2020 Election Live Updates: Trump Defends ‘Delay the Election’ Tweet, Even Though He Can’t Do It

Trailing badly in the polls, President Trump baselessly suggested that the November election would be fraudulent. Former President Barack Obama called for sweeping changes to expand voting rights.

At a White House briefing, President Trump defended his earlier tweet suggesting that the election be delayed, falsely warning that “hundreds of millions of mail-in ballots” would be cast.

President Trump refused to back down on Thursday afternoon from his suggestion made earlier in the day that the election be delayed, something he has no authority to order and that top Republicans quickly rejected.

In an appearance at the White House that was ostensibly about the coronavirus, Mr. Trump ignored a day of pushback from some of his closest allies, who said the election would be held in November as scheduled, and again attacked the process of mail-in voting, a service he has used before.

“You’re sending out hundreds of millions of universal mail-in ballots. Hundreds of millions,” Mr. Trump said. “Where are they going? Who are they being sent to? You don’t have to know anything about politics.”

Mr. Trump vastly overstated the number of ballots that would be needed — only around 138 million Americans voted in 2016 — and continued trying to sow doubt about the election process. “I don’t want to see a crooked election,” Mr. Trump said, referring to allowing Americans to use mail-in voting. “This will be the most rigged election in history if that happens.”

The president appeared to brush off rebukes by Republican leaders and allies, who spent the day pointing out that Mr. Trump had no authority to move the election.

“Never in the history of the federal elections have we not held an election, and we should go forward,” said Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, dismissed Mr. Trump’s suggestion in an interview with WNKY television in Bowling Green, Ky.

“Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time, and we’ll find a way to do that again this Nov. 3,” Mr. McConnell said.

Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, rivals for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination who have since become staunch Trump supporters, both dismissed the idea that Election Day could change. Senator Lindsey Graham, Mr. Trump’s foremost public defender in the Senate, said there would be a safe vote in November. And officials in key swing states showed little interest in engaging on the topic.

“We’re going to have an election, it’s going to be legitimate, it’s going to be credible, it’s going to be the same as it’s always been,” Mr. Rubio told reporters at the Capitol in Washington.

Mr. Cruz agreed. “I think election fraud is a serious problem,” he said. “But, no, we should not delay the election.”

Even for Mr. Trump, suggesting a delay in the election is an extraordinary breach of presidential decorum that will increase the chances that he and his core supporters don’t accept the legitimacy of the election should he lose to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Mr. Biden, speaking to Democratic National Committee members and convention delegates on a conference call Thursday, did not address Mr. Trump’s tweet. At the White House, Mr. Trump still attacked him, falsely claiming that Mr. Biden was against fracking. (He is not.)

Several of the president’s critics suggested on Thursday that he was trying to distract from dire news about the economy. Mr. Trump posted to Twitter minutes after the Commerce Department announced that the nation’s gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced, fell 9.5 percent during the three months ending June 30, the largest quarterly drop on record.

“With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history,” Mr. Trump wrote. “It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”

Rather than back off in the face of widespread criticism, Mr. Trump pinned the tweet atop his Twitter profile.

Mr. Trump has no authority to unilaterally change the date of the election, which is set by federal law. His suggestion comes as polls show him trailing far behind Mr. Biden in surveys of nearly all of the key battleground states.

Article II of the Constitution empowers Congress to determine the timing of the election. An 1845 federal law fixed the date as the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

“Only Congress can change the date of our elections, and under no circumstances will we consider doing so to accommodate the president’s inept and haphazard response to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California and the chair of the Administration Committee, which oversees elections.

Other top Democrats reacted with the resigned horror of a party that has for five years faced norm-breaking attacks from Mr. Trump that would have been considered far out of bounds under previous presidents.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi simply quoted Article II in a tweet, while the Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Lily Adams called the president’s remarks “a desperate attempt to distract from today’s devastating economic numbers that make it clear his failed response to the coronavirus has tanked the U.S. economy.”

So far, no major Republican figures have publicly agreed with Mr. Trump’s proposal, though they have avoiding criticizing the president.

“Make no mistake: the election will happen in New Hampshire on November 3rd. End of story,” Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, a Republican who is also facing re-election in November, wrote on Twitter. “Our voting system in NH is secure, safe, and reliable. We have done it right 100% of the time for 100 years — this year will be no different.”

