A Michigan court ruled on Friday that mailed ballots postmarked by Nov. 2 must be counted in the state as long as they are received by a clerk’s office within two weeks after the Nov. 3 election. Michigan Court of Claims Judge Diane Stephens made the ruling in a case brought by the Michigan Alliance for Retired Americans, and argued for by Marc Elias, an elections lawyer working with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign. The ruling said the ballots must be received “by the clerk’s office no later than 14 days after the election has occurred,” and would apply to this year’s election as special provisions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Elias, in a tweet, called the ruling a “major victory for voting rights” in the state, though it is likely to be appealed. Democrats and Republicans have clashed over the rules for voting by mail ahead of the November election, when there is expected to be a surge in mail voting because of the virus. That expected surge has led to controversy over whether the U.S. Postal Service will be able to handle the mail rush in time to ensure that voters who mailed their ballots would not be disenfranchised. President Donald Trump, who will face Biden in November’s contest, has argued without evidence that voting by mail will lead to widespread voter fraud. (Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Bill Berkrot)
President Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, will both travel to the key Midwestern state of Minnesota on Friday, as early voting begins there ahead of November’s election. Trump, who trails Biden in national polls, is playing offense in Minnesota in a bid to capture the state he narrowly lost to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 while winning neighboring Wisconsin. But recent opinion polls in Minnesota have given Biden a solid lead; the poll-tracking website RealClearPolitics showed Biden up by an average of 10.2 points as of Thursday. Biden’s polling advantage underscores the extent to which the current electoral map favors the former vice president. He leads in all three former industrial “Rust Belt” states that Trump flipped from the Democratic column on his way to victory in 2016: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump is scheduled to hold a campaign rally at an airport in Bemidji, Minnesota, in the evening. Earlier in the day, Biden will tour a union training center in Duluth before delivering a speech. The state was the flashpoint for a national reckoning on race relations, when George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for minutes even after he appeared to lose consciousness. The killing prompted widespread civil unrest that has lasted for months and further rattled a nation already besieged by the coronavirus pandemic and the attendant economic downturn. Trump has responded to the demonstrations by vowing to maintain “law and order” while portraying many of the protesters as far-left radicals who would be further empowered by a Biden victory in the Nov. 3 election. Biden has denounced the violence at some protests while expressing support for the protesters’ objections to racism and police brutality. He has blamed Trump’s divisive rhetoric for inflaming the situation. (Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Peter Cooney)
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called from President Donald Trump to step down from his position due to his response to the coronavirus pandemic. Biden appeared for a presidential town hall held in Moosic, Pa., Thursday evening where he was asked how he would be able to change the narrative being communicated about the severity of the coronavirus. For months, Trump has downplayed the pandemic and even admitted to doing so. However, many of his supporters continue to dismiss the dangers associated with coronavirus transmission. Biden expressed concern about the president’s stance and how it has impacted the United States’ handling of the coronavirus. “This is all about one thing, the stock market. He doesn’t want to see anything happen,” Biden said. “It’s all about his reelection. It should be about the American people, and they’re in trouble.” Biden went on to reiterate Dr. Robert Redfield’s stance on the importance of masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director suggested that masks actually could offer more protection against the coronavirus than a vaccine would, as previously reported on IJR. See Biden’s remarks below: 'This president should step down': Joe Biden lays into Donald Trump's failed response to the pandemic. #BidenTownHall pic.twitter.com/v0LJyGlVfv — PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) September 18, 2020 He also noted that honesty and sternness are the best policies when dealing with the American public. The former vice president went on to suggest Trump “step down” over his handling of the coronavirus. “You’ve got to level with the American people — shoot from the shoulder. There’s not been a time they’ve not been able to step up. The president should step down,” Biden said. Biden’s presidential town hall comes a week after Trump found himself at the center of scrutiny for his recorded conversations with journalist Bob Woodward. The president not only admitted that he preferred to downplay the pandemic but he also confirmed he was well aware of how the virus differed from the seasonal flu due to airborne transmission. The United States has reported more than 6.8 million coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
President Donald Trump’s son Eric is willing to be questioned in connection with a probe by New York’s attorney general into whether his father and the Trump Organization overstated the value of assets to obtain loans and tax benefits – if it can wait until after the Nov. 3 election. In a Thursday court filing, Eric Trump’s lawyers said his “extreme travel schedule and related unavailability” and “the importance of avoiding any appearance of politicizing the investigatory process” justified the delay. They also said they had proposed four dates for Eric Trump to be questioned in the civil probe, beginning on Nov. 19. “Eric Trump has been, and continues to be, willing to appear pursuant to a subpoena,” the lawyers said. A spokesman for Attorney General Letitia James declined to comment. James on Aug. 24 accused the Trump Organization, where Eric Trump is an executive vice president, of resisting subpoenas for her probe into “potential fraud or illegality,” while there had been no determination any laws had been broken. The attorney general said her probe began after Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen told Congress the president’s financial statements had inflated some asset values to save money on loans and insurance, and deflated other asset values to reduce real estate taxes. Four properties were being probed: the Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County, New York; 40 Wall Street in Manhattan; the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, and the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles. The Trump Organization has said the probe into Donald Trump, a Republican, by James, a Democrat, was “all about politics.” In Thursday’s filing, its lawyers also said it should not be required to turn over “thousands of pages of privileged communications” from its lawyers that James also subpoenaed. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 23 in a New York state court in Manhattan. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York and Jan Wolfe in Truro, Massachusetts; editing by Grant McCool and Jonathan Oatis)
President Donald Trump is receiving a lot of criticism for his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak. Now, a former administration official says the government’s response to the virus has driven her to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Olivia Troye, who served as a homeland security and coronavirus adviser to Vice President Mike Pence until August, told The Washington Post that she will vote for Biden because of what she witnessed during her time in the administration. “The president’s rhetoric and his own attacks against people in his administration trying to do the work, as well as the promulgation of false narratives and incorrect information of the virus, have made this ongoing response a failure,” Troye said. Troye described herself as a life-long Republican but said she did not support Trump in the 2016 presidential primary and did share she voted for in that year’s presidential election. She also said she was in “every single meeting” the White House coronavirus task force held from February till July. She told the Post that Trump was not focused during meetings on the coronavirus and claimed his response is part of the reason the death toll is nearing 200,000. Additionally, she claimed that officials “repeatedly begged” Trump to voice support for mask-wearing for weeks, “The mask issue was a critical one. If we would have gotten ahead on that and stressed the importance of it, we could have slowed the spread significantly.” “It was detrimental that it became a politicized issue. It still lingers today,” she added. Troye also claimed that health experts were afraid to share opinions about the virus that would go against the views of Trump because they were nervous about being “cut out.” That assertion is contrary to public statements made by several members of the task force who said that officials were free to share their opinions. She also raised concerns about any coronavirus vaccine produced before the election, “I would not tell anyone I care about to take a vaccine that launches prior to the election.” “I would listen to the experts and the unity in pharma. And I would wait to make sure that this vaccine is safe and not a prop tied to an election,” she added. While Troye says she will vote for Biden, she said she still has a favorable opinion of Pence, “I worked very loyally for him to do everything I could for him. I don’t want this to become a speaking-out-against-him thing.” Carlos Barria/Reuters White House spokesman Judd Deere told the Post that Troye’s “assertions have no basis in reality and are flat out inaccurate.” “The truth is President Trump always put the well-being of the American people first,” he added. Lt. General Keith Kellogg, Pence’s national security adviser, also addressed her allegations, “Ms. Troye is a former detailee and a career Department of Homeland Security staff member, who is disgruntled that her detail was cut short because she was no longer capable of keeping up with her day-to-day duties.” “Ms. Troye directly reported to me, and never once during her detail did she ever express any concern regarding the Administration’s response to the Coronavirus to anyone in her chain of command. By not expressing her concerns, she demonstrated an incredible lack of moral courage,” he added.
