Headlines: November 2, 2020
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The FBI says it is investigating a disturbing incident that took place on Friday in Texas as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ campaign bus drove from San Antonio toward Austin for a planned event. While the bus was on the freeway, dozens of President Donald Trump’s supporters surrounded it in trucks and cars. Videos show trucks flying Trump flags trying to run Biden campaign cars off the road. CNN described the incident saying, “People in vehicles that were part of a ‘Trump Train’ began yelling profanities and obscenities and then blockaded the entire Biden entourage, according to a source familiar with the incident. At one point they slowed the tour bus to roughly 20 mph on Interstate 35, the campaign official said. The vehicles slowed down to try to stop the bus in the middle of the highway. The source said there were nearly 100 vehicles around the campaign bus. Biden staffers were rattled by the event, the source said, though no one was hurt.” The campaign event had to be canceled in a state where Biden enjoys a slight lead.
Ahead of the Trump train incident in Texas the President’s son Donald Jr. egged on Trump supporters on social media telling them to give the Biden campaign and specifically Kamala Harris a, “Trump train welcome.” After Trump’s supporters took Donald Jr. up on his invitation to harass Biden, President Trump posted a video of the trucks surrounding Biden’s campaign bus with a caption saying, “I LOVE TEXAS!” He later bragged about the intimidating incident at a rally in Michigan. Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDonald attempted to claim that Trump doesn’t endorse harming people. But Trump, after learning that the FBI was investigating the incident tweeted angrily, “In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong. Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!” The international human rights organization Amnesty International condemned Trump saying, “Stop condoning violence and intimidation. You have an obligation to prevent this from happening.” There were reports of so-called “Trump Train” intimidation tactics in multiple parts of the nation over the weekend.
Another incident of violence that took place in Graham, North Carolina, on Saturday also appeared to benefit Trump. Police pepper sprayed and arrested voters who were rallying to the polls in a large group. Many of the voters were African American and wore T-shirts celebrating the late voting rights icon Congressman John Lewis. The participants in the event marched to a confederate statue and then intended to head finally to a polling place to highlight the importance of voting. According to the Washington Post, “Those plans were thrown into disarray when law-enforcement officers in riot gear and gas masks insisted demonstrators move off the street and clear county property, despite a permit authorizing their presence.” There were elderly people and children in the march. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper condemned the police actions as “unacceptable.” Graham Police released a statement justifying their actions by claiming, “the assembly reached a level of conduct that led to the rally being deemed unsafe and unlawful by unified command.”
As the two campaigns of Trump and Biden come to a close ahead of an incredibly high-stakes election where tensions around the country are running high, Axios revealed that as per sources close to the President, his plan to secure victory at all costs involves declaring himself the winner on election night if it appears as though he is ahead in swing states –even though states never release official vote counts on election day. One of the crucial swing states where results may not be known for days is Pennsylvania where the Secretary of State warned that it could take days to get results. Responding to a recent Supreme Court decision allowing mail-in votes cast before the election to be counted after election day, Trump railed in remarks to reporters threatening legal action against counting all the votes: “I think it’s terrible that we can’t know the results of an election the night of the election. … We’re going to go in the night of, as soon as that election’s over, we’re going in with our lawyers.” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has been campaigning to vote Trump out and warning against Trump’s theft of the election said, “That has been his strategy for months, and nobody should fall for it.” The latest poll in Pennsylvania shows Biden leading Trump 51 to 44%.
Biden is also leading Trump in the swing state of Florida 51.5 percent to 45.4 percent in a new poll released Monday. And CNN’s polls of swing states over the weekend shows Biden with strong leads in Wisconsin and Michigan and narrower leads in Arizona and North Carolina. Trump won all four of those states four years ago. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that nationally Biden leads Trump by 10 points, 52 to 42%, and similarly a University of Southern California poll showed Biden at 54% to 43% against Trump nationwide. A whopping 93 million votes have been already cast nationwide in early voting states which is more than 2/3 of all ballots cast for the entire 2016 election. Among those who voted early are about 120,000 people who took advantage of pandemic-safe “drive-through” voting in the diverse and Democratic-leaning city of Houston, Texas. But the GOP sued to invalidate those votes. While the Texas Supreme Court ruled against the GOP, that case is now before a federal judge.
President Trump is threatening to fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, the most respected medical professional in the nation today on the coronavirus. Fauci has served under numerous presidents for more than 3 decades and in an interview on Saturday night he warned the public to prepare for, “a whole lot of hurt” as Covid infections rise precipitously. That outlook directly contradicts Trump’s rosy picture of the virus and at a rally in Florida Trump’s supporters began chanting “Fire Fauci.” Stanford University researchers attempted to quantify the number of infections and deaths that could have resulted from Trump’s back-to-back rallies all over the country where there is little to no social distancing and concluded that over 18 rallies there were likely 30,000 new cases of infections and 700 deaths.
And finally, Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris spoke in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at an outdoor socially distanced drive-in event. Harris who could become the nation’s first female Vice President, first Indian American and first African American Vice President.