U.S. President Donald Trump took his reelection campaign Thursday to Old Forge, Pennsylvania, a town less than 9 kilometers from Joe Biden’s birthplace, hours before Biden was to formally accept the Democratic nomination for president.
Trump's speech highlighted what he said was a "half-century of Joe Biden failing America" but was also aimed at shoring up his support in the state, which could be key to his reelection in November.
"He abandoned Pennsylvania. He abandoned Scranton," Trump told hundreds of supporters in Old Forge, which is just outside of Scranton, where Biden was born.
"But he spent the last half-century in Washington, selling out our country and ripping off our jobs and letting other countries steal our jobs. Mexico, China, all of them."
In 2016, Trump won Pennsylvania by 45,000 votes over Democrat Hillary Clinton. He has since clashed with Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor over efforts to reopen its economy during the coronavirus pandemic.
Polls indicate Biden, the former vice president in the Obama administration, is well-positioned to win Pennsylvania with his deep roots in Scranton and his appeal to white working-class and Black voters in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Trump’s visit to the battleground state comes as recent opinion polls have him trailing Biden, whose campaign is working to recapture the state that Democrats won from 1992 through 2016.
Biden is set to deliver his acceptance speech Thursday night from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, as the four-day virtual Democratic National Convention nears an end.
Trump has been making campaign stops and holding news conferences during Biden’s week in the political spotlight, traveling to several political battleground states.
Republicans are staging their virtual national convention next week, starting Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina, and culminating with Trump’s renomination acceptance speech at the White House on August 27.
Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said that Trump has “put the health of countless families across the Keystone State in danger and plunged the strong economy he inherited from the Obama-Biden administration into a tailspin.”
Trump’s campaign is concerned about losing support among suburban voters, particularly women, in the areas around Philadelphia. The campaign hopes to offset the loss by pushing for high voter turnout among rural and exurban voters.