July 27, 2020

People close to President Trump told The Washington Post they think that, throughout most of the coronavirus pandemic, he struggled to wholly address the crisis because of an unwillingness to admit error, a positive feedback loop from advisers and Fox News, and a "penchant for magical thinking" that led him to believe the virus would soon disappear.

But Trump has seemingly come around a bit and is now acknowledging the pandemic isn't going to improve overnight. Per the Post, the pivot apparently came only after Trump realized his voting base was in danger. Over the last few weeks, his advisers have reportedly shown him maps and data that highlight spikes in coronavirus cases among "our people" in Republican states, a senior administration official told the Post.

The advisers have also reportedly shared projections predicting surges in Midwestern battleground states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, all of which are key to Trump winning re-election. Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

5:22 a.m.

Joe Biden and his new running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), held their first joint appearance Wednesday at a Delaware high school, Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "It was a warm and energetic launch to their campaign, but when Biden took the stage, Joe did not pull any punches, especially when it came to Trump attacking his running mate." He found Biden's line that "whining is what Donald Trump does best" a bit unfair.

"One person who was not thrilled with Biden's choice is his opponent," and Trump's "criticism had a familiar ring to it," Colbert said. Oddly, "one person Trump thinks Harris was particularly 'nasty' to is her new running mate."

"Like, is Trump attacking or defending Joe Biden? I can't tell," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "I mean of all people, Donald Trump should totally understand how you can be with a woman who's publicly humiliated you."

"Kamala Harris on the ticket with Joe Biden is a genius move by the former VP, because not only does she tick a bunch of boxes, but clearly, conservatives are gonna struggle to put her in one," Noah said, playing a highlight reel. "Honestly, it's kind of cute watching Republicans flail around trying to figure out the right talking points." He illustrated the GOP confusion with a mock attack ad.

"As of right now, Biden and Harris are up by 10 points on Trump and Pence," Jimmy Fallon said at The Tonight Show. "Just to rub it in, at the end of their event they both moonwalked down a ramp." He showed, then mimicked, Trump's attacks on Harris. "Meanwhile, in a new attack ad, the Trump campaign has already labeled them 'Slow Joe and Phony Kamala,'" Fallon said. "And if you have a 'Slow' and 'Phony' joke that doesn't end with 'Those used to be Trump's nicknames for Eric and Don Jr.,' write to us."

The Late Late Show's James Corden showed Harris slamming Trump at her joint event with Biden. "Donald Trump getting bullied in a high school gym! It's honestly the first time I've related to him." He and his crew agreed that Harris is a much better pick than Hillary Clinton's running mate, who they made a show of not remembering.

And The Late Show had some condolence cards for all the running mates who didn't make the cut. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:26 a.m.

President Trump has been notably vague about his plans for a potential second term, but he has recently proffered one idea: tax cuts. Specifically, taxes on capital gains, income taxes, and the payroll taxes used to fund Social Security and Medicare. Trump signed an executive order Sunday directing the Treasury Department to defer payroll taxes from Sept. 1 until the end of the year, leaving workers to pay the money back later.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, generally a Trump ally on tax cuts, has some serious concerns.

Trump has pitched the payroll tax deferral as a boost to the economy before the November election, but the Chamber asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a letter Wednesday if it would be optional, whether businesses will be liable for repaying the deferred taxes, and how the White House expects the deferred withholdings to help the economy. Trump's order is "surrounded by uncertainty as to its application and implementation" and "only exacerbates the challenges" companies face, the Chamber said. "As American employers, workers, and families work to navigate the COVID-19 crisis they need clarity not more confusion," the business group added in a statement.

Trump touted his executive order in a news conference Wednesday evening, saying he would make the payroll tax holiday permanent if re-elected — something that would require an act of Congress, where there is little appetite for the idea in either party. Asked how he planned to finance Social Security and Medicare without the payroll tax, Trump suggested "we're taking it out of the general fund" and then claimed it wouldn't further blow up the ballooning budget deficit because "we're going to have tremendous growth."

Trump issued the payroll tax order and other executive actions rather than reaching a deal with congressional Democrats on a new bill to shore up the coronavirus-addled economy and individual Americans. Negotiations resumed Wednesday and then quickly died, each side blaming the other.

Meanwhile, "Trump's advisers have sought legal guidance from White House lawyers about whether the president has the authority to eliminate certain taxes, including income and business taxes, without the approval of Congress," The New York Times reports. "The legality of such a move is dubious," because the Constitution gives Congress the sole power to set tax policy, but "the executive branch does have wide latitude" regarding tax collection, and "Trump has not been shy about pushing the boundaries of his authority." Peter Weber

1:50 a.m.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is an early success as presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's running mate, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds. Indian Americans are thrilled to have someone of Indian descent on a major party ticket, Black women are similarly excited, and even progressive groups and activists who were hoping Biden would pick someone more to the left expressed support for Harris on the ticket.

