For Joe Biden, Debate With Trump Offers Moment Of Truth

This combination of file photos shows US President Donald Trump(L) speaking to the media prior to departing from the White House in Washington, DC, on March 3, 2020, and Democratic presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden at a Nevada Caucus watch party on February 22, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the Nevada caucuses. SAUL LOEB, Ronda Churchill / AFP

 

 

Democrat Joe Biden’s cautious US presidential campaign faces its most unpredictable challenge yet in Tuesday’s debate against Donald Trump — a setting with potential for explosive exchanges and one the ex-vice president has struggled with before.

Biden, who leads in polling barely five weeks before the November 3 election, is expected to aim for calm confidence while presenting himself as an empathetic unifier to a polarized nation.

But he also signalled his fists will be up, telling MSNBC Friday that “The people know the president’s a liar.”

“I’m prepared to go out and make my case as to why I think he’s failed and why I think the answers I have… will help the American people,” Biden added.

He may need to steel himself against a barrage by a provocative president who has repeatedly accused Democrats, without evidence, of “rigging” the election and stated he may not abide by its results.

While Trump races from one rally to another slamming Biden’s “radical socialism,” Biden is a diminished presence on the campaign trail.

Mindful of coronavirus restrictions and dangers, the veteran Democrat’s handlers have insulated him from crowds of voters, guiding him towards delivering speeches to reporters or occasionally visiting battleground states for small-scale events.

Biden has offered tough criticism of Trump’s pandemic response and assailed the president’s repeated falsehoods about mail-in ballot fraud.

But suddenly the challenger and White House defender will be on stage together in Cleveland, with fireworks the likely result.

“It’ll be like watching a pay-per-view boxing match,” University of Akron political science professor David Cohen said.

Biden, 77, no longer cuts the same figure he did as Barack Obama’s deputy. Though the megawatt smile remains, his gait is more delicate and his fine white hair thinned.

Trump, 74, regularly calls Biden “Sleepy Joe” and accuses him of diminished mental acuity, but the strategy could backfire if Biden performs well.

The former vice president’s record in debates has been shaky.

In early primary clashes he was often shouted down and crowded out by younger, more boisterous rivals, but as the field shrank, Biden fared better and his empathy came through convincingly.

– Reassurance vs bombast –
Scarred by tragedy and in the twilight of a long career, Biden is betting he can win over Americans tired of his polar opposite Trump.

The brash realtor Trump brought bombast to the White House, but Biden offers reassurance, a self-proclaimed unifier with blue-collar roots and a personal rapport with voters.

He is riding into the debates pledging action on climate change, jobs, racial injustice, student debt relief and expanded help for families suffering from the coronavirus pandemic’s effects.

Elected one of the youngest US senators ever, Biden served for over three decades in the upper chamber and launched two failed White House bids before his eight years as deputy to America’s first black president.

Biden’s message is built largely on his association with the still-popular Obama and his moderate politics in a divisive time.

But where he stands out is in showing a very human side, contrasting with Trump’s all-conquering, never-doubting style.

Biden’s first wife, Neilia Hunter, and one-year-old daughter, Naomi, died in a car crash in 1972 while Christmas shopping, just weeks after Biden won election to the Senate.

The accident left his sons Beau, 4, and Hunter, 2, badly injured, and the 30-year-old Biden was sworn in beside their hospital beds.

Biden met his second wife, teacher Jill Jacobs, in 1975 and they married two years later. They have a daughter, Ashley.

Both boys recovered from their injuries and Beau followed his father into politics, becoming attorney general of Delaware, but the Democratic rising star died of brain cancer in 2015 at age 46.

– The other son –
Biden relays the heart-wrenching details of his family stories so often that, despite his obvious grief, they have become part of a political brand.

His younger son Hunter is another matter.

Lawyer and lobbyist Hunter Biden got a lucrative salary serving on the board of a Ukrainian gas company accused of corruption while Biden was vice president.

Trump’s pushing of Ukraine to investigate Hunter’s past led to the president’s impeachment, although he survived the scandal.

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr was born November 20, 1942 and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in an Irish-Catholic family. His father was a car salesman.

Biden touts his working-class roots and recalls being hampered as a child by a stutter so bad he was cruelly nicknamed “Dash”, but he overcame the condition.

As “Uncle Joe,” he is known for his folksy manner, but he also has a propensity for gaffes, and Biden’s decades-long political career could make it easy for Trump to highlight missteps.

AFP

US Poll: Trump Demands Biden Take Drug Test Ahead First Debate

This combination of file photos shows US President Donald Trump(L) speaking to the media prior to departing from the White House in Washington, DC, on March 3, 2020, and Democratic presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden at a Nevada Caucus watch party on February 22, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the Nevada caucuses. SAUL LOEB, Ronda Churchill / AFP

 

President Donald Trump demanded Sunday that his Democratic rival Joe Biden take a drug test for their first debate, which will bring them face to face for the first time in the volatile US presidential campaign.

