Donald Trump and Joe Biden. File
John T. Bennett, Chris Riotta/ The Independent
The president made the remark in Ocala after telling a group of seniors in Fort Myers he views the Bidens as blameworthy even though no proof has been found.
Donald Trump chuckled and smirked as a crowd of supporters in Florida chanted “lock him up” after he mentioned Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and his business dealings in Ukraine.
The president made the remark in Ocala after telling a group of seniors in Fort Myers he views the Bidens as an “organised crime family” even though no US or Ukrainian government entity has accused either father or son of criminal actions.
Mr Trump has spent ample time at campaign and official events this week saying a recent “New York Post” article claiming to have reviewed emails showing Hunter Biden setting up a meeting with a business partner from Ukraine and his then-vice president father. The Biden campaign denies any official statement shows such a meeting ever happened; the newspaper also reported the emails show the younger Biden trying to sell his influence, including with his VP father.
The Biden’s have denied any wrongdoing, but Mr Trump is painting his general election foe as both senile and corrupt and a puppet of the liberal wing of his party, which the president contends will essentially oust Mr Biden from power, if he is elected in a few weeks.
“The Biden family is a criminal enterprise” that the president says has “handed power” to “Marxists” in his party.
The new claims, which recall some of the accusations that saw the president impeached last year, stem from a story by the New York Post. Both Facebook and Twitter restricted sharing of the story, saying they were acting to slow the spread of false information. Twitter said sharing the story contravened its policy on “directly distribut[ing] content obtained through hacking that contains private information”.
The move has allowed the president to say he is not only running against Mr Biden and Democrats but also “big tech.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, whose own Twitter account was briefly restricted after she tried to share the story, led accusations that social media companies were censoring stories critical of the Bidens. The president’s egging on the Ocala chant came hours after he endorsed another lock-up chant.
The crowd of seniors in Fort Myers chanted “lock her up” about his 2016 general election foe, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, referring to her use of a private email server while serving as America’s top diplomat.
“Yeah, I agree with you,” he said. “I used to just be quiet about it. I agree with you 100 per cent.”
Town hall ratings
The former vice president appears to have bested Donald Trump at his own game, according to early ratings released by the major networks
Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared to lead President Donald Trump’s ratings during their dueling town hall events both televised at the same time on Thursday night, according to early figures.
While Mr Biden’s ABC News event reportedly received an audience of 12.7 million, the president drew 10.4 million viewers to his town hall on NBC News that was scheduled following the cancellation of this week’s second presidential debate.
The figures were subject to significant changes as new data was released from broadcast affiliate channels throughout the day.
Still, the data appeared to show that Mr Trump’s move to effectively cancel the debates by refusing to have them conducted virtually due to his Covid-19 diagnosis worked against him.
As a president who is obsessed with his ratings, it was assumed Mr Trump would revel in reports the day after the town halls that showed him having a larger viewing audience than Mr Biden did during his event.
Mr Trump has routinely mocked the former vice president for hosting virtual events and limiting the size of his audiences at in-person rallies and campaign speeches in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
But early streaming data also appeared to show Mr Biden in the lead at Mr Trump’s own game, accruing more streaming viewers on the ABC News livestream than the president did on the NBC News livestream throughout the 8:00 p.m. hour, according to Variety.
The NBC News event was met with swift outcry from prominent actors on the network’s most popular TV shows like This Is Us, who said they were “devastated” by its decision to schedule the town hall at the same time as that of the former vice president.
Critics of the president’s town hall noted how Mr Biden was only participating in an ABC News town hall because Mr Trump refused to attend the debates virtually, despite having contracted Covid-19.
The president was forced to disclose his diagnosis after it was reported he tested positive just days after the first presidential debates, at a time when he was traveling across the country for fundraising events. It still remains unclear when the president knew he first tested positive for Covid-19.
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