They aren't alone. Nearly 90 percent of Democrats approve of Harris as Biden's running mate, and she is more popular than Biden among younger voters, women, and Republicans, Reuters found in its poll, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday. Sixty percent of Americans, including 37 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Democrats, agreed that choosing Harris for a major party ticket is a "major milestone" for the U.S. She is viewed favorably by 56 percent of Americans overall — about the same as Biden — including 60 percent of women, 62 percent of U.S. adults under 35, and 25 percent of Republicans.

President Trump's favorability rating lags at 42 percent in the Reuters/Ipsos poll, and Vice President Mike Pence sits a little higher, at 47 percent.

The popularity of the Harris pick did not translate into much of an electoral boost for Biden, though. He gained 1 percentage point over Trump since the previous Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted Monday and Tuesday. The Biden-Harris ticket now has an 8 point lead over Trump-Pence, 46 percent to 38 percent, according to the new poll, conducted online in English with 1,000 adults participating. The poll's credibility interval is about 3 percentage points. Peter Weber

1:36 a.m.

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Bob Woodward's new book about President Trump now has a name: Rage.

Rage is scheduled for release on Sept. 15, and people familiar with the book's contents told CNN it goes into detail about how Trump makes decisions and his thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic, national security, and the Black Lives Matter protests.

Rage will be published by Simon & Schuster, the same company behind recent tell-alls by former National Security Adviser John Bolton and the president's niece, Mary Trump. CEO Jonathan Karp told CNN Rage is "the most important book Simon & Schuster will publish this year. Every voter should read it before Nov. 3."

In January, Trump announced that he sat down with Woodward for the book; he ignored earlier interview requests from Woodward when the author was working on his 2018 tome, Fear, and criticized the book after it was published. CNN reports that Woodward recorded hundreds of hours of interviews with Trump and other people close to him and the White House, and also obtained "notes, emails, diaries, calendars, and confidential documents," including 25 personal letters between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

A person familiar with the letters called them "extraordinary," and Simon & Schuster revealed that in one of them, "Kim describes the bond between the two leaders as out of a 'fantasy film.'" Catherine Garcia

12:58 a.m.

Millie, a Jack Russell Terrier, has a second chance at life, thanks to the firefighter who saved her last month.

On July 28, a crew was called to an apartment fire in Newham, a London borough. Paramedics were already outside the building treating a woman, who told the firefighters her dog, Millie, was still somewhere inside.

Lead firefighter Jamie Trew spotted Millie under a bed. She looked lifeless, and he quickly administered oxygen. After 10 minutes, Millie "showed signs of life and she eventually regained consciousness enough to start walking and was taken to a local emergency vet," station officer Dean Ivil told BBC News. Millie's owner is still recovering, and for now, the dog is "happily" being fostered by Trew.

"It's a lovely ending for what could have been a tragic story," Ivil said. "If her owner decides it's best, Millie has a forever home with Jamie and his family." Catherine Garcia

12:08 a.m.

Kanye West, who may be seriously running for president this year or not, met privately with President Trump's de facto campaign chairman, Jared Kushner, in Colorado last weekend, The New York Times reported Wednesday. West had apparently been camping in Colorado with his family and flew, alone, to Telluride, where Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, were vacationing. When contacted by the Times, West said he and Kushner had discussed a book on Black empowerment.

West has freely acknowledged that his slapdash presidential campaign might hurt Joe Biden, whom he has recently criticized, and help Trump, with whom he has a friendly relationship. In a brief follow-up interview with the Times on Wednesday, West declined to elaborate on his meeting with Kushner but did say he is angry about the abortion rate among Black women and said he doesn't reflexively support Democrats. Peter Weber

August 12, 2020

As part of former Vice President Joe Biden's vetting process for potential running mates, he asked them to use their imaginations and think of the different nicknames President Trump might use against them, campaign officials told The Wall Street Journal.

Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, picked Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on Tuesday. In the final days before he made his choice, Biden's team interviewed 11 other possible candidates, including Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). Before that, there were more than 20 people in the running, the Journal reports, and one of the questions they were all asked was, "What do you think Trump's nickname for you will be?"

Warren already knew the answer, as Trump has called her "Pocahontas" numerous times, and he has also referred to Whitmer as "the woman in Michigan." The campaign officials didn't reveal how Harris answered the question, but shortly after Biden broke the news of her selection, the Trump campaign dubbed her "Phony Kamala." Catherine Garcia

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