President Trump addressed supporters Thursday night in Michigan, a key battleground state in the Rust Belt, a day after Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, delivered a scathing rebuke of his economic stewardship from a union hall there.

Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, is continuing to seize upon Trump’s acknowledgment in a new book by journalist Bob Woodward that he downplayed the potential impact of the coronavirus in the early stages of the pandemic, a move the president says was intended to project calm. Trump defended himself during an afternoon news conference, saying that if what he told Woodward was so bad, then the journalist should have reported it at the time rather than wait months later and save it for his book.

Here are some significant developments:
September 10, 2020 at 9:15 PM EDT

Trump says Biden will let terrorists into the country and antifa into the suburbs

President Trump again sought to paint a dark image of America under a Biden presidency, warning that the former vice president would open the country to terrorists and invite members of antifa to live in suburban neighborhoods.

The president, who has spent the week defending himself against new reporting that showed he downplayed the coronavirus because he didn’t want to incite panic, gave a campaign rally speech in Michigan that focused on sowing fear.

He’s promised to flood your state with refugees. And you know that as well as I do. And you see it all the time, from terrorist hot spots around the world, including Syria, Somalia and Yemen,” Trump said, adding that Biden wants a “a 700 percent increase in the flow of refugees.”

It is true that Biden has pledged to increase the number of refugees allowed to resettle in America, but to bring it close to the levels under former president Barack Obama after Trump slashed it from 130,000 refugees a year to just 18,000. Biden would seek to lift the cap to 125,000.

Trump then went to charge, as he often does, that Biden and Democrats want to ruin the suburbs by mandating more low-income housing. Trump has conflated fair housing rules with angry mobs descending on peaceful, mostly-white neighborhoods.

Does anybody want to have somebody from antifa as a member and as a resident of your suburb? I don’t think so,” Trump said.

Then, mimicking his idea of suburban housewife talking to her husband, Trump said, “Say, darling, who moved in next door? Oh, it’s a resident of antifa. No, thank you, let’s get out of here. Let’s get the hell out of here, darling. Let’s leave our suburbs. I wish Trump were president. He wouldn’t have allowed that to happen.”

Trump warned ominously that under Bidenyou will have crime like you’ve never seen before,” and that “no city, town or suburb will be safe,” telling his supporters their “vote will save America.”

By Colby Itkowitz
September 10, 2020 at 8:06 PM EDT

Republicans worried about Biden outspending Trump on air

Republican officials have been inundated with calls from worried activists and donors who complain about constant Biden ads in their local media markets, with very few paid Trump responses, according to people familiar with the conversations. Some Republicans close to Trump have been baffled at the decision to sharply curb advertising and have told the president he should change course.

The complaints have upended the dynamics that dominated much of the race so far. With less than eight weeks before Election Day, the once-lean Biden campaign is flush with cash, while the massive Trump operation is facing tough budgetary decisions down the stretch that have increased tensions around the president.

Among those worried is Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, who recently told the president she was concerned his ads were not on television in states such as Michigan and Florida where Biden was blanketing the airwaves, according to people familiar with the conversation. The president shared the concern, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

By Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey
September 10, 2020 at 8:00 PM EDT

Biden, Trump to visit Flight 93 memorial to mark Sept. 11

Nineteen years after Sept. 11, Trump and Biden are their respective party’s presidential candidates, and both will visit Shanksville, Pa., on Friday, the place where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field. It will bring the two candidates to the same place on the same day, a rare occurrence, and it comes less than three weeks before they face off in their first debate.

The Sept. 11 attacks targeted the cities that molded the two men, Washington and New York, reinforcing the clashing worldviews they now offer the American electorate: Biden’s embrace of U.S. institutions and global alliances, Trump’s distrust of foreigners and insistence that America must go it alone.

That divide is playing out amid another great national trauma, one Americans are handling in a very different way. If 9/11 prompted a rare moment of national unity — with Republican and Democratic leaders embracing on the Senate floor — the current pandemic is yielding bitter partisan debates over everything from death rates to who’s at fault.

By Matt Viser
September 10, 2020 at 6:59 PM EDT

Harris says Trump showed ‘reckless disregard’ for health of American people

Kamala D. Harris paused a roundtable she was holding with Black community leaders in Miami Thursday afternoon to offer her first public remarks about Bob Woodward’s reporting on President Trump downplaying the threat the novel coronavirus posed to the American people.

“We continue to have examples of the fact that this is an individual who is not concerned about the well-being of the American people, and is frankly engaged in a reckless disregard for the lives and the health and well-being of the American people,” Harris said. “I find it so outrageous.”

