Former vice president Joe Biden and his newly selected running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), are appearing Wednesday in Wilmington, Del. They will also attend a “virtual grass-roots” fundraiser in the evening, the campaign said.

This will be the second time Biden has run on a history-making ticket. He ran with the first African American candidate for president, Barack Obama, and now with the first Black woman and first Asian American to run on a major-party ticket.

President Trump, meanwhile, spoke Wednesday afternoon at an event on safely reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Biden’s selection of Harris was both historic and conventional.
  • Interviews with people briefed on the Biden vice-presidential selection effort described a process that was extensive and laborious, with no certainty of outcome.
  • Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) soundly defeated a well-funded primary challenger, the latest in a series of victories for liberals.
August 12, 2020 at 9:27 PM EDT

Trump to travel to Wisconsin on first day of DNC convention

By Colby Itkowitz

Trump will hold a campaign event in Wisconsin on Monday as the Democratic National Committee opens its virtual nominating convention in the state’s largest city, a Trump campaign official confirmed.

Democrats chose Milwaukee as its convention site after losing the reliably blue state to Trump in 2016. The coronavirus pandemic has limited the scope of the convention, and Biden will be accepting the party nomination virtually.

Trump confirmed his plans during a tele-rally on Wednesday night, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, telling Wisconsin supporters that Biden is “not even going to pay the respect of at least making a stopover.”

Trump also canceled his plans to attend the Republican convention in person and will give his acceptance speech virtually.

Trump will be holding other events to compete with the Democrats next week, including speeches in Minnesota and Arizona, and culminating in Scranton, the Pennsylvania city where Biden was born, on the day Biden formally accepts the nomination.

August 12, 2020 at 8:53 PM EDT

Ocasio-Cortez will have 60 seconds to give convention speech

By Colby Itkowitz

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), star of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, confirmed on Twitter that her speaking role at next week’s Democratic convention will last 60 seconds — and in doing so reconnected with someone from her past.

Ocasio-Cortez reacted to the news of her brief slot, first reported by Business Insider, with a poem by Benjamin Mays, a civil rights leader who mentored the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

“I only have a minute. Sixty seconds in it. Forced upon me, I did not choose it, But I know that I must use it. Give account if I abuse it. Suffer, if I lose it. Only a tiny little minute, But eternity is in it.”

A woman responded to Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet with a motivating message of her own: “You’ve got this. Remember all those poems we recited together in 2nd grade? It was prep for this moment. You’ve got this.”

“Ms. Jacobs! Is that you?!” Ocasio-Cortez replied with a crying-face emoji. “Yes, I do remember the poems we recited in second grade! You prepared me perfectly for this moment. Thank you for teaching me, encouraging my growth, and believing in me as a child.”

August 12, 2020 at 8:49 PM EDT

Biden reports large fundraising haul since announcing Harris as running mate

By Matt Viser

Biden announced tonight that his campaign has raised $26 million in the 24 hours since Harris was named his running mate, an impressive sum that surpassed the amount he raised in some three-month periods of his primary campaign.

Biden announced the total during a virtual fundraiser that he and Harris held jointly after their first campaign appearance together this afternoon.

Biden also said they had attracted 150,000 first-time contributors.

The fundraiser was held in a room set up with jumbo screens inside the Hotel DuPont in Wilmington, Del., the same location where Biden announced his Senate bid in 1972.

August 12, 2020 at 7:43 PM EDT

Trump attacks Harris as ‘angry’ and mean to Biden

By Colby Itkowitz

Trump said he watched only a few minutes of the presumptive Democratic presidential ticket’s first joint appearance. But he maligned Harris for performing poorly in the presidential primary, claiming falsely that she left the race “angry” and focusing on her “insulting” comments about Biden.

“I watched poll numbers go … down to almost nothing,” Trump said during a White House coronavirus briefing. “And she left angry. She left mad. There was nobody more insulting to Biden than she was. She said horrible things about him. … And now all of a sudden she’s running to be vice president, saying how wonderful he is. I thought it was a very unusual pick because she said such bad things.

Trump remained focused on her performance in the primary and her attacks on Biden, comparing them to when Trump ran for president in 2016.

I was surprised that he picked, very surprised, because of the horrible way she talked about him,” he said. “And frankly because she dropped like a rock. I didn’t when I ran, I ran against 17 people, mostly governors and senators.”

Trump was asked about Harris’s comments blaming him for the American deaths caused by covid-19. He responded by falsely claiming Harris “was forced to leave the race because she got her facts wrong.”

“I read today that she’s very short on facts,” the president said. “I think she’s going to be a big failure.”