Tuesday’s clash, coming as Biden leads the charge against Trump’s bid to install conservative Amy Coney Barrett in the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s lifetime seat on the Supreme Coart, will thrust the nail-biting contest into a fierce new stage.

For the first time, millions of Americans will watch as the two antagonists — who depict each other as existential threats to the country — step into the ring live on television, after months of shadow-boxing.

Trump, lagging in the polls, taunted Biden Sunday with the fresh salvo on his mental acuity.

“I will be strongly demanding a Drug Test of Sleepy Joe Biden prior to, or after, the Debate on Tuesday night,” he tweeted, saying he would take one also. “His Debate performances have been record-setting UNEVEN, to put it mildly. Only drugs could have caused this discrepancy???”

The president offered no evidence to support his insinuation, and recently-completed negotiations between the Biden and Trump camps over debate conditions reportedly made no mention of any drug test.

When asked by reporters about the demand Sunday, Biden laughed before declining to comment.

Both septuagenarians are prone to blunders and gaffes when speaking — but the 74-year-old Trump has repeatedly depicted the 77-year-old Biden as mentally unfit.

Biden has shrugged off such accusations. On Saturday he said he expects “personal attacks and lies” from the president, likening Trump to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.

The former vice president has until recently stayed close to his Delaware home due to the challenges of campaigning in person safely during a pandemic.

Trump, meanwhile, has been flouting his own government’s social distancing guidelines to criss-cross battleground states, speaking frequently at mass rallies where participants are often tightly packed with few masks in sight.

– High stakes –
Trump sees his nomination of Barrett to the Supreme Court — potentially tilting the court to the right for years — as a fundamental boost to his troubled campaign.

He told Fox & Friends Sunday the Senate will “easily” confirm Barrett before the election, despite furious Democratic opposition.

But Biden hit back, accusing Trump of rushing Barrett’s nomination in order to launch a new assault on health care.

The president and the Republican-held Senate “see an opportunity to overturn the Affordable Care Act on their way out the door,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware.

He again urged the Senate to delay the confirmation until after the election, noting that early voting had already begun.

“Never before in our nation’s history has a Supreme Court justice been nominated and installed while a presidential election is already underway,” he said.

Barring a huge surprise, Republican senators, who have 53 out of 100 votes in the upper house of Congress, are expected to confirm Barrett.

– Confronting Trump –
The TV debate will be a wild card.

Trump needs to break through the 200,000 coronavirus deaths, the long-lasting economic fallout, and the widespread fatigue at the constant upheaval roiling his administration.

He sees himself as a tough guy and has huge confidence in his prowess on stage.

Yet unlike the fawning treatment he enjoys during his weekly call-ins to Fox News or the adoring atmosphere at rallies, he’ll find himself facing a determined rival painting him as “toxic” in front of the entire country.

“When Joe Biden walks onto the debate stage, it will be the first moment in four years where an American has the opportunity to confront Donald Trump for what he’s done,” Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist turned outspoken Trump opponent, said on MSNBC.

Frontrunner Biden mainly needs just to keep steady against a man many call a master provocateur.

“There is virtually no doubt that Trump will try to bait him,” David Barker, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, said.

– Who’s more ready? –

Biden, though, survived the Democratic primary debates earlier this year and has made a string of generally well-received speeches on the campaign trail.

And while Trump often takes questions from groups of journalists, it’s rare that he’ll do the more risky one-on-one televised session with a tough interviewer. Neither has he had to debate an opponent face-to-face since Clinton in 2016.

“Normally, that first debate is the toughest for the incumbent,” said Aaron Kall, director of debate at the University of Michigan.

The debate moderator, Fox News host Chris Wallace, has set topics ranging across the Supreme Court, the pandemic and economic disasters, racism and the integrity of the election.

But whether Wallace can keep the two men on topic remains to be seen.

AFp

Trump Demands Biden Take Drug Test Before Or After Tuesday Debate

US President Donald Trump whispers to a White House staffer as he makes his way to board Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on September 26, 2020. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP
US President Donald Trump whispers to a White House staffer as he makes his way to board Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on September 26, 2020.
Olivier DOULIERY / AFP.

 

US President Donald Trump demanded Sunday that his Democratic rival Joe Biden take a drug test either before or after the pair’s first debate on Tuesday, in his latest salvo against his opponent’s mental acuity.

“I will be strongly demanding a Drug Test of Sleepy Joe Biden prior to, or after, the Debate on Tuesday night,” Trump tweeted.

“Naturally, I will agree to take one also. His Debate performances have been record-setting UNEVEN, to put it mildly. Only drugs could have caused this discrepancy???” he continued, without offering any evidence for the claim.

Senate will ‘easily’ confirm Barrett 

Meanwhile, the US President said Sunday the Senate will “easily” confirm his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett before the election, despite furious Democratic opposition to his bid to steer the court rightward for years to come.

Trump has nominated Barrett, a darling of conservatives for her religious views, to replace the late liberal justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a lifetime seat on the top court, potentially impacting some of the most partisan issues in America, from abortion to gun rights to health care.

