Ballotpedia’s Weekly Presidential News Briefing: August 8-14, 2020

Ballotpedia's Weekly Presidential News Briefing
Every weekday, Ballotpedia tracks the news, events, and results of the 2020 presidential election.


Notable Quotes of the Week

“Now Biden’s selection of Harris has lent his campaign a thematic clarity that it didn’t have before. In a year of calamities whose effects have been especially painful in Black communities—the coronavirus pandemic, massive unemployment stemming from enforced shutdowns, and the police killing of George Floyd, in Minneapolis—each of the signal moments of Biden’s campaign has concerned the legacy of the civil-rights movement.”

– Benjamin Wallace-WellsThe New Yorker

“In selecting Harris, Biden has opened the door to the Trump campaign. And Trump should take full advantage. Biden’s alleged moderation means nothing if he is willing to place Kamala Harris one heartbeat from the presidency. Biden’s entire campaign strategy has now been undercut — all in a vain attempt to please the Twitterati, who will remain pleased for precisely seven seconds. Trump should be ecstatic. The race is on. And that’s all on Biden.”

– Ben ShapiroRealClearPolitics

Week in Review

Biden announces Harris as vice presidential running mate

Joe Biden selected Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) as his running mate on Tuesday afternoon.

“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden tweeted. “Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

Harris, who suspended her presidential campaign in December 2019, will be the first Black woman on a major party’s ticket.

The Donald Trump campaign responded to Harris’ selection in a statement, saying, “Joe Biden is no moderate, and with Harris as his ‘political living will,’ he is surrendering control of our nation to the radical mob with promises to raise taxes, cut police funding, kill energy jobs, open our borders, and appease socialist dictators.”

Biden-Harris ticket raises $48 million in first 48 hours

Biden and Harris made their first joint appearance on Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware. Their speeches focused on Harris’ selection and background, the federal response to the coronavirus, and the economy.

The Biden campaign said it raised $48 million in the first 48 hours after Biden announced Harris as his running mate.

Trump signs four executive orders on coronavirus economic recovery

Trump signed four executive actions on Saturday for coronavirus economic relief. The actions will allow payment of $400 weekly of additional jobless benefits, funded from the Disaster Relief Fund and state governments; identify temporary financial assistance to renters and homeowners; defer the 6.2% Social Security tax on wages from September 1 through December 31; and extend the moratorium on monthly student loan payments with zero interest.

Obamas and Bidens will headline Democratic National Convention

The Democratic National Committee released a schedule and list of speakers for the Democratic National Convention next week. The following speakers will headline each night: Michelle Obama (August 17), Jill Biden (August 18), Barack Obama and the vice presidential nominee (August 19), and Joe Biden (August 20).

Trump campaign on the road in battleground states

The Trump campaign launched two national bus tours—one in Pennsylvania and one in Florida—that will travel across the country over the next three months.

Mike Pence campaigned in Arizona on Tuesday with stops in Tucson and Mesa. He accepted an endorsement from the Arizona Police Association and launched an outreach campaign to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Trump said he would campaign in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Arizona during the Democratic National Convention. The trip will include a stop in Biden’s hometown, Scranton, on August 20.

Trump opposes additional USPS funding, universal mail-in voting

Trump said universal mail-in voting would not be possible without additional funding for the USPS, which he said he opposed. “They need that money in order to have the post office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said. “If they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting because they’re not equipped to have it.”

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What We’re Reading

Flashback: August 10-14, 2016

  • August 10, 2016: The Clinton campaign launched Together for America, a group focused on recruitment of and outreach to independents and Republicans.
  • August 11, 2016: Donald Trump expanded his economic advisory team, including Anthony Scaramucci and top Republican donors Diane Hendricks and Liz Uihlein.
  • August 12, 2016: Hillary Clinton released her 2015 tax return showing she and President Bill Clinton reported income of $10.7 million and an effective federal tax rate of 34.2 percent.
  • August 13, 2016: During a rally in Connecticut, Donald Trump said that he was considering pulling the press credentials for The New York Times. 
  • August 14, 2016: U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) wrote an op-ed in The New York Times calling on Trump to release his tax returns.

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