The Latest: Biden blasts Trump’s handling of Cuba, Venezuela

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the presidential campaign (all times local):

3:40 p.m.

Democrat Joe Biden is making a direct pitch to Florida’s Latino voters by attacking President Donald Trump’s handling of Cuba and Venezuela.

Speaking at a drive-in rally in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, Biden said Trump is “the worst possible standard-bearer for democracy” in places like Cuba and Venezuela.

The president, Biden said, “can’t advance democracy and human rights” in Cuba or Venezuela “when he has embraced so many autocrats around the world.” And he said that the Trump administration’s decision to reimpose trade and travel sanctions on Cuba “isn’t working,” declaring that “Cuba is no closer to freedom and democracy today than it was four years ago.”

Florida’s sizable and diverse Latino population could be key to Biden’s chances in Florida, a state that remains a must-win for Trump. While the state’s Cuban population has traditionally trended Republican, Democrats believe they have an opening with Florida’s Cubans because of Trump’s move to freeze relations with the nation and the changing demographics of the population.

Biden set the stakes for voters at the rally, telling them, “If Florida goes blue, it’s over!”

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden are chasing votes in Florida, a state all but essential to the Republican’s pathway to another term, as both nominees turn their focus to encouraging voters to turn out in person on Election Day.

Read more:

— Advocates are mobilizing to get out the vote in myriad ways

— Pelosi agenda envisions big health care, infrastructure push aligned with Biden platform.

— Trump paints an apocalyptic portrait of life under a Biden presidency

— Trump Cabinet members fan out to states, blending politics and policy.

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:

3:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign says it’s postponing a Thursday night rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, for a few days as Tropical Storm Zeta bears down on the Northeast.

The president’s campaign said in a statement that the outdoor rally has been postponed until Monday because of a wind advisory that has gusts reaching 50 mph.

Several North Carolina counties were under tropical storm watch Thursday afternoon. North Carolina is a battleground state that Trump won in 2016 but that Democrat Joe Biden is pushing for in 2020.

Trump held a rally on Thursday in Tampa, Florida.

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2:45 p.m.

First lady Melania Trump is making her first joint campaign appearance of the year with her husband.

Mrs. Trump warmed up the large crowd outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa for President Donald Trump.

She used her few minutes in the spotlight to echo her husband’s push to downplay the coronavirus pandemic that has killed 228,000 Americans. She predicted that that the nation will soon “overcome this pandemic and continue building the brightest future for generations to come.”

Mrs. Trump did a solo campaign event earlier this week in Pennsylvania. She had planned to appear with her husband during a visit to Pennsylvania last week, but was a last-minute scratch.

The first lady in her speech also called the U.S. “a country of hope” and said her husband has proven himself “a leader who shows us that every single day”

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1:40 p.m.

Joe Biden is campaigning in Florida, aiming to deny President Donald Trump a win in a state that is pivotal to his reelection hopes.

The Democratic presidential candidate will appear at two drive-in rallies Thursday, in Broward County and Tampa. Both areas are key to his chances — Broward is the bluest county in the state, home to a sizable population of Black voters, and Tampa is the largest city in the traditional bellwether Florida county of Hillsborough. Underscoring the stakes for the Republican, Trump himself will campaign in Tampa Thursday as well.

Florida is a perennially close state — it went for Trump by a little more than a percentage point in 2016, and this year, Democrats are making an aggressive play to win back the state’s 29 electoral votes.

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is spending $100 million to try to tip the scales for Democrats, and Floridians have seen a parade of Democratic surrogates in recent weeks. Former President Barack Obama campaigned in Miami on Tuesday, former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg visited Tampa Wednesday, and Sen. Kamala Harris scheduled to return to the state on Saturday.

Categories: National News