His decision to push her nomination through just weeks before the tense and potentially disputed November 3 election, in which polls show he is the underdog, has galvanized Democrats, who are calling for the decision to be made by the winner of the vote.

His election rival, Democrat Joe Biden, has led the charge.

“The Senate should not act on this vacancy until after the American people select their next president and the next Congress,” Biden said Saturday, just moments after Trump announced Barrett’s nomination.

But Trump expressed confidence Sunday in an interview with “Fox & Friends.”

“I think we’re going to have it done easily before the election,” he said.

“I think it would be nice to do. Get it out of the way,” he continued, adding: “We have plenty of time.”

Barring a huge surprise, Republican senators, who have 53 out of 100 votes in the upper house of Congress, are expected to confirm Barrett.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has already announced that a vote will be held “this year.”

Trump Accuses Harris, Biden Of Playing Politics With Anti-Virus Vaccine

This combination of file photos shows US President Donald Trump(L) speaking to the media prior to departing from the White House in Washington, DC, on March 3, 2020, and Democratic presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden at a Nevada Caucus watch party on February 22, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the Nevada caucuses. SAUL LOEB, Ronda Churchill / AFP

 

 

US President Donald Trump on Monday again hinted a coronavirus vaccine will be available before November’s election, as he accused his Democratic rivals for the White House of undermining public confidence in the immunization.

His comments came days after vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris said she would not take Trump’s word on the safety and efficacy of an anti-virus vaccine if one were ready before the US presidential vote.

Trump faces intense pressure to curb the contagion that has clouded his re-election prospects, sparking worries his administration could rush vaccine research to fit a political timetable.

Biden also weighed in on Monday, saying he wanted transparency and scientific facts on any future vaccine.

“I’m worried if we do have a really good vaccine, people are going to be reluctant to take it. So he’s (Trump) undermining public confidence,” Biden added.

Trump, who is behind in national polls, fired back saying his rivals in the November 3 vote had both delivered “reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric.”

“It’s so dangerous for our country what they say,” Trump told a press conference. “The vaccine will be very safe and very effective.”

A shot to protect against the virus that has killed more than 189,000 in the US and hobbled the world’s largest economy has become another flashpoint ahead of polling day.

News broke last week that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked states to sweep away red tape that could prevent a network of vaccine distribution centers being “fully operational by Nov 1, 2020.”

The president, after telling journalists to take off their anti-virus facemasks, also suggested again that a vaccine could be available before voters head to the polls.

“We’re going to have a vaccine very soon, maybe even before a very special date,” Trump said.

AFP

Biden Calls For End To ‘Lawlessness’ In Protest-Hit US Cities

In this file photo taken on May 18, 2019, former US Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the kick off of his presidential election campaign in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dominick Reuter / AFP
In this file photo taken on May 18, 2019, former US Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the kick-off of his presidential election campaign in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dominick Reuter / AFP

 

 

Democratic White House hopeful Joe Biden on Monday called for an end to “lawlessness” and violence in protest-hit US cities while blaming Donald Trump’s “toxic” presidency for fueling unrest that has left several people dead.

“Looting is not protesting, setting fires is not protesting. None of this is protesting. It’s lawlessness, plain and simple, and those who do it should be prosecuted,” Biden said in a speech in Pittsburgh — at which he also charged that Trump was “part of the problem.”

“Our current president wants you to live in fear,” charged the 77-year-old Democrat. “He advertises himself as a figure of order. He isn’t. And he’s not been part of the solution thus far. He’s part of the problem.”

“Donald Trump has been a toxic presence in our nation for four years,” he added.

“The incumbent president is incapable of telling us the truth, incapable of facing the facts and incapable of healing,” Biden offered in a stinging rebuke.

But Biden’s remarks were also the strongest condemnation yet of the deadly violence that has gripped two US cities in particular — Kenosha, Wisconsin and Portland, Oregon — where protests against racial injustice have raged and three people have been killed in the past week of unrest.

 

File photo: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks about the coronavirus outbreak, at the Hotel Du Pont March 12, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

 

Violence “makes things worse across the board, not better… and it must end,” he said, invoking the names of two American civil rights icons and champions of peaceful resistance: Martin Luther King Jr and the late congressman John Lewis.

With Trump trailing in election polling, he and his campaign have sought to paint Democrats as incapable or unwilling to crack down on the unrest, and the president warned voters that they “won’t be safe” if Biden wins.

Biden, who served for eight years as Barack Obama’s president, pushed back hard against Trump’s claims as a “law and order” leader, saying that violent crime fell by 15 per cent during the Obama-Biden administration while the murder rate has jumped by 26 per cent since 2017.

“Do you really feel safer under Donald Trump?” Biden countered.

“Mr Trump, you want to talk about fear? Do you know what people are afraid of in America?” Biden, staring into the camera in a hall left mostly empty due to coronavirus concerns, bluntly asked his rival.

“Afraid they’re going to get COVID, afraid they’re going to get sick and die. And that is in no small part because of you.”

