July 2, 2020

Poll after poll has shown former Vice President Joe Biden with a growing lead over President Trump, and with COVID-19 cases surging again, the president's approval level is sinking as well. It's all leading Trump to claim "the polls are all fake" and, when he does believe them, beg for advice to turn it all around, Vanity Fair reports.

In recent days, Trump has appeared "down in the dumps," Republicans who have spoken with him tell Vanity Fair. "People around him think his heart's not in it," one Republican close to the White House said of his campaign. Trump is reportedly stuck between appealing to his base and suburban voters, leading him to even call Fox News' Tucker Carlson last week and beg "What do I do? What do I do?"

In other instances, Trump has appeared in denial of his sputtering campaign and claimed "the polls are all fake," a Republican in touch with Trump tells Vanity Fair. But at other times he reportedly believes the polls — and blames them on his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. But the reported blame games haven't stopped the bad news from pouring in, namely when it comes to the resumption of campaign rallies where Trump usually thrives. With coronavirus spreading throughout Florida and a mandatory mask policy now in place in Jacksonville, the Trump campaign is reportedly ready to cancel his 15,000-person rally at the Republican National Convention next month "so that Trump doesn’t suffer another Tulsa–like humiliation," Vanity Fair writes.

Read more about Trump's growing campaign woes at Vanity Fair. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 4, 2020

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio came face to face with protesters for the first time on Thursday, and it went over about as well as you'd expect.

As protests over the death of George Floyd and police brutality against black people have taken over New York City in the past week, de Blasio's response has made him neither a friend of the protesters nor the NYPD. That became clear at a memorial service for Floyd on Thursday, where de Blasio was drowned out by a booing crowd from the moment he walked onstage even after the reverend who introduced him asked for "respect."

De Blasio, who frequently seeks to align himself with progressives, hasn't actually attended any of the protests, and has repeatedly defended the police department's tactics, even saying he hasn't seen any videos of police attacking peaceful protesters. Yet members of the NYPD don't seem to be fans of de Blasio either, going so far as to doxx his daughter Chiara de Blasio when she was arrested protesting over the weekend. Kathryn Krawczyk

April 17, 2020

Federal discussions to expand coronavirus testing could not be going worse.

Senate Democrats held a call with Vice President Mike Pence on Friday to discuss the federal government's COVID-19 response and how best to restart the economy. But instead of working out any form of plan, Democrats left the call "livid" and complaining of the White House's "dereliction of duty" amid the crisis, the senators say.

Despite showing some promising growth for a while, expansion of the U.S.'s COVID-19 testing capacity has ground to a halt, with fewer than 150,000 people able to be tested every day. Experts say we need to double or triple that capacity before even thinking about restarting the economy, and yet President Trump still rooted for protesters pressuring their Democratic governors to do so on Friday with tweets calling to "liberate" some states. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Md.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) pressed Pence on those tweets in the call, per Politico's Burgess Everett.

Beyond the tweets, "almost every question from Senate Democrats has been about testing," a source told The Daily Beast's Sam Stein about the call. But Pence never gave the Democrats solid answers about ramping up testing, amounting to what Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) called a "dereliction of duty." "I have never been so mad about a phone call in my life," King even said to Pence and everyone on the call. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 31, 2019

Joe Biden may have just fallen for a fatal argument from Hillary Clinton's 2016 run.

The former vice president held a rally in New Hampshire on Monday, where he pushed the idea of retraining coal miners as programmers by saying "Anybody who can go down 3,000 feet in a mine can sure as hell learn to program as well." And as The Washington Post's Dave Weigel noted in a tweet, "This sort of 'just transition' stuff was murder on Clinton in 2016."

In contrast to President Trump, Democratic presidential candidates have pushed the idea of phasing out coal production and dependence in the U.S. That requires ending coal mining jobs too, and tasks the candidates with proposing replacements. Biden gave one broad proposition on Monday, saying "Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for God's sake!" After all, Biden said, he'd been in charge of spotting "jobs of the future" under former President Barack Obama, and this apparently seemed to be the right path.

"What, exactly, these blue collar workers in the mining and coal-shoveling sectors should learn to code is unclear," Alec McGinnis writes for Gizmodo. Coal jobs may be shrinking, but the tech sector isn't seeing the unlimited growth it once was. While "anyone can learn to code" even if you're "not in your 20s," Massachusetts congressional candidate Brianna Wu says Biden's job advice is just "tone-deaf and unhelpful." And as Weigel continues to point out — and compare to a similarly "elitist" notion from Clinton's campaign — this is all "the sort of thing you hear from well-meaning rich people who don't live in Appalachia." Kathryn Krawczyk

November 1, 2019

It looks like the beginning of the end for Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

The 2020 contender's presence in New Hampshire is fading fast, with a spokesperson confirming to The Associated Press that she's closing down all her field offices in the state. And with news that her campaign is sputtering in other states too, it likely means Harris' frontrunner status isn't on track to return.

