- Melania Trump on Tuesday cancelled her first appearance on the campaign trail in over a year, citing a residual cough after recovering from COVID-19.
- With Tuesday marking two weeks until the November 3 election, the campaigns have entered the final stretch of the race.
- President Donald Trump campaigns in key battleground Pennsylvania, while opponent Joe Biden has no scheduled events before Thursday’s debate in Nashville.
- Trump’s campaign says he will participate in the debate, despite protest over topics and muted mics.
- Early voting begins in closely watched Wisconsin, as well as Hawaii, Louisiana and Utah.
- More than 31.6 million US voters have already cast ballots, according to the United States Elections Project tracker.
Tuesday, October 20:
15:00 ET – Senate set to work through weekend to push Barrett vote
The Senate is on track to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court by next Monday, charging toward a rare weekend session as Republicans push past procedural steps to install Trump’s pick before Election Day.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he will begin the process as soon as the Senate Judiciary Committee wraps up its work Thursday. With a 53-47 Republican majority, and just two GOP senators opposed, Trump’s nominee is on a glide path to confirmation that will seal a conservative hold on the court for years to come.
McConnell said Monday that Barrett demonstrated over several days of public hearings the “sheer intellectual horsepower that the American people deserve to have on the Supreme Court.”
Without the votes to stop Barrett’s ascent, Democrats have few options left. They are searching for two more GOP senators to break ranks and halt confirmation, but that seems unlikely. Never before as a court nominee been voted on so close to a presidential election.
14:30 ET – Melania Trump cancels first campaign appearance in over a year
First Lady Melania Trump canceled a rare joint appearance with her husband at a campaign rally Tuesday due to a “lingering cough” following her infection with the coronavirus, a spokeswoman said.
“Mrs Trump continues to feel better every day following her recovery from COVID-19, but with a lingering cough, and out of an abundance of caution, she will not be traveling today,” Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
The first lady’s appearance with Trump in Erie, Pennsylvania, was to have been her first at a campaign rally in more than a year.Trump, the first lady and their teenage son Barron all tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this month.
14:00 ET – Poll roundup: Biden virtually tied with Trump in North Carolina and Florida
Two new polls out today show the presidential race virtually tied in both Florida and North Carolina, two states Donald Trump won in 2016 and will likely need again for an Electoral College victory this year.
Biden leads Trump 48 percent to 47 percent in Florida among likely voters, according to a University of North Florida poll. Today’s poll is remarkably consistent with other recent polls of the state, as a RealClearPolitics average of Florida polls shows Biden with 48.3 support and Trump with 47.3 percent.
In North Carolina, Biden has a 49 percent to 48 percent lead over Trump among likely voters in a Washington Post/ABC News poll released today. Both the Florida and North Carolina results are within each poll’s margin of error.
A new national poll was released today showing Biden with a 9-point lead over Trump among likely voters, 50-41 percent.Interestingly, the New York Times/Siena College poll shows that Trump’s latest strategy of attacking Biden and his son Hunter in an effort to bring down Biden’s favorability numbers doesn’t seem to be working. Fifty-three percent of voters said they viewed Biden very or somewhat favorably, compared with 43 percent who said the same of Trump.
13:30 ET – Florida breaks opening day record for early voting
At least 350,000 residents of Florida cast ballots on the first day of early voting on Monday, smashing the state’s opening day records, according to Politico.
About 291,000 residents went to the polls in the first day of early voting in 2016.
Meanwhile, ballots cast by mail totaled over 2.5 million in the state going into Monday, according to the news site. More than double the about 1.2 million submitted in the same timeframe in 2016.
13:00 ET – Trump calls on Barr to investigate Hunter Biden
Trump on Tuesday called on Attorney General William Barr to launch a corruption investigation into Hunter Biden.
“We’ve got to get the attorney general to act. He’s got to act and he’s got to act fast,” Trump said in a phone interview on Fox News, calling for the findings to be released before the November 3 election.
12:30 ET – Poll shows trust issue for Trump on coronavirus
A new poll shows US citizens’ trust in the people and institutions giving them information about the coronavirus has fallen across the board.
Nearly two-thirds of US citizens say they don’t trust Trump much or at all for accurate coronavirus information, according to a poll by USAFacts and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The poll finds that the percentage of people saying they trust COVID-19 information from their state or local governments, the news media, social media and their friends and family has dropped significantly compared to similar questions in April. After Trump, the poll shows only social media has higher distrust levels.
12:00 ET – Supreme Court allows extension of mail-in voting in Pennsylvania
The Supreme Court late Monday allowed an extension of the deadline for mail-in absentee ballots in Pennsylvania for the November 3 elections, declining a Republican request to block a lower court’s ruling that gave voters more time.
The justices, divided 4-4, left in place a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling in favor of state Democrats that had extended the deadline for state election officials to receive mail-in ballots postmarked by the evening of Election Day until three days later.
The brief court order noted that four of the court’s five conservative justices would have granted the request. There are currently only eight justices on the usually nine-member court following the death last month of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which left the court with a 5-3 conservative majority.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the three liberal justices in denying the request, with five votes needed for it to be granted.
11:30 ET – Trump continues to lash out at debate organisers
Trump has continued to lash out at plans of the debates commission to mute candidates’ microphones during portions of the final presidential debate.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced late on Monday that Trump Biden will each have two minutes of uninterrupted time to initially answer the moderator’s questions when they face off on Thursday.
Organisers hope the rule change will prevent the debate from descending into chaos and frequent interruptions, as the first debate did last month.
In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, Trump said the “whole thing is crazy”.
“These people are not good people,” he said of the organisers. He also attacked moderator Kristen Welker, accusing her of favouring Biden and saying there was “nothing fair” about the upcoming debate.