President Trump is on a campaign swing out West this weekend, while former vice president Joe Biden attended a church service in Wilmington, Del., but has no public events. The president holds a Latinos for Trump roundtable in Las Vegas on Sunday morning, followed by two fundraisers and an evening rally in Henderson, Nev.

Biden, who is leading Trump in the money race, got even more good news in the form of a pledge by former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg to spend at least $100 million in Florida to help elect the Democratic presidential nominee.

Trump’s Nevada visit comes as he continues to defend his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, after the release of an interview with Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward in which Trump acknowledged he played down the severity of the virus.

Here are some significant developments:
9:56 p.m.
Link copied
link

Trump’s event tonight will be his first indoor campaign rally since Tulsa

By Felicia Sonmez

Trump’s speech Sunday night in Henderson, Nev., will mark his first indoor campaign rally since June 20, when he addressed a smaller-than-expected crowd of supporters in Tulsa — even as local officials were warning about the risks of the novel coronavirus in Oklahoma.

The Trump campaign contended with weeks of fallout after the Tulsa rally, where many attendees did not wear masks. Several Trump staff members, including two Secret Service employees, tested positive before and after the event; dozens of Secret Service agents on the trip were ordered to self-quarantine at home; and coronavirus cases in Tulsa climbed in the days after the rally, although local health officials said it was not clear whether the gathering contributed to the problem.

Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh on Sunday defended the campaign’s decision not to enforce social distancing or the use of face masks at the Nevada event.

“If you can join tens of thousands of people protesting in the streets, gamble in a casino or burn down small businesses in riots, you can gather peacefully under the 1st Amendment to hear from the President of the United States,” Murtaugh said in a statement.

The coronavirus pandemic has killed at least 190,000 people in the United States since February, and public health experts cite the use of face coverings as one of the most effective ways of slowing the virus’s spread.

According to a Trump campaign official, attendees at Sunday night’s rally will receive a temperature check before entering the venue and will have access to “plenty” of hand sanitizer. Attendees will also be given face masks and will be encouraged to wear them, said the official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the campaign’s plans.

According to CNN, the city of Henderson has warned Xtreme Manufacturing, the site of Sunday’s rally, that the planned event is in violation of state regulations prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people.

“The City of Henderson has issued a compliance letter and verbal warning to the event organizer that the event as planned would be in direct violation of the governor’s COVID-19 emergency directives,” Henderson spokeswoman Kathleen Richards said in a statement to CNN.

She added that the city has not received notification from state officials that the event has been approved and that Xtreme Manufacturing risks a fine of “up to $500 per violation,” as well as the suspension or revocation of its business license.

9:33 p.m.
Link copied
link

Black church leaders call on Trump campaign to apologize for ‘overtly racist’ ad targeting Biden

By Felicia Sonmez

Black church leaders are calling on the Trump campaign to apologize for a recent digital ad that urges Americans to “stop Joe Biden and his rioters” and features footage of the former vice president kneeling with a group of Black leaders standing behind him.

Silvester S. Beaman, pastor of Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del., told the Religion News Service on Saturday that the ad depicts Black church leaders and members as “thuggish rule breakers.”

“The ad is overtly racist and offensive on numerous levels,” Beaman said, according to an RNS report published Sunday. “It is a racist attack on the African American church, and because it was an attack on the Christian church, it should be offensive to every Christian and person of faith.”

Leaders of the AME denomination are expected to release a statement Monday denouncing the ad. According to a draft of the statement obtained by the RNS, the leaders will say that the ad “subtly incites white terrorism against people of color and attacks the Black Church and Black people for refusing to bow down to the idol called white supremacy.”

The Trump campaign released the minute-long digital ad on Wednesday. The spot, which is set to ominous music and is titled “Meet Joe Biden’s Supporters,” features footage of violence and destruction that have taken place amid this year’s anti-racism protests, which have been largely peaceful.

The ad includes a clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and other top Democrats wearing kente cloth and kneeling in Emancipation Hall at the Capitol, where they held a ceremony in June honoring the life of George Floyd and protesting police brutality against Black Americans.

As the ad concludes, Biden is seen kneeling in the sanctuary of Bethel AME Church, with several Black leaders standing behind him.

