July 29, 2021

Trump says he takes responsibility over Covid-19 as Biden enjoys large poll lead

Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 15% among registered voters nationally and holds a 20-point lead when it comes to who Americans trust to handle the coronavirus pandemic, according to a major poll out on Sunday.

Related: Trump equates support for Confederate flag with Black Lives Matter

In the same ABC News/Washington Post poll, Biden led Trump by 10 points in May and two points in March. Now, among respondents who said they will certainly vote in November, Biden leads by 11%.

Fox News also released a poll on Sunday. It put Biden ahead on coronavirus, race relations and the economy and eight points up nationally.

In an interview with Fox News Sunday recorded at the White House on Friday, Trump said “I’m not losing, because those are fake polls” and refused to say if he would accept the result if Biden beat him in November.

“I have to see,” Trump said. “I have to see. No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no, and I didn’t last time either.”

On Saturday, the New York Times and Washington Post reported that the White House is seeking to block stimulus package funding for coronavirus testing and tracing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and state and Pentagon programmes to tackle Covid-19 abroad.

Biden campaign director of rapid response Andrew Bates said: “Trump is turning his back on his most important responsibility to the American people [because] in the words of his own advisers, he ‘doesn’t want to be distracted by’ the worst public health crisis in 100 years. This is absolutely unconscionable.”

Trump told Fox News Sunday he took “responsibility always for everything” regarding the pandemic.

But he also said he might veto the next stimulus package designed to help unemployed Americans and small business if it did not include a payroll tax cut. As that would dramatically affect social security and other vital programmes, it is seen by most in Congress as a political non-starter.

More than 3.7m cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in the US, now at a rate of about 70,000 a day, and more than 140,000 have died.

According to the ABC/Post poll, Biden has also caught up to Trump on trust to run the economy and leads by nine points on trust to handle crime and safety.

That will be a worrying number for Trump as he seeks to make law and order a central plank of his re-election campaign, and to portray Biden as a puppet of protesters demanding radical policing reform.

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