Day After Debate, Biden and Trump Amplify Attacks, Seeking an Edge

Joseph Biden continued to hammer President Trump over his denial of the coronavirus threat, while the president sought to exploit what he viewed as a new opening — Mr. Biden’s comments on oil.

By Sydney Ember and Maggie Haberman

President Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. sought to amplify their closing arguments on Friday, with Mr. Biden returning to his core message that the president had botched the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic while Mr. Trump seized on a new opening, hammering Mr. Biden on his energy policy.

With just 11 days until Election Day, Mr. Trump unleashed a fusillade of attacks against Mr. Biden, who said during the debate in Nashville on Thursday that he would push the country to “transition away from the oil industry” and end federal subsidies.

“One of the most stunning moments last night was when Joe Biden admitted that he wants to abolish the oil industry,” Mr. Trump said, exaggerating Mr. Biden’s position, during a rally at The Villages retirement community in Central Florida. “That could be one of the worst mistakes made in presidential debate history.”

At one point, Mr. Trump misleadingly presented voters with “a choice between optimism, patriotic vision for American success” and what he described as Mr. Biden’s “gloomy vision.”

“All he talks about is Covid, Covid, Covid. Because they want to scare people,” Mr. Trump said, before declaring, “We’ve done so well with it.”

Earlier in the day during a speech near his home in Wilmington, Del., Mr. Biden focused his attention on the coronavirus, vowing more aggressive federal action for the “dark winter” ahead — a phrase he also used during the debate. He also denounced Mr. Trump’s familiar assertion that the pandemic was “rounding the corner” and “going away” even as cases surge across the country.

Arguing that the coronavirus “isn’t showing any signs of slowing down,” Mr. Biden placed blame for the rising death toll squarely at Mr. Trump’s feet, repeating with a tone of incredulity Mr. Trump’s comments earlier in the week that he would do “not much” differently regarding the pandemic if he were given the opportunity for a do-over.

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