Twitter Inc, which was recently targeted in a hacking campaign that compromised the accounts of prominent political figures and celebrities, said on Thursday it was implementing more security measures for certain election-related accounts in the United States. Accounts belonging to the U.S. executive branch, Congress, presidential campaigns and political parties are among those which Twitter said in a blog post it would require to take security measures “given the unique sensitivities of the election period.” The accounts will be required to use a strong password, Twitter will enable by default a setting that helps prevent unauthorized password changes and the users will be strongly encouraged to enable two-factor authentication. In July, hackers were able to access Twitter’s internal systems and seize control of accounts, including Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and former U.S. President Barack Obama, and solicit digital currency. Twitter has said its employees were duped into sharing account credentials. Lawmakers have expressed concerns over what would happen if a similar breach occurred a day before the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3. After the hack, the White House said it had been in constant contact with Twitter to ensure the security of President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which was not jeopardized in the hack. Other types of accounts for which Twitter is requiring or recommending these security measures include those belonging to members of the U.S. Congress, U.S. governors and secretaries of state, political candidates that have Twitter’s “Election Labels” and some major U.S. news outlets and political journalists. Twitter said that in the coming weeks it would put in place other internal security safeguards for the accounts, including better detections to help the company and account holders respond quickly to suspicious activity and increased login defenses to prevent malicious account takeover attempts. (Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; Editing by Chris Reese)
President Donald Trump is adamant mail-in voting is going to jeopardize the upcoming November presidential election. During his press briefing on Wednesday, Trump launched another attack on mail-in voting and claimed it is more of a threat to election security and integrity than foreign interference. “Our biggest threat to this election is governors from opposing parties controlling ballots, millions of ballots,” Trump said. He continued, “To me, that’s a much bigger threat than foreign countries because much of the stuff coming out about foreign countries turned out to be untrue.” Watch his comments below: President Trump: "Our biggest threat to this election is governors from opposing parties controlling ballots, millions of ballots — to me, that's a bigger threat than foreign countries." pic.twitter.com/QYcTuecODF — The Hill (@thehill) September 16, 2020 Trump claimed the ballots “will be stolen.” He questioned where they are going and where they are coming from. “It’s very dangerous for our country. And you know who knows that better than anybody? The Democrats,” Trump said. During a phone call to “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning, Trump declared the election would be rigged, as IJR previously reported. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) accused Trump of “taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada” after he held his rally there on Sunday. “The one thing we can’t beat if they cheat on the ballots. Now [Sisolak] will cheat on the ballots. I have no doubt about it. This is the same man who is in charge of the ballots,” Trump said. Former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon warned on Sunday Trump’s message on mail-in voting is only helping Russia, as IJR previously reported. Gordon told CBS News that Trump’s message “that you can’t trust our system, that you can’t trust the vote, that you can’t trust the other party that you can’t trust is exactly what the Russians particularly hope to achieve.” The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also warned Russia is attempting to undermine the confidence Americans have in mail-in voting.
Former President Barack Obama is encouraging young Americans to consider coming up with a plan to cast their vote as he expressed concern about misinformation circulating in an effort to “confuse and mislead” people about the upcoming election. In a video released on Wednesday, Obama praised young people for becoming experts on quarantining. “Over the last few months, I’ve learned a thing or two from young people about how to quarantine successfully,” Obama said as he went on to note a few of the things he has learned from young TikTokers. After the light-hearted banter, Obama went on to discuss the upcoming election as he stressed the importance of planning to vote in the upcoming election. “Since you’ve given me so much lately, and so much hope over the years, I want to return the favor and help you make a plan in the upcoming election,” Obama said. He added, “You know the stakes. For your lives, for your futures, your planet… Because young people have always been the ones to make change in this country, making change this fall is once again going to depend on you.” Obama went on to note the importance of taking public health into consideration when preparing to vote. “Since we’re still dealing with a pandemic, we’ve got to approach voting just like we do everything else these days,” he said. See Obama’s remarks below: Over the last few months, I've learned a thing or two from the young people in our country. I figured I would return the favor by sharing with you how to make a plan to vote in this upcoming election.Get registered and vote early: https://t.co/Q5BUeMaOB5Video: @attn pic.twitter.com/CNqjS7Dmxo — Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 16, 2020 Obama went through the required steps to vote as he explained the voting methods currently available. He also urged young voters to pay close attention to deadlines and laws in their states. According to the former president, the goal by some is to make voters “cynical” while trying to convince people that their vote does not matter. “They’re trying to make you cynical,” Obama said in the video. “They’re trying to get you to believe that your vote doesn’t matter. Do not let them do that.” Obama emphasized the importance of America’s democracy as he urged voters to cast their ballots as early as possible. He said, “Our democracy is a precious thing, and it’s up to all of us to protect it,” and encouraged young voters to vote as early as they can.
Democrat Joe Biden courted Hispanic voters on Tuesday on his first campaign visit of the year to Florida, saying President Donald Trump had let them down with his divisive immigration policies and a disastrous response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Democratic presidential nominee, trying to overcome what opinion polls show is lagging support among the battleground state’s Hispanics, said Trump had proven he could not be a leader for all Americans. “Donald Trump has failed the Hispanic community time and time again,” Biden told a Hispanic Heritage Month event in Kissimmee, the heart of the state’s rapidly growing Puerto Rican community. With less than 50 days until the Nov. 3 election, Biden is trying to overcome concerns about him among Florida Latinos amid a disinformation campaign that has painted the moderate Democratic presidential nominee as a socialist. Polls show Biden with a slight lead or essentially tied with Trump in the state, although the former vice president lags behind Democrat Hillary Clinton’s level of support with Florida Hispanics in 2016. Trump won Florida over Clinton by just 1.2 percentage points, which helped propel him to the White House. Trump’s inroads with Florida Hispanics have been fueled by his strength with conservative Cuban Americans, a Republican-leaning bloc he has courted throughout his presidency. Florida’s Republican lieutenant governor, Jeanette Núñez, a daughter of Cuban immigrants, told reporters that Biden’s agenda contradicted the values of “faith, family and freedom” held by Hispanic voters because he was “in the pocket” of the left. Biden’s visit to Kissimmee in central Florida was a sign of the campaign’s focus on winning over Puerto Rican voters. Kissimmee received a big influx of people from the U.S. island territory after it was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017. “Donald Trump has done nothing but assault the dignity of Hispanic families,” he said, pointing to the president’s policy of separating families at the southern border and the disproportionate toll that COVID-19 had taken on the community. Biden rolled out an economic recovery plan for Puerto Rico that would remove restrictions on its access to disaster relief funding, forgive some federal disaster loans and expand investment in community health centers. “I’m not going to throw paper towels at people who have just been devastated by a hurricane,” Biden said, reminding voters of Trump’s response on a visit to the island after Maria. Trump has defended his handling of the hurricane recovery effort. Biden has vowed to rescind many of the hardline immigration policies put in place by Trump’s administration, and has emphasized the need for broad health and economic strategies to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. ‘MASSIVE DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN’ Some Florida Democrats said they had noticed a sharp rise in videos and commentary in social media and texts repeating falsehoods about Biden and pushing other conspiracy theories about Democrats. “We are seeing a massive disinformation campaign in Spanish aimed at our community calling Biden and Democrats socialists, and it is having an