Donald Trump‘s hopes of a second term as US President appeared to be fading last night with even his closest aides admitting: ‘The only person in the White House who thinks Trump can win is Trump himself.’
As the President embarked on a frantic 14-stop tour of key battleground states across America, the latest polls put his Democratic rival Joe Biden eight points ahead with a record 90 million votes already cast. A Fox News poll had Mr Biden ahead by 52 per cent to 44.
However, victory for either candidate will come down to a small number of ‘swing states’ including Florida and Pennsylvania where Mr Trump and Mr Biden are running neck and neck.
Under the US system – in which states are assigned a number of ‘electoral votes’ with candidates needing a total of 270 to win – it is possible for a candidate to triumph in the popular vote and yet lose.
Donald Trump’s hopes of a second term as US President appeared to be fading last night with even his closest aides admitting: ‘The only person in the White House who thinks Trump can win is Trump himself’
Doctor fury at ‘Covid cash’ claim
Doctors reacted with fury after Donald Trump claimed at an election rally they were deliberately inflating Covid case numbers to make money.
‘Our doctors get more money if somebody dies from Covid. You know that, right?’ he told the rally in Michigan. ‘Our doctors are very smart people. So what they do is they say, ‘I’m sorry but everybody dies of Covid.’ ‘
He said other countries, such as Germany, put less emphasis on the virus as a cause of death. ‘With us, when in doubt, choose Covid,’ he claimed. ‘It’s true.’
Medical groups rubbished his claim while pointing out that doctors, nurses and carers had risked their lives to treat people infected with the disease.
‘They did it because duty called and because of the sacred oath they took,’ said Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association.
‘The suggestion doctors – in the midst of a public health crisis – are over-counting Covid-19 patients or lying to line their pockets is a malicious, outrageous and completely misguided charge,’ she said.
Democratic challenger Joe Biden has attacked the President’s cavalier response as the second wave soared across America with 1,000 deaths a day.
Four years ago, Hillary Clinton won three million more votes at the ballot box than Mr Trump, but he captured 304 electoral votes and cruised to victory.
One pollster said: ‘Hillary was ahead before the last election and we all know how that turned out, but Biden has double the lead she had at this point.
‘The race is Biden’s to lose, but Trump is the Houdini of politics and if anyone can pull off an upset then it’s him.’
However, a source within the White House last night painted a gloomy picture for the incumbent. ‘Most people accept it’s over. We’ve all got other jobs lined up,’ the insider said. ‘At this point, the only person in the White House who thinks Donald Trump can win is Trump himself.
‘But he’s a streetfighter and there is a small path to victory if he takes Florida and Pennsylvania. It’s unlikely but do-able.’
A record 150 million Americans are expected to cast their vote at the end of a campaign dominated by Mr Trump’s handling of the pandemic and violent protests sparked by the killings of unarmed black men and women by police.
Cities from Los Angeles to Chicago to New York have cancelled police leave and governors of many states, including California, have the National Guard standing by in case violence erupts.
The Pentagon has a plan in place to send troops on to the streets of Washington DC should protesters gather if Mr Trump loses. Armed militia groups have threatened to disrupt polling.
Unless one candidate wins by a landslide, the outcome is unlikely to be known on Tuesday night. Mr Trump has already vowed to challenge a win by Mr Biden and says the postal ballot system is rigged against him ‘There are thousands of fake ballots and they are working against us,’ he said last week. We are going to take this all the way to the Supreme Court if needs be.’
There has been speculation about the future of First Lady Melania. According to one report, she negotiated a post-nuptial deal with Mr Trump to stay with him while he was in the White House, but divorce afterwards. Her spokesperson denied the allegation at the time
If the election is eventually decided by the Supreme Court, Mr Trump may have an advantage, given that he has appointed three Republican judges during his term including, most recently, Amy Coney Barrett.
Mr Biden yesterday appeared alongside former President Barack Obama at a rally in Michigan. Music legend Stevie Wonder was set to play at another Biden rally last night. Mr Biden, 77, has been dubbed ‘Sleepy Joe’ by Mr Trump, 74, and has made frequent gaffes during the campaign. There have been subtle signs that Trump is preparing for life after the White House.
Last week, he cancelled a ‘victory party’ scheduled to be held at his Trump Hotel in Washington DC. He told aides it was because he felt ‘superstitious’.
His son-in-law Jared Kushner – married to Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka – has also been having meetings with media companies and major investment banks to discuss a possible ‘Trump TV’ network.
And there has been speculation about the future of First Lady Melania. According to one report, she negotiated a post-nuptial deal with Mr Trump to stay with him while he was in the White House, but divorce afterwards.
Her spokesperson denied the allegation at the time.