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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

US Presidential Elections 2020 HIGHLIGHTS: Biden heads to Florida for campaigning, Trump to preside over historic Arab-Israel deals

US Presidential Election 2020 HIGHLIGHTS: Biden said, if elected, he will not only bring the standards back, but will also set new ambitious ones that American workers are ready to meet.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 16, 2020 6:59:11 pm
Joe Biden, Biden Chinese officials, Tibet human rights abuses, US elections 2020, donald trump, world newsDemocratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

US Presidential Elections 2020 HIGHLIGHTS: Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden has pledged to rejoin the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, if elected to power in the November presidential election, and set new standards towards reducing carbon emissions.

Claiming that the 2015 Paris climate deal puts an “unfair economic burden” on Americans, President Donald Trump’s administration notified the United Nations in November last year that the US would withdraw from the agreement.

“While he (President Donald Trump) turned against our allies, I’ll bring us back into the Paris Agreement. I will put us back in the business of leading the world on climate change and I will challenge every other country to up the ante on climate commitments,” Biden said in a policy speech on climate change.

In his address from Delaware, Biden further said, “Where he reverses the Obama-Biden fuel efficiency standards, he picks big oil. He picks in big oil companies over American workers, even when the automobile industry agreed.”

Donald Trump, meanwhile, has made withdrawing from the climate agreement one of his election campaign pledges, and has said the deal “punished” the US and would cost millions of American jobs. Trump has, however, indicated that he was open to another climate deal “on terms that are fair to the United States.”

Biden said, if elected, he will not only bring the standards back, but will also set new ambitious ones that American workers are ready to meet.

Live Blog

US presidential elections 2020 LIVE: Amidst Covid-19 scare, Americans will elect its next president on November 3. Follow this space for LIVE coverage.

16:08 (IST)16 Sep 2020
Biden courts Latino voters in 1st trip to Florida as nominee

Joe Biden made his first trip to Florida as the Democratic presidential nominee with an urgent mission to boost support among Latinos who could decide the election in one of the nation's fiercest battleground states.

"More than any other time, the Hispanic community, Latino community holds in the palm of their hand the destiny of this country," Biden said Tuesday during a Hispanic Heritage Month kickoff event in Kissimmee. "You can decide the direction of this country."

A win for Biden in Florida would dramatically narrow Trump's path to reelection. But in a state where elections are often decided by a percentage point, there are mounting concerns that Biden may be slipping, particularly with the state's influential Latino voters. An NBC-Marist poll released last week found Latinos in the state about evenly divided between Biden and Trump. Democrat Hillary Clinton led Trump by a 59 per cent to 36 per cent margin among Latinos in the same poll in 2016 and Trump won Florida by about 1 percentage point.

14:47 (IST)16 Sep 2020
Trump making dent in Indian-American vote bank; majority still support Biden: Survey

US President Donald Trump has made inroads into the Indian-American vote bank, the biggest ever by a Republican president, according to a survey which has sent worrying signals to the Democrats that the support of this influential ethnic community can no longer be taken for granted. The survey by Indiaspora and Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Data on Tuesday showed that a majority of Indian-Americans still favour former vice president Biden, the Democratic Party's nominee in the November 3 US presidential election. It found that 74-year-old Trump, seeking re-election, is making a big dent into the Indian-American vote bank despite the fact that Biden has a strong relationship with the community and played a key role in bilateral ties over the past few decades. Biden, 77, also scripted history last month by selecting Senator Kamala Harris, 55, as his running mate.According to the survey, 66 per cent Indian-Americans currently favour Biden and 28 per cent favour Trump while six per cent were undecided. (PTI)

22:53 (IST)15 Sep 2020
Wisconsin election clerks rush to mail ballots after delay

Election clerks across the presidential battleground of Wisconsin rushed to mail absentee ballots Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the state Supreme Court lifted a temporary freeze on sending them while it considered a legal challenge.

"Oh, we're busy," said Wendy Helgeson, the Town of Greenville clerk who also serves as president of the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association. More than 1,850 clerks in municipalities big and small were working to meet a Thursday deadline in state law to mail ballots to the more than 1 million voters who had requested them so far.

Absentee ballots can be requested until October 29, but election officials have urged voters to act more quickly given the expected large numbers and delays with the mail. The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Sept. 10 ordered a stop to all mailing of absentee ballots while it considered whether the Green Party presidential candidate should be added. (AP)

21:04 (IST)15 Sep 2020
House GOP unveils tax cuts, police funds in election agenda

US House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy rolled out Republicans priorities of tax breaks and police funding Tuesday -- the GOPs calling card to voters as they try to wrest back seats from Democrats in a longshot November election bid for majority control.