effect,” said Evelyn Perez-Verdia, a Colombian-American Democratic strategist in south Florida. Asked by a Reuters reporter as he boarded a flight to Florida how he would handle disinformation campaigns targeting Latino voters, Biden said he would “just tell the truth.” “Everybody knows who Trump is. People are going to show up and vote,” Biden said. Florida, where Hispanics make up about 20% of the state electorate, is a linchpin in Trump’s re-election strategy. A Biden win of Florida’s 29 electoral votes would sharply reduce Trump’s chances of another term – no Republican has won the presidency without Florida since Calvin Coolidge in 1924. Trump, a former New York businessman, changed his permanent residence to Florida last year. Nationally, Hispanics make up the largest minority voting group, at more than 13% of eligible voters. Biden’s support with Latino voters across the country has dropped; they favored him over Trump by 9 points in August, down from 30 points in July, according to Reuters/Ipsos data. The Biden campaign, urged by Democrats to do more to court Latinos, has stepped up Spanish-language and bilingual advertising and hired more staff. Polls show Biden running ahead of Clinton’s level of 2016 support among seniors in Florida, another crucial voting bloc, and among white voters, giving him plenty of pathways to reach a majority, Democrats said. They also said there was an opportunity for Biden to make up ground with Florida Hispanics, particularly among the state’s non-Cuban Latinos who in addition to Puerto Ricans include Mexicans, Colombians and Venezuelans. (Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in Tampa, Florida, and John Whitesides in Washington; Additional reporting by Simon Lewis, Michael Martina, Chris Kahn and Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Grant McCool and Peter Cooney)
President Donald Trump is being questioned about his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.” The president was confronted during Tuesday night’s ABC News town hall by an uncommitted voter on his slogan and how that relates to Black Americans. “When has America been great for African Americans in the ghetto of America?” Pastor Carl Day, from Philidelphia, said. “Are you aware of how tone-deaf that comes off the African American community?” Trump responded, “Well, I can say this, we have tremendous African American support,” before going on to say that six or seven months ago “was the best single moment in the history of the African-American people in this country.” However, undeterred, Day continued to press: “I mean, your statement is though, make it great again. So historically, the African American experience, especially in these — out of these ghettos that have been out redlined, historically these ghettos that have systemically been set up,” later adding, “And we have not been seeing a change, quite frankly under your administration, under the Obama administration, under the Bush, under the Clinton, the very same thing happening, the very same system, the cycles continue to ensue.” “You say again, we need to see when was that great, because that pushes us back to a time in which we cannot identify with such greatness,” Day continued. “And I mean you’ve said everything else about choking and everything else, but you have yet to address and acknowledge that there’s been a race problem in America.” Watch the video below: In a special @ABC2020, an uncommitted voter presses Pres. Trump on how his slogan "Make America Great Again" relates to Black Americans, "because that pushes us back to a time in which we cannot identify with such greatness." https://t.co/udW8eVJ2FD pic.twitter.com/VTWSPepomJ — ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 16, 2020 Trump responded, “I hope there’s not a race problem. I can tell you, there’s none with me, because I have great respect for all races, for everybody.” “But when you go back six months and you take a look at what was happening, you can’t even compare that with past administrations,” he added. When Trump suggested he thinks “next year is going to be one of our best years economically,” Day pushed back, “But income inequality is still, but income inequality is higher.” After ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos later added that “even before the pandemic the average black family was earning half of what the average white family was earning,” Trump responded, “You’re right. I can only compare it to the past. The African-American, the Black community was doing better than it had ever done by far both in terms of unemployment, homeownership.”
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will lay out on Wednesday how he plans if elected to develop and distribute a safe coronavirus vaccine, seeking to draw a contrast with President Donald Trump’s approach to combating the pandemic. Biden will deliver remarks in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, after getting briefed by public health experts on the efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The speech is part of a delicate balancing act the former vice president has struck in recent weeks, as Trump has suggested a vaccine could be approved ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Biden, who leads the Republican president in national opinion polls, has questioned whether Trump is pressuring agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sign off on a vaccine to boost his re-election prospects. At the same time, Biden has been careful to say he wants to see a safe vaccine as soon as possible. Last week, during a campaign visit to Michigan, Biden told reporters that he simply wanted “transparency” in the process and that he would love to have an inoculation “tomorrow.” Trump has accused Biden of promoting vaccine fears for political purposes. Last week, he called on Biden to “apologize for the reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric.” The coronavirus has caused about 195,000 U.S. deaths, the most of any country, and millions of job losses. Inoculation experts have expressed concern that not enough Americans will volunteer to take an approved coronavirus vaccine, in part because of the speed with which it is being created. Most vaccinations are developed over a decade or more. In a July Reuters/Ipsos poll, just over 60% of Americans said they were interested in taking a vaccine, around the threshold that experts say is likely to be necessary to halt the pandemic’s spread. Trump’s penchant for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus may hurt his ability to assure Americans of its safety, the poll suggested. Only 15% of respondents said they would be more willing if Trump said the virus was safe. More than twice as many said a presidential endorsement would actually make them less interested in taking the vaccine. ‘EFFECTIVE VACCINE’ Biden has sought for months to portray Trump’s response to the outbreak as a failure that has caused tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths. His argument was bolstered last week by the release of recorded interviews between Trump and journalist Bob Woodward, in which the president acknowledged deliberately downplaying the deadliness of the virus. The Biden campaign said Trump’s handling of the pandemic proved he could not be trusted to oversee vaccine preparations. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are pushing for an effective vaccine to be ready at light speed, and Donald Trump owes it to the American people not to further delay the end of this nightmare by encumbering the development or distribution of a vaccine with any more malpractice,” spokesman Andrew Bates said. A Trump campaign spokesman rejected Biden’s suggestion that the president was undermining the process. “The only people politicizing the COVID-19 vaccine are Joe Biden and the Democrats with their fearmongering and denial of science,” the spokesman, Ken Farnaso, said. “President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed is backed by the world’s greatest scientists and researchers at the FDA, so Americans can rest assured that a COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon.” The Biden campaign has assembled a growing group of experts to advise the candidate on vaccine preparations and distribution, including Vivek Murthy, a former U.S. surgeon general, and David Kessler, a former FDA commissioner. A person familiar with Biden’s regular briefings said several participants had years of government experience as well as relationships with people still working in the government that help inform their guidance. (Reporting by Joseph Ax; Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Peter Cooney)