Later, Trump went further on the likability attack, telling Sinclair’s Eric Bolling in an interview that Harris “is not a person that’s liked” and claiming, without evidence, that “every time people heard her open her mouth she went down” in the polls.

August 12, 2020 at 6:08 PM EDT

Harris and Biden each speak of the Beau connection that bonds them

By Colby Itkowitz

Biden and Harris both complimented the other through their memories of Beau, passing along accolades from Biden’s late son as if he were there endorsing the union of his father and good friend.

Biden acknowledged that his son’s friendship with Harris played a significant role in his ultimately choosing her. They served as attorneys general at the same time, forming a bicoastal friendship.

“They took on the same big fights together. Kamala in California. Beau here in Delaware, big fights that helped change the entire country,” Biden said. “I know how much Beau respected Kamala and her work, and that mattered a lot to me, to be honest with you, as I made this decision.”

Beau Biden died in 2015 at age 46 of brain cancer.

“My campaign has always been a family affair. Every campaign I’ve run. So I’ve got some news for you. You’re all honorary Bidens. And here’s the best part, Kamala; you’ve been an honorary Biden for quite some time,” Biden said, referring to her friendship with Beau.

Harris also spoke fondly about her closeness to Beau, describing their daily phone conversations and how she came to know the kind of man Biden was through his son.

I learned quickly that Beau was the kind of guy who inspired people to be a better version of themselves. He really was the best of us,” Harris said. “And when I would ask him, ‘Where’d you get that? Where did this come from?’ He’d always talk about his dad. And I will tell you, the love that they shared was incredible to watch. It was the most beautiful display of the love between a father and a son.”

August 12, 2020 at 5:43 PM EDT

In first speech as running mate, Harris outlines differences between Biden and Trump

By Colby Itkowitz

In her first speech as Biden’s running mate, Harris introduced herself to voters as an advocate for justice and laid out her vision of the choice for Americans between Biden and Trump.

“This is a moment of real consequence for America. Everything we care about — our economy, our health, our children, the kind of country we live in — it’s all on the line,” she said.

America is crying out for leadership, yet we have a president who cares more about himself than the people who elected him,” Harris said. “A president who is making every challenge we face even more difficult to solve.”

By contrast, she said, Biden, despite all the personal tragedies he has faced, never focuses on himself.

“He’s someone who never asks, ‘Why is this happening to me?,’ ” Harris said. “And instead asks, ‘What can I do to make life better for you?’ His empathy, his compassion, his sense of duty to care for others is why I am so proud to be on this ticket.”

Harris said Biden shares her passion for civil rights and justice, and that in choosing her as his running mate “takes his place in the ongoing story of America’s march toward equality and justice as the only who has served alongside the first black president and has chosen the first black woman as his running mate.”

August 12, 2020 at 5:23 PM EDT

Biden introduces Harris as his running mate: ‘Is anyone surprised Donald Trump has a problem with a strong woman?’

By Colby Itkowitz

As Biden and Harris appeared together for the first time as running mates this evening, the former vice president heralded his pick and slammed Trump for attacking Harris.

“Is anyone surprised Donald Trump has a problem with a strong woman or strong women across the board?” Biden said, warning of more vitriol will come. “Kamala Harris has had your back, and now we have to have her back. She’s going to stand with me in this campaign. And all of us are going to stand up for her.”

Biden spoke of Harris’s rich diversity as the daughter of a Black man and an Indian American mother.

And this morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and brown girls who so often feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities, but today, today, just maybe they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way,” Biden said.

He spoke of their shared values, especially in combating hate three years to the day since the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville.

“She’s someone who knows what’s at stake. The question is for all Americans to answer. Who are we as a nation? What do we stand for? And most importantly, what do we want to be?” Biden said. “One of the reasons I chose Kamala is because we both believe that we can define America simply in one word: Possibilities.”

August 12, 2020 at 4:56 PM EDT

Many Americans not yet familiar with Harris

By Emily Guskin

Harris drew the national spotlight when she ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, but as with running mates in past cycles, a sizable portion of Americans — and even Democrats — don’t know enough about Harris to have an opinion about her.

A June New York Times/Siena College poll found that just over a quarter of registered voters, 26 percent, had no opinion when asked to rate Harris favorably or unfavorably. Four in 10 said they were favorable of the U.S. senator from California (40 percent), while slightly fewer, 35 percent, were unfavorable.

Even 2 in 10 Democrats said they had no opinion when asked their impressions of her, while about 7 in 10 viewed her favorably. About 3 in 10 Republicans didn’t know enough to state an opinion while roughly 6 in 10 viewed her unfavorably. About a quarter of independents had no opinion, while the remainder split narrowly more favorable than unfavorable.