“Stop Joe Biden and his rioters,” the ad’s closing text reads.

The footage of Biden is from a June 1 visit the Democratic presidential nominee made to the Wilmington church, where he met with local activists and listened to their concerns about his record on crime legislation and other issues.

The Trump campaign declined to comment further Sunday beyond a statement that deputy national press secretary Samantha Zager gave to the RNS. Asked whether the ad was suggesting that Black churches make the nation unsafe, Zager told the news service, “That’s absurd and it’s shameful to even make the allegation.”

Beaman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday afternoon.

9:12 p.m.
Link copied
link

Trump and his supporters repeat theory about Biden and debates

By David Weigel

FREELAND, Mich. — Debra Romer, 60, does not think Biden could win a debate against Trump. Biden, she argued last week from the president’s first real Michigan rally in months, could not handle real questions.

But there is something that gives her pause.

“He debated Bernie fairly well, right?” Romer said. “He held it together well. … I wouldn’t be surprised if he had some supplement, some kind of brain pill that lasts an hour.”

One day later, Trump endorsed that baseless theory, telling Fox News host Jeanine Pirro that drugs were “probably” or “possibly” involved in Biden’s solid March 15 performance against Sanders.

“That’s what I hear,” Trump said. “I mean, there’s possibly drugs. I don’t know how you can go from being so bad where you can’t even get out a sentence …”

Trump actually didn’t finish that sentence. But he’s continued to lower expectations, building a feedback loop in the Republican base.

The president also suggested at a Saturday night rally in Nevada that the media would declare Biden a winner if he muddled through the Sept. 29 showdown without a big mistake.

“If he gets off the stage, they’re going to say it was the single greatest debate they’ve ever seen,” Trump said. “Winston Churchill was nothing compared to Sleepy Joe. You know that, you know that, they’re going to say: 'What a great performance. He was great today. He was great. This guy was great.'”

Biden’s campaign does not entertain questions about Trump’s accusations; Biden struggled in the first series of multicandidate debates and bemoaned the format but was seen to have righted their ship by the final multicandidate forum before the South Carolina primary. But his performance was in line with other speeches and interactions by the candidate.

7:29 p.m.
Link copied
link

Trump says he’ll ‘negotiate’ for a third term in office

By Felicia Sonmez
President Trump predicted Sept. 12 he would win reelection in November and claimed he is "entitled to another four" years in office after a second term. (The Washington Post)

At a campaign rally in Minden, Nev., on Saturday night, Trump revived the idea of serving more than two terms in office, telling supporters that he’s “entitled” to more time as president because of the way he has been treated over the past four years.

“Fifty-two days from now, we’re going to win Nevada, and we’re going to win four more years in the White House,” Trump said to cheers from the crowd at the Minden-Tahoe Airport. “And then, after that, we’ll negotiate, right? Because we’re probably — based on the way we were treated — we’re probably entitled to another four after that.”

The 22nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution limits the presidency to two terms. Even so, Trump has repeatedly floated the notion of staying in office for more than eight years.

In April 2019, he told a crowd at an event for the Wounded Warrior Project that he might remain in the Oval Office “at least for 10 or 14 years.” In June last year, he suggested in a tweet that his supporters might “demand that I stay longer.”

And in a 2018 speech to Republican donors at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Trump joked about doing away with term limits and praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for doing so.

“He’s now president for life. President for life. No, he’s great,” Trump said, according to CNN. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday.”

Some Democrats on Sunday criticized Trump for his comments at the Nevada rally.

“Democracy is not up for negotiation,” Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) said in a tweet.

6:45 p.m.
Link copied
link

Democrats accuse Trump of negligence in responding to Pacific Northwest wildfires

By Derek Hawkins, Tom Hamburger and Paul Kane

On Sunday, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) pushed back on Trump’s characterizations of the Pacific Northwest wildfires, telling ABC News’s “This Week” that the devastation was the result of a combination of ills, including rising temperatures caused by global climate change.

“It’s just a big and devastating lie,” Merkley said of Trump’s statements. “The Cascade snowpacks have gotten smaller. Our forests have gotten drier. Our ocean has gotten warmer and more acidic.” The changes, Merkley added, are the “consequences of a warming planet.”

