Kamala Harris in virtual Milwaukee event charges Trump with botched response to pandemic

Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris speaks in a virtual campaign event with Milwaukee voters, Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris celebrated her 56th birthday on the virtual campaign trail Tuesday, urging Milwaukee voters to get to the polls as early in-person balloting began in Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin, you’re the key,” she said. “Milwaukee, we need you.”

The U.S. Senator from California wasted little time in harshly criticizing President Donald Trump and his administration over their policies on the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is more than fair to say that Donald Trump has exhibited a reckless disregard for human life,” Harris said. “And there’s just no denying that.

“And again, when we’re looking at the numbers who have been on unemployment, the numbers who have been impacted by COVID.”

On COVID-19, Harris charged that Trump and his administration “knew what was going on. They knew it could hurt people. They’ve had the information since January. They covered it up. They gave people no indication of how serious it was. They didn’t give families enough time to make decisions on how they would live their lives, how they would protect their families.”

She said Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has a plan to contain COVID.

“The thing about Joe is he has a deep understanding of how our government works,” she said. “He has an understanding of what it means to manage a crisis. He dealt with these crises in the past, whether it be the Great Recession when he pushed through the recovery act, or what he did to work on containing Ebola.”

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Biden, who has led in Wisconsin polls, said in an interview with WISN’s Adrienne Pedersen that he isn’t taking Wisconsin for granted. 

“I’ve worked really hard to try to earn the votes of the folks in Wisconsin,” he said. “I’ve been there a number of times. … If you like what you see, help me out. If not, vote for the other person.”

He said he thinks Trump will use Thursday’s debate to launch personal attacks “because he doesn’t want to talk about why he’s taking away health care at the very time we’re in the middle of a pandemic. But I’m going to try very hard to focus on the issues that affect the American people and talk to them.”

Democrats are aiming to reverse their political fortunes in Wisconsin, where they lost to Trump in 2016. And to do that, they’re depending on driving turnout in Milwaukee.

“It is clear the path to the White House runs through Wisconsin,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley. “We must dominate here in our backyard of Milwaukee County to turn our state blue.”

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, was buoyed by “seeing the numbers of people who braved the virus and the chilly weather to exercise that right,” to vote on the first day of in-person voting.

LIVE UPDATES:Early in-person voting in Wisconsin