Impressions of Harris were broadly similar in a May CNN poll that found 35 percent of Americans who said they had never heard of Harris or had no opinion of her. The remainder split on favorability, 32 percent positive and 33 percent negative. Those figures were largely unmoved from 2019.

August 12, 2020 at 4:28 PM EDT

How the right — including Trump — tried to unseat Omar

By David Weigel

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar triumphed last night in the most expensive Democratic House primary of the year, besting attorney Antone Melton-Meaux by nearly 30,000 votes, with some absentee ballots still left to count.

But it wasn’t an easy victory. Melton-Meaux raised more than $4 million, lapping Omar’s own fundraising in the final months before the primary, as a super PAC spent millions more on TV ads and mail.

The attacks on Omar followed two themes. One was that the freshman congresswoman was too “divisive,” a catchall term referring to comments she’d made about Israel’s political influence in Congress. (Pro-Israel PACs heavily supported her challenger.) Another was that by using her husband’s firm for campaign advertising, she was engaged in “self-dealing” to enrich her family.

Some came from the top of the Republican Party. President Trump, who had attacked Somali immigration and resettlement in Minneapolis during his final 2016 campaign swing, had led his party’s attacks on the congresswoman. In July 2019, he tweeted that Omar and other “squad” members should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

At a Trump rally that month, many in the audience turned that into a chant about Omar specifically, yelling “send her back!” when Trump mentioned the Somali refugee-turned-congresswoman. The backlash to that was widespread, especially in Minneapolis — and Omar even used the chant in an ironic slogan, “send her back to Congress.”

“It’s not just that Donald Trump attacks her, it’s that she embodies many of the ideals that Trump is afraid of,” said Omar spokesman Jeremy Slevin. “She is a Black, Muslim refugee who came to this country with very little and worked her way up to represent her community in Congress. He attacks her because he fears her and what she represents. Her election is as powerful a rejection of Trumpism as there is.”

The same night that Omar fended off Melton-Meaux, Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene triumphed in a primary for the nomination in the state’s deep red 14th district. Greene had repeatedly attacked Omar in her ads. In comments first reported by Politico, Green warned of “an Islamic invasion into our government offices right now” and bemoaned there were “so many Muslims elected” in 2018. On election night, Greene made it clear the presence of a high-profile Muslim immigrant, and critic of Israel’s policies, would remain part of Republican election messaging.

“Let me tell you something: Ilhan Omar’s antifa buddies in Minneapolis, and the Black Lives Matter movement?” Greene asked at a speech she delivered before removing an Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter from the room. “We are not going to let them tear our country down, burn our cities, riot and loot. We won’t have that here in northwest Georgia.”

August 12, 2020 at 4:05 PM EDT

At event promoting in-person schooling, Trump takes shot at Biden’s campaigning from home

By Anne Gearan

President Trump drew nervous laughter from parents and educators Wednesday when he departed from the script at a White House event promoting a return to full-time schooling despite the pandemic.

As speaker after speaker described the difficulties and limitations of online education, Trump interjected.

“So, if you’re a presidential candidate and you’re sitting in a basement and you’re looking at a computer, that’s not a good thing?” Trump deadpanned.

He and other Republicans regularly mock Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, for largely remaining inside his Delaware house in accordance with public health guidance during the pandemic.

The school event featured Vice President Pence, who heads the White House coronavirus task force. But it did not include scientists or physicians representing the public health consensus that while in-person learning is desirable it may not be advisable in many parts of the country because of the risk of surging infections.

August 12, 2020 at 2:57 PM EDT

Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Trump surrogate, calls Harris a radical

By Anne Gearan

Sen. Kamala D. Harris is a “far-left California radical,” and her selection as Joe Biden’s running mate creates the “most far-left ticket in the history of the Democratic Party,” Rep. Elise Stefanik said Wednesday.

Speaking on behalf of the Trump-Pence campaign, Stefanik (R-N.Y.) said Harris’s past positions on health care, gun control and other issues place her far out of the mainstream and make her unappealing to moderate voters such as those in Stefanik’s swing district in Upstate New York.

Stefanik, once considered a moderate who kept her distance from Trump, has become a strong supporter and a favorite surrogate. She told reporters on a phone call arranged by the campaign that its criticism of Harris is not sexist or racist. She claimed that “the media is trying to shield Kamala Harris,” just as Stefanik claimed happened with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.

“The media tried to shield Hillary Clinton from any kind of criticism, saying it was sexist,” Stefanik said.

