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Harris vs. Pence: Vice presidential debate updates and analysis

Wednesday's vice presidential debate comes less than a week after Trump announced he had tested positive for Covid-19.

Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris faced off in a heated debate Wednesday night, their first and only matchup.

The 90-minute debate started shortly after 9 p.m. ET at the University of Utah's Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading more on the debate here.

The coronavirus pandemic was a prominent topic at the debate, which came less than a week after President Donald Trump was diagnosed with Covid-19. As head of the White House coronavirus task force, Pence has faced criticism over the administration's response to the pandemic.

Read highlights from the debate, including fact-checks, takeaways and who some experts think won.

724d ago / 1:47 AM UTC

Pence's answer on climate change just doesn't line up with reality

A question directed to Pence on climate change and wildfires spurred an answer that is hard to square with the Trump administration's actions.

Pence stated that Trump and his administration will follow the science but declined to call climate change an existential threat.

The Trump administration has taken a variety of steps to undercut climate research, sidelining scientists and proposing budget cuts. Six former EPA chiefs recently called for a reset of the agency in hopes of changing course.

724d ago / 1:45 AM UTC

Trump weighs in, rails on Biden-Harris over fracking

724d ago / 1:42 AM UTC
724d ago / 1:41 AM UTC

Pence interrupts Harris again, claiming Biden will repeal the Trump tax cuts

Pence again interrupted Harris several times when she said that Biden would not raise taxes on anyone making under $400,000 a year. 

Pence appeared to say Biden would repeal the Trump tax cuts and Harris responded, “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking. I’m speaking.” 

Pence continued to interrupt, saying, “Joe Biden said twice in the debate last week that he's going to repeal the Trump tax cuts. That was tax cuts that gave the average working family $2,000 with a tax break.”

“That is absolutely not true,” Harris said.

724d ago / 1:40 AM UTC

Analysis: White House *has* spared expenses in coronavirus relief

Pence just said he and Trump have “spared no expense” in helping Americans recover from the coronavirus.

Earlier this week, Trump told his aides to break off negotiations on a Covid-19 relief package. Then, Trump said he wants to negotiate a smaller package of aid.

All along, the White House and the Senate Republicans have fought House Democrats on precisely how much to spend — which has resulted in no money being spent since the CARES Act was enacted several months ago.

724d ago / 1:36 AM UTC

Pence congratulates Harris on the ‘historic nature’ of her nomination

Pence thanked Harris and Biden for expressing their concern for the president and he also congratulated her on the “historic nature” of her nomination as the first black woman vice presidential candidate of a major party. 

"Senator, I want to thank you and Joe Biden for your expressions of genuine concern. And I also want to congratulate you, as I did on that phone call, on the historic nature of your nomination,” he said. 

Harris, meanwhile, said that Biden has been transparent about his health while Trump has not.

724d ago / 1:34 AM UTC

Harris goes after Trump on his taxes

Talking about the difference between the two candidates, Harris touted Biden’s transparency and pivoted to the bombshell New York Times report that said the president paid only $750 in income taxes the year he won the presidency and again during his first year in office, and has not paid any income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years. The president has denied that.

It was sort of a skillful pivot because the news the Times published may have gotten lost amid the chaotic presidential debate and news of the president becoming infected with Covid-19.

724d ago / 1:32 AM UTC

Plexiglass barriers aren't stopping the interruptions

724d ago / 1:31 AM UTC

Harris' facial expressions are a big hit on Twitter

Harris' facial expressions during Pence's defense of the administration's  pandemic response were a huge hit on Twitter. 

724d ago / 1:29 AM UTC

Harris says no to a Trump-endorsed vaccine

Harris needled Trump during a protracted discussion on the coronavirus and the development of a vaccine. 

"If the public health professionals — if Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us to take it, I'll be the first in line to take it. Absolutely. But if Donald Trump tells us that we should take it, I'm not taking it,” she said. 

It was a quip fueled by the criticism the administration has received for its response to the virus. But it also caused Pence to use it to take a swing at Harris, claiming that statement undermines public confidence in a vaccine and accusing her of playing politics.

