Trump told a rally crowd in swing-state Pennsylvania that he was only there because of how badly his campaign is going

Bill Bostock
·2 min read
ERIE, PA - OCTOBER 20: U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at North Coast Air aeronautical services at Erie International Airport on October 20, 2020 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Trump is holding the rally two days ahead of the final presidential debate. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump at a campaign rally on Tuesday in Erie, Pennsylvania. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump told supporters at a rally on Tuesday in Erie, Pennsylvania, that he never expected to have to campaign for their votes in person.

  • "Before the plague came in, I had it made. I wasn't coming to Erie. I mean, I have to be honest, there's no way I was coming," Trump said. "I didn't have to. I would've called you and said, 'Hey, Erie. You know, if you have a chance, get out and vote.' We had this thing won."

  • Trump continued: "We got hit with the plague, and I had to go back to work. 'Hello, Erie, may I please have your vote?'"

  • Polls have found Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, ahead in Pennsylvania.

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President Donald Trump told a crowd at a rally in Pennsylvania on Tuesday that he came to see them only because his campaign was doing worse than he hoped.

Trump spoke for an hour at Erie International Airport, seeking to tout his accomplishments and attack Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee.

Trump has held several rallies across the US in recent weeks and is scheduled to debate Biden on Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee. The US election is on November 3, in 13 days.

But on Tuesday, Trump suggested that the only reason he visited Erie was that the coronavirus pandemic had hampered his campaign so much.

"Four or five months ago when we started this whole thing — because, you know, before the plague came in, I had it made. I wasn't coming to Erie," Trump said. "I mean, I have to be honest, there's no way I was coming."

"I didn't have to. I would've called you and said, 'Hey, Erie. You know, if you have a chance, get out and vote.' We had this thing won. We were so far up.

"We had the greatest economy ever, greatest jobs, greatest everything. And then we got hit with the plague, and I had to go back to work. 'Hello, Erie, may I please have your vote?' Right?"

National polls have found Biden with about a 10-point lead over Trump. Of the 10 swing states aggregated in CNN's Poll of Polls, Pennsylvania was the state in which Biden had the largest lead: Polling there in late September and early October found Biden with an average of 52% support, compared with 43% for Trump.

Read more: Why Republicans plan to ignore Trump's demands for a big coronavirus stimulus before the election

First lady Melania Trump was scheduled to visit Erie with her husband but pulled out at the last minute. Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said the first lady had a "lingering cough" after having COVID-19 early in October and wanted to be cautious.

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