Democrats brought their firepower to Michigan, the critical swing state that helped seal President Trump‘s 2016 victory.
Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama made their first joint 2020 campaign stop in Flint on Saturday afternoon, where they hit Trump hard on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and said it’s time to restore decency to the White House.
“It’s time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home,” Biden said during the Halloween campaign stop. “We’re done with the chaos, the tweets, the anger, the hate, the failure [and] refusing to take any responsibility.”
Biden thanked Obama for being a “great” president and suggested a Biden presidency would be free of scandal. Biden has dismissed recent allegations that his son, Hunter, involved him in his foreign business dealings.
“[We] went through eight years without one single trace of scandal … It’s gonna be nice to return to that,” Biden said.
Both Obama and Biden went after Trump for claiming in Michigan Friday that doctors are purposely inflating the coronavirus death numbers to make money.
“What in the hell is wrong with this man?” Biden said. “Excuse my language but think about it — it’s perverted. He may believe it because he doesn’t do anything other than for money.”
COVID-19 cases in the United States reached a record high on Friday. But at a rally in Waterford, Mich., Friday, Trump seemed to blame doctors for the surging coronavirus numbers in the United States.
“Our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID. You know that, right? I mean our doctors are very smart people. So what they do is they say, ‘I’m sorry, but everybody dies of COVID,'” Trump said. Trump’s comments were quickly denounced by the American Medical Association (AMA) as outrageous.
Obama has been campaigning in battleground states for Biden, but Flint was the first time they campaigned together during the final stretch, signifying the importance they place on winning Michigan Tuesday.
“Joe Biden is my brother. I love Joe Biden, and he will be a great president,” Obama said in his speech before Biden took the stage.
Obama ripped into Trump’s handling of the growing coronavirus pandemic and accused the president of holding superspreader rallies because of his obsession with big crowds.
“Trump cares about feeding his ego,” Obama said. “Joe cares about keeping you and your family safe.”
Obama and Biden have developed goodwill in Michigan for efforts to save the auto industry at a time when Republicans like 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney penned an op-ed titled: “Let Detroit go Bankrupt.” Obama compared GOP efforts to turn their backs on the auto industry to Trump’s “botching” of the pandemic response and suggested the new GOP slogan is: “Let America get COVID.”
Obama said Biden will control the pandemic, will protect Americans’ healthcare and will restore decency to public office. “He does not have a mean-spirited bone in his body,” Obama said of his former vice president.
After the Flint appearance, Obama and Biden will travel to Detroit for a drive-in rally. They’ll be joined by Motown legend Stevie Wonder, whose “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” became an anthem of sorts for the Obama campaign in 2008.
If Biden wins Michigan, it would be a blow to Trump’s path to reelection. Trump stunned the world in 2016 by flipping three traditionally blue states — Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — and Trump is staking another four years in the White House on repeating his Midwest success.
Michigan is also a big battleground state for the Senate, where Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., is trying to fend off a challenge from Republican Army veteran John James.
Trump has been stumping hard in Michigan with a rally Friday in Waterford Township. He plans to return to the Great Lakes State on Sunday and Monday in his closing rally blitz.
The night before the election in 2016, Trump’s final campaign rally went past midnight in Grand Rapids, Mich. Hoping to repeat history, the Trump campaign says the president’s last stop in the 2020 race will be Grand Rapids.
Trump beat Clinton by less than 11,000 votes in 2016.
Democrats are trying to leave nothing to chance this time around and are pushing for a strong turnout.
“We got a little complacent in the last election,” Obama acknowledged Saturday in Flint.
Biden says he has learned from the mistakes that Clinton’s campaign made four years ago in the Midwest.
At an event Friday in Milwaukee, Biden recounted campaigning for Clinton in 2016 and added, “For a whole lot of reasons — not all of which were her fault — [we] ended up not taking it as seriously. We thought it was different.”
Clinton was criticized for not campaigning enough in Midwestern states like Wisconsin and Michigan. After her stunning loss in 2016, many Democrats criticized her campaign as overconfident and too complacent.
In contrast, Biden often insists he’s taking no vote for granted and said Friday night in Wisconsin, “I’ve been here a lot.”
Trump is making four stops in Pennsylvania on Saturday.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser and The Associated Press contributed to this report.