Capping their first week as a ticket, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), appeared together Friday to sign official documents related to accepting the party’s nomination at next week’s Democratic National Convention. At an event this afternoon, Harris praised Biden’s “audacity to choose a Black woman to be his running mate.”

The Biden-Harris ticket won an endorsement from the letter carriers union, which decried the Trump administration for seeking to “undermine” the U.S. Postal Service.

President Trump spent the morning retweeting attacks on Biden and Harris, as well as praise of himself. He then left for a weekend at his private golf resort in Bedminster, N.J. In the evening, he’ll speak to the City of New York Police Benevolent Association, the largest police union representing New York City law enforcement.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Trump’s opposition to additional funding for the Postal Service puts at risk the nation’s ability to administer the Nov. 3 elections.
  • The Biden campaign plans to deploy Harris to swing states in the coming weeks to connect with Black voters, young activists and suburban women.
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s future is uncertain, as some Republicans worry he has put loyalty to Trump above the GOP conference.
August 14, 2020 at 7:44 PM EDT

Trump mispronounces Kamala Harris’s name as he says she’s ‘probably worse’ than Biden

BEDMINSTER, N.J. — President Trump told law enforcement supporters Friday that Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) is “probably worse, worse” than Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

Trump mispronounced the Democratic vice-presidential pick’s first name three times during a campaign event at his private golf club here. First it came out “Koom-uh-luh,” and later, twice, “Ka-mall-uh.” In between, he pronounced it correctly.

“They always say Kamala,” he said to laughter.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson also mispronounced Harris’s name repeatedly on air Tuesday, drawing criticism of sexism and disrespect.

Trump called Harris far left but did not point to specific policies or actions. Harris is a former prosecutor and former state attorney general.

Trump collected a police union endorsement Friday at the rally-style event, which featured law enforcement personnel in street clothes and red Make America Great Again hats standing outside Trump’s club. Some wore masks but were not standing as far apart as recommended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

By Anne Gearan
August 14, 2020 at 5:55 PM EDT

Kentucky eases mail, in-person voting practices for general election

Voters in Kentucky who are concerned about contracting or spreading the coronavirus will be eligible to cast mail ballots for the general election, one of several policy changes aimed at making voting safe and accessible in the state during the pandemic.

Under a bipartisan plan announced Friday by Gov. Andy Beshear (D) and Secretary of State Michael Adams (R), voters will have expanded options for casting ballots, including a three-week early-voting period. Absentee ballots will be available for request through an online portal that will go live by the end of next week, and they will be counted as long as they are postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 6.

The plan builds from the state’s successful experiment with wider voting options — including a massive expansion of absentee voting — during its summer primary.

Every county will offer at least one voting “supercenter” similar to the ones that allowed people in Louisville and Lexington to socially distance while voting in June, Beshear said. The state’s voter ID requirements will be relaxed for both absentee voters and in-person voters who could not obtain photo identification because of the pandemic. County clerks will also offer a more robust process for voters to “cure” problems with absentee ballots to ensure they are counted, the officials said.

Both the governor and the secretary of state praised the agreement as an example of effective bipartisan cooperation.

“I don’t really think that this was too much of a negotiation going back and forth,” Beshear said at a news conference Friday afternoon, thanking Adams for “putting ideology on the shelf.”

“I think we both wanted a successful election where we could protect people’s health and get what we believe will be one of the larger turnouts we’ve seen because there are so many options to vote.”

Adams said that from the beginning of their discussions, he and Beshear “put party aside completely and looked at the facts rationally.” He emphasized that the choice to vote absentee will be a “subjective decision” for voters based on their concerns about the coronavirus, with no age cutoff or particular health status needed to qualify.

By Elise Viebeck
August 14, 2020 at 5:51 PM EDT

Rapper Kanye West files paperwork to try to appear on the presidential ballot in Iowa

Kanye West has filed a petition to appear on the ballot as an independent candidate for president in Iowa, the state’s secretary of state, Paul Pate, tweeted late Friday.

Pate indicated that state officials are still reviewing the petition to see whether it included the requisite number of signatures to qualify under state law, which requires collecting 1,500 signatures from at least 10 Iowa counties.

West, who in the past publicly praised President Trump and met recently with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, has sought inclusion on the ballot as an independent candidate representing the “Birthday Party” in a handful of states. Some, such as Oklahoma and Vermont, are likely not in play in the November election. But in recent weeks, his campaign has filed in several swing states, including Wisconsin, Ohio and now Iowa.

