September 30, 2020

Biden vs. Trump: Live Updates for the 2020 Election

Here’s what you need to know:

ImagePresident Trump plans to bring back his coronavirus briefings, and his campaign announced an in-person “Women for Trump” bus tour across Maine and New Hampshire.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Trailing in the polls, Trump seems desperate for a reset.

The polls show President Trump heading to a landslide defeat. His pandemic-era effort at restarting his campaign rallies turned into a disaster before he said a word. Television news, his favored medium, continues its wall-to-wall coverage of the coronavirus’s unabated grip on American life.

So Mr. Trump this week will begin recycling his old playbook: Going on television.

The president’s announcement that he was bringing back the daily White House coronavirus briefings, starting at 5 p.m. today, amounted to a tacit acknowledgment that the public health crisis is still ravaging much of the country, with infections, hospitalizations and now deaths on the rise.

The briefings could serve as a substitute for Mr. Trump’s campaign rallies, which he has haltingly tried to restart. His first attempt fizzled when he filled only a third of an arena in Tulsa, Okla., and his second — set for Portsmouth, N.H. — was scrubbed amid concerns that it would also not draw many people, although the campaign cited the weather as the main reason for canceling. That one was never rescheduled, even though the campaign said it would be, nor have any other rallies been announced.

At the same time Mr. Trump is going back on television, his campaign on Wednesday will begin an in-person “Women for Trump” bus tour across Maine and New Hampshire on Wednesday and Thursday, with events featuring Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, and three senior campaign advisers, Mercedes Schlapp, Katrina Pierson and Pam Bondi.

The tour promised engagement with voters through “round-tables, meet-and-greets, and sit-downs with business owners and local leaders,” a nod to a campaign trail from the Before Times that barely exists anymore, as the coronavirus has surged across the country and as campaigns have conducted most surrogate activities online. The announcement came a day after President Trump acknowledged in an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News that he was having trouble finding states that would allow him to stage rallies in the middle of a pandemic.

And it appeared to be the campaign’s last gasp at pretending it could carry on with in-person events. On Monday, the sheriff of Jacksonville, Fla., the host city for the Republican National Convention, even called the plans for the event “not achievable” and said he couldn’t provide the necessary security.

Little of what Mr. Trump has tried to correct his standing in the polls has worked, as it has become more and more evident that his administration misjudged and bungled its handling of the coronavirus. Mr. Trump’s Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., has seen his polling stock rise while appearing for video chats with supporters and donors and delivering what has become a weekly policy speech. (Today’s is on a $775 billion plan to help working parents and caregivers.)

Of course, Mr. Trump, who last week replaced his campaign manager, could likely begin to solve his polling problems by leading the nation’s coronavirus response in a manner that gave Americans confidence. But that would require reversing decisions he’s made and defended over the last five months that have made the country’s public health crisis worse — and acknowledging he’s been wrong is not something the president does easily.

Democrats push the F.B.I. to address a possible foreign disinformation plot targeting Congress.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Top congressional Democrats warned in a cryptic letter they released on Monday that a foreign power was using disinformation to try to interfere in the presidential election and the activities of Congress. The Democrats demanded a prompt briefing by the F.B.I. to warn every member of Congress.

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Updated 2020-07-21T12:23:53.222Z

While the letter writers, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, did not specify the threat, officials familiar with a classified addendum attached to it said the Democrats’ concerns touched on intelligence related to a possible Russian-backed attempt to smear Mr. Biden’s campaign.

They say the Russian-linked information is being funneled to a committee led by Senator Ron Johnson, the Wisconsin Republican who is investigating Mr. Biden and his son, who was once paid as a board member of a Ukrainian energy company. While neither Mr. Johnson’s inquiry nor much of the information in question is new, the Democrats’ letter is an attempt to call attention to their concern that the accusations are not only unfounded but may further Russia’s efforts to interfere again in the American presidential election.

The warning had echoes of the 2016 campaign. In August of that year, after receiving briefings from John O. Brennan, the head of the C.I.A. at the time, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada and then the Senate minority leader, publicly warned of a Russian effort to undermine the 2016 elections.

Those efforts accelerated as Election Day approached, and Ms. Pelosi and other Democrats, including Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, have vowed to highlight any similar attempts this year.

Biden will announce a $775 billion plan to help working parents and caregivers.

Credit…Richard Vogel/Associated Press

Mr. Biden will announce a sweeping proposal for a $775 billion investment in caregiving programs today, with a series of plans covering care for small children, older adults and family members with disabilities.

His campaign hopes the move will land with particular resonance given the caregiving needs of millions of American families during the pandemic.

