Trump returns to campaign trail as vice-president deadline looms, amid calls for Biden to withdraw

Asia World

Former President Donald Trump is getting back on the campaign trail on Tuesday, rallying voters in his home state at his flagship golf resort in a celebratory mood as Democrats face tough calls over President Joe Biden’s re-election chances.

Trump is nearing a deadline to announce his running mate but appears in no rush as much of the attention is still centred on questions about Biden’s ability to govern for another four-year term. Some Democrats have started calling for Biden to step down as their presumptive nominee following his dismal debate performance last month.

Both Biden, 81, and Trump, 78, are at least two decades older than most American presidents have been, according to the Pew Research Center, which said the median age for all US presidents on their first inauguration is 55 years old. But that has not stopped Trump from arguing he is stronger than Biden, who repeatedly stumbled, paused and could not complete sentences at times during the June 27 debate. Trump was criticised by Democrats for making false statements during the debate about the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol and suggesting immigrants entering the US illegally were taking so-called “Black jobs” and “Hispanic jobs.”

Former US President Donald Trump arrives to speak during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home in November 2022. Photo: TNS

Just a few weeks ago, this was projected to be one of the worst periods of the campaign for Trump. He had been scheduled to face sentencing by a New York judge on Thursday for his conviction in a hush-money case. But a favourable US Supreme Court ruling on presidential immunity delayed that court reckoning, and much of his other legal problems, pushing chatter about coming trials and possible prison time off many voters’ radars.

Instead, it’s Biden who continues to face an onslaught of negative coverage stemming from stumbles during the presidential debate.

In an interview Monday with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, Trump said he thought Biden “might very well stay in” the race. “Nobody to wants to give that up that way,” Trump added. “He is going to feel badly about himself for a long time. It’s hard to give it up that way, the way where they’re trying to force him out.”

In the Miami suburb of Doral, Trump will underscore his strong support in a former battleground state that has now shifted toward the Republican Party. US Senator Marco Rubio, a Miami native and one of the contenders for the vice presidential post, will be attending the rally along with other Florida politicians.

Kevin Cabrera, a Miami-Dade County commissioner who was Florida state director for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign and is set to speak at the rally, said to expect an “overwhelming show of unity.”

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US presidential debate: Biden and Trump spar over economy, war in Ukraine

US presidential debate: Biden and Trump spar over economy, war in Ukraine

“The rally will display our unified front, showcasing a stark contrast to the Democrats, who are lost and fighting with each other over Biden’s health and ability to continue,” Cabrera said.

The presumptive Republican Party nominee will also touch on Biden’s handling of immigration and the economy, highlighting the rise in home prices and goods. Trump will also talk about how Florida is affected by the increasing arrivals of immigrants as the final destination for many people illegally crossing the US-Mexico border.

The leadership crisis among Democrats has perhaps given Trump a reason to wait for his VP announcement to not draw attention away from Biden’s woes. Senior advisers and key allies say they still don’t know whom Trump will choose as his running mate, and many believe the choice is still in flux.

Speaking on MSNBC Monday, Biden criticised Trump for not having held events since the debate and suggested he had been “riding around in his golf cart.”

Additional reporting by Bloomberg