Biden kicks off first trip back to Florida as Democratic presidential nominee, heading to Kissimmee next
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is in Florida on Tuesday to try to bolster support among two groups of voters --- veterans and Hispanics.
Biden arrived in Florida around 1:30 p.m. with his first stop in Tampa, where he held a roundtable event with veterans. During it, Biden criticized President Donald Trump for his reported remarks referring to fallen soldiers as “suckers."
“Nowhere are his faults more glaring and more offensive, to me at least, than when it comes to his denigration of our service members, veterans, wounded warriors who have fallen,” he said. President Trump has previously denied making these remarks.
Biden also spoke about his son, Beau, who served in the Delaware National Guard and died of a brain tumor in 2015. He stated that “he’s gone now, but he’s no sucker."
He went on to speak about his experience as vice president, escorting military caskets home and working on military issues, and about his own commitments to strengthen the VA and tackle veterans mental health crisis
In addition, he attacked Trump for what he said were failed promises to veterans, citing that "President Trump likes to say he passed VA Choice, but just like everything else he seems to say, it’s a figment of his imagination or a flat-out lie,” he said, referencing a program passed under the Obama administration that steers more patients to the private sector.
The event kicked off Biden’s first trip back to Florida as the Democratic presidential nominee.
MORE NEWS: Biden, Trump deadlocked in battleground Florida: Poll
After his stop in Tampa, Biden headed to Kissimmee for a Hispanic Heritage Month event. The Biden campaign says it is hoping to court the more than 1.1 million Puerto Ricans who now call Florida home, including the more than 330,000 who live in Central Florida.
The former vice president has outlined his plans "to ensure Puerto Rico has the resources it needs and deserves," following the devastation from Hurricane Maria. You can read the plan here: English | Spanish.
Biden's visit comes after Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, campaigned last week in Miami-Dade County.
This week, Michael Bloomberg also announced he'd back Biden by spending at least $100 million to help him win Florida, a major battleground state.
Nationally, Biden leads President Trump by five points among likely voters, according to the most recent FOX News poll, but when looking specifically at Florida, the Sunshine State and its 29 electoral votes appear to be up for grabs.
MORE NEWS: Joe Biden faces worries that Latino support slipping in Florida
The latest Real Clear Politics poll shows the two candidates in a virtual lock with Biden currently ahead by 1.2 points in Florida. That is the same margin that gave Florida to Trump in 2016.
Republican President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence also have made a series of campaign appearances in Florida, a battleground state in the Nov. 3 election.
Watch FOX 35 for the latest updates on the 2020 election.
The News Service of Florida and Associated Press contributed to this report.