Biden urges battleground Pennsylvania voters to ‘put an end’ to Trump presidency

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, campaigning in Pennsylvania on the eve of Election Day, told voters that “tomorrow we can end the presidency that’s divided this nation.”

In the first of two events in Pittsburgh on Monday, Biden slammed President Trump, emphasizing that “it’s time for Donald Trump to pack his bags and go home.” Repeating comments he made earlier in the day at a campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio, the former vice president stressed that Americans have tired of Trump’s presidency, saying “we’re done with the chaos, we’re done with the racism, we’re done with the tweets, the anger, the hate, the failure, the irresponsibility.”

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Biden, speaking at a get-out-the-vote event in the predominantly African American community of North Point Breeze/Homewood, noted that nearly 100 million Americans have already voted, which is nearly three-quarters of the total vote in the 2016 election.

“Millions more will vote tomorrow. My message is simple, the power to change this country is in your hand,” Biden said. “I don’t care how hard Donald Trump tries, there’s nothing, nothing he can do to stop the people in this nation from voting no matter how hard he tries.”

Biden charged that “Trump doesn’t want you all voting.”

Supporter listen as Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a drive-in campaign rally at Lexington Technology Park, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The president – hoping to put a dent in Biden’s advantage with African American voters – has repeatedly argued that he’s done “more for the Black community than any president since Abraham Lincoln.”

Pointing to the president’s claim, which Trump repeated last month during his second and final debate with Biden, the former vice president charged “Trump has done more to harm Black America than any president in modern history.”

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Biden then headed to Heinz Field, home of the National Football League’s Pittsburgh Steelers, for a drive-in car rally with Lady Gaga. Hours earlier the former vice president and the entertainer surprised University of Pittsburgh student organizers. Biden joked that Lady Gaga would deliver remarks while he sings as the opening act for her.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden stands with Lady Gaga at Schenley Plaza, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Pittsburgh, Pa. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Biden closed out his final day of campaigning in Pittsburgh, the city where he held his first rally after announcing his candidacy for the White House in April of last year.

His stops came one day after the Pittsburgh PostGazette, the city’s largest newspaper, endorsed Trump, saying Biden is ‘too old’ and ‘fragile’ to handle the job as president. The newspaper, in backing a Republican nominee for the first time in nearly half a century, praised the president’s record on the economy and China.

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Biden, his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris of California, and their spouses were all campaigning in the Keystone State on Monday, spotlighting the high stakes in the swing state. Biden held two rallies in Philadelphia, in the southeast corner of the state, on Sunday. And his campaign announced on Monday that Biden would hold events in Scranton – where he was born – and in Philadelphia on Election Day.

Four years ago, Trump became the first Republican nominee to win Pennsylvania since George H.W. Bush in 1988. Trump carried the state – and its 20 electoral votes by just seven-tenths of 1 percent over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The Biden campaign has heavily concentrated on Pennsylvania, the former vice president’s native state. During his nearly four decades in the Senate representing Delaware, Biden was known as Pennsylvania’s third senator.

An average of the final surveys in the state indicated Biden with a 4.3 point edge over the president. Trump campaigned in the Keystone State on Saturday and returned on Monday. Vice President Mike Pence also made a stop in the state on the eve of the election.

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Trump, campaigning in Scranton, charged that “a vote for Biden will be a vote to ban fracking, outlaw mining, explode energy costs and destroy Pennsylvania.”

Biden, at a stop earlier in the day in Beaver County, along the Ohio border, pushed back against the president’s repeated charges that he would ban fracking, an industry crucial to western Pennsylvania’s economy.

“No matter how many times Trump’s tried to lie about it, I will not ban fracking. Never said I would,” Biden declared.

And Biden vowed that he would “be the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.”

Biden kicked off his final day of campaigning ahead of Election Day in battleground Ohio, where he once again took aim at Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a rally at Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport, Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“We’ve got a whole lot of work to do. If I’m elected your president, I’m going to act on day one,” Biden vowed. “On day one of my presidency, we’re going to put into action a plan” to combat the coronavirus, which he said would emphasize “masking, social distancing, testing, tracing.”

And taking aim at a president who for months resisted wearing a mask in public and who has continued to ridicule Biden’s mask wearing, the former vice president asked, “imagine where we’d be if this president from the beginning just wore a mask.”

Biden spoke amid a new surge in the coronavirus, which has taken the lives of mroe than 231,000 Americans. More than 9.2 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported since the pandemic began.

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Biden also spoke the day after the president took aim at Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the most prominent and well-known member of the White House coronavirus task force.

The president, who has had a contentious relationship with Fauci, was complaining about news media coverage of COVID-19 when a large crowd of supporters at a late-night rally in Florida began chanting, “Fire Fauci.”

“Don’t tell anybody, but let me wait until a little bit after the election,” Trump told his supporters, who cheered. “I appreciate the advice.”

Biden highlighted that “last night Trump said he was going to fire Dr. Fauci. I’ve got a better idea. Elect me and I’m going to hire Dr. Fauci and we’re going to fire Donald Trump.”

And he charged that the president has “waved white flag of surrender to this virus.”

He pledged that “I’m never going to wave the white flag of surrender. We’re going to beat this virus. We’re going to get it under control, I promise you” and spotlighted that “the first step to beating the virus is beating Donald Trump.”

Biden has made his criticism of the president’s handling of the coronavirus a key part of his campaign in the closing weeks of the race. Polls indicate that the pandemic, along with an economy severely deflated by the coronavirus, are the top two issues on the minds of American voters.

The president has repeatedly said the past two months that the country is “rounding the corner” or “rounding the turn” in defeating the coronavirus and has promised that “vaccines are coming along great.”

Biden’s stop in Ohio was a last-minute decision by his campaign.

The Buckeye State has long played a crucial role in presidential elections, with razor-thin margins between candidates. It was the state that famously put George W. Bush over the top in 2004 for a second term.

Four years ago, it appeared it would be another close contest, with an average of the polls on the eve of the election putting Trump narrowly ahead. But Trump ended up swamping 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by eight points, flipping the state and winning Ohio’s 18 electoral votes. Trump’s margin of victory was the largest by any presidential candidate in nearly three decades.

But Ohio’s very much in play again, with the average of the final polls in the state indicating Trump with a razor thin .2 point edge over Biden.

Fox News’ Madeleine River contributed to this report