Republicans, campaigning alongside US President Donald Trump, are promising to restore the country to the way it was before the COVID-19 crisis hit, tapping into the same themes of health care and infrastructure investment that have been mainstays of the Democratic platform. They're also taking a page from Trump's playbook by portraying Democrats as aligned with the racial injustice protests in American cities, vowing a tougher approach.

"Republicans helped build the greatest economy in a generation and the American way of life was thriving," said McCarthy, flanked by lawmakers on the steps of the Capitol to present the "Commitment to America -- He said We will do it again." (AP)

20:17 (IST)15 Sep 2020
Ahead of elections, Trump to preside over historic Arab-Israel recognition deals

US President Donald Trump is set to preside over the signing of historic diplomatic deals between Israel and two Gulf-Arab nations that could herald a dramatic shift in Middle East power dynamics and give him a boost ahead of the November election.

In a White House ceremony aimed at showcasing presidential statesmanship, Trump will host more than 700 guests Tuesday on the South Lawn to witness the sealing of the agreements between Israel the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Trump and his allies hope the occasion will burnish Trumps credentials as a peacemaker at the height of his reelection campaign.

Although Emirati protocol dictates that the foreign minister, and not the crown prince of a specific emirate be dispatched to represent the country, in lieu of the UAEs president, who's rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke more than six years ago, there's speculation the crown prince is not attending the White House ceremony for political reasons.

He may not want to be seen throwing too much of his support behind Trump weeks ahead of a US presidential election in which the outcome is far from certain. While the pageantry of the White House signing ceremony offers Trump and Netanyahu a political triumph, Prince Mohammed faces neither reelection pressures nor protests at home. (AP)

20:08 (IST)15 Sep 2020
Biden heads to Florida for campaigning

Joe Biden is making his first trip to Florida as the Democratic presidential nominee while his campaign is acknowledging concerns about his appeal with Latinos -- a voting bloc likely to prove pivotal against US President Donald Trump in one of the nations fiercest battleground states.

On Tuesday, the former vice president will hold a roundtable with veterans in Tampa before marking Hispanic Heritage Month with an event in Kissimmee near Orlando. The visit comes as some Democrats worry that Bidens standing among Hispanics is slipping in a state where they make up one-fifth of eligible voters.

"I will talk about how I am going to work like the devil to make sure I turn every Latino and Hispanic vote," Biden said after a Monday speech on climate change in his home state of Delaware. (AP)

14:52 (IST)15 Sep 2020
Joe Biden assembles legal team ahead of divisive 2020 election

Democrat Joe Biden is assembling a team of top lawyers in anticipation of court challenges to the election process that could ultimately determine who wins the race for the White House.

Biden’s presidential campaign says the legal war room will work to ensure that elections are properly administered and votes correctly counted. It will also seek to combat voter suppression at the polls, identify foreign interference and misinformation, and educate voters on the different methods available for casting ballots.

14:31 (IST)15 Sep 2020
Democrats to probe whether officials meddled with CDC data

A House subcommittee examining President Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic is launching an investigation into reports that political appointees have meddled with routine government scientific data to better align with Trump's public statements, PTI reported.

The Democrat-led subcommittee Monday said it is requesting transcribed interviews with seven officials from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services, including communications aide Michael Caputo.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and CDC Director Robert Redfielf, the Democratic members of the subcommittee said they are "gravely concerned" about the reports of political meddling in a journal that has long been free of political interference.

13:00 (IST)15 Sep 2020
Donald Trump and Joe Biden clash over US wildfires

Joe Biden Monday branded President Donald Trump a "climate arsonist" for refusing to acknowledge global warming's role in deadly wildfires sweeping the wester United States, while Trump blamed lax forestry and declared, "I don't think science knows."

Dozens of conflagrations have raged across some 4.5 million acres in Oregon, California and Washington state since August, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 36 people, Reuters reported. The fires have also filled the region's air with harmful levels of smoke and soot, bathing skies in eerie tones of orange, adding to a public health crisis already posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden, slammed by Republicans for not visiting disaster areas, spoke from his home state of Delaware on the threat of increasingly frequent weather extremes that scientists have pointed to as evidence that climate change is supercharging the fires.

Trump, who trails Biden in the national polls ahead of the November 3 election, met with firefighters and officials in California after Democrats blasted him for remaining mostly silent on the wildfires.

11:00 (IST)15 Sep 2020
Kamala Harris, Hillary Clinton rake up $6 million in fundraiser, make fun of Trump

Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris, the Democrat’s vice-presidential nominee, and its 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton raked up over $6 million at a fundraiser during which the two made fun of US President Donald Trump.

“I’ve never seen him laugh,” Clinton said during the virtual event.

