on the campaign trail
November 2, 2020

At a rally in Florida on Sunday night, President Trump suggested he might fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, soon after the election. Trump may have been just playing to the crowd, which had started chanting "Fire Fauci!" "Don't tell anybody, but let me wait till a little bit after the election, please," Trump responded, after a pause. "I appreciate the advice." But he also just issued an executive order that could allow him to fire nonpartisan civil servants like Fauci without cause or recourse.

Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, has publicly questioned the Trump administration's response to the third sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and Trump's favorite new herd-immunity-touting doctor, but polls also show Fauci is far more trusted on the pandemic than Trump or the White House. Trump has been openly critical of Fauci for weeks.

If Trump wins a second term, he and his allies are planning what "would amount to a purge of any Cabinet member who has crossed the president, refused to mount investigations he has demanded, or urged him to take a different, more strict tack on the coronavirus response," Politico reports. "Already, the White House and administration officials have started to vet names of health care experts who could take over the agencies running many elements of the government's pandemic response and overseeing the country's health insurance system, according to two Republicans close to the White House." Read more about the possible purge at Politico. Peter Weber

November 1, 2020

With two days to go before the election, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden went to Pennsylvania on Sunday, a battleground state that President Trump won by just 44,000 votes in 2016.

Polls show Biden with a lead of about 5 percentage points in Pennsylvania, and both candidates have been holding events across the state. Biden is courting voters by sharing three messages: that he will bring back the economy, slow the spread of the coronavirus, and have a non-tumultuous presidency. It's time for Trump to "pack his bags and go home," Biden said during an evening event in Philadelphia. "We're done with the chaos, with the tweets, with the anger, the hate, the failure, the irresponsibility. The truth is, to beat the virus, we've first got to beat Donald Trump."

Biden also brought up an incident that took place on Friday in Texas, when motorists with Trump 2020 flags surrounded a Biden campaign bus and allegedly tried to run it off the road. Trump, who retweeted video of the episode, has "no sense of empathy, no sense of concern," Biden said. Trump responded to an FBI investigation of the incident by arguing "these patriots did nothing wrong."

During an earlier event at a Philadelphia church, Biden said Trump "failed to protect this nation," and in two days, "we could put an end to a presidency that fanned the flames of hate." He declared that Trump is "terrified of what is going to happen in Pennsylvania. He knows that the people of Pennsylvania get to have their say — if you have your say, he doesn't stand a chance."

Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), are holding multiple events in Pennsylvania on Monday, and the day will end with Biden appearing at a Pittsburgh rally with Lady Gaga and Harris attending a Philadelphia concert with John Legend. Catherine Garcia

October 27, 2020

President Trump went after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) multiple times during a rally in Lansing on Tuesday, and the crowd responded by chanting, "Lock her up!"

Earlier this month, the FBI and Michigan law enforcement announced they had foiled a plot by several men to kidnap Whitmer, with the extremists allegedly wanting to try her for "treason." Trump told the crowd in Lansing that he doesn't think Whitmer "likes me too much," adding, "I'm the one, it was our people that helped her out with her problem."

He went on to suggest that the kidnapping plot wasn't that big of a deal: "I mean, we'll have to see if it's a problem. Right? People are entitled to say maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn't. It was our people — my people — our people that helped her out. And then she blamed me for it. She blamed me and it was our people that helped her. I don't get it. How did you put her there?"

Trump and Whitmer have been highly critical of each other amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the governor wrote in a piece for The Atlantic published on Tuesday that "every time the president ramps up this violent rhetoric, every time he fires up Twitter to launch another broadside against me, my family and I see a surge of vicious attacks sent our way. This is no coincidence, and the president knows it. He is sowing division and putting leaders, especially women leaders, at risk. And all because he thinks it will help his re-election." Catherine Garcia

October 27, 2020

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday said that while "anger and suspicion is growing and our wounds are getting deeper," he will bring Americans together and "restore our soul and save this country."

With one week to go until the election, Biden traveled to Warm Springs, Georgia, to make his pitch to supporters at a drive-up rally. He is trying to flip Georgia blue, and hopes the state will back a Democrat for the first time since 1992.

Former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought treatment for his paralysis in Warm Springs, and Biden said the town is "a reminder that though broken, each of us can be healed. That as a people and a country, we can overcome a devastating virus. That we can heal a suffering world. That yes, we can restore our soul and save our country."

Biden lost his optimistic tone when talking about President Trump, and slammed him for claiming the nation is turning a corner on the coronavirus, despite a record number of cases. "The tragic truth of our time is that COVID has left a deep and lasting wound in this country," Biden said. Trump, he continued, has "shrugged. He's swaggered. And he's surrendered." Catherine Garcia

October 21, 2020

Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday said dealing with the coronavirus pandemic "would have been challenging for any president, but this idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this up is just not true."

