Some analysts believe a strong Biden victory that also delivers a Democratic Senate majority would pave the way for another wave of deficit spending as the new administration pushes to return the US economy to full employment as soon as possible.
If there is more stimulus, that could continue to flow into the equity market. The US sharemarket has already advanced since the start of October, with the S&P 500 up 2.2 per cent and the Dow up a similar amount.
The optimistic mood has spread to Australia, with the S&P/ASX 200 index up 5.4 per cent this week for its best week since early April.
Rambling and nonsensical
Sounding tired, coughing and ignoring basic questions about when he last tested negative for COVID-19, Mr Trump announced he’s likely to resume campaign rallies over the weekend and stunningly lashed out at several of his top cabinet officials for failing to prosecute political enemies.
Ending a week of theatrics and growing questions about his state of mind – as well as a spate of sharply deteriorating poll numbers – Mr Trump on Friday (AEDT) gave two lengthy, often rambling and nonsensical telephone interviews with a friendly TV network and issued a video promising senior citizens who appear to be deserting his campaign a free “cure” for coronavirus.
Despite insisting he had staged an “amazing” recovery and been “cured” of the COVID-19 infection that saw him medevaced to hospital and twice left him needing supplementary oxygen, Mr Trump’s voice was hoarse and broke a number of times during a late evening discussion with Fox News’ Sean Hannity program.
Moments before the interview, Mr Trump’s White House doctor Sean Conley released a statement that the President had “responded well to treatment” and he anticipated his “safe return to public engagements” as early as Saturday.
But during the interview, in which Trump said he would “probably” hold a rally in Florida on Saturday night and another in Pennsylvania the following night, he at one point was forced to muffle a cough, with the audio cutting out for several seconds.
Trump said Joe Biden ‘wouldn’t be president for two months’ and would be deposed by Kamala Harris, a ‘communist’.
Outside of a handful of White House-produced videos, Mr Trump had not been seen in public for at least 72 hours. His last appearance was on the balcony of the White House on Monday after landing on a Marine One flight from the Walter Reed military hospital just outside Washington DC.
Mr Trump also spent much of the interview wandering through a series of talking points that often made little sense or were filled with laughable falsehoods.
On the issue of abortion, Mr Trump absurdly and stunningly accused Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, who has endorsed Mr Trump’s challenger Joe Biden, of “executing a baby”.
“He endorsed a Governor of Virginia who not only executed a baby, late-term abortion, but executed a baby because the baby can be born and then you can kill the baby,” Mr Trump said. “What’s going on is so bad, it’s so evil.”
Dodging test question
At another point, Mr Trump spoke about California sending water “out to the Pacific because they want to take care of certain little tiny fish that aren’t doing well without water to be honest with you”.
Asked by Hannity whether he had been tested recently, Mr Trump dodged the question, saying; “Yeah, I just saw the doctors today. They think I’m in great shape.”
When Hannity followed up, asking whether the President tested negative, Mr Trump switched to talking about his upcoming rallies.
The third time Mr Hannity pressed the President, asking whether he had had a test since his diagnosis a week ago, Mr Trump said there would “probably” be a test on Friday (Saturday AEDT).
“Because, there’s no reason to test all the time,” Mr Trump added, before moving on, seemingly to the results of his last test. “They found very little infection or virus, if any. I don’t know if they found any. I didn’t go into it greatly with the doctors.”
Earlier in the day, in a separate TV interview on the Fox Network, Mr Trump described Mr Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, as a “monster” and took aim at some of his most important cabinet officials, including hitherto loyal Attorney-General William Barr.
Mr Trump openly expressed his anger at Mr Barr’s handling of the so-called Durham probe into the origins of the Russia inquiry that looked at Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election campaign.
He said Mr Barr would go down in history as a “very sad, sad situation” if he failed to indict Democrats like Mr Biden and former president Barack Obama.
Mr Trump also complained about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s failure to release Hillary Clinton’s emails. “I’m not happy about him for that reason,” he said.
Even FBI director Christopher Wray wasn’t immune: “He’s been disappointing.”
“Unless Bill Barr indicts these people for crimes, the greatest political crime in the history of our country, then we’re going to get little satisfaction unless I win and we’ll just have to go, because I won’t forget it,” Mr. Trump said, referring to the Durham probe.
“But these people should be indicted. This was the greatest political crime in the history of our country, and that includes Obama and it includes Biden.”
‘In an altered state’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has lent her support to a bill that would give Congress a say in determining whether Mr Trump should be forced out of office because of incapacity, said Mr Trump appeared to be “in an altered state right now”.
“What I said about the President was that we don’t know if somebody who – I’ve not said this, I’ve quoted others to say there are those who say that when you’re on steroids and/or if you have COVID-19 or both – that there may be some impairment of judgment. But again, that’s for the doctors and the scientists to determine.”
Mr Trump responded on Twitter: “Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation. They don’t call her Crazy for nothing!”
In his earlier interview, Mr Trump said Mr Biden “wouldn’t be president for two months” and would be deposed by Senator Harris, a “communist”.
Mr Trump’s former White House spokesman Anthony Scaramucci described the President’s words as a racist dog-whistle. Senator Harris is America’s first African American vice-presidential nominee.
The President on Thursday also said he would not take part in next week’s second debate against Mr Biden, after the debate organisers decided to make it a virtual event because of health concerns.
“I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate. That’s not what debating is all about,” Mr Trump said.
“You sit behind a computer and do a debate – it’s ridiculous, and then they cut you off whenever they want.”
Mr Trump’s decision means the second and final debate between the two White House contenders will be on October 22, less than two weeks before the November 3 election.
Instead of the debate that was planned for October 15, Mr Biden’s campaign has arranged a town-hall-style event in Philadelphia that night to be hosted by ABC News.
Since the opening debate on September 28, Mr Trump has lost ground to Mr Biden nationally and across swing states, according to a widely watched poll tracker published by RealClearPolitics.
Mr Trump trails Mr Biden by an average of 9.7 percentage points, the widest shortfall since the third week of June.