Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday claimed that President Trump sees seniors as “forgettable” and used the president’s own words against him as he courted older voters in Florida, a crucial general election battleground state.
The former vice president also accused Trump of raiding the Medicare trust fund and argued that the Republican incumbent “hasn’t done a single thing to” lower prescription drug prices during his nearly four years in the White House.
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Biden made his comments at the Southwest Focal Point Community Center in Pembroke Pines, a city in heavily populated Broward County. The center – which was Biden’s first stop in Florida – normally offers recreational activities for seniors, but those have been suspended during the coronavirus pandemic.
Taking aim at the president’s differing positions regarding ongoing negotiations between the White House and Congress to reach agreement on a new coronavirus relief package, Biden said “now he says he wants a deal. One day he’s tweeting that the relief package is too big, the next day he’s saying it’s too small. It’s all a game. He thinks he’s still on his game show.”
And Biden claimed that “this is a political game he’s playing. His latest gimmick, he wants to mail seniors a $200 prescription drug cash card with his name on it, so you’re going to get it before Election Day with his name on it. But what he’s going to do, he’s going to raid the Medicare trust fund to pay for that $200 which seniors have already spent by paying money into. He thinks that he can take the money out of your pocket with one hand and put it back with his name stamped on it on the other hand, and call it a gift.”
Biden argued “it’s dishonest. It’s reckless, and it doesn’t actually help anybody. In fact, all it will do is undermine the Medicare trust fund and increase overall out of pocket costs for seniors.”
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On another issue critical to seniors – rising prescription drug prices – Biden charged that the president “says he wants to lower drug prices, but he hasn’t done a single thing to do it.”
Turning to the pandemic, which has taken the lives of more than 215,000 Americans and hit seniors particularly hard, Biden took aim at Trump again.
Spotlighting the president’s recent hospitalization after being diagnosed with COVID-19, Biden said that Trump’s “just doubled down on the misinformation he did before in making it worse.”
The former vice president also pointed to comments Trump made last month in Swanton, Ohio, when he argued that the coronavirus “affects virtually nobody” except seniors.
“It affects elderly people, elderly people with heart problems and other problems. If they have other problems, that’s what it really affects, that’s it,” the president said at the time.
“Nobody,” Biden said on Tuesday. “Think about that. Who was he talking about when he said it affects virtually nobody. He was talking about America’s seniors. He was talking about you.”
And speaking directly to voters age 65 and older, Biden argued that the president thinks “you’re expendable, ‘feorgettable, you’re virtually nobody. That’s how he sees seniors…the only senior that Donald Trump cares about..is the senior Donald Trump.”
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In response, the Trump re-election campaign argued that “Biden resorted to his worn tactic of lying about President Trump, who has steadfastly protected Social Security and Medicare and who has pledged to always do so.”
“It’s Biden who has the record of repeatedly trying to cut or freeze benefits during his 47 years as a failed Washington politician, and he is now trying to mislead and scare seniors for political reasons,” charged Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh.
After his event in Pembroke Pines, Biden headed to nearby Miramar where he headlined a get out the vote event.
With 29 electoral votes, Florida is the biggest of the traditional battleground states that will likely decide who wins the November election. Twenty years ago it was the state that decided the presidential election between then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore. Bush won the state by five points in his 2004 presidential re-election.
President Barack Obama carried the state by razor-thin margins in 2008 and 2012. Four years ago Trump narrowly edged out 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in Florida. An average of some of the most recent polling in the state shows Biden holding a single-digit lead over the president. In a sign of how important the state is to the president’s re-election, Trump campaigned in Florida on Monday and returns at the end of the week.
The Trump re-election campaign went up with a new TV commercial on Tuesday that courts seniors and last week the president tweeted out a video aimed at seniors in which he called them “MY FAVORITE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!”
Four years ago Trump captured the national vote of those 65 and older by a 52%-45% margin over Clinton, according to exit polls. But fast forward four years and the latest Fox News National poll indicates Biden with a slight 49%-47% edge over the president among seniors.
Gore – who in the 2000 election repeatedly emphasized that he would keep Social Security “in a lockbox” – was the last Democratic presidential nominee to win the senior vote.
Fox News’ Allie Raffa and Madeleine Rivera contributed to this report