Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.
We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail:
LEADING THE DAY:
The debate over indoor campaign rallies amid the coronavirus pandemic is raging today after President Trump held two crowded rallies, including one that was indoors, over the weekend.
The indoor rally defied both Nevada’s coronavirus rules limiting gatherings to no more than 50 people and White House guidelines. The events drew thousands of people. While the campaign performed temperature checks on attendees and provided masks, few attendees wore face coverings and there was no social distancing.
On Monday, Trump campaign spokeswoman Erin Perrine was pressed on the rally’s safety during an appearance on Fox News, a network that tends to be friendly to Trump.
Perrine said the event organizers took the measures to ensure the public’s safety at the rally, comparing the rally to protests for social justice seen across the country this summer.
And despite the criticism, the Trump campaign is holding its ground on the matter.
Vice President Mike Pence held an indoor rally in the battleground state of Wisconsin on Monday. The Trump campaign also took the step of knocking a virtual GOTV rally hosted by Jill Biden and Rep. Jennifer Wexton for Virginia voters on Monday.
“It is clear how low Virginians are on the Biden campaign’s priority list as all they could manage is a virtual event. Meanwhile, Virginia Trump Victory is seeing unprecedented enthusiasm for President Trump and Republicans up and down the ballot,” Trump Victory spokeswoman Samantha Cotton said in a statement.
However, public health experts say there are serious risks to holding large scale gatherings in indoor spaces.
Remember, just three months ago, coronavirus cases in Tulsa, Okla., surged after Trump held an indoor rally in the city. A local health official said the rally and accompanying protests “likely contributed” to the spike in coronavirus cases in the area.
And as for the president? He told the Las Vegas Review Journal that he’s not concerned about catching the virus while he’s on screen at these events.
“I’m on a stage that’s very far away, and so I’m not at all concerned,” Trump said.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF BATTLEGROUND
The Biden campaign is assembling a legal team to fight the mounting legal battles surrounding the 2020 election. The operation, first reported on Monday by The New York Times, includes hundreds of lawyers and some of the most seasoned legal veterans in Democratic politics.
Per the Times, here’s what the program will look like:
- Dana Remus, who has served as general counsel for Biden’s campaign, will lead the effort along with Bob Bauer, a former White House counsel under the Obama administration.
- Donald B. Verrilli Jr. and Walter Dellinger, two former solicitors general, will lead a “special litigation unit” within the campaign itself.
- Marc Elias, a longtime lawyer for the Democratic Party, will lead a team within the law firm Perkins Coie that will tackle state-by-state legal fights over voting rules and procedures.
- Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will coordinate the efforts between the Biden campaign and the independent groups involved in the legal effort, according to The Times.
It’s not unusual for campaigns to retain legal counsel to fight potential battles over election procedures and voting rights. But the size and scale of the Biden campaign’s operation underscores the intense legal fighting that’s already unfolding across the country, especially given the expansion of mail balloting in several states since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.
ON THE ATTACK
Biden is going on the attack against Trump over climate change. Speaking from his home state of Delaware on Monday, the former vice president called Trump a “climate arsonist,” accusing him of ignoring mounting signs of environmental strain, including the wildfires currently raging across California, Oregon and Washington.
Here’s a look at what Biden said, per The Hill’s Rebecca Beitsch:
“What we’re seeing in America, in our communities, is connected to all of this, with every bout with nature’s fury caused by our own inaction on climate change,” Biden said.
“If we give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze? If we leave a climate denier with four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised when more of America is underwater. We need a president that respects science, understands that the damage from climate change is already here. Unless we take urgent action, it will soon be more catastrophic.”
THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR VOTIN’
Jill Biden made a major fashion statement at the ballot box in Delaware today, sporting a pair of Stuart Weitzman boots adorned with the the word “vote” in bold, silver lettering.
– Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) September 14, 2020
The Hill’s Judy Kurtz has all the latest on Jill Biden’s bold, fall footwear here.
And if you’re wondering where you can get your own, don’t fret. You can purchase them for a cool $695 from Stuart Weitzman’s website.
Of course, this isn’t the first major fashion statement that has been made with the word “vote” this election cycle.
Former first lady Michelle Obama’s BYCHARI “Vote” necklace, which she wore during her video address at the Democratic National Convention last month, made waves on the internet, sending the boutique’s sales skyrocketing.
My *VOTE* necklace just arrived! It’s perfect @ByChari
– Janine Sickmeyer (@myfriendjanine) September 12, 2020