AFP

Trump Rips Rival Biden As Destroyer Of American ‘Greatness’

File photo: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event about citizens positively impacted by law enforcement, in the East Room of the White House on July 13, 2020, in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

 

 

President Donald Trump tore into his election challenger Joe Biden as a threat to the “American Dream” in a bruising speech Thursday accepting the Republican nomination for a second term against a backdrop of racial tensions and the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

The former celebrity real estate developer spoke at a grandiose event staged at the White House — the first time a president has ever held a party convention at the executive mansion — and followed up with a vast fireworks display on the National Mall.

In his 70-minute address, Trump went after Biden as hard as he could, attacking him by name dozens of times in an attempt to define the veteran centrist former vice president, who leads in polls ahead of the November 3 election, as a radical leftist.

“No one will be safe in Biden’s America,” he said.

“This election will decide whether we save the American Dream,” Trump said, rejecting Biden’s main campaign slogan about saving America’s soul.

“He’s the destroyer of America’s jobs and given the chance, he’ll be the destroyer of American greatness.”

The relentless verbal assault contrasted with Biden’s own acceptance speech at the Democratic nomination last week, which lasted only 25 minutes and, while delivering caustic critiques of the Trump presidency, avoided mentioning his name.

Despite Trump’s warnings of chaos, his bid for reelection is already taking place amid levels of turmoil the country hasn’t seen for decades.

 

File photo: Medics with Austin-Travis County EMS transport a nursing home resident with coronavirus symptoms on August 03, 2020 in Austin, Texas. John Moore/Getty Images/AFP

 

Covid-19 has killed more than 180,000 Americans so far, while the nation’s painful reckoning over racial justice was playing out outside the White House where a Black Lives Matter protest, complete with shouting and vuvuzela trumpets, was audible inside the fences.

– Trampling over etiquette –

Trump spoke from the White House’s South Lawn, which he had transformed into a flashy event centre for the final night of the Republican convention.

Trampling over long-running presidential custom to separate the so-called “people’s house” from political campaigning, Trump had some 1,500 white chairs laid out in front of the stage bedecked with rows of US flags and two giant video screens.

The immense fireworks displayed featured Trump’s name written in fiery letters in the sky.

Before Trump appeared from the White House in a made-for-Hollywood moment alongside his wife Melania, warm-up speakers including his powerful daughter Ivanka prepped the message of Democratic mayhem.

And when Trump finally came to deliver the main speech, he did not hold back.

“If the left gains power, they will demolish the suburbs, confiscate your guns,” he said, branding Biden as a man with a history of “betrayals” and “blunders.”

Republican strategist Matt Mackowiak said the party had hit the right buttons at its four-day convention. “Trump significantly broadened his coalition this week. He will get a considerable polling bump,” he tweeted.

But Biden mocked Trump’s apocalyptic warnings.

“When Donald Trump says tonight you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America, look around and ask yourself: How safe do you feel in Donald Trump’s America?” Biden tweeted.

– Law and order? –

The hardline message comes as the country reels in shock at the videotaped shooting by a police officer of an African American man during an attempted arrest in front of his children — and at the sometimes violent protests erupting afterwards.

 

File photo: Protesters face off with police outside the County Courthouse during demonstrations against the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin on August 25, 2020. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP)

 

Days of demonstrations and rioting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, have transformed the small town into a national arena for America’s tensions over racial justice, police violence, and gun rights. When a teenaged vigilante — reportedly a Trump fan — allegedly killed two people and seriously wounded a third at a protest Tuesday night, the perfect storm was complete.

Struggling in opinion polls after what almost two-thirds of Americans say is his unsatisfactory handling of the Covid-19 crisis, Trump is latching on to what he calls the “law and order” strategy.

Democrats assert that police forces across the country are plagued by institutional racism. Trump is leading Republican pushback, banking on the idea that Americans will be angrier at scenes of rioting than at police abuses.

“If Biden is elected, along with the Democrats who are unwilling to speak out against this anarchy, then the crime wave will intensify and spread from cities and towns to suburbs and beyond,” Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and current personal lawyer to Trump, said in his warm-up speech.

“When President Trump is re-elected the damage will stop,” he said.

– Milking the violence? –

In addition to soaring racial tensions, the United States is still struggling to master the coronavirus outbreak or get schools and businesses back fully open.

But Trump emphasized what he said had been his administration’s constant success, predicting a vaccine would be available “this year.”

“Together we will crush the virus,” he said.

At the Republicans’ South Lawn party, there was no effort to enforce social distancing and many people did not wear masks.

Biden’s team accuses Trump of being derelict on the coronavirus. On the race front, Biden goes further.

“He views this as a political benefit to him,” Biden told MSNBC on Thursday. “He is rooting for more violence, not less. He is pouring gasoline on the fire.”

