- Donald Trump held his first rally since contracting Covid-19. Lagging in the polls, he was eager to appear healthy as he downplayed the severity of the pandemic and returned to classic stump talking points about the border wall and unfriendly media.
- Dr Anthony Fauci said holding large rallies is “asking for trouble”. In an interview with CNN, he also reiterated that “it’s really unfortunate and really disappointing” that the Trump campaign took his words out of context in a campaign ad.
- Joe Biden was on the offense, campaigning in red-state Ohio. The Democratic nominee spoke harshly of Trump’s response to the virus and his handling of his own infection. The former vice-president also accused Republicans of hypocrisy as they sought to portray Democrats as anti-religious during the supreme court hearings for the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.
- The Senate judiciary committee held the first day of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination hearings. The supreme court nominee and every member of the committee delivered an opening statement. Questioning of Barrett begins tomorrow.
- Barrett emphasized judges should not try to legislate from the bench in her opening statement. “Courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life,” Barrett said. “The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the people.”
- Senate Republicans accused their Democratic colleagues of attacking Barrett’s Catholic faith, even though Democrats did not mention her faith. Instead, Democrats used their opening statements to warn that Barrett’s confirmation to the supreme court could jeopardize the Affordable Care Act.
- Kamala Harris argued the Senate should postpone Barrett’s hearings and focus on passing another coronavirus relief bill. Delivering an opening statement virtually from her Senate office, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee said, “Senate Republicans have made it crystal clear that rushing a supreme court nomination is more important than helping and supporting the American people who are suffering from a deadly pandemic and economic crisis.”
Joan E Greve
Joe Biden’s campaign went on a fresh offense against the Trump administration on Monday, campaigning in a red state and accusing Republicans of hypocrisy as they sought to portray Democrats as anti-religious during the supreme court hearings for the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.
Biden campaigned in Ohio, attempting to expand the battleground map and keep Trump on the defensive in a state thought to be out of reach for Democrats after Trump’s wide margin of victory there four years ago.
A slew of recent polls has had the Democratic challenger leading Trump in national polls, often by double digits. Likewise, many battleground state surveys, though often narrower than the national picture, have Biden with healthy leads. The situation has led several top Republicans to make rare public warnings of losing the White House – and maybe even Republicans losing the Senate.
On the campaign trail Biden stressed an economic message and touted his own record while casting Trump as having abandoned working-class voters who helped him win rust belt states that put him in the White House in 2016.
In Toledo, Biden addressed United Auto Workers who represent a local General Motors’ powertrain plant. The former vice-president spoke in a parking lot with about 30 American-made cars and trucks arrayed nearby, and he struck a decidedly populist note, praising unions and arguing that he represented working-class values while the Republican Trump cared only about impressing the Ivy League and country club set.
“I don’t measure people by the size of their bank account,” Biden said. “You and I measure people by the strength of their character, their honesty, their courage.”
After 74-year-old Trump told his ralliers, “I am not an old person, I am a young person,” and made references to his 77-year-old opponent’s choice to broadcast campaign events from his “basement”, among the Biden’s campaign’s responses were celebrations of the former vice-president’s relative mastery of walking up and down inclines.
With just weeks to go before election day, and early voting underway, Trump has been eager to return to a full schedule of in-person rallies as he scrambles to hold on to his slipping supporters. Polls have his Democratic opponent Joe Biden ahead by an average 12 points, in polls taken since 1 October. Trump is also losing support from seniors, who are the most vulnerable in a pandemic that has already killed more than 214,000 Americans.
In a frenetic push to solidify support, Trump and his campaign have sought to downplay the threat of coronavirus. The president’s own demonstrations of reckless, maskless bravado appears to be key to that strategy, as Trump characterizes his opponent as frail and confined to his basement.
This is the first confirmed case of reinfection in the US. The two infections in this one patient occurred six weeks apart.
Reinfections are rare – there are only five such cases documented worldwide. But much is still unknown about how or why this happens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently advises that those who have recovered from Covid-19 generally appear to be protected from reinfection for three months – but this newly documented case bucks that expectation.
Residents of Puerto Rico and other US territories are not entitled to vote for president in federal elections, though Puerto Ricans living in US states can vote for president (and Florida is home to hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans).
The territory’s Republican governor Wanda Vázquez Garced recently endorsed Trump.
The president has been eager to appear energetic after a recent hospitalization following his Covid-19 diagnosis, repeatedly boasting that he’s “young” at 74 and even claiming, on Fox News that he is a “perfect physical specimen”.
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that those with mild or moderate coronavirus infections can return to being around others after 10 days, the research on whether or not people can get reinfected is still ongoing.
Biden and Trump hold very different campaign events
In Cincinnati, earlier today, Biden addressed a socially distanced, sparse group. He took aim at the president’s comments downplaying the severity of the pandemic and emphasized his plans.
“I have a plan to deal with this pandemic responsibly,” Biden said. “Testing, tracing, masking, not politicizing the race for the vaccine. Plan for its safe and equitable distribution. Provide the funding for PPE and other resources for schools and businesses to reopen safely.”
Biden is leading Trump by 10 percentage points nationally, per an average of national polls.
Trump takes stage at packed rally
A packed crowd of supporters standing shoulder to shoulder chanted “USA” in response.
CNN’s Manu Raju reports that North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, who delivered his opening statement remotely after testing positive for Covid-19 is expected to return to the Senate tomorrow.
Mike Lee, the Republican senator of Utah, showed up and spoke during the first day of hearings without a mask, despite his recent Covid-19 diagnosis.
That was rich. Senate Republicans, otherwise known as Donald Trump’s Praetorian Guard, lined up on Monday to pay pious homage to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the separation of powers and the halcyon days of political bipartisanship.
A visitor from outer space might have thought that they were the upholders of civics and civility at the start of Amy Coney Barrett’s supreme court hearing on Capitol Hill. No matter that Trump has played divider-in-chief or that Republicans blocked Barack Obama’s nominee to the court in 2016.
It was a morning of hypocrisy and healthcare.
Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate judiciary committee and the Trump appreciation society, reminded everyone that both Ginsburg and her ideological opposite, Justice Antonin Scalia, were confirmed almost unanimously.
“I don’t know what happened between then and now,” he said, wistfully. “We can all take some blame but I just want to remind everybody there was a time in this country where someone like Ruth Bader Ginsburg was seen by almost everybody as qualified for the position of being on the supreme court, understanding that she would have a different philosophy than many of the Republicans who voted for her.”
No justice has been confirmed so close to a presidential election. Graham, who promised not to confirm one in an election year (saying “Use my words against me”, which plenty of Democrats are), acknowledged a point everyone could agree on: “This is going to be a long, contentious week.”
As senator after senator drew their battle lines, 48-year-old Barrett, sitting silently in a big black face mask, resembled a prisoner in the dock.
Republicans sought to normalise her rushed nomination, arguing the Senate was merely doing its duty while setting up straw men: Democrats want to attack her Catholic faith (none did), Democrats want to play foul as they did with Brett Kavanaugh (hardly), Democrats want to expand the court (objection: relevance), Democrats want to conflate the judiciary with policy (true).
Trump returns to campaigning as usual, rallying with a packed Florida crowd
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains that the highest risk events during the pandemic are “large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area” – which more or less describes a rally.
Although the campaign event is held outside, where the virus is less likely to spread – attendees lack of social distancing and masking don’t bode well.
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