It was the latest evidence of how the 2020 presidential election is quietly taking shape at a time when both candidates are off the campaign trail and America is still gripped by fears about the pandemic and its alarming economic and human toll.
Obama slams Trump’s coronavirus response as ‘chaotic disaster’
In response to the reports, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement that Trump’s “coronavirus response has been unprecedented and saved American lives.”
“There has been a bipartisan recognition of President Trump’s leadership, and the American people have taken notice,” McEnany said.
After the new figures came out Friday showing 20.5 million jobs lost in April, Biden issued a sharp critique of Trump’s economy — which he argues was tilted toward the rich and powerful before the pandemic — arguing that income disparity has only widened during the crisis as job losses disproportionately affect lower-income Americans. Pointing to those disparities, Biden has also tried to highlight the Republican efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act at a time when he says Americans need health care most.
“Covid is the match that lit the fire. But Donald Trump has spent the last three years stoking and kindling and undermining the core pillars of our economic strength,” Biden said during a virtual fundraiser with California Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Obama adviser David Plouffe Friday evening.
“Yes, many small businesses closed because of Covid, but the reason why many will not open is because, for the last three years Donald Trump has put the very well off and corporate America first, and has put forward plans with ‘no strings, no oversight, no accountability,'” Biden said.
Battle over ballots
Carr said Trump Victory, the joint field effort between Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee, now has 800 paid staffers in 23 states. They are training some 2 million volunteers through the “Trump Victory Leadership Initiative” that teaches volunteers to become organizers in their communities.
“Over the last six weeks, our team has made over 20 million voter contacts and engaged over 1 million volunteers across the country. Additionally, over 31,000 Americans have used tools like vote.gop to register to vote or receive an absentee ballot,” Carr said in his column. “The transition to a virtual campaign has been seamless.”
Newsom said in-person voting will still occur and asked state officials to put together a plan detailing how California can do that safely.
On Sunday, Trump reiterated his support for Republican candidate Mike Garcia, saying the former Navy fighter pilot had his “complete and total endorsement.”
The President also sought to stoke concerns about voter fraud by suggesting that a decision by Los Angeles County election officials to add an additional in-person voting center in the district — in the diverse city of Lancaster — would somehow “rig” the election to favor the Democrats.
“So in California, the Democrats, who fought like crazy to get all mail in only ballots, and succeeded, have just opened a voting booth in the most Democrat area in the State. They are trying to steal another election. It’s all rigged out there. These votes must not count. SCAM!” Trump tweeted Saturday.
A number of aspects of Trump’s tweet were factually inaccurate. Far from being safely Democratic, California’s 25th District is one of the most contested House districts in the country and there has been no credible evidence of voter fraud.
On March 20, Newsom ordered state election officials to send a vote-by-mail ballot to every voter for the May 12 special election, a step meant to encourage participation while voting was also permitted at a number of vote centers that opened for in-person voting throughout Los Angeles County.
On Friday, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan announced that an additional in-person voting site would be added in Lancaster to remedy the fact that those voters had no walk-in sites in close proximity. The request to add the vote center, Logan said in a news release, came from Lancaster’s Republican Mayor R. Rex Parris.
Trump sought to sow confusion in a series of tweets, seeming to blame Newsom for a decision that was under the jurisdiction of local election officials.
“Governor @GavinNewsom of California won’t let restaurants, beaches and stores open, but he installs a voting booth system in a highly Democrat area (supposed to be mail in ballots only) because our great candidate, @MikeGarcia2020, is winning by a lot. CA25 Rigged Election!,” Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon, again mischaracterizing the political makeup of the district and Newsom’s role, and suggesting Tuesday’s election is a mail-in-ballot election — it is not.
“Turn your ballots in now and track them, watching for dishonesty,” Trump warned on Twitter last month. “Report to Law Enforcement.”