President Donald Trump used a Florida town-hall meeting Thursday night to call for a middle-class tax cut if he’s re-elected, appealing to voters’ pocketbooks as he lags his rival Joe Biden in Sunshine State polls.
Appearing in Miami as Biden held a separate town hall in Philadelphia, Trump pressed for a “middle-income tax package,” reiterating a call he’s made in recent days while criticizing Biden’s tax plans. Trump offered no specifics. Biden has said he would raise taxes on households earning more than $400,000 a year.
Trump also floated a middle-class tax cut before the 2018 elections, but a plan never materialized.
Trump and Biden were originally scheduled to spend Thursday night in a debate in Miami. But after Trump tested positive for COVID-19, organizers changed it to a virtual format, and the president objected. That event was canceled, leading Biden to first schedule his town hall.
Pressed by NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, Trump said he would accept a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November election to Biden. Earlier in the day, he told Fox Business News that “all I want is a fair election,” when asked about what circumstances would lead him to concede.
Trump addressed his experience with COVID, saying his lungs were “a little bit, perhaps, infected,” and that he had “a little bit of a temperature.” But he could not answer for certain whether he took a COVID test on the day of the first debate with Biden, and did not definitively answer whether he would support “herd immunity” as a strategy to fight the disease.
Trump was cleared by his doctor to return to an active schedule last weekend.
Trump had earlier criticized Comcast
-owned NBC by suggesting the network would not treat him fairly during the town hall, and also dismissed polls showing him trailing Biden.
Trump narrowly trails Biden in polls of voters in Florida, a perennial and critical battleground state in the White House race. RealClearPolitics’ Florida poll average shows Biden ahead of the president by just 2.7 percentage points.
In Pennsylvania, where Biden participated in his own town hall Thursday night, the former vice president enjoys a 6.5-point lead over Trump.