The speech near his home in Wilmington, Del., will be the third of four economic rollouts that Mr. Biden is doing before the Democratic National Convention next month.

Mr. Biden’s plans are intended to appeal to voters now more acutely aware of how essential caregivers are, amid a health crisis that shuttered schools — a source of child care for many Americans — and limited the options to care for older family members who are more vulnerable to the virus.

But they are also aimed at the caregivers themselves, promising more jobs and higher pay. His campaign estimated that the new spending would create three million new jobs in the next decade, and even more after accounting for people able to enter the work force instead of serving as unpaid, at-home caregivers.

In a conference call outlining the plan on Monday night, the Biden campaign framed the issues as an economic imperative to keep the country competitive globally, and to enable it to recover from the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic. The United States is the only rich country without benefits like paid family leave and subsidized child care, and research has shown that labor force participation has stalled because of it.

Democrats’ hopes are rising for November, lifted by strong voter turnout and fund-raising.

Credit…Nitashia Johnson for The New York Times

Sky-high turnout and surging fund-raising: Both have unfolded this year for Democrats despite a pandemic that upended normal voting and Republican efforts to restrict ballot access.

The apparent energy in the party’s base could foreshadow significant turnout in the November general election, even as the coronavirus scrambles the political process. The trend is especially notable in some traditionally Republican states like Texas, Georgia and Arizona, as well as Democratic-leaning states that Republicans often contest, like Virginia.

There is ample evidence of enthusiasm among the Republican base, too. Despite Mr. Trump’s lack of a serious challenger within the party, more than 14 million people have voted in Republican primaries, according to data from The Associated Press. That is nearing the 18 million ballots cast in the contested 2012 Republican primary and outpaces turnout in 2004, the last time there was a Republican incumbent.

As for the energy coursing through the Democratic electorate, political analysts point to the prospect of getting Mr. Trump out of office as the core reason.

“The intensity around ousting Donald Trump, which we saw on full display in 2018, has not waned one bit,” said Amy Walter, the national editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “That enthusiasm in coming out to vote is saying, ‘I’m letting everyone know that I am showing up now — in a primary that’s over and in a pandemic — to send a signal that I am going to show up in November.’”

Detailing his vision for virus aid, Biden says Trump ‘turned his back’ on the crisis.

Credit…Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times

Mr. Biden on Monday evening sketched out his views on what should be included in the next coronavirus relief package, emphasizing the need to help families and small businesses as well as to provide funds to help schools reopen in a safe manner.

“With the president having turned his back on the problem, people are looking to Congress for the support they need to keep their heads above water,” Mr. Biden said in a lengthy statement, noting that “not one penny” should go toward tax cuts for the richest Americans.

He also said Congress should require that relief for businesses not be used to outsource jobs and that the next aid package should include funds to prevent layoffs of teachers and help schools with reopening safely, along with additional aid to help states and local governments. (On Friday, Mr. Biden released a plan for safely reopening schools.)

Also on Monday, in an interview on Joy Reid’s new MSNBC show, Mr. Biden criticized the president’s response in sharp and personal terms.

“I don’t understand it — he has absolutely zero sense of empathy,” he said. “Have you ever heard a word of him talking about how badly he feels about the losses? About the emptiness? Those folks who’ve lost somebody feel like they’ve been dragged into a dark, deep hole in the middle of their chest. They don’t know what to do, they’re scared to death, and what’s the president do? He talks about taking away health insurance.”

If elected, Mr. Biden said, he would face a crisis of unknown proportions, largely because of the deficiencies of Mr. Trump’s response. He added that he spoke with doctors three or four times a week about the pandemic, and that his response would be to focus on testing, contact tracing, and enforcing mask-wearing and social distancing.

With virus cases rising in most states, Republicans and Democrats in Congress are heading into high-stakes negotiations over another relief package. The House, under Democratic control, passed a $3 trillion measure in May, and Senate Republicans are planning to offer their own proposal soon. In his statement, Mr. Biden stressed the need for urgent action from lawmakers.

Mr. Biden also criticized Mr. Trump over his administration’s resistance to a proposal drafted by Senate Republicans to provide $25 billion to states for conducting testing and contact tracing. “President Trump’s position,” Mr. Biden said, “defies both logic and humanity.”

Reporting was contributed by Maggie Astor, Peter Baker, Julian E. Barnes, Nick Corasaniti, Reid J. Epstein, Nicholas Fandos, Isabella Grullón Paz, Maggie Haberman, Thomas Kaplan, Annie Karni, Elaina Plott and David E. Sanger.