“I’ve never, ever seen him make fun of himself. Certainly not his hairdo — you know, that’s, something I’m quite experienced. It is really telling that part of the cruelty and the indifference, and just the plain meanness that we see on a regular basis from him, is in part because he has no sense of humour. And, you know, he loves putting people down, not lifting them up,” Clinton said.

09:52 (IST)15 Sep 2020
Joe Biden vows to rejoin Paris Agreement set new standards

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has pledged to rejoin the historic Paris Agreement on climate change, if elected to power in the November elections, and set new standards towards reducing carbon emissions.

“While he (President Donald Trump) turned against our allies, I’ll bring us back into the Paris Agreement. I will put us back in the business of leading the world on climate change and I will challenge every other country to up the ante on climate commitments,” Biden said in a major policy speech on climate change.

“Where he reverses the Obama-Biden fuel efficiency standards, he picks big oil. He picks in big oil companies over American workers, even when the automobile industry agreed,” he said in his address from Delaware.

01:33 (IST)15 Sep 2020
Trump's Mideast deals tout 'peace' where there was never war

For the first time in more than a quarter-century, a US president will host a signing ceremony between Israelis and Arabs at the White House, billing it as an "historic breakthrough" in a region long known for its stubborn conflicts.

But while the optics of Tuesday's event will evoke the groundbreaking agreements that ended decades of war between Israel and neighbouring Egypt and Jordan, and that launched the peace process with the Palestinians, the reality is quite different. The United Arab Emirates will establish diplomatic relations with Israel, a fellow US ally it has never gone to war with, formalising ties that go back several years.

The agreement cements an informal alliance against Iran and could pave the way for the UAE to acquire advanced US weapons, while leaving the far more contentious Israeli-Palestinian conflict as intractable as ever. That hasn't stopped President Donald Trump from referring to the UAE deal, which was announced last month, as heralding a "previously unthinkable regional transformation."

A similar agreement announced Friday with Bahrain, which welcomed a visiting Israeli Cabinet minister as early as 1994, also formalises longstanding ties. (AP)

22:03 (IST)14 Sep 2020
Explained: The law that Trump supporters want him to use if he loses elections

Republican strategist and convicted felon Roger Stone, whose 40-month prison sentence was commuted by President Donald Trump in July, suggested last week that Trump should enforce martial law in the US and seize power if he loses the November-3 election.

Trump, who is trailing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the presidential polls, has repeatedly cast uncertainty on whether he would accept the election results. “The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged,” he said last month.

Stone, who calls himself a “dirty trickster” and an “agent provocateur”, is a longtime ally of Trump, and was sentenced in November 2019 for trying to help Trump evade taking responsibility in allegations that his 2016 presidential campaign conspired with Russia.

Speaking to the conspiracy theory website InfoWars last week, Stone said that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 and arrest Hillary and Bill Clinton, Democratic party heavyweight Harry Reid, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Tim Cook of Apple and “anybody else who can be proven to be involved in illegal activity”. Read the full explainer here.

17:47 (IST)14 Sep 2020
Joe Biden faces worries that Latino support slipping in Florida

In America's leading presidential battleground, there's mounting anxiety among Democrats that the Biden campaign's standing among Latinos is slipping, potentially giving President Donald Trump an opening in his reelection bid. That's fueling an urgent effort by Biden, Harris, and their allies to shore up older voters, suburbanites, and African Americans to make up for potential shortcomings elsewhere.

Concerns about Biden's strength in Florida were driven in part by an NBC-Marist poll released last week, which found Latinos in the state about evenly divided between Biden and Trump. Hillary Clinton led Trump by a 59% to 36% margin among Latinos in the same poll in 2016, the Associated Press reported.

10:38 (IST)14 Sep 2020
In defiance of Nevada governor Trump holds indoor rally

In open defiance of state regulations and his own administrations pandemic health guidelines, President Donald Trump hosted his first indoor rally since June,  telling a packed nearly maskless Nevada crowd that the nation was making the last turn in defeating the virus.

There was no early mention from the president that the pandemic had killed nearly 200,000 Americans and was still claiming 1,000 lives a day.
Recognizing that many supporters were uncomfortable to gather in a large group indoors where the virus spreads more easily, the Trump campaign shifted to holding smaller outdoor rallies usually at airplane hangers.

But those rallies have grown in size in recent weeks with little social distancing and few masks. And on Sunday they returned indoors in part as a nod to the Las Vegasarea heat Temperature checks were given to all upon entrance at the industrial site in Henderson and while masks were encouraged, few wore them. (AP)

22:17 (IST)13 Sep 2020
Trump pushes into Nevada, questions integrity of election

Kicking off a Western swing, President Donald Trump barreled into Nevada for the weekend, looking to expand his path to victory while unleashing a torrent of unsubstantiated claims that Democrats were trying to steal the election.

