternoon.

A few hours earlier, Trump termed his opponent in the Nov. 3 election “a pathetic candidate” and denies his administration has waved “the white flag of defeat” in the war on the coronavirus, as Biden’s campaign asserts.  

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign event, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Oct. 26, 2020.

Speaking to reporters on the tarmac at an airport in Allentown just before the first of three rallies Monday in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, Trump said Biden is “waving the white flag on life. He has to leave his basement. This guy doesn't leave his basement.” 

Biden on Saturday held two drive-in rallies in Pennsylvania, adhering to social distancing restrictions and said on Monday that he will appear at similar events in the days ahead in such states as Iowa, Wisconsin, Georgia and Florida.

The former vice president also criticized Trump for denying that the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States is going up and claiming it is leveling out, noting the president suggested doctors are inflating the numbers because they will earn more money.

“What the hell's the matter with this man?” Biden asked.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Oct. 21, 2020, in Washington.

On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the United States is "not going to control" the coronavirus pandemic, defending the decision by the Trump administration and campaign to hold packed rallies, where mask use is sparse, and other events despite an increase in cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. 

Meadows added, “We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations, because it is a contagious virus – just like the flu.” 

“This wasn’t a slip by Meadows, it was a candid acknowledgement of what President Trump’s strategy has clearly been from the beginning of this crisis: to wave the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away. It hasn’t, and it won’t,” a statement released Sunday by Biden said.  

Trump is “not going to give up until all Americans are safe and we’ve defeated this virus,” Meadows clarified to reporters at the White House on Monday, saying his comment of the previous day needs to be taken in full context and that therapeutic drugs and an eventual vaccine will be effective.  

Vice President Mike Pence makes a fist at the end of a rally in Kinston, North Carolina, Oct. 25, 2020.

Meanwhile, five of Vice President Mike Pence’s closest aides, including his chief of staff, Marc Short, have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days.

Despite the close contact with Short and others who have been infected, Pence has said he plans on continuing with his schedule, deeming his work “essential.”  

Pence spoke on Monday afternoon to several hundred people outdoors in subfreezing weather at an airport in the Iron Range region of Minnesota. He is to hold events on Tuesday in both North Carolina and South Carolina. 

Pence, in Hibbing, Minnesota, said he was returning to Washington in case he was needed as a tiebreaker for the Senate confirmation vote for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, which he was not.

Members of Senate Democratic leadership, in a letter to Pence, had said his attendance would “be a clear violation of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, it would also be a violation of common decency and courtesy.”  

The United States has reported more confirmed COVID-19 cases — more than 8.6 million — than any other country, with 225,000 deaths attributed to the virus.  


What Happens Next?

What It Means to Become President-Elect in the US

In the United States, Democrat Joe Biden is being called the president-elect.

President-elect is a descriptive term not an official office. As such, Biden has no power in the government, and he would not until he is inaugurated at noon on January 20, 2021.

American news networks, which track all of the vote counting, determined on November 7 that Biden’s lead had become insurmountable in Pennsylvania, putting him over the 270 electoral votes needed to be president. Within minutes of determining his lead was mathematically assured, they projected him as the winner.

That is why news organizations, including VOA, are calling Biden the "projected winner."

Sometimes, in the case of particularly close elections, when news networks make this call, the other candidate does not concede victory. President Donald Trump has not done so, alleging voter fraud without substantial evidence and vowing to fight on. The president’s position has left Washington lawmakers divided, with Republicans backing a legal inquiry into allegations of vote fraud, even as they celebrate other congressional lawmakers who won their races.

When will the dispute be resolved?

The U.S. election won’t be officially certified for weeks. In the meantime, court challenges and state recounts could occur.

So far, the Trump administration has not provided evidence for any fraud that could overturn the result, but there is still time for more legal challenges.

Once states have certified the vote, pledged electors then cast their votes in the Electoral College in mid-December. Congress then certifies the overall Electoral College result in early January, about two weeks before Inauguration Day.