President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden campaigned Sunday in swing states they are trying to flip during the Nov. 3 election that is just more than two weeks away.
Trump began his day in Nevada, making a visit to church before a fundraiser and an evening rally in Carson City. Once considered a battleground, Nevada has not swung for a Republican presidential contender since 2004.
The rally drew thousands of supporters who sat elbow to elbow, cheering Trump and booing Biden and the press. The vast majority wore no masks to guard against the coronavirus, though cases in the state are on the rise, with more than 1,000 new infections reported Saturday. The president warned that a Biden win would lead to further lockdowns and at one point appeared to mock Biden for saying he would listen to scientists.
“He’ll listen to the scientists. If I listened totally to the scientists, we would right now have a country that would be in a massive depression,” Trump said.
Biden, a practicing Catholic, attended Mass in Delaware before campaigning in North Carolina, where a Democrat has not won in a presidential race since Barack Obama in 2008.
Both candidates are trying to make inroads in states that could help secure a path to victory, but the dynamics of the race are remarkably stable. Biden enjoys a significant advantage in national polls, while carrying a smaller edge in battleground surveys.
Earlier in the day, Trump sat in the front row at the nondenominational International Church of Las Vegas as the senior associate pastor, Denise Goulet, said God told her early that morning that the president would secure a second term.
“At 4:30, the Lord said to me, ‘I am going to give your president a second win,'” she said, telling Trump, “you will be the president again.”
Trump spoke briefly, saying “I love going to churches” and that it was “a great honor” to attend the service. He dropped a handful of $20 bills in the collection plate before leaving.
The message was far different later in the day, when Biden attended a virtual discussion with African American faith leaders from around the country.
Biden held up a rosary, which he said he carries in his pocket every day.
“I happen to be a Roman Catholic,” Biden said. “I don’t pray for God to protect me. I pray to God to give me strength to see what other people are dealing with.”
Earlier, at a drive-in rally in Durham, North Carolina, Biden focused heavily on promoting criminal justice changes to combat institutional racism and promised to help build wealth in the Black community.
He noted that Trump had said at one of his rallies that the country had turned the corner on the pandemic.
“As my grandfather would say, this guy’s gone around the bend if he thinks we’ve turned the corner. Turning the corner? Things are getting worse,” Biden said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. recorded more than 53,000 new cases of the coronavirus Sunday.
In addition to public polling that indicates Biden has an edge, the former vice president enjoys another considerable advantage over Trump: money.
Trump raked in $12 million during a fundraiser Sunday afternoon at the Newport Beach home of top GOP donor and tech mogul Palmer Luckey, which also featured a performance by the Beach Boys.
But over the past four months, Biden has raised over $1 billion, a massive amount of money that has eclipsed Trump’s once-overwhelming cash advantage.
Trump’s visit to Nevada is part of an aggressive schedule of campaign events, where he has leaned heavily into fear tactics.
Trump’s Carson City rally was held at an airport where he relived fond moments from his 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton, revisited his long-running feud with NFL players and went on an extended rant about water management policy, which he blamed for people having to “flush their toilet 15 times.”
He also added to his litany of attacks against Biden, claiming that, if Biden were elected, he would mandate new lockdown measures that would make Carson City “a ghost town” and “the Christmas season will be canceled.”
Biden started his day with Mass in Delaware at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine, as he does nearly every week. He and his wife, Jill, entered wearing dark-colored face masks. She carried a bunch of flowers that including pink roses.
The church is a few minutes’ drive from Biden’s home. Biden’s son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015, is buried in the cemetery on its grounds. Joe and Jill Biden visited the grave after the service.
Trump attends church far less often but has drawn strong support from white Evangelical leaders and frequently hosts groups of pastors at the White House. Trump often goes to the Church of Bethesda-By-The Sea near Mar-a-Lago in Florida for major holidays, including Easter, and he attended a Christmas Eve service last year at Family Church in West Palm Beach before the onset of the pandemic.