Even Fox News, a loyal Trump ally that the president watches for hours inside the White House, interpreted his proposal as a sign the president is flailing.

“It is a fragrant and flagrant expression of his current weakness,” Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt said during a Fox News broadcast Thursday morning. “A person who is in a strong position would never, never suggest anything like that. So Trump may be making a tactical error here by further telegraphing his weak position in the polls and his weak position for re-election.”

It is unclear how seriously Mr. Trump believes there ought to be discussion about changing the date of the election. He often floats extraordinary proposals only to back off from them after they have dominated cable news cycles.

While the White House has officially denied Mr. Trump has any interest in changing the date of the election from Nov. 3, some of his allies and top aides have on occasion floated the possibility.

The president’s sustained attacks on mail voting, combined with more robust Democratic efforts to encourage more of their voters to request and submit absentee ballots by mail, has, however, led to a significant Democratic advantage in absentee ballot requests during the ongoing primaries. And amid the pandemic, states that shifted their balloting largely to the mail have seen far larger voter turnout than did states that held their contests primarily in person.

While delivering a eulogy at former Representative John Lewis’s funeral in Atlanta on Thursday, former President Barack Obama called for a sweeping expansion of voting rights.

Without saying Mr. Trump’s name, Mr. Obama lacerated his and the Republican Party’s record on voting rights, which were a defining cause for Mr. Lewis. The overarching message of his speech was that each generation has a responsibility to carry on the activism of the last, and that the injustices Mr. Lewis fought throughout his life were far from vanquished.

The legacy of Jim Crow continues today, Mr. Obama said, with police violence, voter suppression and entrenched racism.

“Even as we sit here,” he said, “there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations, and targeting minorities and students with restrictive ID laws, and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision.”

In one of his most specific forays yet into the policy debates Democrats and Republicans are having this year, Mr. Obama called for automatic voter registration, restoring voting rights to people released from prison, expanding early voting, adding polling places, making Election Day a federal holiday, ending partisan gerrymandering and fully enfranchising residents of the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

“And if all this takes eliminating the filibuster, another Jim Crow relic, in order to secure the God-given rights of every American,” he said, “then that’s what we should do.”

Since Mr. Lewis, a civil rights icon, died on July 17, many of his supporters have called on Congress to pass legislation updating the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Mr. Lewis’s activism was instrumental in the passage of the original law, but the Supreme Court substantially weakened it in 2013, allowing states to enact a flood of restrictions that disproportionately affect Black people.

The Democratic-controlled House passed such legislation last year, but Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has refused to allow the Republican-controlled Senate to take it up.

Mr. Obama suggested that if politicians wanted to honor Mr. Lewis’s legacy, they ought to go further than releasing “a statement calling him a hero” — an implicit swipe at Republicans like Mr. McConnell.

“Want to honor John?” he said. “Let’s honor him by revitalizing the law that he was willing to die for.”

Mr. Obama did not mince words about what he described as threats not only to specific policies that Mr. Lewis supported, but to democracy itself.

“Democracy isn’t automatic. It has to be nurtured, it has to be tended to, we have to work at it,” he said. “If we want our children to grow up in a democracy — not just with elections, but a true democracy, a representative democracy, a bighearted, tolerant, vibrant, inclusive America — then we’re going to have to be more like John.”

Since Mr. Trump won the 2016 presidential election, fellow Republicans have rarely crossed him, and nearly all of those who did were subsequently drummed out of the party.

But when Mr. Trump proposed delaying the Nov. 3 election, something he cannot do, Republicans sought to thread a needle by not attacking him personally while making it clear they had no interest in his idea.

“For now, the Nov. 3 elections should be held,” said Terry Lathan, the chairwoman of the Alabama Republican Party. “The president was asking a question on this topic, not making a statement. He is right to be concerned about the chatter of an all mail-in federally mandated election that the Democrats are pushing.”

(Democrats are not pushing federal mandates for voting by mail. They have enacted some and proposed more federal funding to help states conduct elections during the pandemic. Decisions on how to conduct elections are made by the states.)

Michael Whatley, the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, who also said he hadn’t seen the president’s tweet, predicted the elections in North Carolina would be held safely as scheduled.

“The election will absolutely be held on Nov. 3,” Mr. Whatley said. “We look forward to delivering the vote for President Trump and candidates up and down the ballot.”

Other heads of state Republican parties also exhibited a tactic honed by congressional Republicans: Saying they didn’t know what the president had tweeted.

