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Biden losing economic argument to Trump as U.S. begins to re-open

Biden losing economic argument to Trump as U.S. begins to re-open U.S. President Donald Trump is trusted more than Democratic nominee Joe Biden to handle the economy, polls show, even with more than 40 million Americans filing jobless claims and growth stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Some Biden supporters fear that vulnerability could intensify if Trump becomes the face of an economic recovery as the country re-opens after shutdowns, giving the Republican president’s re-election prospects a boost when he needs it most.

Biden is expected to release a large-scale recovery plan in the coming weeks. Democrats are watching closely to see if his message matches the moment, saying the party’s presumptive nominee needs to ramp up criticism of Trump’s response to the pandemic and show leadership for moving forward.

Biden, who has held online events from home during the shutdown, “stayed in his basement and did the proper thing, but now it’s different,” said a leading Democrat in Michigan’s Macomb County, a suburban Detroit county critical to Biden’s hopes of taking the state back after Trump’s 2016 win there.

Biden should be out in communities across the country demonstrating how to reopen businesses while following public health guidance, said the Democrat, who asked not to be named in order to speak candidly. “He needs to show what life is going to be like and how we are going to do it.”

Trump has staked his political future on the economy, pushing a return to normal as U.S. deaths from COVID-19 topped 100,000 nationwide. Biden has preached caution, endorsing a phased re-opening approach but saying this week the country could not fully revert until there is a vaccine.

Though the former vice president has an edge on Trump in overall support ahead of the Nov. 3 election, Reuters/Ipsos polling this week showed Trump with a 42% to 34% lead over Biden in terms of which candidate was trusted more on the economy.

Americans were split between who has a better plan for a national recovery: 37% favored Biden while 35% favored Trump.

To better compete, Biden “must put Trump’s mismanagement of the economic fallout of the coronavirus on the front burner,” said Sams, who was a spokesman for Senator Kamala Harris’ 2020 Democratic presidential campaign.

“It’s not that we don’t want to reopen the economy,” Derderian said. “We don’t know what it means to reopen the economy safely.”

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