Harris emphasized the fact that the conversations Trump had that revealed he understood the dangers of the virus were not just told secondhand, but recorded so people could hear it for themselves. She pointed to the fact that Trump knew the coronavirus was “deadly stuff” and knew it was airborne as early as February.

“This is the same man, Donald Trump, who for days, weeks, if not months thereafter, called it a hoax, dismissed the seriousness of it to the point that he suggested people should not wear masks,” Harris said, with visible disgust. “He knew it was airborne, that people would breathe it. Joe Biden said it well: ‘I guess we now know he knows how to read.’'

The Democratic vice-presidential nominee made those comments on the campus of Florida Memorial University, a historically Black school located in Miami Gardens. Miami-Dade County has been one of the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus, experiencing crowded hospitals and equipment shortages at times this summer.

“Here we are, in this community, talking about the number of deaths. Talking about the number of people who have contracted the virus. Talking about the number of people who have become unemployed, who are standing in food lines, who are begging of their government that they extend unemployment benefits because of a pandemic that resulted in an economic disaster of a measure compared to the Great Depression,” Harris said.

“And the commander in chief of the United States of America was in possession of that information that long ago yet conducted himself the way he did? There are so many reasons why Joe Biden needs to be elected president of the United States. If those reasons did not make it clear why, this certainly does.”

By Chelsea Janes
September 10, 2020 at 6:22 PM EDT

Trump says if there are riots on election night, ‘we’ll put them down very quickly’

In an interview with Fox News Channel host Jeanine Pirro set to air Saturday, Trump suggested that the federal government will respond with force if riots erupt on election night, pledging to “put them down very quickly.”

The president did not detail what such a response might look like. His remark echoed similar statements he has made in recent months, such as in June, when he threatened to dispatch active-duty military personnel to quell violence amid protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

“What are you going to do — let’s say there are — there are threats. They say that they are going to threaten riots if they lose on election night, assuming we get a winner on election night,” Pirro said in an advance excerpt of the interview.

She did not provide any evidence to back up her claim but held up a piece of paper. “What are you going to do?” she asked.

“We’ll put them down very quickly if they do that,” Trump said.

Asked how he might do that, Trump replied, “We have the right to do that.”

“We have the power to do that, if we want,” he added. “Look, it’s called insurrection. We just send in and we do it very easy. I mean, it’s very easy. I’d rather not do that, because there’s no reason for it, but if we had to, we’d do that and put it down within minutes, within minutes.”

A law called the Posse Comitatus Act prohibits the domestic use of military for law enforcement purposes without specific congressional authorization, experts say — but a different law, the Insurrection Act, provides the president authorization to do so under certain circumstances.

In addition, federal law enforcement officials have been dispatched to Portland, Ore., in recent months over the objections of local officials, amid sustained protests outside the federal courthouse there.

Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.

By Felicia Sonmez
September 10, 2020 at 6:19 PM EDT

Democratic megadonor Haim Saban to host $500,000-per-person fundraiser for Biden

Democratic megadonor Haim Saban is slated to host a high-dollar virtual fundraiser for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden next week, marking the media mogul’s first official step in financially supporting Biden.

Tickets for the intimate fundraiser go for $500,000 per person and the donations will be made to Biden Victory Fund, which raises money for the Biden campaign and the Democratic Party, according to a person with knowledge of the event who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe details of the private event.

Biden is expected to attend the fundraiser, along with Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, the person said.

Saban is one of the biggest donors to the Democratic Party and a longtime supporter and friend of Hillary Clinton. Saban had not endorsed a candidate during the Democratic presidential primaries, declining to raise money or donate to any presidential candidate earlier this year and instead backing Democrats running for Congress.

In a statement endorsing Biden, Saban, an Israeli American, said he is particularly impressed by the former vice president’s track record on building a strong bond between the United States and Israel.

“Joe is a proven leader who has the experience, vision and heart to unify our country in this hyperpartisan time. Joe’s judgment and track record show that he will broadly restore America’s position as a moral and global leader, and ensure that the strong, bipartisan alliance between the U.S. and Israel remains unshakable,” Saban said in a statement.

Saban continued: “This alliance is vital to our American interests, something Joe articulated best when he said: ‘If there were not an Israel, we would have to invent one to make sure our interests were preserved.’ I am confident that Joe is the right leader to make real progress for Americans and our international partners, and urge our party to unite in his support.”

By Michelle Lee
September 10, 2020 at 5:41 PM EDT

Biden promises transparency about his health, says he can win back blue-collar voters despite past NAFTA support

In a CNN interview that aired Thursday, Joe Biden promised to be “totally transparent” about his health, continued criticizing President Trump on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and argued that he was the better candidate to appeal to blue-collar voters in battleground states, even if some of those voters were skeptical of the former vice president’s record on trade.