“We need to have to have a president follow the science,” he said.

At a speech in Nevada on Saturday night, Trump blamed the wildfires on poor forest management and boasted about the United States leaving the international climate agreement. He made a similar remark at a rally in August, saying, “You’ve got to clean your floors, you’ve got to clean your forests.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) also accused Trump of negligence in responding to the fires. In an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” he suggested the president was reluctant to help California, Oregon and Washington because they have Democratic governors.

“Leadership at the very top needs to be stronger, earlier,” Garcetti said, alleging that Trump’s “blaming of blue states over red states” in how he handles natural disasters hurts the federal response.

“We need leadership that is equal across this country, instead of being partisan and divisive,” Garcetti said.

6:15 p.m.
Link copied
link

Analysis: The advantages of incumbency are crumbling away for Trump

By Dan Balz

Trump had a bad week: That was the week before last. He had another one this past week. For someone trailing Biden in the presidential race, Trump remains the biggest obstacle to reelection, an embattled incumbent who is frittering away the advantages of incumbency.

The week before last, it was an article in the Atlantic by Jeffrey Goldberg that portrayed the president using derogatory language about military personnel killed or wounded in action. It was based on several unnamed sources, and Trump — and others now or formerly in the administration — vigorously disputed the account. Prominently absent from those publicly defending Trump were former defense secretary Jim Mattis and, critically, former White House chief of staff John F. Kelly.

This past week it was an entirely different issue for the president — a self-inflicted problem that was the result of his many hours of taped, on-the-record conversations with Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward, whose book “Rage” will be published this week.

5:47 p.m.
Link copied
link

Strzok says he believes Trump is compromised by the Kremlin

By Tom Hamburger

Peter Strzok, the former FBI official who left the bureau after embarrassing private text messages revealed his strong dislike of Trump, spoke out on NBC News’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, saying he believes Trump is compromised by the Kremlin.

“It is clear,” Strzok said, “they hold leverage over him that makes him incapable of placing the national interest, the national security, ahead of his own.”

Strzok said he believed evidence gathered by then-special counsel Robert S. Mueller III showed that the president had colluded with the Russians in 2016, something the president has strongly denied.

In making the claim, Strzok recalled working in counterintelligence for over 20 years.

“I think when you take a look at the Trump financial enterprise, particularly its relationship with Russian, with Russian moneys and potentially those related to organized crime and other elements, that those interactions have placed him in a position where the Russians have leverage over him and are able to influence his actions,” Strzok said.

The former FBI official said there was “no president in modern history who has the same broad and deep connections to any foreign intel service, let alone a hostile government like Russia.”

He told NBC host Chuck Todd that he “certainly regret[s] sending the text messages that were absolutely weaponized and used to bludgeon the work of the FBI … I’ll always regret that.”

4:58 p.m.
Link copied
link

Retropolis: A Black WWII veteran voted in Georgia in 1946. He was lynched for it.

By Gillian Brockell

To Maceo Snipes, the future must have looked brighter than it ever had. He had served honorably in World War II. Now home in Taylor County, Ga., he was working hard to bring the family farm back from the brink. He hadn’t made it far in school, but he knew the power of education and rewarded his nieces when they got good grades.

Plus, a federal court had just decided White officials in his county couldn’t stop Black people from voting in the Democratic primary.

“When you have fought fascists, and you have fought for democracy, you want some of that democracy for yourself,” says historian Carol Anderson in the new documentary “All In: The Fight for Democracy.”

While the documentary focuses on Stacey Abrams’s 2018 Georgia gubernatorial run, filmmakers Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés weave in the history of voter suppression in the United States, including the chilling story of what happened to Snipes.

4:35 p.m.
Link copied
link

Trump, Biden condemn shooting of Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies

By Felicia Sonmez

Trump and Biden on Sunday denounced the shooting of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and called for the gunman, who remains at large, to face harsh punishment.

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said Saturday night that the two deputies “were ambushed as they sat in their patrol vehicle” in Compton and were shot multiple times, leaving them in critical condition. The department later released a video that appeared to show a suspect walking up to a parked police car, pointing a gun at the passenger-side window and then running away.

