NEW YORK: US President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden are both gaffe-prone, but are taking radically different strategies to deal with their reigns of error before the November 3 election.
Biden keeps a lower profile and shies away from unscripted encounters and his strategists hope it will minimise embarrassing errors while watching Trump shoot himself in the foot with his shoot-from-the-hip style.
Trump, on the other hand, seems to revel his aggressive, mis-statements-be-damned stance following the dictum that any publicity is good publicity and hopes that it will play to his base.
The President has nicknamed his rival "Basement Biden" because he did not leave his Delaware home to campaign till recent weeks hoping to control his message and its delivery.
The former Vice President has to walk a fine line between the party's left wing and the moderates, not saying anything that would turn off one side while placating the other and vice-versa.
Trump, on the other hand, has no such hesitation and is ready to target just his base. They will have their unscripted showdown on September 29 at the first presidential debate and that could make or break their candidature. Trump's love-hate relationship with the media propels him to hold news conferences even as he excoriates reporters as agents of "fake news" or to shoot his mouth off with writers.
His recorded interview to author and associate editor of The Washington Post Bob Woodward in March about the COVID-19 pandemic, in which he admitted playing down its severity has now been revealed to haunt him in the final phase of the presidential campaign. In an interview in February, Trump told Woodward that that the novel coronavirus was several times "more deadly" than the flu, but admitted to him in March: "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."
Publicly he had said at that time that the pandemic was just "going to disappear". That has now become campaign fodder for Trump's critics, who have accused him of lying to the nation and causing deaths by not acting adequately to contain the coronavirus crisis.
And on Monday during a roundtable in California, Trump told a scientist who mentioned global warming's effects as a cause of the wildfires consuming vast swathes of the state that "it'll start getting cooler... I don't think science knows, actually".
His errors and mis-statements are too many to enumerate and often the media and his critics label them "lies".
He has been jetting around the country almost daily addressing campaign meetings, often more than one in a day.
This has been going on for months, often with hardly a distinction between official presidential meetings and campaign affairs. The President has been criticised for holding these meetings without social distancing, sometimes indoors, and with many in the audience without masks. (IANS)
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