In at least five states, The Washington Post has found that his efforts to appear on the ballot were assisted by Republican activists and operatives, including some who had until recently publicly supported Trump. Some Democrats fear that Republicans are using West, who has said he struggles with bipolar disorder, as a way to try to siphon votes from Democrat Joe Biden. The Billings Gazette in Montana reported this week that an organizer collecting signatures for West outside a courthouse there was openly asking passersby to sign if they wanted to “help Trump.”

“We’re trying to take votes away from creepy Uncle Joe,” the organizer said.

West’s petition has been challenged in Wisconsin, which was decided by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016. The state’s election commission will meet next week to consider challenges to his inclusion on the ballot.

By Rosalind Helderman
August 14, 2020 at 4:59 PM EDT

Letter carriers union endorses Biden, denounces Trump for blocking funding

A union representing nearly 300,000 current and retired letter carriers has endorsed the Democratic presidential ticket, praising Joe Biden as a “fierce ally and defender of the United States Postal Service” at a time when the coronavirus pandemic “threatens [its] very survival."

National Association of Letter Carriers President Fredric Rolando decried the Trump administration for seeking to “undermine” USPS since 2018, when a White House task force urged raising postage rates, cutting mail service and reducing wages and collective bargaining rights for postal workers.

“And now, our country struggles to withstand the public health and economic crises caused by the Covid-19 virus,” Rolando said in a statement Thursday. “This pandemic threatens the very survival of USPS. Yet, while postal employees are on the front lines providing essential services to the public every day, the current administration refuses to provide the necessary financial relief that would strengthen the agency during this pandemic."

The endorsement was announced on the same day that Trump acknowledged he was blocking emergency funding for USPS to reduce the number of Americans who can vote by mail this fall. Trump has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that mail voting invites widespread fraud.

Rolando also praised presumptive Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala D. Harris for “[putting] letter carriers and working families first” since she became a senator in 2017.

By Elise Viebeck
August 14, 2020 at 3:51 PM EDT

Harris praises Biden’s ‘audacity’ for picking a Black woman as his running mate

Hours after signing the documents that made her nomination official, Sen. Kamala D. Harris sat for her first interview since being named Biden’s running mate earlier this week.

With Biden/Harris logos dotting a blue background behind her, Harris told the 19th the fact that she is the first woman of color on a major party’s ticket speaks to Biden’s character — and was in no way the safe choice, even as many wings of the Democratic Party are prioritizing representation more than ever.

“Joe Biden had the audacity to choose a Black woman to be his running mate. How incredible is that, and what a statement about Joe Biden that he decided that he was going to do that thing that was about breaking one of the most substantial barriers in our country,” Harris said. “and that he made that decision with whatever risk that brings. I think that more than anything makes a statement about the man who is going to be the next president of the United States.”

Harris (D-Calif.), the only Black woman in the Senate and only the second in history, called the lack of Black women in Congress “inexcusable” and said Biden’s selection “pushed forward something that might have otherwise taken decades” based on the progress she has seen Black women in politics make so far.

“The significance [of the choice] is an understanding by Joe and in what will be, God willing, our administration, about the need to be conscious about the disparities that exist, to be conscious about the systemic racism that exists, and be conscious about the active and affirmative acts that must take place to actually get closer to an equitable and fair society,” Harris said.

“This [ticket] is a statement about the fact that we’re not gonna just wait for somebody to give us permission. We’re not gonna just wait for some broad consensus where everyone feels like ‘Oh, yeah, that’s normal. I’m comfortable with it.’ Sometimes we have to get out of our comfort zone to move forward.”

By Chelsea Janes
August 14, 2020 at 1:41 PM EDT

Biden and Harris sign official documents to appear on state ballots as Democratic ticket

Biden and Harris sat at socially distanced desks for a photo op of them signing official requests to be on state ballots as the Democratic Party ticket. For the cameras, Biden signed Delaware and Harris signed California, their home states.

The documents act as their consent to receive the Democratic nomination next week, signify that they are qualified to hold the offices and request that they be on the state ballots as the Democratic ticket. The documents are required by every state and the District of Columbia.

Harris finished signing first, and while she waited for Biden, a reporter asked her about being the target of attacks in the days since being named Biden’s running mate.

“I’m signing this because I am in this race to win with that guy right there, and we’re going to get it done,” she said.

The duo left the room without taking any more questions.