Ohio’s top election official declined to loosen restrictions on absentee-ballot drop boxes on Tuesday after a state judge ruled they were “arbitrary and unreasonable” and said local officials should be able to install more if they wish. The ruling initially appeared to be a victory for Democrats who have pressed for more drop boxes to accommodate voters who don’t want to return absentee ballots by mail in the Nov. 3 presidential election. But Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, will not change rules that only allow one drop box for each of the state’s 88 counties, spokeswoman Maggie Sheehan said. “Today’s ruling didn’t change anything, and the secretary’s directive remains in place,” she said. Drop boxes have become a partisan flash point in the presidential election. Democrats have promoted them as a reasonable and reliable option for voters unnerved by the COVID-19 pandemic and U.S. Postal Service delivery problems. Republican officials and President Donald Trump’s campaign have sought to limit them in many states, arguing without evidence that the receptacles could enable voting fraud. In Ohio, LaRose’s restrictions leave the 864,000 registered voters of Cuyahoga County, a Democratic stronghold, with the same number of drop boxes as the 8,400 registered voters of Republican-leaning Vinton County. Opinion polls show Trump holding a narrow lead over Democratic rival Joe Biden in Ohio. Ohio Judge Richard Frye ruled that local authorities can set up more drop boxes. “Wholly arbitrary rules are entitled to no deference,” he wrote. Democrats said that should allow local officials to set up more drop boxes if they wish. But the judge’s decision did not strike down the rule outright, and Sheehan indicated LaRose may appeal. “Ohioans are fortunate that the judicial branch offers the opportunity to appeal a single trial judge’s opinion,” she said. Ohio Representative Paula Hicks-Hudson, a Democrat, said LaRose had told her he would follow any court ruling, rather than pursue an appeal. “I’m calling on the secretary of state to keep his word,” she said on a conference call. Democrats and Republicans have waged a state-by-state battle over absentee voting procedures ahead of the election, which could see up to half of all ballots sent through the mail. In Pennsylvania, the state’s top election official said on Monday that local officials can’t discard returned mail ballots if the signature does not resemble one kept on file. In Arizona, a federal judge ruled last week that state officials must give voters a chance to fix ballots that are returned without a signature, rather than rejecting them outright. (Reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Scott Malone, Dan Grebler and Jonathan Oatis)
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is taking aim at President Donald Trump over his reported inability to comprehend the idea of self-sacrifice. During a campaign event in Tampa, Florida, on veterans, Biden took aim at Trump over a report in The Atlantic that alleged the president did not comprehend heroism or the idea of self-sacrifice — especially when it comes to the Military. Biden brought up a portion of the report that centered on Trump’s 2017 Memorial Day visit to Arlington National Cemetery, where he reportedly asked then-secretary of homeland security John Kelly — whose son was killed in Afghanistan — “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” He said, “It was reported from a very reliable source and confirmed by many major outlets that [Trump] said. … to the father of a fallen soldier who was himself a member of the service while standing by the gravesite, he allegedly said, ‘I don’t get it. What was in it for them?'” “What was in it for them? Donald Trump doesn’t seem to be able to conceive the idea of selfless service and being part of a cause that’s bigger than yourself,” he added. Watch the video below: Joe Biden: "It was reported from a very reliable source & confirmed by many major outlets that [Trump] said… to the father of a fallen soldier who was himself a member of the service while standing by the gravesite, he allegedly said, 'I don't get it. What was in it for them?'" pic.twitter.com/MmiEIFEe5o — The Hill (@thehill) September 15, 2020 Biden has increasingly sharpened his attacks on Trump and his respect for the Military. His comments come as a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds that 61% of respondents said they believe Biden has more respect for the Military than Trump, while 37% say they believe Trump has more respect. Trump has forcefully pushed back on that report by The Atlantic, as IJR reported. He told reporters, “I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes. There is nobody that respects them more.” “So, I just think it’s a horrible, horrible thing… no animal, nobody, what animal would say such a thing,” he added. He also suggested the report was “a disgraceful attempt to influence the 2020 election.” Despite his denial, both the Associated Press and Fox News say there were able to corroborate portions of the report by The Atlantic.
Scientific American, a 175-year-old popular science magazine, is throwing its support behind Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in the upcoming November election. The publication’s decision to back Biden marks the first-ever White House endorsement in the magazine’s history. The editors wrote for the October issue they felt “compelled” to endorse Biden and pointed to Trump’s failed coronavirus response and environmental policies as reasons behind their decision. “The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people — because he rejects evidence and science,” the editors said. They encouraged readers to vote for Biden because he “is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment.” The editors argued Trump’s “rejection of evidence and public health measures” have been disastrous for the nation. They cited the president’s interview with journalist Bob Woodward when he indicated he wanted to downplay the outbreak. “His lies encouraged people to engage in risky behavior, spreading the virus further, and have driven wedges between Americans who take the threat seriously and those who believe Trump’s falsehoods,” the editors wrote. They noted his attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without providing an alternative. According to the editors, Trump has proposed billion-dollar cuts to scientific agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They accused Trump of harming preparations for climate change by claiming it does not exist and pulling out of international agreements to help mitigate the effects of it. “Joe Biden, in contrast, comes prepared with plans to control COVID-19, improve health care, reduce carbon emissions and restore the role of legitimate science in policy making,” the article reads. It adds, “He solicits expertise and has turned that knowledge into solid policy proposals.” The editors reiterated it is crucial to elect Biden “who has a record of following the data and being guided by science.”
President Donald Trump on Monday intensified his efforts to win over Latino voters as polls show their support increasingly up for grabs ahead of the November presidential election – a flashing warning light for Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign. Trump hosted what was billed as a roundtable with local Latino supporters in Phoenix, a day after holding a similar event in Las Vegas. Unlike the Nevada event, the Phoenix stop featured a raucous audience of hundreds, sitting close together in the indoor venue, despite public health concerns about the coronavirus. “This is supposed to be a roundtable, but it looks like a rally,” Trump told the crowd. Biden was scheduled to travel to Florida on Tuesday in a bid to shore up flagging support from Hispanic voters in that key battleground state. The former vice president has seen his edge with Latino voters shrink in the run-up to the Nov. 3 election. The most recent national Reuters/Ipsos poll of the presidential race saw his lead over Trump among Hispanics fall to 9 points in August from 30 points in July. At the Phoenix event, Trump was praised by small-business owners and members of local law enforcement, among others, while continuing to criticize Democratic protests against racism in U.S. cities, saying they threatened Latino businesses. “They’ll rip down your community,” Trump said. “Many of these are Hispanic-American small businesses, stores, shops and they rip them down and call it peaceful protesting.” A day earlier, Trump held an indoor campaign rally in Las Vegas, drawing the condemnation of the state’s Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak, who said the event ran afoul of the state’s coronavirus guidelines. Ahead of Trump’s visit to Phoenix, Latino Democratic officials in Arizona said the administration’s halting response to the pandemic had devastated Latino families in the states. “So many Latinos in my community are essential workers who are on the front lines of the fight against coronavirus, but Trump’s failed response has treated our essential workers like they’re disposable, and it’s a disgrace,” state Senator Rebecca Rios said in a call with reporters. ‘SELF-LOATHING’ Alfredo Gutierrez, a former Democratic state Senate majority leader, called the Latinos who met with Trump on Monday “self-loathing,” citing Trump’s history of incendiary rhetoric concerning Latino migrants and his efforts to build a wall along the border with Mexico. “Why would they deign to sit, agree to sit, next to this guy who has spent the last three years spewing hate against us?” he said. Trump won Arizona over Democrat Hillary Clinton by less than 4 points in 2016. Since then, the state, once a hotbed of conservatism, has elected a Democratic senator, Kyrsten Sinema, and the Biden campaign has hopes of scoring a win there. Recent polls have shown Biden with a slight edge in the state. A CBS News/YouGov poll taken last week showed him with a 3-point lead. Nationally, Hispanics make up the largest minority voting group at more than 13% of eligible voters. Clinton in 2016 won about two-thirds of the Latino vote, with Trump earning a 28% share, according to exit polls. Biden’s trip to Florida on Tuesday comes as polls show the race there to be tight, and with Trump holding a 4-point lead with that state’s Latino voters – including its large Cuban-American community. Biden will hold events in Florida in the cities of Tampa and Kissimmee, which have high Puerto Rican populations. “I am going to work like the devil to make sure I turn every Latino and Hispanic vote,” Biden told reporters on Monday. As part of his Western swing, Trump met with firefighters and officials in California earlier on Monday to discuss the largest wildfires in state history. He said forest management was key to controlling the blazes. Biden addressed the fires in remarks at his home base of Wilmington, Delaware, calling Trump a “climate arsonist” for failing to acknowledge the role of global warming in the Western wildfires. (Reporting by Jeff Mason in Phoenix and Trevor Hunnicutt in Wilmington, Del.; Additional reporting by Joseph Ax and Maria Caspani; Writing by James Oliphant; Editing by Peter Cooney)
