CARSON CITY, Nev. — President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden went on offense over the weekend as both campaigned in states they are trying to flip during the Nov. 3 election, just over two weeks away.
Trump began his Sunday in Nevada, making a visit to a church before a fundraiser and an evening rally in Carson City. Once considered a battleground, Nevada has not swung for a Republican presidential contender since 2004.
The rally drew thousands of supporters who sat elbow to elbow, cheering Trump and booing Biden and the press.
Biden, a practicing Catholic, attended Mass in Delaware before campaigning in North Carolina, where a Democrat has not won in a presidential race since Barack Obama in 2008.
Both candidates are trying to make inroads in states that could help secure a path to victory, but the dynamics of the race are remarkably stable. Biden enjoys a significant advantage in national polls, while carrying a smaller edge in battleground surveys.
Earlier in the day, Trump sat in the front row at the nondenominational International Church of Las Vegas as the senior associate pastor, Denise Goulet, said God told her early that morning that the president would secure a second term.
“At 4:30, the Lord said to me, ‘I am going to give your president a second win,'” she said, telling Trump, “you will be the president again.”
Trump spoke briefly, saying “I love going to churches” and that it was “a great honor” to attend the service. He dropped several $20 bills in the collection plate before leaving.
The message was far different in both style and substance later in the day, when Biden attended a virtual discussion with African American faith leaders from around the country.
Biden held up a rosary, which he said he carries in his pocket every day, and described it as “what the Irish call a prisoner’s rosary” since it was small enough to be smuggled into prisons.
“I happen to be a Roman Catholic,” Biden said. “I don’t pray for God to protect me. I pray to God to give me strength to see what other people are dealing with.”
Earlier, at a drive-in rally in Durham, Biden focused heavily on promoting criminal justice changes to combat ‘institutional racism’ and promised to help build wealth in the black community.
“As my grandfather would say, this guy’s gone around the bend if he thinks we’ve turned the corner. Turning the corner? Things are getting worse,” Biden said.
Trump raked in $12 million during a fundraiser Sunday afternoon at the Newport Beach home of top GOP donor and tech mogul Palmer Luckey, which also featured a performance by the Beach Boys.
Trump’s visit to the state is part of an aggressive schedule of campaign events.
Trump’s Carson City rally was held at an airport with a golden scrub brush-covered hill providing a dramatic backdrop. He relived fond moments from his 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton, revisited his long-running feud with NFL players and went on an extended rant about water management policy.
“How the hell can we be tied?” he asked. “What’s going on? … We get these massive crowds. He gets nobody…. It doesn’t make sense!” Biden has held very small and virtual events.
Biden started his day with Mass in Delaware at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine. He and his wife, Jill, entered wearing dark-colored face masks. She carried a bunch of flowers that including pink roses.
The church is a few minutes’ drive from Biden’s home. Biden’s son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015, is buried in the cemetery on its grounds. Joe and Jill Biden visited the grave after the service.
Trump but has drawn strong support from Evangelical leaders and frequently hosts groups of pastors at the White House. Trump often goes to the Church of Bethesda-By-The Sea near Mar-a-Lago in Florida for major holidays, including Easter, and he attended a Christmas Eve service last year at Family Church in West Palm Beach before the onset of the pandemic.
If elected, Biden would be only the second Roman Catholic president in U.S. history and first since John F. Kennedy.