Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg is dead, court announces
Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a beloved justice and a crucial liberal vote on the Supreme Court, died this evening from complications of pancreatic cancer, the Supreme Court just announced in a news release. She was 87 years old.
National Public Radio reports that one of Ginsberg’s final messages was a statement dictated to her granddaughter: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Trump now has the power to nominate a replacement for Ginsberg, and the Republican-controlled Senate to confirm a replacement.
When conservative supreme court justice Antonin Scalia died in the last year of Barack Obama’s last presidential term in 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked Obama from confirming a replacement for months, arguing that the appropriate choice was to wait for the voters to choose a new president.
McConnell, who still controls the senate, is not expected to apply that standard now that it would disadvantage Republicans, even though the election is in weeks, rather than months.
Trump leads campaign crowd in booing Somali refugees
More than 50,000 people in Minnesota report Somali ancestry, the most of any state. The state’s Somali community has been there for thirty years.
Trump opened his campaign rally in Bemidji, Minnesota, by talking about Somali refugees as a threat, encouraging the crowd to boo the idea of more Somali Americans in their state, and celebrating the accomplishment that “just today we deported dozens of Somali refugees.”
“Sleepy Joe will turn Minnesota into a refugee camp,” Trump said.
New York City’s school reopening is a mess. So is the NYC mayor’s leadership.
A new report from the New York Times highlights yet another example of the dysfunction of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.
CDC director pulled strings to get a Nevada Trump supporter a scarce COVID test
In early March, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention personally called the chief medical officer of Nevada to arrange a Covid-19 test for Adam Laxalt, a prominent Nevada Republican politician, National Rifle Association ally, and Trump supporter, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports.
Laxalt “believed he was exposed to the coronavirus while attending the Conservative Political Action Conference”, but he was not showing any symptoms at the time, so he could not get approved for a test through normal channels, the paper reported.
Trump’s belated aid to Puerto Rico is a ‘desperate political stunt’
In 2017, Trump tossed rolls of paper towels into the crowd of people at a disaster relief distribution center in Puerto Rico, which was still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. In 2019, he told Republican lawmakers that he thought Puerto Rico had already received too much aid compared with Texas and Florida, and he did not want to give any more.
Earlier today, just weeks before election day, Trump announced a $13bn aid package to help Puerto Rico rebuild, in what is being widely reported as a transparent bid to pick up more support in Florida, where hurricane refugees are now considered a vital voting bloc in a state where just tens of thousands of voters could make a crucial difference.
Trump himself said as much today.
So did Biden’s Latino adviser, who called the aid package a “desperate political stunt”.
For a Democratic candidate, Biden is getting record support from white voters
A new poll finds that Joe Biden has support from 49% of white voters. That would be a record: the majority of white voters vote Republican, and exit poll data shows that going back to 1972, Democrats have never gotten more than 47% of the white vote, and it’s sometimes dropped into the 30s.
But the poll, from NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist, also has what NPR reporter Domenico Montanaro calls a “warning sign” for Biden: his support among voters of color in the poll is much lower than the support Hillary Clinton received in 2016.
Biden leads Trump only 60% to 34% with nonwhite voters, “a smaller margin than the 74% to 21% Democrat Hillary Clinton won with them in 2016”, Montanaro notes.
Read the full NPR story here.
Poll finds Biden has lead over Trump among both registered and likely voters
This is Lois Beckett in the Guardian’s Los Angeles bureau picking up live political coverage for this evening.
A new poll finds that Biden has a 52% to 43% lead over Trump among likely voters, as well as a substantial lead among registered voters. (The poll’s margin of error among likely voters is +/- 4.3 percentage points.)
The NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll focused for the first time on a subset of “likely voters,” those actually most likely to cast a ballot, as well as surveying a sample of people registered to vote.
Today so far
That’s it from me today. The Guardian’s west coast team will take over the blog for the next few hours.
Here’s where the day stands so far:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed its widely criticized recommendation on coronavirus testing. The CDC said today that anyone who has had contact with someone who tested positive for the virus should receive a test, virtually reinstating the agency’s previous recommendation. The announcement came one day after after the New York Times reported that CDC scientists did not write the altered August guideline and actively raised objections to it.
- The Trump administration will ban downloads of TikTok and WeChat starting Sunday. US intelligence officials have warned the Chinese apps pose a national security threat. Normal use of the TikTok app is expected to be blocked starting 12 November.
- Trump and Biden are both campaigning today in Minnesota, as early voting begins in the state. Biden delivered a speech at a union training center in Duluth, once again criticizing Trump by characterizing the presidential election as a race of “Park Avenue versus Scranton”. Trump will speak at a campaign rally in Bemidji this evening.