“Thank God I am in good health,” Biden said. “But here’s the deal: Anything can happen. I’ve become a great respecter of fate. … I guarantee you, I will be totally transparent in terms of my health and all aspects of my health. And when it comes to Donald Trump and me, just look at us. Just look at us. Who seems to be in shape? Who’s able to move around?”

In a wide-ranging conversation with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Biden said he suspected voters in counties that swung for Trump after going for Barack Obama in previous elections — including Macomb County in Michigan, where the interview was taped — had felt “taken for granted.” Biden touted his work helping to save General Motors in arguing that he could win back voters in swing areas.

“The core of my support is a combination of the African American community and working-class, blue-collar guys,” Biden said.

Biden’s past support for the North American Free Trade Agreement and Trans-Pacific Partnership has dogged him, especially among blue-collar union workers he needs to appeal to in battleground states. On Thursday, Biden acknowledged that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that Trump signed into law in January — sometimes referred to “NAFTA 2.0” — was better than NAFTA but did not give Trump credit for it.

“But look what the overall trade policy has done even with NAFTA,” Biden told Tapper. “We now have this gigantic deficit in trade with Mexico. Not because NAFTA wasn’t made better, because overall trade policy and how he deals with it made everything worse.”

Biden argued instead that Trump had damaged the economic progress that he and President Barack Obama made after the Great Recession.

“What has he done with trade to create more jobs in the United States?” Biden said. “Look what he’s done with China: He’s allowed corporate America to be able to make money by continuing to export American jobs.”

Biden visited Warren, Mich., on Wednesday to give a speech in front of the United Auto Workers training center and tout his U.S.-centered economic plan, intended to counter Trump’s “America First” policies.

By Amy B Wang
September 10, 2020 at 5:23 PM EDT

Trump, who claims to rarely watch TV, lists a half-dozen shows he watched in the past 24 hours

Trump often claims that he has little time to watch television.

But at his Thursday news conference, the president praised the hosts of five or six hours’ worth of shows that he claimed to have watched just in the past 24 hours.

“I watch some of the shows,” Trump told reporters in the White House briefing room. “I watched Liz McDonald; she’s fantastic. I watched Fox Business. I watched Lou Dobbs last night. Sean Hannity last night. Tucker [Carlson] last night. Laura [Ingraham]. I watched ‘Fox and Friends’ in the morning.”

Trump went on to mention one of his favorite topics — the Obama administration’s alleged spying on his campaign in 2016, a claim that has yet to be proved — and praised the hosts and their shows for devoting time to it.

“They cover things that are — it’s really an amazing thing. They got caught in the biggest political scandal in the history of our country,” Trump said, without evidence.

In an interview with the New York Times last month, Trump rejected the notion that he is obsessed with watching television, saying his actual routine is “just the opposite.”

“I don’t watch very much TV. Nobody knows what I do,” he said, adding: “I work very long hours, actually, very long hours, probably longer than just about anybody. And I think more importantly, I think I work effectively.”

By Felicia Sonmez
September 10, 2020 at 4:50 PM EDT

Arizona Senate candidate Mark Kelly apologizes for making racist joke at 2018 event

Mark Kelly, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Arizona, apologized Thursday for making a racist joke during a speaking engagement in 2018.

Kelly, a former astronaut, is leading Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) by a wide margin in most polls. The race is considered among the Democrats’ top opportunities to flip a Republican-held Senate seat this November.

Kelly’s remarks came to light after Moses Sanchez, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully for Phoenix mayor in 2018, tweeted a video of them Thursday morning.

In the video, Kelly was speaking at an event organized by the Boy Scouts of America Northern New Jersey Council. At one point, he answered a question by noting the effect that living in space for a year had had on the DNA of his twin brother, astronaut Scott Kelly.

“I think the word hasn’t gotten out [about] how bad it is for him. You know, it’s gotten so bad that we recently had to release him back into the wild,” Kelly said, prompting laughs from the crowd. “He’s like, halfway between like an orangutan and a howler monkey. We even changed his name to Rodrigo. He lives in the woods. He lives in Eagle Rock Reservation [a forest preserve in New Jersey].”

Sanchez criticized Kelly on Thursday over the video. “Shameful video of Mark Kelly making a racist joke to an all-white crowd,” he tweeted, although it was not clear from the footage whether the audience was all White. “He must think people named Rodrigo look like monkeys.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee said Arizonans “deserve answers from @CaptMarkKelly on this offensive quote and where he stands on his party’s far left agenda.”

In a statement Thursday, Kelly apologized for his remarks.

“My brother’s year in space was really hard on him and we tried to bring some light to his difficult ordeal, but this comment does not do that and I apologize and deeply regret it,” he said.