724d ago / 1:28 AM UTC

Fact check: Trump 'minimized the seriousness' of the coronavirus

“They knew and they covered it up. The president said it was a hoax. They minimized the seriousness of it,” Harris said of the Trump administration's coronavirus response. Pence is the chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

This is mostly true. Trump did downplay the seriousness and dangers of the pandemic in the earliest days of the pandemic. Here are a sampling of his remarks:

In interviews with the journalist Bob Woodward, Trump revealed he knew the virus was deadly and admitted playing it down.

“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump told Woodward on Feb. 7, according to The Washington Post. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flus.” 

In a March 19 interview, Trump acknowledged he’d been playing down the threat from the start.

“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump said. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.” 

But Harris misstates Trump’s use of the term hoax, which Trump invoked when he said Democrats “are politicizing the coronavirus.”

Asked a day after his "hoax" remark, Trump again said he was referring to Democrats’ actions.

724d ago / 1:27 AM UTC

Pence dodges question about any agreement with Trump on issue of presidential disability

Moderator Susan Page asked Pence if he has had a conversation or reached an agreement with Trump about “safeguards or procedures” when it comes to the issue of presidential disability given Trump’s age.

Pence did not answer the question and immediately came back to the coronavirus and the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic.

724d ago / 1:22 AM UTC

Trump's not on stage, but the president is coming up a lot

Are the candidates staying on topic? We're tracking that, too. Follow along

724d ago / 1:19 AM UTC

What's a superspreader event?

The second question of the night has already hit on a major issue with the coronavirus pandemic: superspreader events

The question came in relation to the White House event — the ceremony to formally announce the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court — that is now seen as one of the reasons numerous Republicans have been infected. These events are the focus of research by scientists who are finding that such events can have an outsize role in the spread of the coronavirus.

724d ago / 1:18 AM UTC

Pence tries to interrupt Harris; she shoots him down

As Harris continued to respond to Pence’s answer defending his leadership on the coronavirus task force, the vice president tried to interrupt her, but she immediately shot him down.

“Mr. Vice President. I’m speaking. I’m speaking,” Harris said. 

724d ago / 1:16 AM UTC

Out of the gate, Harris, Pence spar over Trump coronavirus response

It’s unsurprising that the first question was about Covid-19 as the White House continues to reel from an outbreak that has infected several top aides and the president and the first lady. 

Pence, as head of the coronavirus task force, has been sharply criticized for the administration’s response. Harris was asked what a Biden administration would do, and immediately excoriated the administration for the more than 210,000 dead from the virus and the impact on the economy. 

Harris’ answer was direct, even briefly staring over at Pence and directly at the camera, as she listed what she said were the failures of the administration. She called the administration's response, “The greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country.” 

Pence defended the response, pointing to the improvement in testing and the mobilization of the private sector to help respond to the virus. He also accused the Biden plan of being the same as the Trump administration's plan, calling it “plagiarism.”

724d ago / 1:11 AM UTC

Susan Page says she’s there to enforce strict debate rules

Moderator Susan Page says that she was put in place to strictly enforce the ground rules Wednesday on behalf of the debate commission. This comes after Trump broke numerous rules during his presidential debate against Biden last week.

724d ago / 1:07 AM UTC

What will the interruptions look like tonight? We're tracking

724d ago / 1:02 AM UTC

Candidates’ families wearing masks in audience

Members of both candidates’ families are all wearing masks in the audience in front of the debate stage. 

Pence’s wife, Karen, and their other family members were seen wearing face coverings in the audience, a requirement that was strictly enforced Wednesday. This comes after President Trump’s family did not wear masks at the presidential debate in Cleveland last week. 

724d ago / 12:54 AM UTC

The socially distant debate audience

Image: Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence participate in their 2020 vice presidential campaign debate in Salt Lake City
Audience members sit spaced out for social distancing as they wait to watch Kamala Harris and Mike Pence debate in Salt Lake City. Brian Snyder / Reuters
Image: Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence participate in their 2020 vice presidential campaign debate in Salt Lake City
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez waits in the audience. Brian Snyder / Reuters
724d ago / 12:46 AM UTC

Disposable pink masks abound at the venue

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Guests have started to file in and take their seats. Everyone — staffers, guests, reporters and crews — are wearing the provided disposable pink masks.

