Trump lashes out at doctors as Covid cases surge

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WASHINGTON: Taking a wild stab at the medical profession, US President Donald Trump has accused American doctors of profiteering from Covid-19 deaths as he desperately seeks to close the 8-point gap in popular votes against Democratic rival Joe Biden just 72 hours before Election Day.
With a resurgent coronavirus making his response to the pandemic a hot button issue in the final days of campaigning, Trump did himself no favors by dissing the country’s one million physicians and 3 million nurses, alleging at a rally in Michigan on Friday night that “our doctors get more money if somebody dies from Covid,” and therefore they choose it as the cause of death when in doubt.
The charge outraged the medical fraternity, whose leading body said, without mentioning Trump, that “rather than attacking us and lobbing baseless charges at physicians, our leaders should be following the science and urging adherence to the public health steps we know work — wearing a mask, washing hands and practicing physical distancing.”
“The suggestion that doctors — in the midst of a public health crisis — are overcounting Covid-19 patients or lying to line their pockets is a malicious, outrageous and completely misguided charge,” the American Medical Association said in a statement.
The slur against the medical fraternity came even as coronavirus cases in America crossed nine million with close to 90,000 cases reported on Friday alone. Trump and his associates have now firmly taken a light view of the pandemic, even laughing and joking about it (the President ribbed a Fox News host Laura Ingraham for wearing a mask at his rally), but he has come under relentless attack from Biden on the matter.
“President Trump still has no plan to address Covid-19. He quit on you, on your family, on America. He just wants us to grow numb to the horrors of the death toll and the pain. We cannot afford another four years of his failed leadership,” Biden said, adding that the death of 228,000 Americans to the virus is “as severe an indictment of a president’s record as one can possibly imagine, and it is utterly disqualifying.”
Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner had earlier in April told Bob Woodward that the President was “getting the country back from the doctors” in what he called a “negotiated settlement.” Kushner also asserted the US was moving swiftly through the “panic phase” and “pain phase” of the pandemic to a “comeback phase,” a claim that is going awry given the rising numbers of coronavirus cases in Middle America.
Both septuagenarians have becoming increasingly strident as they make final arguments in a long exhausting campaign that will culminate in what is expected to be a landmark Election Day with record turnout on Tuesday. Apprehensive business owners have begun boarding up stores in downtown areas several US cities amid fear of violence and looting even as Walmart returned guns to sales points after withdrawing them earlier in the week.
Polls – even one from Trump-leaning Fox News – show him trailing Biden by 8 points in nationwide popular vote, but the US President is hoping to win a second term with a strategy narrowly focused on retaining the battleground states he won last time which Biden is trying to pry from his grasp.
More than 90 million people have already voted, with registered Democrats outpacing registered Republicans by 14 percentage points — in states that report voters’ party affiliation. But registration does not prohibit cross-voting although it is possible Republicans have heeded Trump’s warning about the efficacy of mail-in ballots and have chosen to vote on Election Day, which could lead to a Red spectacle, if not a Red wave on Tuesday in many states.
Both men are zeroing in on a clutch of states that Trump won by around one per cent or less last time, including Pennsylvania (44,000 vote margin), Wisconsin (25,000) and Michigan (10,000), besides Florida, which has been a toss-up state for several election cycles swinging to either side by just around one per cent.
Trump is scheduled to address four rallies on Saturday in Pennsylvania (with 20 electoral votes), three of them in suburban areas where he’s trying to scare white voters into believing their lives and property will be in danger if Democrats come to power. Democrats are focusing on turnout in urban areas where a more diverse population, including many blacks, tends to favor them.
Trump’s strategy of constantly denigrating Biden for his age and for his alleged corruption does not appear to have gained any traction among voters, considering he is himself vulnerable on both counts. “Biden is a grimy, sleazy and corrupt career politician who has done nothing but betrayed you for 47 long years. He will look you in the eyes, and then turn right around and stab you in the back. The only thing he cares about is political power,” the US President said at one rally, warning that the Democrat will be “selling out to lobbyists, China, big pharma & foreign countries” and “enrich his cronies.”



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