Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Wednesday that schools would be opening safely — instead of faced with a “national emergency” — if President Trump had done his job handling the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden’s remarks in Wilmington, Del., came shortly before Trump staged an event in the battleground state of North Carolina to commemorate World War II and tout his support for the military.

Earlier Wednesday, Biden announced a record-breaking fundraising haul for August and said he will travel Thursday to Kenosha, Wis. which has experienced unrest in the wake of the police shooting of a Black man. President Trump visited the city Tuesday, reinforcing his law-and-order message.

Here are some significant developments:
September 2, 2020 at 9:24 PM EDT
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Cuomo says Trump would need ‘an army’ to walk in NYC, as Trump threatens to cut federal funding to ‘lawless’ cities

By Colby Itkowitz

President Trump has instructed his Justice Department to compile a list of “anarchist jurisdictions,” citing Portland, Ore., Seattle, New York City and Washington, D.C., as examples of places “that have permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract these criminal activities.”

Once those are identified, Trump said, he has asked the Office of Management and Budget to see about restricting federal funding to those areas.

“My Administration will do everything in its power to prevent weak mayors and lawless cities from taking Federal dollars while they let anarchists harm people, burn buildings, and ruin lives and businesses. We’re putting them on notice today,” he tweeted.

In a last-minute conference call with reporters, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) railed against the president, saying that he was considered a “clown” by New Yorkers and that they were glad he had changed his residence to Florida.

Cuomo reportedly said that Trump was so disliked in the city where he was raised and built his brand that he couldn’t “have enough bodyguards to walk through New York City. Forget bodyguards, he better have an army if he thinks he’s going to walk down the streets in New York.”

According to Politico, a Cuomo spokesman later clarified that he didn’t mean it as a literal threat, but was making a point about how Trump was not welcome there.

September 2, 2020 at 7:43 PM EDT
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Trump says people should vote twice, once by mail and once in person

By Colby Itkowitz

President Trump, who has claimed the 2020 election will be rife with fraud and rigged against him, suggested during a trip in North Carolina that voters should vote twice, once by mail and once in person, to test the protections in place intended to guard against double voting.

“So let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote,” Trump said when a local TV reporter asked whether he had confidence in the vote-by-mail system.

Intentionally voting twice is illegal, and in many states it is a felony.

Trump has insisted, without evidence, that widespread mail-in voting, expanded in many states to accommodate fears about the coronavirus, will result in corruption, miscounting and delays, making it impossible to know who wins the November election.

September 2, 2020 at 7:16 PM EDT
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Biden to meet Jacob Blake’s family in Kenosha, calls for officers to be charged

By Matt Viser and Colby Itkowitz

Biden said the police officers involved in the shootings that paralyzed Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., and killed Breonna Taylor in Louisville, should be charged to allow the judicial system to determine whether they should be convicted.

“I think we should let the judicial system work its way. I do think at a minimum, they need to be charged, the officers,” Biden said, during a news conference Wednesday in Wilmington, Del., when asked directly about those cases.

Biden and his wife, Jill, will travel to Kenosha on Thursday to meet with Blake’s family, a campaign official confirmed.

Biden’s trip will come two days after Trump visited the community and toured the wreckage left from protests and looting that erupted after Blake’s shooting.

Trump did not meet with Blake’s family during the trip and has also not spoken with the family. Biden called the family after the shooting, spending an hour on the phone with them.

Biden’s trip will be the first time since 2012 that a Democratic nominee travels to Wisconsin during a general election, with Hillary Clinton having been accused of neglecting the state four years ago and ceding it to Trump.

Several local leaders this week urged Trump and Biden to both postpone visits, saying that partisan politics would only exacerbate raw emotions on the community.

“There’s been overwhelming requests that I do come,” Biden said at the news conference. “I have gotten advice from sitting members of Congress and the Senate as well to go — and that I should go. I’m not going to do anything other than meet with community leaders as well as business people, other folks in law enforcement, and to see — to start to talk about what has to be done.”

September 2, 2020 at 6:01 PM EDT
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‘This is playing with fire,’ Barr says of mass mail-in voting

By Matt Zapotosky

Attorney General William P. Barr asserted Wednesday that mass mail-in voting was ripe for potential fraud and that it would be “reckless and dangerous” to convert to such a system in such a heated partisan climate.

Though Barr seemed to concede that there had not been widespread fraud associated with mail-in voting in the past, he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in a testy exchange that was because the United States had not used the practice in a broad way.