AFP

Trump Tells US Voters Biden ‘Is Your Worst Nightmare’

This combination of file photos shows US President Donald Trump(L) speaking to the media prior to departing from the White House in Washington, DC, on March 3, 2020, and Democratic presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden at a Nevada Caucus watch party on February 22, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the Nevada caucuses. SAUL LOEB, Ronda Churchill / AFP

 

President Donald Trump told voters near his opponent Joe Biden’s Pennsylvania birthplace on Thursday that the Democrat has sold out American workers and would be a “nightmare” if he got into power.

Biden is “your worst nightmare,” Trump told the crowd in an extraordinarily dark speech in Old Forge, just down the road from Biden’s old hometown of Scranton, in the heart of the key election battleground state.

“He spent the last half-century in Washington selling out our country and ripping off our jobs and letting other countries steal our jobs,” Trump said hours before Biden was to address the nation and accept the Democratic nomination for the White House.

Trump used his speech to snatch the limelight on Biden’s big day, blasting the Democrat as someone who would raise taxes, open borders to “let in violent mobs” and abandon American workers.

 

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event about regulatory reform on the South Lawn of the White House on July 16, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP
File photo: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event about regulatory reform on the South Lawn of the White House on July 16, 2020, in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

 

Indicating the flavour of his reelection campaign in the next two and a half months, Trump claimed that recent crime spikes in big cities and sometimes violent protests against police abuses would engulf the country under Biden.

“If you want a vision of your life under a Biden presidency, think of the smouldering ruins in Minneapolis, the violent anarchy of Portland, the blood-stained sidewalks of Chicago, and imagine the mayhem coming to your town,” he said.

Trump referenced everything from his walling off of part of the Mexican border to military funding and what he claimed was greater international respect for the United States.

Often, his speech veered into a less standard territory, describing the Democrats as something like out of a dystopian novel.

They “turn your family against you for speaking your mind while they indoctrinate your children with twisted, twisted world views,” he said at one point.

“They’re coming to get you,” he said.

“Me, we, we’re the wall between the American dream and total insanity and destruction of the greatest country in the history of the world.”

AFP

Biden Pledges To End US ‘Darkness’ In Accepting Democratic Nomination

File photo: Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a “Build Back Better” Clean Energy event on July 14, 2020, at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP

 

Joe Biden promised Thursday to end the “darkness” of Donald Trump’s presidency in a speech accepting the Democratic nomination with an impassioned call for unity and a return to optimism.

“The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger, too much fear, too much division,” Biden said.

“If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst. I will be an ally of the light, not the darkness,” he said.

“It’s time for us, for we the people, to come together.”

Speaking in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, but with an audience almost entirely online or on television, Biden’s acceptance speech reflected the enormity of the shutdown that has upended life across the United States in the battle against the deadly coronavirus.

 

File photo: Former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden meets with clergy members and community activists during a visit to Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Delaware on June 1, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP

 

And Biden, 77, urged Americans in blistering terms to punish Trump for the chaos that has seen more than 170,000 deaths and economic calamity.

“We lead the world in deaths,” he said in the 22-minute speech, calling Trump’s performance “unforgivable.”

“On day one” of his own presidency, Biden said, he would implement a national COVID-19 plan and mandate mask wearing.

Biden is on his third White House bid after failing to win the nomination in 1988 and 2008.

But after months of relentless mockery from Trump and other Republicans who claim Biden is senile, the veteran politician’s speech was markedly fluent and always full of passion.

Democrats hope the strong performance, as well as the vice-presidential nomination of Kamala Harris — the first black woman ever to make it onto the White House ticket of a major party — will deflate those attacks.

– Trump hits Pennsylvania –

Biden leads in almost every national opinion poll and also in the crucial swing states.

But Trump is fighting hard in what is shaping up to be an election of unprecedented ferocity and division.

Speaking to Fox News’s Sean Hannity as the Democratic convention was in full swing, Trump repeated his claim that increased mail-in voting — which Democrats say is needed due to coronavirus fears — will lead to fraud.

“They’re trying to steal the election,” said Trump, who has pointedly refused to confirm that he will accept the result if he loses.

Earlier, Trump also tried to overshadow Biden’s thunder with a visit just outside his challenger’s birthplace in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

In a dark speech, Trump falsely claimed that Biden had abandoned the blue-collar town — he, in fact, moved out with his family when he was a child — and warned that Democrats would usher in an era of “violent mobs” and “blood-stained sidewalks.”

Pennsylvania is exactly the kind of place that used to be reliably Democratic but is now divided, with many seduced by Trump’s economic nationalism and vows to defend traditional white, working-class values.

The state will be fiercely contested on November 3.

– Unified Democrats –

Trump’s shock win in 2016 over Hillary Clinton was partly helped by divisions within the Democrats. This time, the party is doing everything to emphasize unity, with many of Biden’s primary rivals appearing in a friendly joint video call during the convention.

 

This combination of file photo shows US President Donald Trump(L) speaking to the media prior to departing from the White House in Washington, DC, on March 3, 2020, and Democratic presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden at a Nevada Caucus watch party on February 22, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the Nevada caucuses. SAUL LOEB, Ronda Churchill / AFP

 

One by one, guests ranging from comedian Julia Louis-Dreyfus to Democratic heavy hitters came out to rip Trump while praising Biden’s ability to connect with people who are suffering at a time when the country is going through twin health and economic crises.