At least three of Vice President Mike Pence’s guests are seated in the orchestra level, including Ann Dorn, the wife of a retired police officer who was killed amid recent unrest in St.  Louis. (Dorn also spoke at the virtual Republican National Convention.)

The debate commission has made clear that anyone not wearing a mask tonight will be escorted out.

A departure from last week’s presidential debate in Cleveland: There are only about 20 seats on the floor — all socially distanced. A crowd of about a hundred people are seated in the balcony, several seats  spaced between them.

The plexiglass on stage doesn’t appear to be more than 5 feet tall. Both panels are secured to the floor. Workers have been taking turns polishing them all afternoon.

 

724d ago / 12:44 AM UTC
724d ago / 12:42 AM UTC

Trump eager to get back on trail as early as next week

With only 27 days until the election, Trump is eager to get back on the trail and his re-election campaign is already discussing possible events for next week, according to a person familiar with the planning.

As he said on Twitter earlier this week, the president intends to participate in the Miami debate next week "in person" and the campaign is now exploring travel options before and after that appearance. Nothing is finalized, this source stressed. 

It’s unclear when the president will be officially cleared by physicians to leave the White House and participate in events as he continues to recover from the coronavirus. Also worth noting: Trump himself tweeted the day of his hospital release that he would be on the campaign trail "soon."

724d ago / 12:36 AM UTC

Mike Pence and Kamala Harris reflect America's demographic transformation

When Americans tune in to watch Vice President Mike Pence debate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., they’ll be watching a living encapsulation of the country’s demographic transformation over the last half century.

Near the end of Pence’s childhood in 1976, 8 in 10 Americans identified as white and Christian. By his first year as vice president in 2017, that number had declined to 43 percent, according to the Public Religion Research Institute.

That trend, which is on course to continue, is a backdrop for the country’s volatile political environment, one that became more fraught after the United States elected its first Black president in Barack Obama on a message of “hope” and racial harmony and, eight years later, sent Donald Trump to the White House on a platform of building a wall and slashing immigration.

Read the full story.

724d ago / 12:23 AM UTC
724d ago / 12:20 AM UTC

How the veep debates have rated

Vice presidential debates don't usually rival presidential debates in terms of ratings — but they can. 

The most watched vice presidential debate occurred in 2008 when Sarah Palin, then the governor of Alaska, squared off against Joe Biden in St. Louis. 

Nearly 70 million viewers tuned in to watch, far surpassing the average for vice presidential debates, which falls around 40-50 million, according to Nielsen ratings data. The Biden-Palin debate even had more viewers than the first presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. 

The previous record for a vice presidential debate of 56.7 million viewers was set in 1984 in the debate between Geraldine Ferraro and George H.W. Bush. In 2012, Biden debated Paul Ryan and had just over 50 million viewers tune in. 

The most recent debate in 2016 between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence drew about 37 million viewers. 

724d ago / 11:59 PM UTC

Congress remains vulnerable to Covid despite White House outbreak

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The White House coronavirus outbreak, which has infected nearly 20 people in President Trump’s circle, sheds new light on the lack of contact tracing and safety protocols in place for the House and the Senate.

And while those working around the president are tested daily, the Capitol has no such protocols.

Since the offer of rapid testing machines was initially made by the White House in May, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have remained in agreement on one thing: no widespread testing on Capitol Hill, despite pressure from leaders on both sides of the aisle to do so.

Read the article.

724d ago / 11:43 PM UTC

ANALYSIS: The inherent conflicts at this VP debate

It’s become less common in recent years for both VP candidates to be widely regarded as future contenders for the presidency. They are this time, and that presents some inherent conflicts of interest for Pence and Harris.

