Donald Trump ignored coronavirus crowd limits as thousands of largely maskless supporters attended a rally in North Carolina.
The state caps outdoor gatherings at 50 people to curb the spread of coronavirus, but the US president appeared to disregard those rules on Tuesday
“As far as the eye can see,” Mr Trump said, revelling at the sight of people flouting public health guidelines.
“I really believe that these crowds are bigger than they were four years ago.”
In a distinctly different take on the pandemic, Joe Biden held a socially distanced meeting in a backyard a day earlier in Pennsylvania.
Some of his team even left the room if they risked breaking the rules on crowd limits.
“I really miss being able to, you know, grab hands and shake hands,” Mr Biden recently told supporters. “You can’t do that now.”
With less than eight weeks until the US election, Mr Trump and Mr Biden are taking opposite approaches to campaigning during a pandemic.
The candidates are effectively staking out different visions for the country with Mr Biden emphasising guidelines supported by local health officials while Mr Trump rallies against restrictions that he argues are politically motivated.
“By the way, your state should be open,” Mr Trump said to supporters in North Carolina. “It’s you, it’s Michigan, it’s a couple others.”
Mr Trump took aim at Mr Biden by comparing crowd sizes.
“If he had 200 people, I think it would be a lot,” Mr Trump said at the rally. “Have you ever seen the gyms with the circles? That’s his crowd. If he had 200 people.”
Mr Biden’s crowds have been far smaller. The former vice president has appeared in public a handful of times since the pandemic hit, in line with strict state guidelines.
Mr Biden’s approach reflects the reluctance of many of his supporters to attend large gatherings.