“Joe Biden cares,” said a 13-year-old boy, who movingly recounted to the convention how he overcame stuttering thanks to encouragement from lifelong stutterer Biden.

If that was the rawest, emotionally wrenching moment, former New York mayor and billionaire entrepreneur Mike Bloomberg landed one of the sharpest punches against the Democrats’ nemesis Trump.

“Would you rehire or work for someone who ran your business into the ground?” Bloomberg asked, addressing small business owners around the country.

Senator Tammy Duckworth, a badly wounded Iraq war veteran, branded Trump the “coward in chief” who lets “tyrants manipulate him like a puppet.”

That was a point Biden then echoed, saying that under his administration the days of the United States “cozying up to dictators is over.”

AFP

Biden ‘Not Competent’ To Lead The US, Says President Trump

FILES PHOTO: This combination of file photos shows US President Donald Trump(L) speaking to the media prior to departing from the White House in Washington, DC, on March 3, 2020, and Democratic presidential hopeful and former Vice President Joe Biden at a Nevada Caucus watch party on February 22, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the Nevada caucuses. SAUL LOEB, Ronda Churchill / AFP

 

 

President Donald Trump assailed likely opponent Joe Biden as “not competent” to lead the country, speaking as polls over the weekend showed deepening voter disenchantment with his own handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“He’s shot, he’s mentally shot,” Trump said about Biden in a wide-ranging interview with “Fox News Sunday.”

He said that if Biden is elected on November 3, he will “destroy this country.”

Facing the multiple challenges of a spreading pandemic, racial unrest and a struggling economy, Trump made several unfounded or highly speculative accusations against the former vice president, saying Biden would “triple your taxes” and “defund the police.”

 

File photo: Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a “Build Back Better” Clean Energy event on July 14, 2020 at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP

 

He added, “Religion will be gone,” referring to Democratic officials banning large church services to stem the virus spread.

Asked whether he would accept the election result in November, even if he loses, Trump echoed his position of 2016, saying, “I have to see … I’m not going to just say yes.”

The interview, which was taped in advance, came as new polling results showed support for Biden surging as doubts about Trump’s handling of the pandemic grow amid a resurgence in many states.

Interviewer Chris Wallace told the president that a new Fox opinion poll showed Biden with a substantial lead over Trump not only on his ability to manage the pandemic (with a 17-point edge) and to deal with racial unrest (by 21 points), but even — by a single point — on handling the economy, long a Trump strong point.

And a new Washington Post-ABC News poll has Biden leading Trump among registered voters nationwide by a resounding 15-point margin, 55-to-40 percent.

Trump dismissed such polling as “fake,” saying White House surveys show him winning both nationally and in key swing states.

– ‘Mommy, Mommy…’ –

He repeatedly pummeled Biden, who has kept a relatively low profile amid the restraints imposed by the pandemic.

Trump claimed that the Democrat wanted to “defund the police” — a battle cry of some anti-racist protesters — and insisted that such language was in a Biden policy document, though he was unable to produce it when challenged by Wallace.

 

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event about regulatory reform on the South Lawn of the White House on July 16, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP
File photo: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event about regulatory reform on the South Lawn of the White House on July 16, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

 

As he repeatedly questioned his rival’s mental acuity, Wallace asked him directly if thought Biden was senile.

“I don’t want to say that,” Trump replied. “I say he’s not competent to be president.”

He questioned whether the Democrat could pass a cognitive ability test that he said he had “aced,” and said the former vice president would fall apart under tough questioning.

“Let Biden sit through an interview like this, he’ll be on the ground crying for Mommy. He’ll say, ‘Mommy, Mommy, please take me home.'”

– ‘Envy of the world’ –

Trump again defended his handling of the pandemic, claiming that “we are the envy of the world” on testing; and, of his early prediction that the virus would someday disappear, said, “I’ll be right eventually.”

He again opposed any national mandate for mask-wearing, saying, “I want people to have a certain freedom.”

Referring to the racial unrest in the country, and a recent spike in violent crime in some cities, the president blamed “Democrat-run cities,” which he said were “stupidly run.”

Asked about statistics showing American blacks are twice as likely to be shot and killed by police as whites, Trump replied, “Many whites are killed also. You have to say that.”

And he equated those who fly the Confederate flag with those saying that “Black Lives Matter,” adding, “It’s freedom of speech.”

– ‘Long overdue’ –

Trump again stated his opposition to renaming US military bases named after Confederate generals — even after the military supported the idea.

“I don’t care what the military says,” the president said.

“We’re going to name it after the Reverend Al Sharpton?” he asked rhetorically, referring to a prominent African-American civil rights leader.

There was no immediate response to the interview from Biden or his campaign, though the former vice president did tweet that “Banning the Confederate flag from military installations was long overdue.”

