A record of 90 million Americans have voted early in the presidential election, data on Saturday showed, as President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden campaigned across the nation to try to sway the few remaining undecided voters.
The high number of early voters, about 65% of the total turnout in 2016, reflects an intense interest in the contest, with three days of campaigning left.
Concerns about exposure to the coronavirus at busy Election Day voting places on Tuesday have also pushed up the numbers of people voting by mail or at early in-person polling sites.
Trump, a Republican, is spending the closing days of his re-election campaign criticizing public officials and medical professionals who are trying to combat the coronavirus pandemic even as it surges back across the United States.
Opinion polls show Trump trailing former Vice President Biden nationally, but with a closer contest in the most competitive states that will decide the election. Voters say the coronavirus is their top concern.
At a small, in-person rally in Newtown, Pennsylvania, Trump mocked his opponent on Saturday for his criticism of the administration’s record of fighting COVID-19, which has killed more people in the United States than in any other country.
“I watched Joe Biden speak yesterday. All he talks about is COVID, COVID. He’s got nothing else to say. COVID, COVID,” Trump told the crowd, some of whom did not wear masks.
He said the United States was “just weeks away” from the mass distribution of a safe vaccine against COVID-19, which is pushing hospitals to capacity and killing up to 1,000 people in the United States each day. Trump gave no details to back up his remarks about an imminent vaccine.
Campaigning in the Midwest on Friday, Trump falsely said doctors earn more money when their patients die of the disease, building on his past criticism of medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious diseases expert.
Biden has accused Trump of giving up in the fight against the disease, which has killed almost 229,000 Americans, and on Saturday slammed him for his comments about doctors.
“What in the hell is wrong with this man? Excuse my language. But think about it. He may believe it because he doesn’t do anything other than for money,” Biden told a drive-in rally in Flint, Michigan, with former President Barack Obama.
In his closing arguments, Biden has accused Trump of being a bully and criticized his lack of a strategy to control the pandemic, his efforts to repeal the Obamacare healthcare law, and his disregard for science on climate change.
He has offered his own made-in-America economic platform, a contrast with Trump’s “America First” approach, saying he will get the wealthy to pay their fair share and make sure earnings are distributed more equitably.