With Election Day in less than a week, the Trump and Biden campaigns are increasingly holding events in the same battleground states, on the same days. At a Thursday rally in Tampa, Florida, President Trump continued to downplay the national surge in COVID-19 cases, while former Vice President Joe Biden urged residents of the state’s Broward County to vote. Yamiche Alcindor reports.
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For the presidential candidates, the urgency is growing tonight. Every minute counts, as Election Day looms closer. And every encounter with voters represents a chance to tip critical states into their columns.
White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reports on this day.
Five days until the election, and, increasingly, both presidential campaigns are holding dueling rallies in the same battleground states on the same days.
Today, it was Florida, a state that has backed every winning candidate since 1996, and with 29 electoral votes at stake.
President Trump held his rally in Tampa. He continued to downplay the rise in COVID-19 cases around the country.
President Donald Trump:
We're never going to lock down again.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
We locked down. We understood the disease. And now we're open for business. And that's what it is. Our vaccine will eradicate the virus. And, by the way, we have it. But, whether we have it or not, it's rounding the turn. It's rounding the turn.
To date, the U.S. has reported roughly 8.9 million confirmed infections and reported more than 228,000 deaths.
The Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, has blamed the president's handling of the COVID crisis for the extent of the viral spread.
Today, in Broward County, Florida, he urged people to vote for him.
Former Vice President Joe Biden:
Millions of Americans are already voting. Millions more are going to vote by the end of this week. And I believe, when you use your power, the power to vote, you're going to change the course of the country for generations to come at home and abroad.
You hold the key. If Florida goes blue, it's over. It's over.
Biden has also pledged to create a task force to reunite more than 500 migrant children separated by the Trump administration from their families.
That comes on the heels of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, which estimated that 545 immigrant children have remained separated from their parents since 2017.
During a Trump campaign phone call yesterday, White House adviser Stephen Miller answered a question about whether the government could reunite the families. He answered by claiming the Trump administration — quote — "kept families together."
That, of course, is false.
Back on Capitol Hill today, the Democratically controlled House Judiciary Committee released a 500-page report on the Trump administration's family separation policy. The findings concluded that the government initiated separations a year before expanding the policy nationwide, and it did so knowing that there was no plan to reunite them.
As for the running mates, Vice President Mike Pence focused his campaign efforts in Iowa before heading to Nevada. California Senator Kamala Harris spent the day attending virtual events.
But record numbers of Americans have already made their decision, as evidenced by the lines at early voting stations. Across the country, voters have spent hours waiting to cast their ballots.
Madison Myers of Atlanta was one of them.
I'm really surprised at myself that I stayed in the line, because, when I was at the end of it, at the back of it, I actually wanted to get back in my car.
Already, more people have early-voted this year than half of all votes cast in 2016.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.