Pence has all the incentive in the world to go after Harris as much, or more, than he attacks Biden. Pence figures to be a presidential candidate himself in a potentially crowded 2024 GOP field, and this is a big opportunity for him to show Republican voters that he’s got fire inside. That goal aligns with the last best chance for the Trump team to try to disqualify Harris and argue that electing Biden would put someone in line to the presidency who isn’t up to the job.

But Pence may also be tempted to put daylight between himself and Trump on personal conduct and the handling of the coronavirus crisis. Pence can’t distance himself much from the policies, but he could subtly point out that he isn’t the one who has suggested remedies like disinfectant.

On the other side, Biden is best served if Harris projects confidence and calm when dealing with Pence, while also using the platform of the debate to deliver some blows to Trump. That means the ticket’s goals could be misaligned with her personal interests. If there’s an open Democratic primary in 2024, not hitting Pence hard enough could come back to haunt her later.

It’s worth watching whether Pence is effective in advancing his own ambitions and his ticket’s mission at the same time, as well as which direction Harris takes when she comes under attack. Does she take the high road or get in a scrap?

724d ago / 11:28 PM UTC

Progressive women's groups launch effort to combat disinformation about Harris

Progressive women’s groups are putting millions toward a campaign to disrupt disinformation and sexist, racist attacks against Sen. Kamala Harris — an escalation of their attempts to combat gendered and racially biased narratives around the Democratic vice presidential nominee. 

Ultraviolet — in concert with other prominent groups such as Emily’s ListBlack PAC and Color of Change — formed the Women’s Disinformation Defense Project, an amalgamation of groups collectively set to throw more than $20 million into ads, research and offensive strategies that will counter biased narratives on social media and online in real time, especially for voters in battleground states.  

Read the full story.

724d ago / 11:13 PM UTC

Jimmy Carter praises Harris' 'talent and charisma' ahead of debate

Former President Jimmy Carter threw his support behind Harris ahead of her face-off Wednesday with Pence, saying in a statement released by the Biden campaign that she “has the talent and charisma to lead our great nation as our next vice president, and I know Americans will see that on full display during tonight's debate.” 

The former president, who turned 96 last week, said, “We need champions in the White House like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris who understand the needs and values of working Georgians."

724d ago / 10:56 PM UTC

Trump declares himself cured of the coronavirus

Despite testing positive for the coronavirus less than a week ago, President Trump returned to the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon and released a video in which he declared himself cured as a result of an experimental antibody drug cocktail he'd been administered.

"To me, it wasn't a therapeutic. It just made me better. I call that a cure," Trump said in a five-minute video he tweeted of himself standing in front of the Oval Office. The video showed Trump, his skin looking darker than it had during his hospital stay, speaking quickly, and his voice sounded jittery.

Trump, for the first time since his diagnosis was made public, seemed to take note that the care he'd received was different from the care received by the general public.

"I walked in, I didn't feel good. A short 24 hours later I was feeling great. I wanted to get out of the hospital. And that's what I want for everybody. I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president, because I feel great," Trump said, calling his experience a "blessing from God" and saying he selected the drug cocktail with which he was treated. "It was my suggestion," he said.

Read the full story.

724d ago / 10:42 PM UTC

New England Journal of Medicine: 'Dangerously incompetent' politicians must go

The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, on Wednesday broke with a nearly two-century tradition of avoiding politics to lambaste U.S. politicians for their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a first for the journal, editors called for Americans to vote out leaders who have not done enough to address the coronavirus epidemic.

“When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent,” the editors wrote. “We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.”

While the 35 editors who signed their names to the editorial did not call out President Donald Trump by name, the article is filled with allusions to his actions.

Read the full story here.

724d ago / 10:28 PM UTC

Look what Trump made her do: Taylor Swift endorses Biden

Taylor Swift on Wednesday made Joe Biden "The Man" she's voting for this November.

Swift announced her endorsement of the Democratic nominee on Twitter.

She spoke to V Magazine's Thought Leaders Issue and wished that her vote for the Biden-Harris ticket will help start the nation's "healing process."

Swift had for years stayed out of politics until her 2018 endorsement in the Tennessee Senate race.

