The coronavirus pandemic moved to the centre of the US election again on Friday, as a former senior official on the White House taskforce turned on Donald Trump.‘He’s paying attention to people like us’: Trump’s messages resonate in WisconsinRead more
Trump was alleged by Olivia Troye, a former Mike Pence adviser, to have called his own supporters “disgusting people” with whom he no longer had to shake hands thanks to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Democratic challenger Joe Biden told voters late on Thursday that they should “listen to the scientists, not to the president” when it comes to hopes for a vaccine.
The death toll from Covid-19 in the US is approaching 200,000. The election is on 3 November, less than 50 days away.
Trailing Biden in national and most swing state polls and in polls regarding who the public trusts to handle the pandemic, Trump has claimed a vaccine will be available “within weeks”. That stance contradicts statements from senior health advisers, who the president in turn has publicly doubted.
At a CNN-hosted town hall event in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden said: “I don’t trust the president on vaccines. I trust Dr [Anthony] Fauci [the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases]. If Fauci says a vaccine is safe, I’d take the vaccine. We should listen to the scientists, not to the president.”
Troye, a one-time member of the Covid taskforce who left the administration in the summer, on Thursday came out with a blistering video in support of Republican Voters Against Trump, a conservative group backing Biden.
“Towards the middle of February, we knew it wasn’t a matter of if Covid would become a big pandemic here in the United States,” Troye said, echoing Trump’s own statements in taped interviews with Bob Woodward for the Washington Post reporter’s new book, Rage.