Democrat Joe Biden on Tuesday will make his first campaign visit of the year to Florida, where opinion polls show a tight race against President Donald Trump amid signs of lagging support for Biden among the battleground state’s crucial Hispanic voters. With less than 50 days until the Nov. 3 election, the Biden campaign is trying to overcome concerns about enthusiasm among Florida Latinos, as well as a disinformation campaign that has tried to paint the moderate Democratic nominee as a socialist. A recent NBC News/Marist poll showed the two White House contenders in a dead heat in Florida and Trump with a 4-point edge over Biden among the state’s Latinos – a group Democrat Hillary Clinton won by 27 percentage points in 2016, according to exit polls. Other polls have shown Biden leading among state Hispanics but still trailing Clinton’s support. Trump won Florida over Clinton by just 1.2 percentage points, which helped propel him to the White House. His inroads with Florida Hispanics have been fueled by his strength with conservative Cuban Americans, a Republican-leaning bloc he has courted throughout his presidency. “Clearly, there has been some hemorrhaging of Hispanic support going on, mainly Cuban Americans,” said Democratic state Senator Annette Taddeo, a Colombian American. “The Republicans have worked really, really hard, and they have been constantly present.” The steady drumbeat of Republican attacks on Biden, the vice president under Barack Obama, as a socialist has also taken a toll, Florida Democrats said. The Republican convention last month featured a Cuban-born Florida businessman, Maximo Alvarez, who compared Biden’s agenda to the promises of Fidel Castro’s Communist rule. Some Florida Democrats said they had noticed a sharp rise in videos and commentary in social media feeds and texts warning, falsely, that Biden is a socialist and pushing other conspiracy theories about Democrats. “We are seeing a massive disinformation campaign in Spanish aimed at our community calling Biden and Democrats socialists, and it is having an effect,” said Evelyn Perez-Verdia, a Colombian-American Democratic strategist in south Florida. ‘SOCIALISM OF THE LEFT’ Ana Hernandez, 63, a transportation auditor from Miami and a Cuban American whose family immigrated to the United States in 1964 to escape communism, said she could not support Democrats because they were too far left. “I would rather stay with what we have than go communist,” she said, adding the “socialism of the left” was her top concern. Florida, where Hispanics make up about 20% of the state electorate, is a linchpin in Trump’s re-election strategy. A Biden win of Florida’s 29 electoral votes would sharply reduce Trump’s chances of another term – no Republican has won the presidency without Florida since Calvin Coolidge in 1924. Trump, a former New York businessman, changed his permanent residence to Florida last year. Nationally, Hispanics make up the largest minority voting group at more than 13% of eligible voters. Biden’s support with Latino voters across the country has dropped, with the group favoring him over Trump by 9 points in August, down from 30 points in July, according to Reuters/Ipsos data. The Biden campaign, urged by Taddeo and other Democrats to do more to court Latinos, has stepped up Spanish-language and bilingual advertising and hired more staff in battleground states including Florida to reach the vital voting bloc. Ahead of events on Tuesday in Tampa and Kissimmee, two Florida cities with heavy Puerto Rican populations, Biden said: “I am going to work like the devil to make sure I turn every Latino and Hispanic vote.” He will get some help from former Democratic primary rival Michael Bloomberg, who will spend $100 million on Biden’s behalf in Florida with a particular focus on Latino voters. Polls show Biden running ahead of Clinton’s level of 2016 support among seniors in Florida, another crucial voting bloc, and among white voters, giving him plenty of pathways to reach a majority, Democrats said. They said there was plenty of opportunity for Biden to make up ground with Florida Hispanics, particularly among the state’s non-Cuban Latinos who include a fast-growing Puerto Rican population and Mexicans, Colombians and Venezuelans. Biden has vowed to rescind many of the hardline immigration policies put in place by Trump’s administration, and has emphasized the need for broad health and economic strategies to recover from the coronavirus pandemic that has hit Latino communities particularly hard. Unite the Country, a Democratic group that supports Biden, is spending $1.4 million on digital advertising aimed at Latinos in south Florida. Steve Schale, the group’s chief executive, said the group could be most effective by driving up the support of non-Cuban Hispanic voters who are not attached to a party and are typically more persuadable. Felice Gorordo, a Cuban-American Biden ally and finance committee member, said the campaign should focus on younger Cuban voters, who do not see foreign policy as the No. 1 issue, making them more open to the campaign’s central message on recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. (Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt and John Whitesides; Additional reporting by Michael Martina and Chris Kahn; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Peter Cooney)
President Donald Trump is looking to appear on a particular show weekend ahead of the 2020 presidential election. During his phone interview on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning, the president revealed that he may join the show every week for an interview. At the start of the phone call, Trump said it was “good to be here. Great to be with my friends.” He then mentioned, “I think we’re going to do this, we’ve agreed to do it once a week in the morning, and I look forward to it like the old days.” Co-host Steve Doocy responded, “I haven’t heard that. Well that’s an exclusive right there!” The president added that they will “do it mostly on Monday, and if we have to, Tuesday,” before co-host Ainsley Earhardt mentioned the network has reached out to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to set up an interview as well, to which Doocy added that Biden “has not called us back.” The president responded, “I have a feeling he’s not going to do it. He’s gonna need a teleprompter and you don’t want to give the answers early.” Watch the video below: On Fox & Friends, President Donald Trump claims that "we've agreed" that he will call into Fox & Friends once a week, "mostly on Monday," until the 2020 election. Steve Doocy says "I haven't heard that," but Trump is welcomed anyway. pic.twitter.com/AjWpiTSHG4 — Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) September 15, 2020 However, things shifted a bit near the end of the interview. “It’s been great,” Trump said at the end of Tuesday’s interview before co-host Brian Kilmeade jumped in saying, “We’ll do it every week?” Trump responded, “I look forward to it.” Whoa. Steve Doocy concludes the interview by saying Trump “may want to do [an interview] every week, but Fox is not committed to that. We’re gonna take it on a case-by-case basis.” (Check out Brian Kilmeade’s body language as he says this!) pic.twitter.com/vEggQOsXF4 — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 15, 2020 However, Doocy then clarified, “You may want to do it every week but Fox is not committed to that. We’re going to take in on a case-by-case basis.”
President Donald Trump declared that the upcoming election will be rigged, a claim that he has made on a handful of occasions. During a phone call to “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning, Trump complained about Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) — the president has feuded with the Democratic governor over COVID guidelines. This week, Trump held his first indoor rally in months in Nevada, in defiance of the state’s health guidelines. Gov. Sisolak accused the president of “taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada.” Trump told “Fox & Friends,” “The one thing we can’t beat if they cheat on the ballots. Now [Sisolak] will cheat on the ballots. I have no doubt about it. This is the same man who is in charge of the ballots.” Moments later, he turned to complain about difficulties in holding his rally in Nevada, saying, “They followed us everywhere they had a site. My people told me they’d never seen anything like it. Every place we had a big open site, outdoor site, which is great, it would have been perfect, they said no.” He continued, “We ended up in a very big building but I would have preferred being outside … This is what we’re up against, this is what’s happening and it’s a disgrace.” “And you’re going to see something with these ballots. You’re going to see corruption like you’ve never seen. You’re going to see a rigged election.” "He'll cheat on the ballots. I have no doubt about it … you're going to see a rigged election" — Trump on the governor of Nevada and the 2020 election pic.twitter.com/mZ5goEZ5cW — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 15, 2020 Trump suggested a number of times that the election will be rigged, saying in mid-August, “The only way we are going to lose this election is if the election is rigged. Remember that. It’s the only way we’re going to lose this election, so we have to be very careful.” In July, he tweeted, “The 2020 Election will be totally rigged if Mail-In Voting is allowed to take place.” And a month earlier, he wrote, “Because of MAIL-IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED Election in our nations history – unless this stupidity is ended.”
