Biden Will Call for Healing the Nation’s Divisions in a Speech at Gettysburg

Joseph R. Biden Jr. traveled on Tuesday afternoon to the swing state of Pennsylvania, where he planned to deliver a forceful call for national unity and make the case that the election is not about partisan disagreements but about issues with life-or-death consequences.

In a speech in Gettysburg, where a Civil War battlefield serves as a symbol of a country divided against itself, Mr. Biden will reiterate the notion that the election is “a battle for a soul of the nation,” according to his campaign, reprising a central theme of his candidacy four weeks before Election Day.

Though it is perhaps too soon for the address to amount to a closing argument, his remarks suggest that he intends to end his bid for the White House as he began it: by casting the election as a national emergency whose outcome will determine the trajectory of the country for years to come.

Seizing on the latest President Trump-fueled chaos — this time the president’s cavalier attitude toward the coronavirus despite being sickened by it himself — Mr. Biden, whose campaign said he had again tested negative for the virus on Tuesday, intends to build on his longstanding arguments about the need for calm and to further make the case for himself as a unifying figure who transcends partisan battle lines.

Earlier in the day, at the end of a virtual fund-raising event, Mr. Biden said he had “worked and worked and worked on” the speech and indicated it would be “about how the soul of America and racial equality and what significant trouble we’re in right now.”

“Some people may think it’s a little dramatic, but I think it’s appropriate,” he said. “We have to unite this nation and I’ve decided to do it from Gettysburg. I’ve worked on this speech very, very, very hard.”

His trip to Gettysburg comes as he seeks to press his advantage over Mr. Trump, who trails in polls and remains confined to the White House.

Mr. Biden, who has heeded the advice of experts and been cautious about holding in-person events in recent months, prompting mockery from Mr. Trump, is now the candidate who is out on the campaign trail, albeit still with small, socially distanced events that strictly adhere to public health guidelines.

His Pennsylvania trip follows a visit to Florida on Monday and precedes a planned trip on Thursday to Arizona. Mr. Biden is maintaining leads or pulling away from Mr. Trump in polls in all three states.

Mr. Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he planned to attend the presidential debate scheduled for Oct. 15, even as he remains infectious and doctors have warned that the course of his illness is unpredictable. In a tweet on Monday, he also indicated plans to return to the campaign trail soon.

Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump shared the debate stage in Cleveland a week ago, and Mr. Biden’s campaign said he had tested negative for the coronavirus twice on Friday and again on Sunday. His campaign declined to say whether he would be tested again before flying to Pennsylvania on Tuesday, or to answer a question about when he was last tested.

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