- Trump announced his administration would send $13bn in aid to Puerto Rico, as the island continues to recover from Hurricane Maria. A reporter asked the president at his press conference why the administration was sending the aid now, when the hurricane struck in 2017. Trump insisted it was because his administration had been working on the plan for a while, dodging a question about whether it was related to Puerto Rican voters in the crucial swing state of Florida.
- A firefighter died battling the wildfire in California’s San Bernardino national forest, the US Forest Service said today. The devastating wildfires have already killed at least three dozen people and destroyed thousands of homes.
The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
Joe Biden has wrapped up his campaign speech at a union training center in Duluth, Minnesota.
The Democratic nominee closed the speech by calling for the country’s wealthiest citizens and companies to be taxed fairly.
“I’m not looking to punish anyone,” Biden said. “But dammit, it’s about time the super wealthy and corporate America start paying their fair share.”
The Democratic nominee also reminded Minnesotans to vote, given early voting in the state started today.
Joe Biden criticized Trump for not yet releasing his plans on infrastructure or health care, despite repeated promises to do so.
“He has no plan,” the Democratic nominee said of the president.
Speaking in Duluth, Biden made an experience-based pitch for his candidacy, saying he knows “how to do the job of being president.”
Biden said of Trump, “He doesn’t have a clue how to be president.”
Joe Biden began his Duluth speech by talking about the importance of union jobs, but the Democratic nominee quickly pivoted to criticizing Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden said if Trump had acted earlier to mitigate the spread of the virus, tens of thousands of Americans would not be dead and would instead be “sitting at the dinner table tonight”.
Echoing his comment at his CNN town hall last night, Biden said the presidential election was a race of “Park Avenue versus Scranton”.
“All Trump sees from Park Avenue is Wall Street,” Biden said, arguing the president only cares about the stock market and not average Americans.
Biden speaks in Minnesota as early voting begins
Joe Biden is now speaking at a union training center in Duluth, Minnesota, as early voting begins in the state.
The Democratic nominee was introduced by the state’s two Democratic senators, Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar.
Biden’s remarks are expected to focus on creating more union jobs in the US and preventing manufacturing jobs from being outsourced.
During his press conference, the president was asked if he believes he knows better than the experts in his administration, after Trump contradicted the directors of the CDC and the FBI this week.
“Yeah, in many cases, I do,” Trump replied.
Trump contradicted the Senate testimony of CDC director Robert Redfield on Wednesday, claiming Redfield was “confused” when he said a coronavirus vaccine would not be widely available until mid- to late 2021.
Last night, the president also took issue with the congressional testimony of FBI director Christopher Wray, who told the House that Russia was interfering in the 2020 elections “primarily to denigrate vice-president Biden and what the Russians see as kind of an anti-Russian establishment”.
Trump told reporters today, “I think we have a bigger problem with China than we do with Russia.”
Trump closed his press conference by once again spreading falsehoods about voting by mail, which he described as “the scam of all time”.
The president also implied he was expecting federal judges to interfere with the election results to prevent fraud, even though voter fraud is very rare.
“I think it’s going to be a terrible time for this country, and we’re counting on federal judges to do a great constitutional job,” Trump said. “Hopefully they’ll be able to see this clearly and stop it.”
Exiting the briefing room, Trump ignored a reporter who asked, “Is it still a scam if you win, sir?”
Trump dodged a question about reports that the US Postal Service scrapped a plan to send 650 million masks to Americans.
“I don’t know. I don’t run it,” Trump said.
The president went on to criticize the management of USPS, claiming it had been “a mess for many, many generations”.
Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic national committee, quickly released a statement criticizing Trump’s announcement about sending $13bn in aid to Puerto Rico.
“Donald Trump has consistently treated Puerto Ricans as second-class citizens. His administration failed Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria made landfall and the people desperately needed help, and throughout the recovery process,” Perez said.
“Puerto Ricans will not be fooled by his empty promises – the deaths, the suffering, and the struggles Puerto Ricans still face are a constant reminder that Trump talks plenty but does very little.”
As Trump announces $13bn in aid to Puerto Rico, it’s important to remember how he has repeatedly disparaged the island’s leaders since Hurricane Maria struck in 2017.
Last year, the president attacked Puerto Rican leaders as “corrupt” and claimed the US territory had “squandered away or wasted” much of its aid money in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
Trump announces $13bn in aid to Puerto Rico
Trump announced his administration was sending $13bn in aid to Puerto Rico, as the island continues to recover from Hurricane Maria.
After announcing the aid, Trump quickly pivoted to attacking his election opponent, Joe Biden.
“Biden’s devastated the island of Puerto Rico,” Trump said. “I’m the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico.”
Taking questions from reporters, Trump was asked why he was only sending the aid to Puerto Rico now, when Hurricane Maria struck the island in 2017.
The president claimed his administration had been working on the package for a while. When asked whether the announcement had anything to do with Puerto Rican voters in the crucial swing state of Florida, Trump did not directly answer, instead attacking Biden’s tenure as vice-president under Barack Obama.