Joe Biden branded President Donald Trump a “climate arsonist” on Monday for failing to acknowledge global warming’s role in deadly wildfires sweeping the western United States, while Trump said the crisis stemmed from lax forest management. Dozens of conflagrations have raged with unprecedented scope across more than 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) in Oregon, California and Washington state since August, laying waste to several small towns, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 35 people. The fires also have filled the region’s air with harmful levels of smoke and soot, bathing skies in eerie tones of orange and sepia while adding to a public health crisis already posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Ten deaths have been confirmed during the past week in Oregon alone, the latest flashpoint in a larger summer outbreak of fires accompanied by catastrophic lightning storms, record-breaking heat waves and bouts of extreme winds. Those incendiary conditions gave way over the weekend to cooler, moister weather and calmer winds, enabling weary firefighters to gain ground in efforts to outflank blazes that had burned largely unchecked last week. Fire managers cautioned that the battle was hardly over. Thunderstorms forecast for later in the week could bring much-needed rain but also more lightning. Officials also braced for a rise in the death toll. As disaster teams scoured the ruins of dwellings engulfed by flames amid chaotic evacuations last week, Oregon’s emergency management authorities said they had yet to account for 22 people reported missing in the fires. At least two dozen people have perished in California wildfires since mid-August, and one fatality has been confirmed in Washington state. FIRES FOCUS CAMPAIGN ON CLIMATE Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee slammed by Republicans for not visiting disaster areas, spoke from his home state of Delaware on the threat of increasingly frequent weather extremes that scientists have pointed to as evidence that climate change is supercharging the fires. Trump, who trails Biden in national polls ahead of the Nov. 3 election, met with firefighters and officials in California after Democrats blasted the Republican president for remaining mostly silent on the wildfires. “I think this is more of a management situation,” Trump answered, when asked by a reporter if climate change was a factor behind the fires. Without mentioning large wildfires that have raged elsewhere around the world in recent years, from southern Europe to Australia and Siberia, Trump asserted that other countries “don’t have this problem.” “They have more explosive trees, meaning they catch fire much easier,” he said. “But they don’t have problems like this.” The president and his administration have sought to pin the blame for large wildfires on state officials, saying fuel-choked forests and scrub need to be thinned, more firebreaks need to be cut and flammable debris cleared from forest floors. Trump said improved forest management was something that could be tackled quickly, whereas climate change would take more time and require international cooperation that he said was lacking. “When you get into climate change, well is India going to change its ways? And is China going to change its ways? And Russia? Is Russia going to change its ways?” he said after landing in McLellan Park, California. ‘IT’LL GET COOLER’ Trump has referred to climate change as a “hoax,” and in 2017 pulled the United States out of the Paris accord that laid out an international approach to global warming. Biden, the former vice president, has included climate change on his list of major crises facing the United States. Calling Trump a “climate arsonist,” Biden said: “If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned by wildfires? How many suburban neighborhoods will have been flooded out?” California Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledged more needs to be done to better manage forests to reduce fire risks, while more than a century of aggressive fire suppression has allowed fuels to build up. But he countered that global warming was nevertheless a driving factor in newly extreme wildfire behavior, and he reminded Trump that 57% of forest land in California is under federal ownership. “We come from a perspective, humbly, where we submit the science is in and observed evidence is self-evident: that climate change is real, and that is exacerbating this,” the Democratic governor said during a meeting with the president. Trump, who has authorized federal disaster aid for both California and Oregon, questioned that science. “It’ll start getting cooler, you just watch,” he said. “I don’t think science knows.” ARSON ARREST As improved weather conditions allowed firefighters to go on the offensive, tens of thousands of displaced residents continued to adjust to life as evacuees. Around the devastated southwestern Oregon towns of Phoenix and Talent, some people set up food stations in parking lots, while others guarded homes from looters who tend to appear at dusk, according to a Reuters photographer. Seeking to reinforce local law enforcement resources strained by the disaster, Oregon is deploying as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to fire-stricken communities. A man was charged with arson on Friday in connection with a blaze set near Phoenix, Oregon, and another man was arrested in Portland on Monday on suspicion of starting six small fires that did not burn any structures, authorities reported. Police across Oregon have cautioned against fake social media accounts blaming wildfires on left-wing anti-fascists or right-wing Proud Boy activists. (Reporting by Jeff Mason and Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by Adrees Latif, Maria Caspani and Andrew Chung; Writing by Andrew Hay and Steve Gorman; Editing by Bill Tarrant, Peter Cooney and Tom Brown)
President Donald Trump explained why he believes there is a decreased possibility of him contracting the coronavirus at one of his rallies. The president conducted a brief interview with the “Las Vegas: Review Journal” on Sunday prior to taking the stage for his campaign rally. Reporter Debra J. Saunders asked Trump if he was at all concerned about the possibility of catching the virus at a rally. “Aren’t you concerned about COVID though in an enclosed room?” Saunders asked. Trump said, “No I’m not concerned.” It has been noted that social distancing was practically non-existent at the rally and very few attendees wore masks, as previously reported on IJR. However, the president made it clear he was not concerned about possibly becoming ill. Saunders went on to express concern about rally-goers’ chances of contracting the virus as she asked, “What about people here?” Trump avoided answering the question, specifically, as he countered saying, “I’m more concerned about how close you are, to be honest. Because you know why? I’m on a stage, and it’s very far away.” He added, “And so I’m not at all concerned.” See Trump’s remarks below: [embedded content] The president’s remarks on Sunday came after a long week of criticism following the release of audio clips that confirmed he was well aware of the severity of the coronavirus. Trump verbally admitted that he “likes” to downplay the airborne virus to decrease the possibility of people panicking. During his press briefing on Wednesday, he also admitted that he may have misled the public in his efforts to reduce panic. “The fact is I’m a cheerleader for this country. I love our country, and I don’t want people to be frightened,” Trump said. “I don’t want to create panic, as you say, and certainly, I’m not going to drive this country or the world into a frenzy.” As of Monday afternoon, the United States has confirmed more than 6.7 million coronavirus cases, nationwide. The death toll is now approaching 200,000.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who mulled over a third-party presidential bid last year, is throwing his support behind Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. In a letter obtained by The Hill on Monday, Schultz announced that he would endorse Biden for president and that he would make a campaign contribution. “In my view, our choice this November is not just for one candidate over another,” he said, adding, “We are choosing to vote for the future of our republic.” He went on to say “democracy itself” is at risk in the election, as well as a free press, “an acceptance of facts,” “belief in science,” “trust in the rule of law,” and “unity in preserving all of our rights of life.” He also encouraged Americans to make sure they vote for Biden, whether in-person or by mail, as he cautioned, “It would be a grave miscalculation to think this election is secured for a Biden victory.” He continued to warn that Biden “must win over legions of working-class people in the Midwest and Rust Belt who looked to Donald Trump in 2016 as someone wh would disrupt the system for the better..’ “Today, many of them are deeply disappointed in Trump but are equally concerned by the extreme left,” he added. Schultz predicted that the election would “turn on our economy and social recovery from Covid-19, a restoration of trust in government, and a thoughtful reformation of public safely.” Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (who kind of maybe was going to run for president) endorses Biden. From the email — pic.twitter.com/bwBY7ZoMsh — Kate Taylor (@Kate_H_Taylor) September 14, 2020 Additionally, he called Biden’s outreach to voters and his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention a “crucial first step in the bridge-building and healing we need as a nation.” Schultz also addressed his decision to explore an independent presidential bid last year, “My motivation for exploring a potential candidacy was fueled by my love for this country, and a deep desire to help people from all walks of life experience a future that is more civil, equitable, and ambitious.” He continued, “While my exploration revealed that a run for office was not the best way for me to give back to a country that has given me so much, I continue to believe that our nation can live up to our ideals, and that we all must envision and fight for a new American future.” Schultz’s endorsement comes as several polls have found that Biden is maintaining his steady lead over President Donald Trump. An average of national polls conducted by RealClearPolitics finds that Biden leads Trump by 7.4 points.
