Dozens of supporters for President Trump greeted Democratic nominee Joe Biden outside the latter’s dual campaign speeches in Ohio on Monday.
Speaking at an invitation-only event at Cincinnati’s Union Terminal, Biden highlighted to roughly 20 people the economic downturn resulting from the pandemic, Trump’s response to COVID-19, and systemic racism in the U.S.
“[Trump] knew how dangerous this disease was but said and did nothing,” Biden said. “…Ask yourself, why did he not tell the country?”
Biden was referencing a Bob Woodward interview with Trump where the president admitted he knew about the coronavirus, but downplayed it in order to not incite panic among Americans.
The attendees at Biden’s Cincinnati speech wore masks and were temperature-checked before entering, according to Cincinnati.com. Outside, roughly 50 Biden supporters faced up to a roughly equal amount of Trump supporters. The Hamilton County Democratic Party had told Biden supporters to not show up for safety reasons, Cincinnati said.
Both sides demonstrated peacefully.
Biden also touched on white supremacists and militias, pointing to recent plots to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Trump’s response to first presidential debate moderator Fox News’s Chris Wallace. The moderator had asked Trump to denounce groups like the “Proud Boys,” to which Trump told them to “stand back and stand down.” Later, the president once again denounced “all white supremacists,” including the Proud Boys, in an interview on Fox News.
Biden also called for more bipartisanship in the country.
“I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president,” Biden said. “There will be no blue states and red states with me. It’s one America. I’ll work with Democrats and Republicans. I’ll work as hard for those who vote against me as those who vote for me.”
Biden’s Cincinnati speech was his second of the day.
Speaking outside a United Auto Workers union hall in Toledo earlier on Monday, Biden slammed Trump’s economic policies and wealth, saying that he cared more about the stock market than his response to the coronavirus pandemic. Biden also touched on recent campaign ads from Trump’s camp, which were met with backlash after a quoted Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was taken out of context.
Biden was also met with Trump supporters at his earlier Ohio appearance.
HUGE group of supporters gathered to welcome Joe Biden to Ohio…
— Abigail Marone 🇺🇸 (@abigailmarone) October 12, 2020
Trump supporters chanting “FOUR MORE YEARS” outside of Biden’s event in Ohio 😂 pic.twitter.com/3wAqi1ogCC
— Art TakingBack 🇺🇸 (@ArtValley818_) October 12, 2020
In his speech, Biden promised to keep jobs in America, saying that several of his plans — such as weatherizing houses — were “all going to be done by certified union labor.”
Weatherizing homes is part of the Green New Deal, which Biden supports.
“We’re going to end Trump’s new incentive for sending jobs abroad,” Biden said. “That’s what he’s done, more jobs are going abroad now/ any company that offshores a job is going to pay a 10% penalty. Any company that brings back a job or reopens a closed company…they’ll get a 10% credit for their investment.”
Many of Biden’s remarks were met with honking from the attendees of the drive-in rally, with some sticking their heads out of windows or sun-roofs, WTOL 11, a local news outlet reported. Roughly 30 cars were in attendance at the former vice president’s drive-in speech at the UAW.
“I will stand up to China’s trade abuses, and I will invest in the American worker, because I know no one, nobody can outcompete an American worker when they’ve got a fair shot,” Biden said. “Nobody in the world.”
Biden previously worked as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2000-2001, where he worked to usher China into the World Trade Organization and welcomed the country as a “great power.”
A recent poll from Baldwin Wallace University showed Trump holding 47 percent to Biden’s 45 percent, a slight improvement over the previous poll showing the two presidential candidates in a virtual tie, according to WKYC. The president’s lead, however, is still within the margin of error, as 5 percent of those surveyed said they were unsure for whom they were voting.
Activists and politicians, including Trump, slammed Biden’s speech, pointing out gaffes and low attendance.
Joe Biden **so far today**:
▶️Forgot which state he was in. (Tweeted that he was in Pennsylvania when he was actually in Ohio)
▶️Forgot Mitt Romney's name and instead referred to him as "a Mormon."
▶️Forgot which office he was running for. pic.twitter.com/wxgMfpdq0B
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) October 12, 2020
Sleepy Joe Biden had a particularly bad day today. He couldn’t remember the name of Mitt Romney, said again he was running for the U.S. Senate, and forgot what State he was in. If I did any of this, it would be disqualifying. With him, he’s just Sleepy Joe!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2020
Joe Biden has let the Unions down — always has, always will! https://t.co/XIEd0dSEvA
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2020
Biden event in Cincinnati is off to a hot start…. pic.twitter.com/QHgqpesZdY
— Garrett Arnold (@garnold92) October 12, 2020
Vice President Mike Pence also campaigned in Ohio on Monday.
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Ohio Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.