Biden responded in a tweet later Wednesday

"Taylor — Thanks for your support and for speaking out at this crucial moment in our nation’s history," he said. "Election Day is right around the corner — are you ready for it?."

724d ago / 10:19 PM UTC

Pence, Harris to meet in vice presidential debate as Covid cases surge in the White House

Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., are set to meet Wednesday night at the University of Utah in the vice presidential debate as both candidates face intensified pressure to demonstrate they are prepared to step in as commander in chief.

The vice presidential debate typically draws little fanfare, but Pence and Harris will be examined by voters who are choosing between two senior citizens for president.

President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis last week sparked questions over the transferral of the powers of the presidency. Democratic nominee Joe Biden has said he sees himself as a "bridge" to the next generation of Democrats, raising speculation as to whether he would seek a second term.

Regardless of who wins, Trump, 74, and Biden, 77, would set a record for the oldest president to take the oath on Inauguration Day.

Read the full story.

724d ago / 10:01 PM UTC

Kamala Harris could boost Asian American voter turnout, researchers say

Veronica Hossain registered to vote for the first time during the 2008 presidential election because she wanted to vote for Barack Obama. As an Indo-Carribean American, she didn’t want to miss the opportunity to vote for a Black man for president whose values she aligned with. Ahead of the 2020 Democratic primaries, Hossain supported Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. 

Like Hossain, many Indian Americans are more likely to show up at the polls when an Indian American is running. According to a new study, the group is more than 16 percent more likely to vote when a candidate of Indian descent is on the ballot.

The study, by Sara Sadhwani, a professor of politics at Pomona College, showed that overall Asian American turnout is boosted when another Asian American is on the ballot, regardless of political party. She said Indians had the highest mobilization rate of any ethnic group she examined — Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese and Filipino.

Sadhwani said she expects this trend to continue in November.

“My research does suggest there will be a higher voter turnout from Asian Americans and specifically Indian Americans for the election, especially if they see Kamala as someone with their shared identity,” she said, noting that other factors such as the pandemic will also play a role.

Read more here.

724d ago / 9:43 PM UTC

Biden campaign to resume negative ads

Now that President Trump has been tweeting about politics again and is out of the hospital, the Biden campaign says it is resuming negative TV and digital ads after pulling them last week following the president’s coronavirus diagnosis.

"Our campaign has always been about making the positive case for Joe Biden, but there's a stark contrast between Vice President Biden and Donald Trump and their visions for our country," campaign spokesman Michael Gwin said in a statement. "We're going to continue to make a full-throated case for Vice President Biden and we will forcefully correct the record when Trump attacks and lies.”

724d ago / 9:30 PM UTC

Trump has Covid-19 antibodies. What does that mean?

President Trump's physician said Wednesday that the president has Covid-19 antibodies, though experts say it’s unclear what this means for his recovery.

"Of note today, the President's labs demonstrated detectable levels of SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies from labs drawn Monday, October 5th," Dr. Sean Conley wrote in a public memorandum, referring to the virus that causes Covid-19.

But medical experts — who have not personally treated the president — said the mere fact that antibodies were detected in Trump's blood does not provide a good explanation of how the president is truly recovering.

Read the full story.

724d ago / 8:59 PM UTC

Emhoff: Pence may sound 'normal,' but he'll be 'defending the indefensible'

Harris' husband, Doug Emhoff, said ahead of the debate Wednesday that Pence may sound normal, but he shares the same policies and beliefs as the president. 

“Pence will ... sound normal and nice but it's all going to be the same, defending the indefensible, and I'm looking forward to seeing Kamala draw a very sharp contrast between the abject failure of this administration,” Emhoff said during a virtual event ahead of the debate. 

Emhoff slammed the White House coronavirus task force and what he described as its failures in handling the coronavirus. He said "look at the job" Pence has done as the leader of the task force. 

724d ago / 8:49 PM UTC

Trump returns to Oval Office despite being treated for coronavirus

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Trump returned to the Oval Office on Wednesday afternoon, despite testing positive for the coronavirus less than a week ago.

Trump was being briefed on Hurricane Delta and on stimulus talks, a senior administration official told NBC News. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and social media director Dan Scavino were the only staffers with him in the Oval, the official said.