“This is playing with fire,” Barr said. “We’re a very closely divided country here, and if people have to have confidence in the results of the election and the legitimacy of the government, and people trying to change the rules to this methodology, which, as a matter of logic, is very open to fraud and correction, is reckless and dangerous, and people are playing with fire.”

Barr pointed to a report more than a decade ago from a commission led by former president Jimmy Carter and former secretary of state James A. Baker III, which noted the fraud risk with mail-in voting. He said news accounts and studies since that time had confirmed the risk, and added, “The only time the narrative changed is after this administration came in.”

In a statement earlier this year, the Carter Center noted that while the commission had found some risks associated with mail-in voting, it also found “little evidence of voter fraud” in places with appropriate safeguards, such as Oregon, which has voted by mail since 1998.

Blitzer noted that multiple states now vote entirely by mail, and there has been little evidence of widespread fraud. He suggested the coronavirus pandemic might call for special measures this year. Barr said polling places could make arrangements to protect people, and those at risk could request absentee ballots — rather than having states send ballots to all voters on their rolls, which means homes often get ballots for previous residents.

September 2, 2020 at 5:08 PM EDT
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Harris: ‘Our children’s safety is the last thing on Donald Trump’s mind’

By Chelsea Janes

Not long after Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden delivered his own rebuke of the Trump administration’s handing of school reopenings, Sen. Kamala D. Harris echoed her running mate’s criticisms to a virtual gathering of Minnesota leaders.

“Donald Trump is offering no real plan to help schools reopen safely, and he’s refusing to do the work of getting the virus under control. His administration is attempting to bully schools into reopening without the support they need,” Harris said. “It’s clear that our children’s safety is the last thing on Donald Trump’s mind.”

Harris spoke briefly to a group that included Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and other Minnesota state leaders, and she focused her remarks on the anxiety surrounding school reopenings and what a Biden-Harris administration would do differently if elected. She explained Biden’s plan to declare school reopenings a national emergency to “provide relief and resources as efficiently and expeditiously as possible.”

She said their administration would direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to make sure schools get relief funds under the Stafford Act, tag newly necessary supplies and resources as “emergency protective measures” to make them eligible for federal funding, and push Congress to pass an emergency relief package focused on schools.

“None of this is going to be easy, but our kids are counting on us,” Harris (D-Calif.) said. “And with the right leader in the White House, we can control this virus and reopen our schools and get our economy and your families back on their feet.”

September 2, 2020 at 5:02 PM EDT
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Half of likely voters feel ‘less safe’ with Trump as president

By Colby Itkowitz

President Trump’s reelection pitch centers on selling a dark image of a lawless, crime-ridden America under a Biden presidency, yet more likely voters say they feel safer with Biden as president than Trump.

A Quinnipiac University poll found that 50 percent of likely voters in the country feel less safe having Trump in the White House compared with 35 percent who feel safer with him in charge. If Joe Biden were president, 40 percent would feel less safe, while 42 percent would feel safer.

Trump has sought to portray civil unrest over racial injustice, some of which has turned violent, as a broader threat to Americans’ safety and has claimed that the situation would worsen if Biden was president.

Biden points to the rise in hate crimes since Trump became president and the deaths of about a thousand Americans a day in the coronavirus pandemic as evidence that the country is less safe under Trump.

Biden leads Trump by 10 points nationally among likely voters, 52 percent to 42 percent, and is seen by more voters to be the stronger choice on handling issues of racial inequality, the pandemic and health care and on handling a crisis generally. Likely voters are split 48 percent to 48 percent on which man would do a better job handling the economy.

The ultimate challenge for Trump will be persuading voters to trust him with another four years at a time when nearly 60 percent say the country is worse off today than it was in 2016 before he was elected.

September 2, 2020 at 3:51 PM EDT
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A GOP congressman threatens Black protesters, another says Black deaths are ‘sensationalized’

By Colby Itkowitz

A Republican congressman posted a photo of armed Black protesters on his Facebook page and wrote that if they showed up in his state of Louisiana, they “won’t walk away.”

“I’d drop any 10 of you where you stand,” Rep. Clay Higgins (La.) wrote, according to the Acadiana Advocate. “Nothing personal. We just eliminate the threat. We don’t care what color you are. We don’t care if you’re left or right. if you show up like this, if We recognize threat … you won’t walk away.”