The Associated Press cited Sheriff Alex Villanueva as saying that the 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy underwent surgery Saturday night.

In an early-morning tweet, Trump called for a forceful response to the incident. “Animals that must be hit hard!” he said.

Later Sunday morning, Trump tweeted of the officers: “If they die, fast trial death penalty for the killer. Only way to stop this!”

Biden also condemned the shooting.

“This cold-blooded shooting is unconscionable and the perpetrator must be brought to justice,” the former vice president tweeted Sunday morning. “Violence of any kind is wrong; those who commit it should be caught and punished. Jill and I are keeping the deputies and their loved ones in our hearts and praying for a full recovery.”

Later Sunday, Biden said in a statement that he and his wife, Jill, were “devastated to learn of the cold-blooded shooting of two Los Angeles County deputies yesterday, as well as the horrific death of Deputy Ryan Hendrix, a Marine veteran and police officer killed in the line of duty in Henderson County, North Carolina.”

He added: “Acts of lawlessness and violence directed against police officers are unacceptable, outrageous, and entirely counterproductive to the pursuit of greater peace and justice in America — as are the actions of those who cheer such attacks on.”

3:47 p.m.
Link copied
link

Adviser defends Biden’s schedule, says he is campaigning ‘safely’

By Tom Hamburger and Felicia Sonmez

The Biden campaign pushed back Sunday against repeated claims from the Trump reelection team that the former vice president is staying in the basement and wants others to stay there, too.

“Not true,” said Symone Sanders, a Biden campaign adviser appearing on ABC News’s “This Week.” “The reality is Vice President Biden is actively campaigning, as is Sen. Harris. But the difference is … we’re doing so safely.”

In addition to Biden’s travel last week, Sanders said, the former vice president will be in Florida and Minnesota in the coming days, with more destinations to be announced soon.

She emphasized that Biden’s plans for public events are being determined by public health requirements.

“We are letting the science lead us,” she said. “And that is why Vice President Biden is modeling good behavior. He’s wearing a mask. We’re social distancing, as you’ll see at our events and press conferences. That stands in stark opposition to what President Trump is doing, having huge rallies with large groups of people who are packed in together. It’s not safe.”

On Saturday night, Trump held a rally in Minden, Nev., before a largely maskless crowd of at least 5,000 supporters. He is holding two more rallies in Nevada on Sunday.

The White House has repeatedly defended attendees’ right not to wear masks, describing Trump’s rallies as “peaceful protests,” in an apparent reference to the large-scale anti-racism demonstrations that have taken place across the country.

Trump has at times defended mask-wearing as “patriotic.” But at other times, such as in remarks at a rally this month in Latrobe, Pa., Trump mocked the former vice president for wearing a face covering.

“Did you ever see a man who likes a mask as much as him?” Trump said of Biden. “He has it hanging down, because it gives him a feeling of security. If I were a psychiatrist, right, you know I’d say: ’This guy’s got some big issues.’”

3:30 p.m.
Link copied
link

Sanders urges Biden to talk more about the economy in Sunday interview

By Sean Sullivan
Campaign officials for former vice president Joe Biden took to the airwaves to defend the campaign from criticism on Sept. 13. (The Washington Post)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) urged Biden to talk more about the economy, specifically highlighting what he will do to raise the minimum wage, create jobs and expand health care. “I think those are some of the issues that people want to hear a little bit more from the Biden campaign about,” Sanders said in an interview on MSNBC.

Those comments came after Sanders was read a portion of a Washington Post story that reported Sanders has privately expressed concerns about Biden’s campaign, according to three people with knowledge of the conversations, and is urging Biden’s team to intensify its focus on pocketbook issues and appeals to liberal voters and Latino voters.

On MSNBC, Sanders denied the report. But in the Sunday morning interview, he confirmed specific changes he would like to see Biden’s team make, which The Washington Post reported.

“Of course they’re not true. I mean look, what I have said privately is what I have said publicly, and that is I think Biden’s in an excellent position to win this election,” Sanders said. “But, I think we’ve got to do more as a campaign than just go after Trump.”