President Donald Trump accused Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden of wanting to “appease domestic terrorists” as he stated his election case to his base in Nevada. Trump held his first, fully-indoor rally in nearly three months, defying Nevada coronavirus guidelines on Sunday evening. During the rally, he attacked Biden on a number of issues including the riots amid protests and demonstrations’ call for an end to police brutality and racial injustice. The president painted a picture of an embattled America if Biden is elected president as he highlighted his own support of law enforcement. “Biden wants to appease domestic terrorists and my plan is to arrest domestic terrorists,” Trump said to his enthusiastic crowd of supporters, adding, “And we also believe that if you murder a police officer, you should receive the death penalty.” See Trump’s remarks below: [embedded content] Trump went on to stoke more concerns about the future of the United States under a Biden administration. He later added, “If Biden wins, China wins. the mob wins. If Biden wins, the mob wins. If Biden wins, the rioters, and anarchists… Look, you see what’s going on? The arsonists and flag burners. How about the flag burning? I would love to have a law. This is so sad what’s going on.” President Trump: "If Biden wins — the rioters, and anarchists… the arsonists, the flag burners… This is so sad what's going on." pic.twitter.com/HKMMccHXsD — The Hill (@thehill) September 14, 2020 Trump’s latest remarks follow ongoing claims about Democrats’ policies and their most recent police reform proposal. Although the Democratic bill clearly indicates that defunding the police focuses on reallocating funds to other non-policing forms of public safety and community support, Trump has likened the initiative to being more along the lines of the abolition of police. However, that is not the case. In fact, just days ago, Biden tackled the issues Trump mentioned. Not only did he condemn Antifa, he also disavowed the violence on both sides and challenged Trump to do the same, as previously reported on IJR. “I condemned it across the board. The president still hasn’t condemned the far right folks coming out and protesting and using violence,” Biden said. Trump still has yet to condemn violence on both sides.
A doctor is slamming President Donald Trump for holding an indoor campaign rally as the nation continues to combat COVID-19. Dr. Jonathan Reiner, CNN medical analyst and professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, said ahead of Trump’s rally on Sunday night that it is “negligent homicide” to hold the campaign event inside amid the coronavirus pandemic. On CNN Sunday evening, the host mentioned Reiner’s previous remarks calling Trump’s indoor rally in June “criminal endangerment” when the U.S. had 2.2 million COVID-19 cases reported. With over 6.7 million confirmed cases now, the doctor was asked regarding the indoor rally what it is called now. “Negligent homicide,” Reiner responded. “What else could you call an act that because of its negligence results in the death of others?” He continued, “If you have a mass gathering now in the United States in a place like Nevada or just about any other place with hundreds of thousands of people, people will get infected and some of those people will die.” Reiner went on to discuss “whether the president played down the risks of this virus” to Americans, adding that if someone took the virus “seriously,” then “you would never hold an indoor rally or almost any rally now and particularly one that doesn’t enforce very strict rules on masks.” “People will die as a consequence of this. I think that Nevada has a law right now limiting gatherings to more than 50 people. So, the president is defying that. Makes no sense.” Watch the video below: “Negligent homicide. What else could you call an act that because of its negligence results in the deaths of others? …People will die as a consequence of this.” —@JReinerMD on the impact of President Trump holding an indoor rally tonight. pic.twitter.com/nLpinuJrzr — Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) September 13, 2020 In Henderson, Nevada, there is a ban on gatherings of 50 people or more. Trump’s rally also drew criticism from the state’s governor. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) called the rally “reckless and selfish” for “putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada.” “The President appears to have forgotten that this country is still in the middle of a global pandemic,” he tweeted. See the thread below: Tonight, President Donald Trump is taking reckless and selfish actions that are putting countless lives in danger here in Nevada. — Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) September 14, 2020 The President appears to have forgotten that this country is still in the middle of a global pandemic. — Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) September 14, 2020 To put it bluntly: he didn’t have the guts to make tough choices — he left that to governors and the states. Now he’s decided he doesn’t have to respect our State’s laws. As usual, he doesn’t believe the rules apply to him. — Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) September 14, 2020 This is an insult to every Nevadan who has followed the directives, made sacrifices, and put their neighbors before themselves. It’s also a direct threat to all of the recent progress we’ve made, and could potentially set us back. — Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) September 14, 2020 That means limiting gathering sizes, mandating face coverings and practicing social distancing. All of which the President recklessly disregarded for his own gain this weekend in Nevada. — Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) September 14, 2020 I want to thank the local governments – like the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority and the City of Henderson – who have done all they could to ensure businesses and visitors follow the state COVID-19 directives. — Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) September 14, 2020 Additionally, 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden released a statement regarding the rally. “If Donald Trump cared at all about curbing this virus and protecting the safety of his supporters, he wouldn’t hold events like this, but Trump doesn’t and he won’t,” Biden said. See the statement below: Joe Biden’s campaign is responding to Trump’s indoor rally tonight saying, “If Donald Trump cared at all about curbing this virus and protecting the safety of his supporters, he wouldn't hold events like this, but Trump doesn't and he won't.” from @MichaelJGwin pic.twitter.com/en7znxwmza — Sarah Mucha (@sarahmucha) September 14, 2020 However, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh pushed back against the criticism, as he told The Washington Post, “If you can join tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets, gamble in a casino, or burn down small businesses in riots, you can gather peacefully under the 1st Amendment to hear from the President of the United States.” Murtaugh also said that there were temperature checks, options for hand sanitizer, and masks were provided and encouraged. In the state of Nevada, there are over 73,000 reported coronavirus cases and more than 1,400 deaths due to the virus. The state’s new daily cases spiked in July but have since seen a decrease in the number of cases. There has been a 41% decrease in the average cases per day over the previous weeks compared to the two weeks prior.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says one of the most important issues of the 2020 presidential election is the nomination of Supreme Court justices. Cruz told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo why he believes it is essential that Republicans maintain control of the Senate and the White House and appoint conservative justices. He shared examples of several legal challenges, which he said threatened Constitutional rights but were struck down at the Supreme Court. Bartiromo noted that President Donald Trump recently added him to a list of potential Supreme Court nominees and asked if he would want a position on the court. “You know, I don’t,” Cruz responded. “It is deeply honoring. It’s humbling to be included in the list. I’m grateful that the president has that confidence in me. But it’s not the desire of my heart.” He continued, “I want to be in the political fight. I want to be fighting to nominate and confirm three, four, five principled Constitutionalist justices. But that’s not where I want to serve. I want to stay fighting right where I am in the U.S. Senate.” Watch the video below: [embedded content] On Sept. 9, Trump announced a new list of 20 potential Supreme Court nominees if a vacancy opened up on the court during a potential second-term. Trump included Cruz, as well as Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.) and Josh Hawley (Mo.). However, Hawley said he was not interested in being nominated to the court. Meanwhile, Cotton said he was “honored” to be included in the list and said he would accept the nomination. Trump hailed those on the list as individuals who would uphold the country’s “founding principles” if they were confirmed. Additionally, he challenged Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to release his own list of potential Supreme Court nominees. Currently, the Supreme Court has a 5-4 conservative majority, with two justices — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — appointed by Trump.