"Was just briefed on Hurricane Delta, and spoke with @GovAbbott of Texas and @LouisianaGov John Bel Edwards. Please heed the directions of your State and Local Officials. We are working with them very closely — please be prepared, be careful, and be safe!" Trump tweeted after the meeting.

His presence in the office was tipped by the sight of a Marine guard standing outside. The guard was not wearing a mask.

The trip was surprising for multiple reasons — he's been undergoing treatment for Covid-19, and officials have said he wasn't diagnosed until late last Thursday. That means he's still considered contagious under his administration's own guidelines.

Read more here.

724d ago / 8:24 PM UTC

Plexiglass dividers at the VP debate won't do much, experts say

When Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris square off on the debate stage Wednesday night, a pair of plexiglass barriers will separate them.

The barriers are just one of the coronavirus precautions being added for the debate. Pence and Harris will also be positioned 12 feet from each other, instead of 7 feet. And they have each been tested for the coronavirus, as have people attending the event, who will be required to wear masks.

But despite being treated as a safety measure, the plexiglass barriers will be almost entirely for show, said Jose-Luis Jimenez, a chemistry professor at the University of Colorado who studies how the coronavirus can spread through the air.

"Aerosol transmission is basically like smoke," Jimenez said. "If one of the candidates is smoking and you put up plexiglass barriers, it won't matter. The smoke will just go around those barriers."

Read the full story here.

724d ago / 7:51 PM UTC

Pence and Harris reflect America's demographic transformation

When Americans tune in to watch Pence debate Harris, they’ll be watching a living encapsulation of the country’s demographic transformation over the last half century.

Pence traces his heritage back to Ireland and Germany and speaks of an Irish immigrant grandfather who stepped off a boat on Ellis Island before it shut down, pointing to two countries that represent some of the earliest waves of mass immigration to the United States.

Pence, 61, describes himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.” His demographic — white, Christian and male — has been the dominant force of power for most of the country’s history. But it has become less so during his lifetime.

Read more here.

724d ago / 7:42 PM UTC

Pence has one unusual debate guest tonight

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Among the vice president’s guests tonight in Salt Lake City, according to a Pence aide: Carl and Marsha Mueller, the parents of killed ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller. The news comes on the same day the Department of Justice charged two ISIS fighters for their role in her murder.

Members of Pence’s family traveled with him to Utah on Monday and are expected to be in the audience tonight as well. Separately, when asked who Pence has invited tonight, a Trump campaign aide joked "Tupac."

That’s an apparent jab at Harris, who recently mentioned him when asked to name her favorite living rapper. Harris then laughed when told by the interviewer he was no longer living and acknowledged that before saying she could say other rappers but chose not to "because I think they should stay in their lane."

724d ago / 7:40 PM UTC

Trump back in Oval Office

President Trump has returned to the White House Oval Office, a senior administration official told NBC News. He is to receive a briefing with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on coronavirus relief and Hurricane Delta.

724d ago / 6:24 PM UTC

Pelosi: 'I wouldn't go anywhere near the White House'

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that the White House, where Trump is being treated for Covid-19, is now "one of the most dangerous places in the country."

“I wouldn't go anywhere near the White House. It's one of the most dangerous places in the country, both in terms of the assault that it makes on truth as well as health,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said on "The View" when asked if she would go and negotiate directly with Trump on a coronavirus relief package.

Numerous people tied to the White House or Trump's campaign have tested positive for the coronavirus, including Trump and the first lady.

Pelosi's TV appearance marked her first since Trump, in tweets Tuesday night, effectively killed discussions on a comprehensive aid package until after the election — and then urged Congress to approve piecemeal coronavirus relief measures he said he would sign, including a new round of stimulus checks for Americans.

"Are you listening Nancy?" Trump tweeted Tuesday night, tagging her.

“When the president just popped off and made that announcement without even informing us that that was the case, he insulted the constitution of the United States,” Pelosi said on "The View" Wednesday. “It’s hard to see any clear, sane path in anything that he’s doing.”