On other subjects, Trump said the economy was “doing very well,” even as millions remain jobless, with some states reimposing lockdowns. The stock market, he said, was near record highs.

AFP

US Poll: Obama Helps In Raising $11m For Biden Campaign

File: This screen grab from a video released courtesy of The Obama Foundation shows MBK (My Brother’s Keeper) Alliance Virtual Town Hall with President Obama on “Reimagining Policing in the Wake of Continued Police Violence” live streamed on June 3, 2020. THE OBAMA FOUNDATION / AFP

 

 

Barack Obama helped raise $11 million for White House hopeful Joe Biden during a Tuesday virtual fundraiser where the former president said a “great awakening” among Americans could help defeat Donald Trump in November’s election.

The two-term Democrat proved a major draw, bringing in a substantial audience and raising over $11 million in total, making it the most successful finance event of the entire campaign, according to Biden press secretary TJ Ducklo.

Some $7.6 million of that came from 175,000 grassroots donors “who continue to power this campaign every single day,” Ducklo tweeted.

Obama’s split-screen appearance with the Democratic presidential candidate was his first with Biden since he endorsed his former vice president in mid-April.

“I am here to say the help is on the way if we do the work, because there’s nobody I trust more to be able to heal this country and get back on track than my dear friend Joe Biden,” said Obama.

“What makes me optimistic is the fact that there is a great awakening going on around the country, particularly among younger people” who are “fed up with the shambolic, disorganized, mean-spirited approach to governance that we’ve seen over the last couple of years,” he added.

Biden said he agreed with Obama’s remarks on political change. He also suggested world leaders have grown weary of Trump, saying “they’re desperately, desperately waiting for American leadership.”

Biden has held no in-person campaign rallies since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He has largely remained in his Delaware home, using social media, television interviews or advertisements to attack Trump for what he says is an inadequate, failed effort to contain the virus’s spread or improve economic conditions for millions of suffering Americans.

Trump, meanwhile, has disregarded his own government’s guidelines and held several in-person events, including a weekend rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The president followed up with a Tuesday rally in Phoenix. Both locations are experiencing spikes in new coronavirus cases, but most attendees did not wear masks.

Biden’s online event confirmed the continued popularity of the nation’s first black president, and the campaign said it “highlights the power of the grassroots movement” as it launches a more intense spirit of campaigning.

Obama spoke of the urgency of advocating for broader systemic change during a period of heightened tensions over racial injustice and police brutality.

“Whatever you have done so far isn’t enough,” Obama told listeners, urging them to use the momentum of recent coast-to-coast street protests as a catalyst for political change.

“We have this unique chance to translate a growing awareness of injustice in society into actual legislation and institutional change,” Obama said.

In May, Biden and the Democratic Party raised nearly $81 million, 10 percent more than Trump, although the president has more overall campaign cash.

Biden Under Pressure To Address Sexual Assault Allegation

emocratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks about the coronavirus outbreak, at the Hotel Du Pont March 12, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)

 

Presidential hopeful Joe Biden said Wednesday he has a proud history of campaigning against sexual violence, as he faces mounting pressure to respond to an assault allegation made by a former aide.

The presumptive Democratic nominee has been accused by Tara Reade of assaulting her in 1993, when she was a 29-year-old staff assistant in the office of Biden, then a US senator from Delaware.

Biden’s campaign has denied the claims, but he himself has not responded directly to the allegations by Reade, now 56.

However he touted his record of supporting abuse victims when asked a question about military prosecutions for felonies including rape at a virtual town hall late Wednesday.

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“As you know, I wrote and championed the Violence Against Women Act, transformed how this country gets justice and support to survivors and led the ‘It’s On Us’ campaign to fight sexual assault on campuses. As VP, I fought to provide a special victims counsel for sexual assault cases in the military,” the 77-year-old said.

He promised that “all options are on the table” when it came to assaults in the military.

Biden spoke as the furor surrounding the claim by Reade continues to grow, despite a statement issued by his campaign on April 13 which said the incident “absolutely did not happen.”

The claim has drowned out other news about Biden, such as his search for a running mate, who he has pledged will be a woman.

President Donald Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale has flooded his Twitter feed with mocking references to Reade’s allegation, ignoring the string of accusations made by women against his own candidate.

More than a dozen women have accused the real estate mogul of sexual misconduct including rape before he became president.

Biden has not been asked directly about Reade’s allegation in either the interviews he has given from his Delaware home, where he has been confined because of the coronavirus pandemic, or various online campaign events.

‘Everything shattered’

According to Reade, the assault took place in August 1993 in a hallway on Capitol Hill.

“We were alone, and it was the strangest thing,” Reade said in a late March interview on the Katie Halper Show podcast. “There was no, like, exchange, really, he just had me up against the wall.

“His hands were on me and underneath my clothes and, yeah, he went, he went down my skirt but then up inside it and he penetrated me with his fingers,” she said.

“He was kissing me at the same time,” she said.

Reade said she pulled away and Biden allegedly said: “Come on man, I heard you liked me.”