By Colby Itkowitz
August 14, 2020 at 1:31 PM EDT

Amid eroding support from female voters, Trump tweets support for women’s suffrage statue

Trump used his presidential Twitter pulpit to urge Congress to pass a bill to erect a statue in honor of the women who fought for voting rights 100 years ago, which was granted by the 19th Amendment.

“I have done more for WOMEN than just about any President in HISTORY! As we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of women’s voting rights, we should build a BEAUTIFUL STATUE in Washington D.C. to honor the many brave women who made this possible for our GREAT COUNTRY,” Trump tweeted. “Congress should send me H. R. 473 ASAP and make this happen! It will INSPIRE all women to continue being bold and brave in achieving to DREAMS!”

The bill to authorize federal land for such a statue commemorating the women’s suffrage movement passed the Democratic-led House unanimously in February and is awaiting action by the Republican-led Senate.

Polls have shown a growing deficit for Trump with female voters, who have soured on his job as president.

Trump has tried to appeal to “suburban housewives” by promising to “preserve” their way of life by keeping low-income housing out of their neighborhoods, a racist trope that does not align with today’s diverse suburbia.

It is difficult to win swing states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan without support from the aggressively sought after suburban women vote — the definition of which is somewhat vague, but typically encompasses moms who are worried about their children’s safety and future.

An NPR/PBS News/Marist poll released Friday found Trump’s support lagging among suburban women. Some 71 percent surveyed hold an unfavorable view of the president, and 69 percent disapprove of the job he is doing in the White House.

On issues of race relations, 72 percent of suburban women say Biden would handle it better compared with 23 percent who believe Trump would. And 79 percent believe Trump increased tensions during the summer’s protests against racial injustice.

By Colby Itkowitz
August 14, 2020 at 12:20 PM EDT

Obama accuses Trump administration of plot to suppress mail-in votes

Former president Barack Obama accused the Trump administration of trying to suppress votes by sabotaging the U.S. Postal Service, the latest in an escalating battle over the integrity of the upcoming election.

“Everyone depends on the USPS. Seniors for their Social Security, veterans for their prescriptions, small businesses trying to keep their doors open,” Obama wrote Friday on Twitter. “They can’t be collateral damage for an administration more concerned with suppressing the vote than suppressing a virus.”

Obama linked to a podcast interview he did with his former campaign manager David Plouffe, in which he criticized President Trump’s management of the pandemic and praised former vice president Joe Biden for his selection of Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) as a running mate.

“Kamala is somebody I’ve known for years. She is smart. She is tough,” Obama said in an interview with Plouffe’s “Campaign HQ” podcast. “She is somebody who I think will be able to share the stage with Mike Pence, or whoever else, and dissect some of the terrible decisions that have been made over the last four years that have helped create worse problems than were necessary in the midst of this pandemic.”

Obama cited a combination of factors he believed should encourage voters to turn out in large numbers to vote in the weeks leading up Nov. 3, including fears that the Trump administration and Republicans would try to undermine the voting process because of a “consuming hatred of government.” Still, Obama warned that record turnout was not a given.

“The one thing we can control is voting,” he said. “We can cast our ballots like we never have before. And I do think maybe there’s one aspect of this that I should probably address, and that is voting among young people, in particular.”

Citing traditionally low turnout among younger voters, Obama encouraged young people to increase their level of participation by voting early and volunteering to work at polling places during the pandemic.

By Toluse Olorunnipa
August 14, 2020 at 12:17 PM EDT

DNC will host convention ‘watch parties’ in all 50 states

Former vice president Joe Biden's presidential campaign announced Friday it would host virtual "watch parties" for the Democratic National Convention next week.

Party conventions are typically raucous affairs, carefully planned and choreographed to energize voters and to kick off the final sprint toward Election Day. In the past, Democratic groups across the country that were unable to travel to the convention in person would organize viewings at bars or in living rooms. But the coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for groups to gather as in past years, dampening the sense of community party officials are hoping to elicit.

Each of the 50 states will have a designated virtual event hosted by prominent Democratic officials and activists. Actor Alyssa Milano and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis will host a watch party for Colorado viewers, for example, and Minnesotans can tune in with Amy Klobuchar and Andrew Yang.

By Jose Del Real
August 14, 2020 at 11:22 AM EDT

New Jersey to send mail-in ballots to every voter

New Jersey will conduct its general election mostly by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic, sending ballots to voters while also providing the option to vote in-person, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced Friday.