Pelosi, who has been in talks almost daily with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, hasn’t directly engaged with Trump since October 2019 — almost one year ago.

Asked by NBC News whether she would support the president's call to pass just stimulus checks, Pelosi said, "All the president wants is his name on a check. And that doesn’t — we're here to honor our heroes, crush the virus, put money in the pockets of the American people beyond a check with his name on it."

724d ago / 6:04 PM UTC
724d ago / 5:30 PM UTC

Trump’s doctor says president told him 'I feel great!'

White House physician Dr. Sean Conley wrote in a memo released by the White House that Trump said Wednesday morning he feels “great!”

“The president this morning says "I feel great!” Conley wrote. “His physical exam and vital signs, including oxygen saturation and respiratory rate, all remain stable and in normal range. He’s now been fever-free for more than 4 days, symptom free for over 24 hours, and has not needed nor received any supplemental oxygen since initial hospitalization.”

Conley also said samples taken Monday showed Trump now has detectable traces of antibodies to Covid-19, which he remains infected with.

While the president was hospitalized at Walter Reed Military Medical Center last weekend, Conley said he had earlier offered the public a rosier picture of Trump’s condition to provide more optimistic messaging. The president was placed on a steroid treatment that is most associated with more severe Covid-19 cases and he twice required supplemental oxygen before his discharge from the hospital.

The White House has not made public when Trump’s most recent negative test was before announcing he was positive for the virus late last week. Doctors have also not revealed details of his lung scans and did not say whether he is still on the steroid treatment Dexamethasone.

724d ago / 4:55 PM UTC

The Pences test negative for Covid-19

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, were tested this morning in Salt Lake City for Covid-19 and received negative test results, a White House official told NBC News, hours before the vice presidential debate.

Pence was tested twice Tuesday and both results came back negative. 

Pence and his wife have tested negative since President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus last week. On Tuesday, senior Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller announced he had tested positive for the virus. He is among a number of people in Trump’s orbit who have tested positive.

724d ago / 4:34 PM UTC

Pence vs. Harris: 5 things to watch at their only debate

WASHINGTON — There will be 12 feet and a world of difference between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris when they face off Wednesday night for the only vice presidential debate.

VP debates are the often-forgotten sideshows to the main event, but with Trump recently hospitalized with Covid-19 and Biden hoping to be elected as the oldest president in American history, this one is expected to draw record audiences.

"Americans will be anxious to hear from these running mates, who could possibly be required to assume the presidency themselves," said Mitchell McKinney, the director of the Political Communication Institute at the University of Missouri, who has consulted with the Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonpartisan group that runs the events.

Here are five things to watch tonight.

724d ago / 4:05 PM UTC

Postal worker arrested after mail and ballots found dumped

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey announced Wednesday that a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier was arrested after bundles of mail, including nearly 100 ballots, were found dumped at a shopping center in Bergen County.

Federal prosecutors announced the arrest of Nicholas Beauchene, 26, who they charged with one count of delay, secretion, or detention of mail and one count of obstruction of mail.

The Postal Service is also investigating the incident.

724d ago / 3:53 PM UTC

White House says it has completed contact tracing for positive cases

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White House staff has been informed via email that “all contact tracing” was completed for positive Covid-19 cases identified at the White House, two administration officials told NBC News.

One administration official disputed earlier reporting from Bloomberg that the White House medical staff traced the cases to the Rose Garden ceremony to announce Judge Amy Coney Barrett as Trump’s Supreme Court pick late last month.

“That’s not how contact tracing works,” the officials said, adding contact tracing is “patient based, not event based” and is “not an effort to find Patient Zero.”

The contact tracing effort is being led by a “CDC epidemiologist detailed” to the White House medical unit, one official said.

724d ago / 3:42 PM UTC
724d ago / 3:10 PM UTC

Trump posts dozens of times in seemingly endless tweetstorm as he battles Covid infection

President Trump began Wednesday much the same way he ended Tuesday — tweeting.

Between 8:18 a.m. and 11 a.m. Trump tweeted or retweeted 50 times. He’s touched on a flurry of topics, including coronavirus relief, grievances involving the 2020 election, and complaints about the news media.