Clinton and her campaign chiefs have always argued that the news media did entirely the opposite, putting her under extraordinary scrutiny and holding her to an impossible standard.

August 12, 2020 at 2:51 PM EDT

Harris sends out fundraising appeals to Biden supporters

By Matt Viser

Harris sent out fundraising appeals on behalf of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Biden over the past few months, part of the audition of sorts for his potential running mates.

Wednesday afternoon, she sent one out as the nominee.

“I’m humbled to be joining Joe Biden in the battle to defeat Donald Trump and build a country that lives up to our values of truth, equality, and justice,” Harris wrote. “I’ve never been more ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”

Harris referenced her friendship with Beau Biden, the former vice president’s late son who was attorney general of Delaware when Harris held the position in California. That relationship is one Biden said he reflected upon when picking Harris as his running mate.

“Beau was a good man, and he left us far too soon,” Harris wrote. “But I got to see him practice what his dad had taught him: Dignity and decency — and putting your family and your country above everything else.”

In the letter to Biden supporters, she also sought to focus on President Trump and demonstrate her ability to criticize him.

“I’ve been standing up to Trump and people like him for my entire career. He doesn’t scare me,” she wrote. “He’s tried to rip health care away from Americans, but I’ve fought to defend the Affordable Care Act. He founded a for-profit college that scammed students out of their dreams, and I sued for-profit schools to hold them accountable. He’s a serial predator. I’ve spent my career putting them away.”

August 12, 2020 at 2:38 PM EDT

Ohio secretary of state says ballot drop boxes are allowed only at county board of elections sites

By Felicia Sonmez, Michelle Lee and Amy Gardner

Ohio’s secretary of state said Wednesday that ballot drop boxes are allowed only at county board of elections sites, a move the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party denounced as “an absolute disgrace.”

“Boards of elections are prohibited from installing a drop box at any other location other than the board of elections,” Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said in a letter to county board of elections offices, according to a copy of the missive posted on Twitter by state Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper.

The move effectively means that each Ohio county will have only one drop box, even as the number of voters seeking to vote absentee has risen sharply during the coronavirus pandemic. As Ohio is limiting its number of drop boxes, several states have been accelerating efforts to install more drop boxes in the hopes of making absentee voting simple and safe for those wary of the mail or fearful of exposure to the coronavirus at polling places.

Pepper, who has advocated for the installation of more drop boxes, on Wednesday criticized LaRose for instituting what he described as “a restriction to the location of drop boxes that appears nowhere in Ohio statute."

“An absolute disgrace,” Pepper said in a tweet.

According to LaRose’s office, state law requires ballots to be delivered to the elections director in each county and “in no other manner.” LaRose believes this allows for the placement of a dropbox in front of the county elections offices, but not elsewhere.

LaRose supports a change to state law allowing more dropboxes, but such a change is unlikely this year.

In a video posted to Twitter late last month, he pointed to other states that have ramped up the use of drop boxes.

“We can actually do the same thing in Ohio,” Pepper said in the video. “There is nothing in Ohio statute that bars boards of elections from putting drop boxes way beyond just one per county. They can be at city halls; they can be around the county, so people don’t have to drive 30 minutes to drop their ballot off.”

Some skeptics worry that the boxes may not be properly monitored to prevent tampering or that voters will not know how to use or find them. In the battleground state of Pennsylvania, for instance, these drop boxes are at the center of a Trump campaign lawsuit raising similar concerns.

August 12, 2020 at 2:10 PM EDT

How Harris and Biden compare on coronavirus legislation

By Jeff Stein

In May, Harris joined two of the most left-leaning Senate Democrats to introduce legislation that would provide monthly $2,000 payments to tens of millions of Americans throughout the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill has not advanced or become a major demand of congressional Democratic leaders in their negotiations with the Trump administration over the next stimulus package. But it may gain increased scrutiny in the wake of Tuesday’s announcement that Biden has named Harris his running mate.

Harris has been more aggressive in outlining how the federal government should respond to the economic crisis, introducing both the bill for monthly checks and a proposal to ban evictions, foreclosures, rent increases and utility shutdowns for the duration of the pandemic. Harris’s positions as a U.S. senator and during her 2020 presidential run may pose a challenge for the Biden campaign, which has been wary of moving too far left on economic policy announcements as it tries to maintain its polling lead over Trump.

A spokesman for the Biden campaign declined to comment on whether the campaign supports Harris’s effort to provide $2,000 monthly checks throughout the crisis. The spokesman also declined to comment on Harris’s “RELIEF Act,” which in addition to banning evictions and foreclosures would bar landlords from reporting unpaid rent to credit agencies.

Read more here.