Obama made his remarks in Philadelphia during a drive-up rally for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Obama said that South Korea recorded its first COVID-19 case at the same time as the United States, "and its per capita death toll is just 1.3 percent of what ours is. Canada is just 39 percent of what ours is. Other countries are struggling with the pandemic, but they're not doing as bad as we are because they've got a government that's actually been paying attention."

Comparing Biden to President Trump, Obama declared that "Joe's not going to screw up testing, he's not going to call scientists idiots, he's not going to host a superspreader event at the White House." The United States is eight months into the pandemic, and cases are again on the rise across the country, but "Donald Trump isn't suddenly going to protect all of us," Obama said. "He can't even take the basic steps to protect himself."

Trump can't say Obama didn't try to warn him — before leaving office, his administration passed along a 70-page document on how to fight pandemics, the former president stated, with information included on novel coronaviruses. "We literally left this White House a pandemic playbook," Obama said. "They probably used it to prop up a wobbly table somewhere."

Obama didn't just focus on the pandemic. He also made the pitch for Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), promising voters they "are going to fight for you every day. They care about you and they care about this democracy. ... They believe that no one, especially the president, is above the law. They understand that protests on behalf of social justice isn't un-American, that's the most American thing there is. That's how this country was founded: protesting injustice." Catherine Garcia

October 21, 2020

Former President Barack Obama had a little fun on Wednesday during his drive-up rally for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, telling the crowd in Philadelphia that he doesn't think a certain news channel would have been as easy on him regarding his taxes as they are on President Trump.

Obama brought up a New York Times article published on Tuesday night, which said Trump's tax records show he maintains a bank account in China. "Can you imagine if I had a secret Chinese bank account when I was running for re-election? Obama said. "You think Fox News might have been a little concerned about that? They would have called me Beijing Barry."

The Times also reported late last month that in 2016 and 2017, Trump only paid $750 in federal income taxes, and Obama quipped that as a teenager scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins, "I think I might have paid more taxes. How is that possible?" Catherine Garcia

October 21, 2020

In a blistering rebuke of President Trump and his relationship with the truth, former President Barack Obama on Wednesday said if Joe Biden is in the White House, Americans will be able to "go about your lives knowing that the president is not going to retweet conspiracy theories about secret cabals running the world or that Navy SEALs didn't actually kill [Osama] bin Laden."

Trump recently retweeted a baseless QAnon conspiracy theory claiming the terrorist is still alive, and during a rally in Philadelphia, Obama said the president is doing outrageous things in order to "distract all of us from the truly destructive actions that his appointees are doing all across the government, actions that affect your lives." He used the Environmental Protection Agency as an example, saying it is "supposed to protect our air and water, and right now is run by an energy lobbyist that gives polluters free rein to dump unlimited poison into our air and water."

The polls may show Biden leading Trump in several key states, but "we can't be complacent," Obama said. Trump was trailing at this time in 2016, too, and "a bunch of folks stayed home and got lazy and complacent. Not this time. Not in this election." This is the "most important election of our lifetimes," Obama declared. "What we do these next 13 days will matter for decades to come." He urged Democrats to vote up and down the ticket, saying "we will not only elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, we will also leave no doubt about what this country stands for. We will not leave any doubt about who we are as a people and the values and ideals that we embrace." Catherine Garcia

October 21, 2020

Former President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail on Wednesday for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, telling supporters at a drive-up rally in Philadelphia that having Biden in the White House would mean a return to calm.

President Trump goes "out of his way to insult anybody who doesn't support him and threatens them with jail," Obama said. "That's not normal presidential behavior. We wouldn't tolerate it from a high school principal, we wouldn't tolerate it from a coach, we wouldn't tolerate it from a co-worker, we wouldn't tolerate it from our own family, except for maybe a crazy uncle. Why would we accept this from the president of the United States? Why are folks making excuses for that?"

There have been no consequences for Trump's actions, Obama declared, and he has emboldened others to be "cruel and divisive and racist," fraying the fabric of society. "It affects the way our children see things," Obama said. "It affects the way that our families get along and it affects how the world looks at America. That behavior matters. Character matters."

Referring to multiple reports that Trump called U.S. soldiers who died in combat "suckers" and "losers," Obama said Biden would "never" fling such insults at members of the military, and knows that "these heroes are somebody's children, somebody's spouse, somebody's dad or mom. He understands that, and he's going to restore our standing in the world, because he knows America's true strength comes from setting an example."

The United States' allies want to "follow a nation that stands with democracy, not dictators," Obama said. "A nation that can mobilize and inspire others to overcome threats like climate change and terrorism and poverty and disease." Biden will usher in a new era of normalcy, Obama continued, and without Trump's divisiveness, "you're not going to have to argue" about the things he says every day. "It just won't be so exhausting." Catherine Garcia

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