In an interview with CNN, Murphy said the state piloted a hybrid voting model during its July 7 primary. He touted the experiment as “not perfect, but overwhelmingly a success,” even though President Trump seized on an alleged voter fraud scheme in Paterson, New Jersey’s third-largest city, during a special election in May.

“You never can say you bat 1,000, but I’m pretty sure we have a higher probability of being hit by lightning than we do uncovering voter fraud,” the governor said.

The announcement makes New Jersey the fifth state, and the first highly populated state on the East Coast, to decide to mail ballots to voters before the November election as a way of protecting public health. Five other states -- Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington -- already conduct universal mail elections.

As roughly 20 states ease or expand access to mail voting for the fall, Trump and the Republican National Committee have focused their attacks on states where voters will receive ballots in the mail without specifically requesting them, claiming without evidence that the practice will lead to widespread voter fraud.

A Post analysis of states with universal mail voting found a minuscule number of potentially fraudulent ballots in recent elections, undercutting Trump’s claims about the risk of election tampering in mail voting systems.

By Elise Viebeck
August 14, 2020 at 11:13 AM EDT

Lindsey Graham: Harris is ‘unequivocally an American citizen’

One of President Trump’s closest congressional allies, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), firmly refuted the false conspiracy theory fanned by Trump and other conservatives that Harris might be ineligible to run for president despite having been born in the United States.

“There are plenty of issues to find disagreement with @KamalaHarris regarding her record as Senator or as a Vice Presidential nominee. She is consistently rated one of the most liberal members of the U.S. Senate, fully embracing a radical Democratic agenda,” Graham tweeted. “However, there is no issue as to whether or not she is an American citizen. She was born in the United States in 1964 to parents who were legally present. Under the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent, she is unequivocally an American citizen.”

By Colby Itkowitz
August 14, 2020 at 10:33 AM EDT

Jared Kushner declines to condemn Harris birther conspiracy: ‘It’s something that’s out there’

After Trump on Thursday stoked the unfounded theory that Harris, by being the U.S.-born daughter of two immigrants, might not be eligible to run for vice president, other White House officials, including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, did not bat back the racist claim.

Kushner, a senior adviser to the president, did not denounce the birther conspiracy theory when asked during an appearance on “CBS This Morning” about the president’s comments about Harris’s eligibility.

“He just said he had no idea whether that’s right or wrong. I don’t see that as promoting it,” Kushner said. “But look, at the end of the day, it’s something that’s out there.”

Pressed on whether Kushner “accepted” that Harris was eligible — under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution she undoubtedly is — he said, “I personally have no reason to believe she’s not.”

Over on Fox Business, Vice President Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, was asked whether Harris was “up to the job.” He responded with rhetoric that leaned into the idea that she somehow was not American.

“We can celebrate the fact that a daughter of two immigrants has had such a celebrated political career, to be elected statewide and now be the nominee for the Democrat Party,” he said. “I think what’s more concerning is some of the socialist ideas she seems to have imported from overseas as well.”

By Colby Itkowitz
August 14, 2020 at 9:50 AM EDT

Post readers, we want to hear from you!

Are you planning on watching the Democratic or Republican national conventions this month? The Post is interested in hearing from readers all over the country about how they intend to do so.

Why is it important for you to watch the conventions? What are you hoping to hear from the speakers? How will you be watching the conventions? Are you watching with family? Are you joining any virtual watch parties?

Fill out this form and a reporter might follow up with you.

By Washington Post Staff
August 14, 2020 at 9:15 AM EDT

House GOP leader says Congress will ‘make sure’ postal service is funded

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Friday that Republicans do not support withholding funding from the U.S. Postal Service and, in a break with Trump, urged voters to cast ballots by mail.

“The Postal Service will have the funding that it needs,” McCarthy said in an interview on CNBC. “We will make sure of that. We want to make sure we have an accurate election. I think any Republican that gets their ballot in the mail should vote and make sure their vote is counted.”

McCarthy noted that Trump on Thursday said he would not veto legislation that does contain the extra funding to support the Postal Service even as he rails against it.

In an interview Thursday with Fox Business Network, Trump said he opposes a $25 billion emergency injection sought by the U.S. Postal Service, as well as a Democratic proposal to provide $3.6 billion in additional election funding to the states. Both of those requests have been tied up in congressional negotiations over a new coronavirus relief package.

By Colby Itkowitz