Sanders later added to interviewer Ali Velshi, “Joe needs to talk about what he intends to do to improve life for working families. The other thing, in my view, Ali, that he should be doing is reaching out more aggressively to grass-roots Latino organizations.”

3:01 p.m.
Link copied
link

Biden adviser says Trump ‘lied to the American people’ about coronavirus, while Navarro blames ‘fog of war'

By Paul Kane and Felicia Sonmez

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro blamed the “fog of war” for Trump’s decision to intentionally withhold full information about the deadly potency of the coronavirus. Navarro, who was a rare voice of alarm in the earliest days of the pandemic, said that Trump received competing advice from experts, leading the president to play down the virus, as he explained to The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward in his forthcoming book, “Rage.”

“What he needed to do was stay calm, hope for the best but prepare for the worst and attack the virus,” Navarro said.

Navarro read to the show’s host, Jake Tapper, portions of a Feb. 9 memo that he sent to White House officials calling for action on ramping up production of safety equipment for health-care workers, testing for the virus and intensifying searches for therapeutics to treat the disease and for a vaccine.

“If we start right now, we could have a vaccine by the end of the year,” Navarro said, summarizing the points he made Feb. 9 — advice that Trump himself did not follow through on.

Biden campaign senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan, meanwhile, continued to hammer Trump for his handling of the pandemic, pushing back against the notion that the president was making decisions within the “fog of war.”

“Donald Trump got all that information, learned this virus was deadly, learned it was airborne, learned it was worse than the flu — and then lied to the American people and did nothing about it,” Sullivan said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Sullivan also defended Biden’s decision to continue holding campaign rallies into early March, noting that the former vice president was not privy to the same information about the virus as Trump was.

Biden “wasn’t the president, and he didn’t get the information from government experts telling him this was deadly and airborne the way President Trump did,” Sullivan told Fox News’s Chris Wallace. “He wasn’t being told by his national security adviser, the way that Donald Trump was, that this was going to be the worst crisis of his presidency. He didn’t have access to the kind of information that Donald Trump had.”

2:40 p.m.
Link copied
link

Pence to campaign in Wisconsin, Montana on Monday

By Felicia Sonmez

Vice President Pence is heading to two key states Monday, seeking to shore up President Trump’s support in Wisconsin and rallying Republicans in Montana.

In Wisconsin, Pence will hold a Make America Great Again rally in Janesville, according to the White House. Trump narrowly beat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin four years ago, and both he and Biden have been heavily targeting the state this year.

Later Monday, Pence will deliver remarks at a Montana Republican Party rally in Bozeman. Trump easily won Montana in 2016. The state has voted for a Republican for president since 1992, but this year Democrats are seeking to flip the seat of Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.). The Democratic nominee is the state’s popular governor, Steve Bullock, who polls show is locked in a tight race against Daines.

2:09 p.m.
Link copied
link

Biden leads Trump among likely voters in new national Fox poll

By Felicia Sonmez

A new Fox News Channel poll is the latest national survey to show Biden maintaining a lead over Trump.

Fifty-one percent of likely voters in the Fox poll support Biden and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), while 46 percent back Trump and Vice President Pence.

The Washington Post’s national polling average shows Biden leading with 51 percent to Trump’s 42 percent.

In a sign that Trump’s attacks on vote-by-mail have made an impact on Republican voters, nearly three-quarters of those planning to vote by mail said in the Fox poll that they support Biden, while most of those planning to vote in person — 58 percent — support Trump.

Likely voters surveyed by Fox trust Biden over Trump to handle nearly every key issue, including the coronavirus pandemic, racial inequality, Supreme Court nominations, immigration and criminal justice. The two are virtually tied on “maintaining law and order,” while Trump leads Biden on only one metric: the economy.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Trump campaign senior adviser Steve Cortes defended the president’s performance, arguing the election will be driven by one main issue — which candidate can deliver economic prosperity to Americans.

“This country is coming back with gusto right now,” Cortes said, even though the new survey shows that 70 percent of likely voters believe the coronavirus pandemic is either “somewhat” or “not at all” under control in the United States.

The poll was conducted Sept. 7-10 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Emily Guskin contributed to this report.