“We don’t want to see your worthless ass nor do we want to make your Mothers cry,” Higgins added.

Facebook quickly removed the post for violating its terms against inciting violence. In a new post, Higgins tells his supporters he did not take down the post and suggests there will be a call to arms.

No, I did not remove my post. America is being manipulated into a new era of government control. Your liberty is...

Posted by Captain Clay Higgins on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Another Republican congressman told constituents that the killing of African Americans by police have been “sensationalized” and suggested there isn’t a problem of systemic racism.

“What is systemic? That means there’s a system of. If there’s a system, someone had to create that system,” Rep. Scott Perry (Pa.) said, according to the York Dispatch. “Someone is operating and nurturing the system to keep it going. I don’t know who in our country is doing that.”

Asked whether the deaths of Black people by police is a signal of a systemic problem, Perry challenged that assertion, saying the only thing that’s changed is “the sensationalism of these events.”

September 2, 2020 at 3:12 PM EDT
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Trump denounces ‘violent mobs,’ marks WWII anniversary in remarks alongside N.C. battleship

By Felicia Sonmez

Trump on Wednesday marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II by delivering remarks in front of the battleship North Carolina and designating Wilmington, N.C., the first American World War II Heritage City.

“With this designation, we proudly declare that in America, we don’t tear down our past. We celebrate our heroes. We cherish our heritage. We preserve our history. And we build the future,” Trump told the crowd as he stood in front of the battleship.

The president briefly touched on the nationwide protests against racism and police violence.

American warriors did not defeat fascism and oppression overseas only to watch our freedoms be trampled by violent mobs here at home,” Trump said, even though the vast majority of such protests have been peaceful.

He added: “These people only know one thing, and that’s strength. That’s all they know, strength.”

September 2, 2020 at 2:29 PM EDT
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2020 presidential, VP debate moderators announced

By Felicia Sonmez

The Commission on Presidential Debates on Wednesday announced the four moderators for this year’s presidential and vice-presidential debates.

“Fox News Sunday” anchor Chris Wallace will moderate the first debate, which is scheduled for Sept. 29 at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page will moderate the vice-presidential debate, which will take place at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Oct. 7.

The second presidential debate, which will take the form of a town hall meeting, will be moderated by C-SPAN senior executive producer and political editor Steve Scully. The debate is scheduled for Oct. 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.

The third and final presidential debate will be moderated by NBC News White House correspondent and “Weekend Today” co-anchor Kristen Welker. It is scheduled for Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville.

Last month, Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, released a list of some two-dozen journalists he said the Trump campaign would like to see moderate the debates. None of those journalists were among the moderators named Wednesday.

The Trump campaign voiced some dissatisfaction in a statement Wednesday afternoon in which it also alleged, without evidence, that some of the moderators are “opponents” of Trump.

“These are not the moderators we would have recommended if the campaign had been allowed to have any input,” Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said. “Some can be identified as clear opponents of President Trump, meaning Joe Biden will actually have a teammate onstage most of the time to help him excuse the radical, leftist agenda he is carrying.”

September 2, 2020 at 2:24 PM EDT
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Trump has no plan to safely reopen schools, Biden says in Wilmington speech

By Felicia Sonmez and Matt Viser

In remarks in Wilmington, Del., on Wednesday afternoon, Joe Biden described the situation facing the country’s schools as “a national emergency” and excoriated President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the president has “no plan” for a safe reopening.

“He’s offering nothing but failure and delusions,” Biden said. He added, “If President Trump and his administration had done their jobs early on in this crisis, American schools would be open, and they’d be open safely.”

At one point, Biden addressed Trump directly, asking, “Mr. President, where are you?”

“Get off Twitter and start talking to the congressional leaders. … You always talk about your ability to negotiate. Negotiate a deal,” Biden said, referring to the stalled negotiations on the latest coronavirus relief package.

The return to a focus on the pandemic’s effect on education is another of Biden’s repeated efforts to connect with Americans whose lives the virus has upended in myriad ways. Jill Biden, who has spent much of her career as a community-college teacher, has undertaken a “Back to School” tour of 10 cities in eight battleground states.

In his Wilmington remarks, the former vice president also took aim at Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, arguing that she and Trump “haven’t stepped up, and we’re all seeing the results.”

“Millions of students are now starting the new school year in the same way they finished the last one — at home,” Joe Biden said.

