President TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial MORE on Monday sought to shore up support in the key battleground of Pennsylvania, framing Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenCourt nixes offshore drilling leases auctioned by Biden administration Laquan McDonald's family pushes for federal charges against officer ahead of early release Biden speaks with Ukrainian president amid Russian threat MORE as a death knell for the state’s energy industry and attacking the state’s governor over his coronavirus restrictions.
Trump held three different rallies in Pennsylvania on the day, packing in thousands of supporters in defiance of the state’s virus rules, as he looks to energize his supporters eight days before Election Day while polls show him trailing Biden in the Keystone State.
During appearances in Allentown, Lititz and Martinsburg, Trump seized on remarks made by Biden during the final debate on Thursday saying he would “transition” from the oil industry, claiming the former vice president had pledged to “abolish” the oil industry in the United States.
“Biden’s plan is an economic death sentence on Pennsylvania’s energy sector,” Trump told a crowd of thousands at his first stop in Allentown. “He will eradicate your energy and send Pennsylvania into a crippling depression.”
Biden said during the debate that he would “transition” from the oil industry, adding later, “It has to be replaced by renewable energy over time, over time. And I’d stop giving to the oil industry, I’d stop giving them federal subsidies.”
Biden has since sought to clarify his remarks and his campaign has insisted that his plan does not call for the total elimination of oil and gas. Biden has proposed ending new federal leases for oil and gas drilling on federal lands. His climate plan also calls for an end to subsidies for fossil fuels.
Republicans have played up the debate remarks, seeing them as an opportunity to help gain ground in Pennsylvania and secure Texas, a previously reliable red state that Democrats have hoped to flip.
The Trump campaign on Friday unveiled a new advertisement targeting voters in Pennsylvania that uses Biden’s comments from the debate and claims a Biden administration would end fracking and result in thousands of job losses in Pennsylvania.
The ad is part of a $55 million buy placed jointly by the campaign and the Republican National Committee. On a press call Monday, Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller said the campaign would place an additional $6 million ad buy targeting Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.
Trump repeatedly mocked Biden for putting a “lid” on public events. The president asserted that Biden would raise taxes, “pack” the Supreme Court “with radical left judges,” and destroy suburban America. He accused the vice president’s son Hunter Biden of profiting off his family’s name.
"Biden will sell the Oval Office just like he sold the vice presidency," Trump said, accusing his opponent of "corruption."
On jumbo screens erected at the rallies, Trump also played a campaign video in an effort to hit Biden on his support for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) when it was passed in 1993. Trump has since replaced NAFTA with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The video also included Biden’s remarks on fracking and oil.
Biden wasn’t the president’s only target. Trump eviscerated Pennsylvania Gov. Tom WolfTom WolfPennsylvania governor vetoes GOP-approved congressional map Pennsylvania Republicans pitch privatized booze Ed Gainey sworn in as Pittsburgh's first Black mayor MORE (D) for implementing restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. In Allentown, Trump claimed that Wolf had made it “almost impossible” for his campaign to find rally sites to host the large-scale events, which are not in compliance with Pennsylvania’s public health guidelines.
“Your governor made it almost impossible to find any site,” Trump said, as his crowd booed Wolf. The president suggested that he would hold Wolf’s stance on the virus against him in the future.
“I'll remember it, Tom. I'm gonna remember it, Tom. ‘Hello, Mr. President, this is Gov. Wolf, I need help, I need help.’ You know what? These people are bad,” Trump said.
Trump, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 at the beginning of October, continued to downplay the virus even as the United States records new record highs for daily cases. He insisted that the U.S. is “rounding the turn” on the virus. Trump framed the election as “a choice between a Trump boom and a Biden lockdown,” criticizing Biden for his pledge to follow the advice of health experts if they call for future shutdowns.
Ahead of Trump’s swing through Pennsylvania, Biden assailed Trump for what he described as a failure of leadership on the virus.
“Pennsylvanians have lost jobs and lost lives under President Trump’s failed leadership,” Biden said in a statement. “As I told union members and families in Pennsylvania this weekend, as president, I’m going to shut down the virus and safely open up the economy. Then I’ll stand alongside working communities in Pennsylvania as we build back better by creating millions of good-paying jobs.”
For his part, Biden also made a stop in Chester, Pa., Monday afternoon to speak to supporters. He told reporters he would be visiting several states in the upcoming days – including Florida, Wisconsin and Georgia – but said he would take a different approach from Trump by avoiding large gatherings.
Trump’s push in Pennsylvania, which may represent his last appearance in the key battleground before Election Day, comes as polls show him continuing to trail Biden in the state that he won narrowly in 2016.
A poll released by the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison on Monday showed Biden with 52 percent support and Trump with 44 percent support among likely voters in Pennsylvania, while 3 percent remain undecided. The survey was conducted Oct. 13-21, before the final presidential debate.
Early voting has also already begun in Pennsylvania, and well over 1 million voters have already cast their ballots. Democrats maintain a significant advantage over Republicans in early voting, though polls indicate that Republicans are likely to vote in person on Election Day.
“[Republicans] are going to enter Election Day with a very substantial deficit that they have to wipe out,” said Tom Bonier, CEO of Democratic data firm TargetSmart.
Other Trump campaign surrogates will travel to the Keystone State later this week as Nov. 3 nears. First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden clarifies his remarks on Russia Raskin: Grisham told Jan. 6 panel about 'names that I had not heard before' Grisham says former Trump officials meeting next week 'to try and stop him' MORE is expected to stump for her husband in Atglen on Tuesday, her first major appearance on the campaign trail this year.