Democratic nominee Joe Biden will attempt to shift the focus of the U.S. presidential race back to the coronavirus and President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic during a Wednesday campaign event on safely reopening the nation’s schools.
The health crisis, which has killed more than 184,000 Americans, has been overshadowed in recent days by civil unrest in Portland, Oregon, and Kenosha, Wisconsin, where police shot Jacob Blake in the back last week, triggering protests.
Biden and Trump, a Republican, have offered dueling arguments ahead of the Nov. 3 election over which candidate can keep the country safe. Trump visited Kenosha on Tuesday, where he accused Democrats of fostering the sometimes violent protests over racial injustice and police brutality that have rocked the nation for months after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
But as millions of elementary and high school students across the country begin a new school year either virtually or in-person, the Biden campaign plans to hold a briefing by medical experts in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday, outlining how schools can open again with a minimum of risk.
Reopening schools amid the pandemic has been a top priority of Trump’s as well, although Biden’s team has maintained he has pushed for it recklessly. “He isn’t listening to experts or scientists,” said Symone Sanders, a Biden adviser. “He’s barreling forward trying to reopen schools because he thinks it will help his re-election.”
Biden has called for Congress to authorize more funding to aid state and local school districts as they struggle to provide services for students amid the economic downturn.
Trump on Wednesday will travel to North Carolina, which like Wisconsin, is an election battleground. There, he will make remarks commemorating the 75th anniversary of the ending of World War II.