Former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon is suggesting President Donald Trump’s claim that his political opponents are trying to steal the election from him is only benefiting Russia. CBS’ Margaret Brennan asked Gordon about remarks Trump made during a campaign rally on Saturday night. “And it’s Democrats, they’re going to they’re trying to rig this election. … If you go to New Jersey, if you go to Virginia, if you go to Pennsylvania, if you go to California to look at some of these races, every one every one of these races was a fraud, missing ballots,” Trump said. Gordan explained the president “carries disproportionate responsibility” to send a positive message on voting. “That message that you can’t trust our system, that you can’t trust the vote, that you can’t trust the other party that you can’t trust is exactly what the Russians particularly hope to achieve,” Gordon said. She continued, “And their aim would be to sow the divisions and to get Americans to say, you know what, it’s not worth it. I can’t trust it. We’re not going to vote.” Watch her remarks below: [embedded content] Gordon made it clear there is more than just one voice undermining the system. She stressed when the opposing party “says that a difference in policy means that he is malfeasant or evil or being controlled, that too is undermining it.” Gordon’s comments come more than a week after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned Russia is trying to undermine the confidence Americans have in mail-in voting, as IJR previously reported. The DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis said in a bulletin labeled “For official use only,” Russia was “likely to continue amplifying criticism of vote by mail and shifting voting processes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine public trust in the electoral process.”
As poll after poll finds Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump, a new report by The Washington Post says one of his former primary contenders is privately nervous about the former vice president’s chances of winning the election. However, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says he does not have doubts about Biden’s prospects for winning in November. During an appearance on MSNBC on Sunday, Sanders was asked if the report was true. “No, of course, they’re not true,” Sanders said, adding, “What I have said privately is what I have said publicly. And that is, I think Biden is in an excellent position to win this election.” He continued, “But, I think we have got to do more as a campaign than just go after Trump. Trump is a disaster, I think most people know it, but we also have to give people a reason to vote for Joe Biden.” Sanders said the campaign should focus more on Biden’s vision for the economy. Additionally, he said voters want to hear more from Biden about healthcare and climate change. Watch the video below: [embedded content] The Post reported on Sept. 12 that Sanders has been privately sharing his concern about Biden’s campaign strategy and his fear that the former vice president will lose the election. Sanders, who lost his primary bid to Biden, has been publicly supporting the Democratic nominee. However, he has been encouraging the campaign to focus more on the economy instead of just attacking the president. The Post’s report comes as polls show Biden has a steady lead over Trump nationally and in several key battleground states. A RealClearPolitics average of national polls has Biden up 7.5%. And an average of battleground state polls finds Biden leads Trump by 3.6%.
Republican President Donald Trump rallied his backers in Nevada on Saturday in a bid to drum up support in a state where polls show his Democratic rival Joe Biden is ahead. Going through a list of grievances about Democrats, the media, and mail-in voting, Trump spoke to a crowd of thousands at an airport outside of Reno where people stood close to one another and, in many cases, did not wear masks despite the coronavirus pandemic. The president mused about staying in office 12 years, despite constitutional limits that prohibit U.S. presidents from serving more than two, four-year terms. “We are going to win four more years in the White House and then after that we’ll negotiate, right, because we’re probably, based on the way we were treated, we’re probably entitled to another four after that,” he said. Trump again accused Democrats of trying to “rig” the Nov. 3 election and he knocked Biden over an ad that criticized Trump for allegedly making derogatory comments about U.S. war dead. Trump has denied making the remarks. “Now I can be really vicious,” in return, the president said, expressing his disgust over the ad and calling Biden “pathetic.” Trump is trailing the former vice president in national polls and in Nevada, which the former real estate developer and reality television star lost narrowly to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. Biden has hammered Trump for failing to lay out a national strategy to combat the pandemic, which has killed more than 193,000 people in the United States. The president, who credits his decision to restrict travel from China at the beginning of the year with saving lives, publicly played down the virus in the early months of 2020 and has pushed for a rapid re-opening of the economy after a lockdown in the spring. “Nevadans don’t need more bluster from the president, and don’t need his reckless rallies that ignore the realities of COVID-19 and endanger public health,” Biden said in a statement on Saturday. “Nevada families need solutions — from containing the pandemic to building the economy back better to making quality health care more accessible to millions of Americans.” The president has increased his number of campaign rallies in recent weeks, holding them in airplane hangars or outdoors because of the risk of coronavirus spread. Thousands of supporters have been showing up, many of them without maintaining social distance or wearing face coverings. Trump has campaign events scheduled in Nevada and Arizona during a three-day Western swing that will also include a stop in California on Monday for a briefing about the devastating fires that are ravaging the West Coast. The president is ramping up fundraising, too, amid concerns that his campaign is dealing with a cash shortage, leading it to pull back television advertising in crucial states. A Republican official said some $18 million would be raised over the weekend through events in Washington and Nevada. (Reporting by Jeff Mason; additional reporting by Steve Holland and Joel Schectman; Editing by Scott Malone and Kim Coghill)
When it comes to an endorsement of President Donald Trump, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is declining to do so. When challenged by Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, her Democratic opponent in the 2020 Senate race, if she will endorse Trump in the 2020 presidential election, the senator sidestepped any such endorsement. Gideon asked Collins during Friday night’s Senate election debate “who she thinks should be leading this country.” “She has neglected to answer that question, and I’d like to give her the opportunity tonight,” Gideon continued. “I think Joe Biden should be our leader.” However, Collins declined to answer, instead, saying it should be up to those in Maine to decide themselves who they support in the upcoming presidential election. “Let me say this, I don’t think that the people of Maine need my advice on whom to support for president,” Collins responded, adding that “not a single person” during her bus tour asked her who should be the next president. She then said that people in Maine instead told her “how grateful they were for the Paycheck Protection Program” to help their small businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic. In another attempt during the debate to get Collins to say whether she supports Trump, Gideon said, “I think Joe Biden should be our leader to help us through with public health and rebuilding the economy.” However, Collins refused to answer. Watch the exchange below: When pressed by @SaraGideon to announce publicly who she will support for President of the United States in tonight’s US Senate debate in Maine, @SenatorCollins chickened out and declined to endorse Donald Trump. pic.twitter.com/IOhbvvhgIZ — Alex Mohajer (@AlexMohajer) September 12, 2020 [embedded content] Collins wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in August of 2016 expressing why she could not support Trump in the 2016 presidential election. She wrote at the time: “I will not be voting for Donald Trump for president. This is not a decision I make lightly, for I am a lifelong Republican. But Donald Trump does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country. […] My conclusion about Mr. Trump’s unsuitability for office is based on his disregard for the precept of treating others with respect, an idea that should transcend politics.” During the first debate of the Senate election, Collins also touched on Trump’s comments that surfaced recently where he previously told Bob Woodward during an interview that he downplayed the coronavirus so that he would not create panic. Touching on that admission, Collins said, “The American people can take hard facts. And he had an obligation as President to be straightforward with them and to tell all that he has known.” She added, “I have said since the beginning that the President’s performance has been uneven and that he should follow the advice of his excellent medical advisers.”