Weekly Presidential News Briefing: July 10th, 2020

Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the news, events, and results of the 2020 presidential election.

Here’s the latest from the campaign trail.

Campaign Ad Spotlight


Notable Quotes of the Week

“If [Kanye] West were serious about this, he would have had to have started a long time ago [to get on the ballot]. … Some [states] allow payment of a filing fee, but most require petitions, which can involve thousands of signatures. That’s a lot of door to door and shopping center parking lots. He’d better get busy!”

John Mark Hansen, political science professor at the University of Chicago

“Statistics suggest it’s fair for voters to consider age when deciding which candidate should spend the next four years in one of the world’s most stressful jobs.

There is a 21% chance that an average man of Biden’s age would not survive his first term and a 15% chance that an average man of Trump’s would not survive his second, according to a study examining the longevity and health of the presidential candidates conducted by S. Jay Olshansky, a professor of public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The author says it is likely, however, that both Biden and Trump are ‘super agers’ whose life expectancy would extend well beyond average.”

Steve Peoples, Associated Press

Week in Review

Biden, Unity Task Force release economic and policy proposals 

Joe Biden issued an economic proposal to boost U.S. manufacturing and technology firms. His plan would make a $400 million procurement investment in U.S. goods and services and spend $300 million on research and development. Biden also said he would strengthen and enforce Buy American laws.

The Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force also released a 110-page document with recommendations on climate change, environmental justice, criminal justice, the economy, education, and other policy issues on Wednesday. The proposal included additional details about Biden’s public option healthcare plan that would compete with private insurers. Medicare for All was not mentioned.

Trump hits the campaign trail

Donald Trump is traveling to Florida on Friday for both official and campaign business. He is meeting with the U.S. Southern Command to discuss its counternarcotics operations and attending a fundraiser in Hillsboro Beach.

Trump was scheduled to hold an outdoor rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Saturday, but the event was postponed due to weather. He last visited the state on Feb. 10.

Kanye West announces presidential run as Birthday Party candidate

Music producer and entrepreneur Kanye West tweeted on July 4 that he was running for president of the United States. 

In an interview with Forbes, West said he was running as a member of the self-created Birthday Party with Wyoming preacher Michelle Tidball as his running mate. West said he had 30 days to make a final decision before ballot access became an issue. He added that his announcement was not a publicity stunt for his upcoming album.

As of Friday morning, West has not filed his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.

Click here to learn more about filing deadlines for independent presidential candidates.

Biden expands presidential campaign staff

Joe Biden hired Brendan McPhillips, who led Pete Buttigieg’s successful presidential campaign in Iowa, to be his state director in Pennsylvania. Sinceré Harris was also named a senior adviser in the state.

Biden brought on two new senior staff members in Iowa: Jackie Norris as senior adviser and Lauren Dillon as campaign director. Donald Trump won Iowa in the 2016 election by 9.4 percentage points.

To improve outreach to people of color, Biden also hired three aides: Pili Tobar as communications director for coalitions, Ramzey Smith as African American media director, and Jennifer Molina as Latino media director.

Biden, Trump issue dueling Independence Day messages 

Joe Biden posted a video on Independence Day that featured images from protests throughout U.S. history and references to the Black Lives Matter movement. Along with the video, Biden tweeted, “Our nation was founded on a simple idea: We’re all created equal. We’ve never lived up to it — but we’ve never stopped trying. This Independence Day, let’s not just celebrate those words, let’s commit to finally fulfill them.”

Donald Trump delivered a speech at Mount Rushmore on July 3, where he condemned what he called a “left-wing cultural revolution.” He said, “And yet, as we meet here tonight, there is a growing danger that threatens every blessing. Our ancestors fought so hard for, struggled, they bled, and the nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out the history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.”

Five senators decline to attend Republican National Convention 

Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Chuck Grassley, Lamar Alexander, and Mitt Romney announced they will not be attending the Republican National Convention. Reasons for their decisions varied, including the coronavirus pandemic and its timing during a re-election year.

The Republican National Convention’s Jacksonville Host Committee also announced convention attendees will receive a temperature check and COVID-19 test daily.

Want more? Find the daily details here:

Facebook Spending

Poll Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Julie Chávez Rodríguez is a Democratic staffer with experience in political engagement. Chávez Rodríguez graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.A. in Latin American studies.   

Previous campaign work:

  • 2020 Kamala Harris presidential campaign
    • Traveling chief of staff 
    • Co-political director

Other experience:

  • Office of Sen. Kamala Harris, California state director
  • White House Office of Public Engagement, special assistant to the president and senior deputy director of public engagement
  • Department of the Interior
    • Director of youth employment
    • Deputy press secretary to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar
  • Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, programs director

What We’re Reading

Flashback: July 7-10, 2016

  • July 7, 2016: FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Oversight Committee for more than four hours on his agency’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server use and the recommendation that no charges be brought against her. 
  • July 8, 2016: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump responded to a sniper attack on police officers in Dallas and police-involved shootings of Black men in Minnesota and Louisiana.
  • July 9, 2016: The Washington Post reported that Donald Trump was considering selecting a registered Democrat, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, to serve as his vice president. 
  • July 10, 2016: The Sun-Sentinel reported that Hillary Clinton was planning to launch a massive ground operation in Florida. Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook emphasized the importance of Broward County.