“For me everything shattered at that moment,” Reade said.

Reade has since recounted her story to other media outlets, and filed an incident report with the Washington police in early April — seen by AFP — in which she did not name Biden.

“This is an inactive case,” a police spokesman told AFP when asked about the status of the matter.

Reade told the right-leaning Washington Examiner that she had filed the report to show she was serious and establish a paper trail.

Other women have accused Biden of touching them inappropriately in the past, and Reade’s initial claims were similar — less severe than her most recent allegations.

The New York Times reported that it had interviewed Reade on multiple occasions, along with her friends and others who worked for Biden in the early 1990s.

According to the Times, no former Biden staffers corroborated her account, and a pattern of misconduct was not uncovered.

A friend said Reade had told her about the alleged assault at the time. A second friend said Reade told her in 2008 of a traumatic experience while working in Biden’s office.

Reade said she had also related the incident to her brother.

The allegations have led some supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders, who dropped out of the Democratic race and endorsed Biden, to call on the former vice president to end his White House bid.

“Out of respect for survivors and for the good of the country, he should withdraw from the race,” said Claire Sandberg, the former national organizing director of the Sanders campaign.

Biden and Sanders Win Key Endorsements As Next Voting Round Nears

 

Democratic presidential hopefuls Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders secured crucial endorsements Sunday from prominent black supporters just days ahead of the first round of voting to pit them in a head-to-head contest.

Senator Kamala Harris, a former Democratic candidate herself, endorsed Biden, while Sanders won the backing of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson as the rival candidates competed for African American support — a key demographic in the fight for the party’s nomination.

Voters in six states go to the polls Tuesday, a week after the “Super Tuesday” elections dramatically reversed the two men’s fortunes, snatching the frontrunner’s title from Sanders and revitalizing Biden, who now holds a lead in delegates to the nominating convention.

Biden did well on Super Tuesday in Southern states with large black populations, states similar to Mississippi, which votes Tuesday. And in Missouri, a Midwestern state also voting Tuesday, one recent poll gives him a 22-point lead.

That makes Michigan, the day’s biggest prize, an almost must-win for Sanders. A survey in that north-central state last week gave Biden a six-point advantage.

“Joe has been there for Michigan when our back was against the wall,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer told AFP Sunday, during an appearance at a majority black church in Detroit.

Michigan’s critically suffering auto industry received a major boost in 2008 from a massive intervention under the administration of Barack Obama and Biden.

But Whitmer predicted a close race on Tuesday; Sanders has a large organization in Michigan with considerable union support.

Also voting Tuesday are Idaho, North Dakota and Washington state.

Sanders focuses on Michigan

Sanders, desperate to kickstart his campaign after losing 10 of the 14 Super Tuesday states, has canceled plans to speak in Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois in order to focus on Michigan.

Jackson endorsed Sanders at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, repaying the self-described democratic socialist for having supported his 1988 bid for the White House.

“I stand with Bernie Sanders today because he stood with me,” Jackson said. “I stand with him because he stands with you.”

“Sanders has a better chance at beating Trump than Biden does,” Sara Long, 25, told AFP as she stood in line for the rally.

“I think that a lot of his views are more progressive, and they’re what this generation is looking for,” she said.

Sanders touted Jackson’s endorsement on Sunday television talk shows, calling him “one of the great civil rights leaders in the modern history of this country.”

“He changed American politics with the concept of the Rainbow Coalition — getting the blacks and whites and Latinos together in ’84 and ’88,” Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week.” “So we’re proud.”

Sanders appeared on four Sunday talk shows; Biden on none.

Biden’s Super Tuesday surge brought an influx of donations — $22 million in the past few days, his campaign said in a statement Sunday.

It said $12 million would be spent on hiring new staff and launching a major media campaign in battleground states.

Harris said she was backing Biden, a centrist who touts his ability to work with Republicans because she believes he can best unify the country going into the crucial November elections against Donald Trump.

“I am with great enthusiasm going to endorse Joe Biden for president of the United States,” she said in a videotaped statement posted on Twitter.

Eight other former Democratic candidates — including Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O’Rourke — had earlier endorsed Biden.

He later tweeted his thanks to Harris, saying, “You’ve spent your whole career fighting for folks who’ve been written off and left behind.”

The endorsement was a bit of a reversal; Harris had sharply chastised Biden in a televised debate last June over his warm words for past segregationist senators and his opposition in the 1970s to busing to integrate US schools.

But many African American leaders have since swung behind Biden, helping to resurrect his once flagging campaign.

Blacks’ ‘best chance’

Sanders has had trouble attracting black voters — Biden won more than four black votes in South Carolina for each one favoring Sanders — making the endorsement from Jackson all the more significant.

Jackson questioned whether moderate policies would benefit African Americans.

“A people far behind cannot catch up choosing the most moderate path,” said Jackson.

“The most progressive social and economic path gives us the best chance to catch up, and Senator Bernie Sanders represents the most progressive path. That’s why I choose to endorse him today.”