After noticing that the lights had gone unendingly dark in Harris' New Hampshire offices, a spokesperson confirmed to Politico that Harris' three field offices were closed for good and that her field organizing team in the state was being laid off. Harris also won't come to the state capital of Concord to file in person for the state primary, like she was planning to do next week. Harris will still appear on the ballot as she'll file via mail or surrogate, her campaign said.

Harris will still have a "staff presence" in New Hampshire, spokesperson Nate Evans told Politico, but called the closures a "strategic decision to realign resources to go all-in on Iowa." The news comes just two days after Harris' campaign announced it was laying off staffers in other states and pulling others to Iowa. But Harris' hopes in Iowa don't look super promising, seeing as she came in at just 3 percent in a Friday New York Times/Siena College poll, a percentage point behind Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Kathryn Krawczyk

October 29, 2019

Joe Biden is far from inevitable, especially in Iowa.

While other candidates doubled down in the early-caucus state immediately after joining the 2020 race, Biden didn't enter the fray until April, after most top Iowa hires were already picked up. That, along with a host of other mistakes, could cost the former vice president Iowa if he doesn't shape up, 11 top state Democrats tell Bloomberg.

Biden may have hopped into the 2020 competition and immediately claimed first place, but that hasn't held up as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has taken the lead in the state. Top Democrats attribute the fall to Biden's reliance on big-dollar fundraisers. Instead of spending time with voters who "expect to meet candidates face-to-face," Biden is "criss-crossing the country," only spending three days of September in Iowa, Bloomberg writes. It all leaves Biden risking "a humiliating third or fourth-place finish in Iowa early next year," the top Democrats tell Bloomberg.

That's not to say losing Iowa will cost Biden the entire race, seeing as he'll almost certainly win South Carolina not long after. But it would severely damage his frontrunner reputation and "would slice into his chief argument — that he's best suited" to beat President Trump, Bloomberg writes.

In a statement, Biden's team says the former vice president has 70 endorsements and more on the way, and that his wife Jill Biden and other pro-Biden officials are campaigning strongly on his behalf. Read more at Bloomberg. Kathryn Krawczyk

May 27, 2019

The View co-host Meghan McCain took issue with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) discussing a moment she shared with her former colleague, McCain's late father Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

While in Iowa on Saturday, Klobuchar, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said that during President Trump's inauguration, McCain recited the names of different dictators. He "knew more than any of us what we were facing as a nation, he understood it," Klobuchar added. "He knew because he knew this man more than any of us did."

On Monday, Meghan McCain tweeted: "On behalf of the entire McCain family — @amyklobuchar please be respectful to all of us and leave my father's legacy and memory out of presidential politics." McCain, who died last August from brain cancer, had a combative relationship with Trump, and was one of his most vocal critics.

Twitter users blasted Meghan McCain for trying to police who can talk about John McCain, and asked why she didn't privately contact Klobuchar. Some brought up the fact that she regularly talks about her father on The View, and others reminded her he was a longtime public figure, and people are free to share stories about him. "I don't know why anyone is surprised that you'd say this, Meghan," one person tweeted. "Everyone should realize that you're the only one allowed to use your father's name for political points and a career." Catherine Garcia

February 7, 2019

Suspense novelist Dan Mallory acknowledged on Thursday that he doesn't just save the fiction for his books.

Mallory's debut novel, The Woman in the Window, was released in 2018, under the pseudonym A.J. Finn. The Woman in the Window instantly became a New York Times bestseller, and will soon be a movie, starring Amy Adams. This week, The New Yorker published an exquisite investigation into Mallory, interviewing colleagues in London and New York who said he told them he had cancer, that his mother died of cancer, and his brother died by suicide. Mallory was able to skate by while working at top publishing houses, they said, and lied about everything from job offers to education.

Mallory's mother is very much alive, and would not speak with The New Yorker. His father did, though, and said his son did not have cancer. "He has his faults, like we all do," he told the magazine. "He's just a tremendous young man." In a statement released by a public relations firm on Thursday, Dan Mallory said he "stated, implied, or allowed others to believe that I was afflicted with a physical malady instead of a psychological one: cancer, specifically." He is sorry for hurting people, he said, as this was "never the goal." He blamed his lying on "crushing depressions, delusional thoughts, morbid obsessions, and memory problems" caused by "severe bipolar II disorder." Catherine Garcia

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