World

Trump gets election boost as his Supreme Court nominee is confirmed

US President's Supreme Court pick elevated to Associate Justice as Senate votes along party lines

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump's struggling reelection campaign received a boost on Monday with the confirmation of his Supreme Court nominee, tilting the top body to the right and clinching his judicial legacy in a landmark victory for American conservatives.

The Republican-controlled Senate elevated judge Amy Coney Barrett to the lifelong position, capping a rapid and deeply contentious process that now makes her the sixth conservative, and third Trump appointee, on the nine-member bench.

With eight days until the Nov 3 election, the appointment marks an undeniable victory for the president to trumpet as he barnstorms battleground states in a final bid to claw back ground against Democrat Joe Biden.

Ms Barrett, 48, is "going to be great. She's going to be there for a long time", Mr Trump told the crowd in Lititz, at one of three back-to-back rallies in the key swing state of Pennsylvania.

It remains to be seen whether it can be a game-changer for the Republican president, accused by his rival of abandoning the fight against Covid-19 with polls showing voters overwhelmingly disapprove of his pandemic response.

Mr Trump addressed boisterous rallies in Pennsylvania on Monday, while Democrat Joe Biden made a low-key appearance in the state, considered crucial to the chances of victory for both men.

"We win Pennsylvania, we win the whole ballgame," Mr Trump said in Martinsburg, at a rally which was his third and final event of the day.

Mr Biden made a small-scale appearance in the city of Chester, near Philadelphia, meeting with about a dozen campaign volunteers and speaking with reporters.

He said he was "not overconfident about anything" and "with the grace of God" he would win Pennsylvania, the state where he was born.

FIGHTING CHANCE

"I think we're going to win Michigan. I think we're going to win Wisconsin. I think we're going to win Minnesota. I think we have a fighting chance in Ohio. I think we have a fighting chance in North Carolina. We have a fighting chance in Georgia," Mr Biden added, referring to other battleground states.

Mr Biden stepped up his criticism of Mr Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 225,000 people in the US, saying: "The bottom line is, Donald Trump is the worst possible president, the worst possible person to lead us through this pandemic."

Returning to the White House from Pennsylvania, Mr Trump tweeted: "Big problems and discrepancies with Mail In Ballots all over the USA. Must have final total on November 3rd."

Twitter flagged the tweet with a disclaimer describing the post's content as "disputed" and potentially misleading.

Mr Trump also taunted Mr Biden for forgetting his name and calling him "George" just a week before the election.

He twice called Mr Trump "George".

"Four more years of George, er, George, er, he - we're going to find ourselves in a position where, if Trump gets elected, we're going to be in a different world," Mr Biden said.

The president swiftly jumped on the moment of forgetfulness.

"Joe Biden called me George yesterday. Couldn't remember my name," Mr Trump tweeted with glee. "The Fake News Cartel is working overtime to cover it up!" - AFP, REUTERS

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