Trump defied local authorities by holding a Saturday night rally in tiny Minden after his initial plan to hold one in Reno was stopped out of concern it would have violated coronavirus health guidelines. Unleashing 90-plus minutes of grievances and attacks, Trump claimed the state’s Democratic governor tried to block him and repeated his false claim that mail-in ballots would taint the election result.

“This is the guy we are entrusting with millions of ballots, unsolicited ballots, and we’re supposed to win these states. Who the hell is going to trust him?” Trump said of Gov. Steve Sisolak. “The only way the Democrats can win the election is if they rig it.”

As part of his ongoing crusade against mail-in voting, lawyers for the president’s reelection campaign are urging a federal judge in Las Vegas to block a state law and prevent mail-in ballots from going to all active Nevada voters less than eight weeks before the election. (AP)

18:45 (IST)13 Sep 2020
Michael Bloomberg to spend at least USD 100M to help Biden in Florida

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is committing at least USD 100 million to help Joe Biden's presidential campaign in the crucial battleground state of Florida. Bloomberg's late stage infusion of cash reflects Democrats' concerns about the tight race in a state that is a priority for President Donald Trump. A victory for Biden in Florida, the largest of the perennial battleground states, would significantly complicate Trump's path to reaching the 270 Electoral College votes needed to secure a second term.

The billionaire Bloomberg launched his own campaign for the Democratic nomination late last year amid worries about Biden's strengths. Despite spending USD 1 billion on his campaign, Bloomberg struggled and dropped out in March, quickly endorsing Biden. Bloomberg's new spending is intended to boost Biden before the start of early voting in Florida, which begins on September 24. A Bloomberg adviser said much of the money will go to television and digital advertising. (AP)

16:24 (IST)13 Sep 2020
Trump looks west, eyeing new paths to White House

Pushing for new roads to reelection, President Donald Trump is going on the offense this weekend in Nevada, which hasn't supported a Republican presidential candidate since 2004. Trump is defying local authorities by holding public events Saturday and Sunday after officials blocked his initial plans for rallies in Reno and Las Vegas because they would have violated coronavirus health guidelines.

It's the kind of fight that Trump's team relishes and underscores the growing importance of Nevada in Trump's quest for 270 electoral votes as the race against Democrat Joe Biden looks tight in a number of pivotal states. Trump narrowly lost Nevada in 2016 to Hillary Clinton, and the state has trended further toward the Democrats in the past decade.  But Trump's campaign has invested heavily in the state, relying on its ground game to turn out voters.

13:21 (IST)13 Sep 2020
Biden audio first shared by ‘Russian agent’ goes viral

The apparent phone conversations between Joe Biden and Ukraine’s then-president largely confirm Biden’s account of his dealings in Ukraine.But the choppy audio, disclosed by a Ukrainian lawmaker whom US officials described Thursday as an “active Russian agent” who has sought to spread online misinformation about Biden, was nonetheless seized on by President Donald Trump as well as his supporters to promote conspiracy theories about the Democratic nominee.Social media posts and videos about the recordings have been viewed millions of times, according to an Associated Press analysis, even though Trump’s own administration says they rely on “false and unsubstantiated narratives.”(AP)

09:32 (IST)13 Sep 2020
Trump rallies this week 

Trump held a rally in Reno on Saturday evening along with a "Latinos for Trump" event.  He will hold another rally in Las Vegas Sunday and a campaign event in Phoenix on Monday.

The president has increased the number of campaign rallies in recent weeks, holding them in airplane hangars or outdoors to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. However the lack of social distancing or other covid-19 restrictions have been absent in most cases.

 

US Presidential Elections 2020 Live Updates: US to rejoin Paris climate deal if Democrats voted to power, says Joe Biden US President Donald Trump rallies with supporters at a campaign event in Henderson, Nevada, September 13, 2020. (Reuters/File)

In America's leading presidential battleground, there's mounting anxiety among Democrats that the Biden campaign's standing among Latinos is slipping, potentially giving President Donald Trump an opening in his reelection bid. That's fueling an urgent effort by Biden, Harris, and their allies to shore up older voters, suburbanites, and African Americans to make up for potential shortcomings elsewhere.

Concerns about Biden's strength in Florida were driven in part by an NBC-Marist poll released last week, which found Latinos in the state about evenly divided between Biden and Trump. Hillary Clinton led Trump by a 59% to 36% margin among Latinos in the same poll in 2016, the Associated Press reported.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump held an indoor rally in the state of Nevada in open defiance of state regulations and his own administration's pandemic health guidelines. Addressing a massive, mostly maskless crowd, Trump said that the nation was making the last turn in defeating the virus. This was the first rally held indoors since June. His previous rallies, though held outdoors have been seeing a mix of large crowds and lack of social distancing measures.

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