Later, in a question-and-answer session with reporters, Biden briefly addressed his upcoming visit to Kenosha, Wis. He said that he had spoken with local leaders and the staff of Gov. Tony Evers (D) and that there is “an overwhelming request” that he visit the city.

The purpose, he added, is “to be a positive influence on what’s going on, to talk about what may be done and try to see if there may be the beginning of a mechanism to bring the folks together. We have to heal. This is about making sure that we move forward.”

September 2, 2020 at 2:21 PM EDT
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Trump frames race as battle to ‘keep our country’ as he arrives in North Carolina

By John Wagner

Trump sought to frame the race as a battle to “keep our country” as he arrived in Wilmington, N.C., ahead of an event commemorating the end of World War II.

“We’re running against some people that have got some big issues,” Trump told supporters at the airport after getting off Air Force One. “They’ve got some big, big problems. They’re stone cold crazy, and we have to keep our country. … We can’t let it happen to our country.”

September 2, 2020 at 1:35 PM EDT
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Biden to travel to Shanksville, Pa., for 9/11 memorial

By John Wagner

Joe Biden’s campaign announced Wednesday that he and his wife, Jill, will travel to Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11 to mark the 19th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, the latest stop in a stepped-up travel schedule for the Democratic candidate.

Shanksville is the site of a memorial to those who died on United Airlines Flight 93 after disrupting the plan of terrorists to crash one of their hijacked planes into the U.S. Capitol. Forty passengers and crew members died when Flight 93 slammed into an open field there.

The Biden campaign released no details of the planned event.

September 2, 2020 at 12:27 PM EDT
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Biden announces record-breaking August fundraising haul of $364.5 million

By Michelle Lee

Biden’s campaign said it raised $364.5 million in August along with the national party and affiliated fundraising committees, a record-breaking monthly fundraising haul.

More than $205 million of the August haul came through online donations, the campaign said, a massive monthly sum for any political campaign or group. The campaign drew 1.5 million new donors in August, totaling more than 4 million individual donors, officials said.

The eye-popping monthly haul underscores the momentum the campaign generated with the announcement of his vice-presidential candidate and the Democratic National Convention last month. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) is a prolific fundraiser whose vice-presidential nomination generated a flurry of donations from her extensive donor network.

The previous presidential fundraising record was $202.5 million in September 2008 by the Obama campaign, the national party and an affiliated committee, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan research group Campaign Finance Institute. (That amount equates to roughly $244 million in 2020, adjusted for inflation.)

The August total for the Biden campaign, the Democratic National Committee and affiliated fundraising committees more than doubled the $140 million haul the previous month.

“That figure blows me away. And we raised it the right way, from people across the country stepping up to own a piece of this campaign, investing in the future we want to see for our kids and grandkids,” Biden said in a statement to supporters Wednesday.

Since May, Biden has quickly expanded his big-money fundraising capability. Through agreements with the Biden campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties, Biden has continued to increase the cap on the amount of money he can raise from a single donor.

Under a new agreement filed this week with the Federal Election Commission, a donor can give up to $830,600 to support Biden, according to The Washington Post’s analysis.

The Trump campaign and the Republican Party have not yet released their August figures.

September is expected to be another strong fundraising month for the campaigns, with the first presidential debate taking place a day before the Sept. 30 fundraising deadline.

September 2, 2020 at 12:18 PM EDT
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White House calls Biden’s plans to visit Kenosha ‘too little, too late’

By John Wagner

A White House spokesman on Wednesday called Biden’s plans to visit Kenosha, Wis., “too little, too late” and claimed that Trump’s visit on Tuesday was not motivated by politics.

“It’s too little, too late,” White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern said on Fox News when asked for reaction to Biden’s plans for a visit Thursday to the city, which has experienced unrest in the wake of a police shooting of Black man.

“I mean it’s unfortunate that violence and rioting and the president, President Trump, taking that seriously is finally what will get a Democratic presidential candidate to visit the people of Wisconsin,” Morgenstern said. “It’s sad that that’s what it takes. We’re glad that the Democrats are finally taking it seriously.”

Morgenstern claimed that while the Democratic nominee was being motivated by politics, the Republican incumbent was not.

“It’s unfortunate that politics seems to be the motivating factor for them as opposed to President Trump, who’s just trying to help citizens secure their communities and restore safety in the streets,” he said.

He later said that Trump’s visit was “really impactful.”

“This is an area that hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate in nearly 50 years, and there were Trump supporters lined along the streets for 15 miles pleased that he was there,” Morgenstern said.