Americans will hear from Donald Trump and Joe Biden on Thursday after all, though not in a debate, and on separate channels with different hosts.
The president and his Democratic challenger will each hold town halls Thursday evening after the second presidential debate was canceled after Trump refused to participate virtually. Both events start at 8 p.m. EDT. Biden is in Philadelphia on ABC with George Stephanopoulos and Trump is in Miami with Savannah Guthrie on NBC, which has come under fire for its decision.
The final presidential debate is still scheduled for Oct. 22 in Nashville.
Expect some town hall discussion to focus on Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's Supreme Court nominee, whose fourth and final day of confirmation hearings wrapped up Thursday. The closing hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee featured legal experts and character witnesses.
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📆 19 days until Election Day, seven days until the final presidential debate, 97 days until Inauguration Day, 79 days left in 2020.
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McConnell: 'We have the votes' to confirm Barrett, tees up final confirmation for week before election
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday after voting early in Louisville, Kentucky, “we have the votes” to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
The full Senate would start to consider her nomination on Oct. 23, he said, a day after the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on her nomination, which would move the final confirmation vote to the full Senate.
McConnell's pledge to bring Barrett's nomination forward one day after she is likely to clear the Senate Judiciary Committee means the soonest the full Senate could vote to confirm her would be Oct. 26, eight days before Election Day.
"We'll go to the floor with her on Friday, the 23rd and stay on it until we finish this," McConnell said, adding "We have the votes."
Democrats have conceded Republicans have the votes, but have still spent this week asking the judge pointed questions on abortion, voting rights and the Affordable Care Act.
- Nicholas Wu and Christal Hayes
Trump applauds ‘flawless’ Barrett
Trump praised Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s performance at her confirmation hearing this week, telling supporters in North Carolina on Thursday that she was “flawless.
During an airport campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, Trump lauded Barrett as “a great intellect” and boasted that she was “toying” with Democrats who grilled her during her hearing.
Trump’s rally in North Carolina – a key battleground in the Nov. 3 election – is his first stop on a two-day campaign swing that also will take him to Ocala, Florida, and Macon, Georgia.
It was also Trump’s fourth rally in as many days as he tries to close the gap with Biden. Biden has consistently maintained an edge over Trump in national polls and in some key battleground states, including North Carolina.
Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 3 percentage points in North Carolina in 2016, but polls show a close race in the state this year. Biden holds a 3.3 percentage point lead over Trump in the Tar Heel State in the RealClearPolitics average of polls.
– Michael Collins
Biden campaign manager: ‘Race is far closer’ than people on Twitter think
Four years after Democrats were burned by polls, Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is pushing back at pundits on Twitter who are convinced the former vice president has the inside track against Trump.
Recent polls show Biden has built a double-digit lead nationally and widened his leads in several key battleground states.
Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon sought to stop any early celebrating and refocus the Biden troops on the work still ahead.
“[T]here is still a long way to go in this campaign, and we think this race is far closer than folks on this website think. Like a lot closer,” O’Malley Dillon said in a series of tweets Wednesday announcing the campaign’s record-setting fundraising totals.
Now: Early voting is already underway in many states. Millions of voters have already cast their ballots. But there is still a long way to go in this campaign, and we think this race is far closer than folks on this website think. Like a lot closer. (4/?)
— Jen O'Malley Dillon (@jomalleydillon) October 15, 2020
Biden’s polling lead comes four years after Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton also led national polling and was seen by most election forecasters as the frontrunner.
There are some key differences, however, this year: Biden is more consistently topping 50% in polls than Clinton did. He has larger leads in battleground states. Third-party candidates are getting a smaller share of the vote. There are fewer undecided voters. And Biden has maintained a consistent lead throughout a race that has seen little tightening.
- Joey Garrison
Kamala Harris cancels campaign stops after campaign staffer tests positive for COVID-19
Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, canceled campaign trips to key battleground states through Sunday after two people associated with the campaign tested positive for COVID-19.
Harris had planned to campaign Thursday in North Carolina, in Asheville and Charlotte; on Friday in Cleveland; and on Saturday in Pennsylvania, in Allentown and Philadelphia.
The positive tests late Wednesday included a flight crew member, who doesn't work for the campaign, and the senator’s communications director, Liz Allen, according to Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon. Harris wasn’t in close contact with either person within two days of the tests and so faces no obligation to quarantine, Dillon said.
“Regardless, out of an abundance of caution and in line with our campaign’s commitment to the highest levels of precaution, we are canceling Senator Harris’s travel through Sunday, October 18th,” Dillon said.
– Bart Jansen
Harris events canceled: Sen. Kamala Harris cancels trips after two linked to campaign test positive for COVID-19
Trump: No daily testing for COVID-19
Two weeks after he tested positive for COVID-19, Trump said Thursday he is not tested for the virus every day.
"Not every day, but I'm tested a lot," Trump said during an interview on Fox Business Network.
Doctors have declared Trump symptom-free, allowing him to return to the campaign trail this week, including scheduled appearances Thursday in the swing states of North Carolina and Florida.
Trump has refused to disclose his testing history before he announced his positive test with a tweet in the early morning hours of Oct. 2. That leaves open the possibility Trump was infected in previous days that included a fundraiser in New Jersey, a rally in Minnesota, and a debate with Biden in Cleveland.
For months, Trump and his aides claimed he was tested every day; since he contracted the virus, they have said he was only tested "regularly."
Trump has a rally in Greenville, N.C., today. During the Fox interview, Trump rejected the notion that the rallies are contributing to the spread of COVID-19. The events are outside, Trump said, and many of his supporters wear masks, citing an event Wednesday in Des Moines, Iowa.
"There were many, many people wearing masks," Trump said.
– David Jackson
Biden raises $383 million in September, setting a record again
Biden said Wednesday he raised $383 million in campaign funds in September, breaking the one-month record for a presidential candidate that he set the month before.
It leaves the Biden campaign with a robust $432 million on hand less than 20 days before the Nov. 3 election, according to campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillion.
“That’s more than I’ve ever raised in my whole life,” Biden said in a video chat with a supporter posted by the campaign. “I’m really humbled by it.”
The record-setting fundraising haul comes as the better-financed Biden campaign is already outspending President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign significantly on television advertising in battleground states.
Biden fundraising: Joe Biden outraises President Donald Trump by more than $150M in August
The fundraising figure is the combination of money raised by the Biden campaign, the Democratic National Committee and their joint fundraising efforts.
O’Malley Dillon said the campaign raised $203 million through online donations and had 1.1 million new donors last month, raising the number of unique donors to 5.5 million throughout the campaign.
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request seeking Trump’s fundraising totals for September. The campaign has until Oct. 20 to submit their financial documents to the Federal Election Commission.
In August, Biden raised $364.5 million, shattering the $210 million raised by the Trump campaign by $154.5 million.
– Joey Garrison
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2020 election updates: Trump, Biden town halls; final Barrett hearing