Former Vice President Joe Biden made a pitch to Black voters in Philadelphia on Sunday, arguing that they had been hit hard by the coronavirus and President Trump’s purportedly divisive tone while in office.
“In two days, we can put an end to a presidency that fanned the flames of hate, poured gasoline on every opportunity he had all across this nation,” Biden said at the “souls to the polls” event.
The former vice president described Trump’s response to the virus, which has disproportionately impacted Black communities, as “almost criminal.”
He added that his response to the pandemic would include a plan for “full and fair distribution of therapeutics and vaccines” as well as “a plan to address the disproportionate way this virus has been hitting and devastating the Black community across America.”
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Biden described the election as “the most important election of our lifetimes. We’re at an inflection point, so we have to vote like we never did before.”
Referring to the late Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon, Biden described freedom as an act. “As my late friend John Lewis reminded us, freedom is not a state, freedom is an act. We have to defend it. We have to vote,” he said.
Sunday’s rally was part of a broader final push by the Biden campaign to mobilize Black voters before Election Day.
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With more than 91 million votes already cast, Trump and Biden are out of time to reshape the race. Instead, they’re focusing on their base and making sure that any potential supporters have either already voted or plan to do so in person on Tuesday.
For Biden, that means paying close attention to Black voters who are a critical part of the coalition he needs to build to win. His campaign’s final burst of travel was tailored to boost that support: After Philadelphia, he was to be in Cleveland and Pittsburgh on Monday. And after stops with Biden in Detroit and Flint, Mich., on Saturday, former President Barack Obama heads to Georgia on Monday to stump for his vice president’s own White House bid.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.