His most recent tweet was written in all-caps and accused Democrats of trying to overthrow his government.

“WE ARE ENTITLED TO ASK THE VOTERS FOR FOUR MORE YEARS,” Trump wrote. “PLEASE REMEMBER THIS WHEN YOU VOTE!”

Trump ended his Tuesday night with a blast of 45 tweets.

Released from Walter Reed Military Medical Center on Monday, the president is still on the road to recovery after being hospitalized for his Covid-19 infection. Doctors placed him on a steroid treatment typically associated with more severe cases, and he has required supplemental oxygen on two separate occasions, his medical team said. 

724d ago / 2:49 PM UTC

Here's what the plexiglass barriers look like

And here’s a look at them being installed.

724d ago / 2:21 PM UTC

Meadows, Kudlow give conflicting statements about whether Trump went to the Oval Office

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Top White House aides gave conflicting statements on Wednesday about whether President Trump, still battling a Covid-19 infection, went to the Oval Office on Tuesday.

Speaking with Fox News this morning, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Trump “wanted to go to the Oval yesterday” and leave the residence. 

“If he decides to go the Oval, we’ve got safety protocols,” Meadows said.

But minutes later in an interview with CNBC, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Trump “actually showed up in the Oval Office yesterday with extra precautions, with respect to his Covid-19 and he’s getting a lot better, he’s much stronger, so there was some limited activity."

Speaking with NBC News afterwards, Meadows said Trump did not go to the Oval Office on Tuesday, saying Kudlow misspoke.

724d ago / 1:43 PM UTC

ANALYSIS: Sick with coronavirus, Trump puts his presidency on steroids

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WASHINGTON — Getting sick with coronavirus didn't change President Donald Trump's approach to politics. If anything, his trip to the hospital amplified it.

The strength-at-all-costs messaging, which appeared to undermine both the stock market and his own party's strategy on a coronavirus relief bill Tuesday, represents a more highly concentrated version of the regular Trump.

This is the Trump presidency on steroids.

Read more here.

724d ago / 1:04 PM UTC

Trump's illness puts Pence in a tough spot for debate

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Trump hasn’t exactly made tonight’s vice-presidential debate easy for Pence. The vice president will have to defend: 

  • Why the president held non-socially distant and largely mask-less events at the White House – with indoor activities – from which several attendees apparently got infected by the coronavirus. 
  • Why Trump, after being hospitalized at Walter Reed, jumped into a hermetically sealed SUV with Secret Service agents to wave to supporters.
  • Why the president, after returning to the White House, took off his mask in public, despite still being potentially contagious. 
  • And why the president – over Twitter – scuttled any chance for another coronavirus aid package before the election.  

None of these is easy for Pence to answer, especially a vice president who just happens to head the White House’s coronavirus task force.  

724d ago / 1:03 PM UTC

Pence and Harris prep for a debate with suddenly higher stakes

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Pence and Harris are expected to take the debate stage Wednesday night against an extraordinary backdrop that has raised the stakes of an event that for decades has been a routine, inconsequential fixture of presidential elections.

No vice president has debated while the president is known to be sick and possibly still in the hospital. And never have two vice presidential nominees debated at a time when Americans are giving far more than cursory thought to how each might lead in the top job.

"Vice presidential debates oftentimes get a lot of attention at the moment, and then a few days later they're forgotten," presidential historian Michael Beschloss said. "But this year it may be different."

Here's why this year might be more memorable.

724d ago / 1:03 PM UTC

Everything you need to know about Wednesday's debate

The only vice presidential debate of the 2020 election is scheduled for Wednesday — and President Donald Trump's coronavirus diagnosis and the vice president's possible exposure are bringing extra scrutiny to the already highly anticipated showdown between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris.

Pence, who sat in front of and across from people who were later diagnosed with Covid-19 at a Rose Garden event for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Sept. 26th, has so far tested negative for the coronavirus. Pence's doctor said in a letter released Tuesday that he does "not need to quarantine" and is "encouraged to go about his normal activities."

Read more here.