By Lucia Leal
Washington DC, Oct 24 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States looked Saturday to turn Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s energy policy into a scandal, seemingly in the hope that his rival’s promise to reduce dependence on fossil fuels will turn against him in key states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Ten days before the Nov. 3 election, both Donald Trump and Biden stepped up their campaigning, the former with three rallies in the key states of North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, and the latter with two appearances in crucial Pennsylvania.
A day after the US reached a new daily record for COVID-19 infections, with more than 85,000, Trump tried to divert attention from his management of the pandemic, instead highlighting a phrase that Biden said at the end of the last debate between the pair on Thursday in Nashville.
In that face-to-face, the former Democratic vice president said that, if he comes to power, he will “transition” from the oil industry to renewable energy to face the climate crisis.
Biden tried to qualify his comments after the debate, recalling that what he wants is to withdraw federal subsidies for fossil fuels and that his plan would not eliminate those energy sources until 2050, by which he wants the country to have achieved net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
However, the Trump campaign saw in those statements as a goldmine to be exploited in states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, where tens of thousands of jobs in the coal and oil industries have been lost in recent years.
“They spent the next two days trying to convince you that he didn’t really mean that,” Trump said during the first of his three rallies, in Lumberton, North Carolina.
At that event and the next, in Circleville, Ohio, the Trump campaign screened a video full of statements from last year in which Biden expressed his desire to end fracking, a controversial technique for extracting hydrocarbons using hydraulic fracturing.
Since he became a Democratic candidate, Biden has changed his position and now promises that he will not end the technique, which has generated many jobs in states such as Pennsylvania.
“I will not ban fracking, period. I’ll protect Pennsylvania jobs, period. No matter how many times Donald Trump lies,” Biden insisted at the second of his two rallies of the day in Pennsylvania.
From Luzerne County, which used to be Democrat stronghold, but which Trump won in 2016, the former vice president argued that it makes sense to eliminate “$40 billion in fossil fuel subsidies, and invest that money in clean energy.”
“I have a plan to create millions of clean energy jobs in wind, solar, and carbon capture. Donald Trump never delivered on his promise for a big infrastructure plan,” stressed Biden, accompanied at his rally by singer Jon Bon Jovi.
Although the Trump campaign has rubbed its hands together over Biden’s debate remarks, it is unclear whether the comments will do him much damage at the polls, because his position on the subject has been clear since he presented his energy plan in July.
Biden leads Trump in Pennsylvania by 5.8 percentage points, a margin that has narrowed in the last week; while in Ohio, it is the president who leads the polls by just 1.1 points, according to the weighted average produced by the specialized website FiveThirtyEight.
A topic that the president prefers not to talk about is COVID-19, which has already infected more than 8.5 million people in the US, where there is a rebound in cases that affects mainly the Midwest and the states that they go through the Rocky Mountains.
“You know why we have cases? Because we test so much. And in many ways it’s good, and in many ways it’s foolish,” because it allows the media to criticize his management, Trump said in North Carolina.
Experts disagree with Trump’s argument that confirmed cases are rising simply because more tests are being done, a logic that ignores the fact that the percentage of positive tests has risen more than 1 percentage point since early October, up to 5.8 percent today.
Although Trump says he is sure that he will achieve re-election, the Washington Post revealed Saturday that, during a fundraising event on Thursday, the president confessed that it will be very difficult for his party to retain control of the Senate after the election, and that he doesn’t want to support some Republican senators. EFE-EPA