By Felicia Sonmez
September 10, 2020 at 4:47 PM EDT

Bradley Beal will vote for the first time this fall. He’s urging you to do the same.

Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal says he understands why some people have doubts about the importance of registering to vote — he had similar hang-ups in previous elections.

This fall, at age 27, he plans to cast a ballot for the first time. And he’s urging D.C. residents not to repeat his past mistake.

Beal joined D.C. elections officials Thursday to encourage early voting at places such as Capital One Arena this fall. Asked what he would tell potential voters who are on the fence about whether it’s worth it, Beal said it was those same feelings that prevented him from voting in past elections.

“I was someone who thought my vote didn’t count,” he said ruefully. “[Now] I stand here and say it does.”

By Michael Brice-Saddler
September 10, 2020 at 4:43 PM EDT

Trump scoffs at being asked why he lied to American people about coronavirus risk

Trump scoffed at a reporter’s question effectively calling the president a liar for telling the public one thing about the coronavirus and Bob Woodward another.

At an afternoon White House news briefing, ABC’s Jon Karl asked Trump: Why did you lie to the American people? And why should we trust what you have to say?

Terrible question,” Trump said. “The phraseology. I didn’t lie. What I said is we have to be calm, we can’t be panicked.

Trump launched into a new defense that if what he had said to Woodward had been bad, then the journalist would have reported on it at the time rather than hold it for his book. Many Trump critics have criticized Woodward for not releasing the tapes in March when the president was playing down the pandemic to the public.

Trump lashed out again about being accused of lying. And your question, the way you phrased that is such a disgrace. It’s a disgrace to ABC television network. It’s a disgrace to your employer," he said.

There was no lie here. What we’re doing is we’re leading, and we’re leading in a proper way,” Trump said, adding again, And the way you asked that question is very disgraceful.”

When asked in a subsequent question why he didn’t tell the American people what he’d told Woodward about how deadly the coronavirus was, Trump again put the onus on Woodward.

If Bob Woodward thought what I said was bad, then he should have immediately, right after I said it, gone out to the authorities so they can prepare and let them know,” Trump said. “But he didn’t.”

By Colby Itkowitz
September 10, 2020 at 3:33 PM EDT

Wisconsin Supreme Court says absentee ballots should not yet be mailed to voters

The conservative-majority Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that absentee ballots shouldn’t be sent to voters until lawsuits over who will appear on the ballot are decided.

At issue is whether the Green Party presidential ticket should be on the ballot, which it currently is not. The state Elections Commission was deadlocked on whether to include the candidates despite conflicting information on their campaign filing. The three Republican members were in support of including the Green Party, while the three Democrats were opposed. The candidates are suing to reverse that decision.

Wisconsin is a critical swing state that Trump won by a razor-thin margin four years ago. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate in 2016, is viewed by many Democrats as a spoiler who may have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency in key states.

The state Supreme Court’s decision could have the impact of shrinking the time frame for mailing ballots to Wisconsin voters and for voters returning them, potentially bottlenecking delivery and risking some ballots not being counted in time.

By Colby Itkowitz
September 10, 2020 at 3:29 PM EDT

Kamala Harris makes surprise visit to Doral, heart of Florida’s Venezuelan community

Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) made an unannounced visit Thursday to Doral, Fla., during her first campaign trip to South Florida as Joe Biden’s running mate.

The Democratic vice-presidential nominee stopped by a restaurant in Doral, a city outside Miami that is home to the second-highest percentage of Venezuelans in the United States. There, she and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, ordered arepas to go.

“Welcome to Doralzuela,” one diner told them, using a portmanteau of “Doral” and “Venezuela,” according to a pool report.

Harris laughed and responded with “gracias” before telling the man there was “so much at stake” in this year’s election.

The stop in Doral had not been included on Harris’s public schedule. She traveled to Miami on Thursday morning with planned stops at Florida Memorial University, a historically Black university, to discuss the challenges facing African Americans in South Florida. Separately, Emhoff planned to host an event with Jewish community leaders in the region.

By Amy B Wang
September 10, 2020 at 3:13 PM EDT

Russian hackers who disrupted 2016 election targeting political parties again, Microsoft says

Russian military spies who hacked and leaked Democratic emails to inject chaos into the 2016 presidential election are active again, targeting political parties, advocacy groups and consultants, Microsoft announced Thursday.

China and Iran are also attempting to penetrate the Microsoft email accounts of people affiliated with the political campaigns, though the efforts against the campaigns of Trump by Iran and Biden by China were not successful, the company said.

The Republican National Committee also was unsuccessfully targeted, said a person familiar with the matter, but it is unclear by which country.

By Ellen Nakashima and Josh Dawsey