“I haven’t seen anything because I was on ‘Fox and Friends,’” said Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party.

Andrew Hitt, the chairman of the Wisconsin Republican Party, would not say if he thought the election should be held Nov. 3. “I’m not going to go on the record right now,” he said in a brief telephone interview. Of Mr. Trump’s tweet, he said: “I haven’t seen it.”

Carly Fiorina, who clashed with Mr. Trump during the 2016 Republican presidential primary and said last month that she would vote for Mr. Biden, called the missive “classic Trump.”

“He is desperately trying to distract from his failure to lead, the devastating consequences of this pandemic and terrible economic news,” she said in an interview Thursday. “It is certainly irresponsible and I hope every elected official, Democrat and Republican alike, will stand up and say it’s irresponsible.”

Juliana Bergeron, a Republican National Committee member from New Hampshire, offered a rare and mild rebuke of Mr. Trump for focusing attention on the legitimacy of voting by mail.

“I do not believe it should be delayed nor do I believe it will be,” Ms. Bergeron said. “For one thing, it is not up to the president. I have faith in our system and think we should spend more time getting out the vote, even if it is through absentee ballots, than worrying about fraud.”

And Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who ran against Mr. Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 and then became a Trump-supportive cable television commentator, said Thursday that he disagreed with any proposal to change the date of the election but declined to say more.

Moving the date of the general election would require legislation enacted by Congress, signed by the president, and would be subject to challenge in the courts. To call that unlikely would be an understatement.

Even if all of that happened, there would not be much flexibility in choosing an alternate election date: The Constitution mandates the new Congress to be sworn in on Jan. 3, and the new president’s term to begin on Jan. 20.

But while the date of the presidential election is set by federal law, the procedures for voting are generally controlled at the state level. For election lawyers, Mr. Trump’s tweet on Thursday underscored the stakes of the voting litigation playing out in courts across the country that will help shape how Americans vote this fall.

In interviews with several nonpartisan lawyers, all of them agreed that the president had no authority to delay the election. But Mr. Trump’s mere suggestion of changing the election date added yet another complication to an increasingly contentious and litigious election year.

As the coronavirus pandemic forced many states to shift how they held their primary elections, lawsuits backed by Republicans, Democrats and nonpartisan voting rights groups flooded district and circuit courts. They battled over changes like expanded mail-in voting, consolidated polling locations and extended polling hours.

Decisions over how the general election will be conducted need to be sorted out now, said Sylvia Albert, the director of Voting and Elections at Common Cause, a voting rights group.

“The key is not waiting for November,” Ms. Albert said. “The point of those lawsuits is to establish the policies and procedures that are going to be used in November so there isn’t going to be confusion on the day of the election.”

Dale Ho, the director of the Voting Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, said his team of 11 election lawyers had filed 16 lawsuits during the pandemic, about four times as many as in a typical election year. “We’re not finished,” Mr. Ho said.

The two major political parties are also heavily involved. The Republican National Committee announced early this year that it was doubling its legal budget for the election to $20 million. The Democratic National Committee began placing voting protection directors in states more than a year earlier than it had in the past.

R.N.C. officials said they were involved in about 40 voting litigation cases spread across 17 states. They have largely focused on protecting what they call “safeguards” on absentee ballots, such as keeping signature matching requirements or witness requirements.

“Normally, we would be more projecting our preparations toward Election Day and the immediate days prior to Election Day,” said Justin Reimer, the chief counsel at the R.N.C. “Because of all of the existing Covid litigation, we have spent more of our time on those cases right now.”

Congress will vote today on Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s measure to ban military recruitment on the livestreaming site Twitch. The proposed amendment, according to a draft filed on July 22, would block the military from being able to “maintain a presence on Twitch.com or any video game, e-sports, or livestreaming platform.”

“War is not a game,” the congresswoman tweeted on Thursday. “Twitch is a popular platform for children FAR under the age of military recruitment rules. We should not conflate military service with “shoot-em-up” style games and contests. The Marines pulled out of Twitch for a reason. It’s time to follow their lead.”

The U.S. Army and Navy have faced backlash recently for targeting children as young as 12 with ads for fake giveaways of video game equipment. Children who sought to enter the giveaways were directed to fill out recruitment forms.

Since 2018, the Army and Navy have both operated official e-sports channels on Twitch as part of a recruitment effort targeting young people. Service members who perform on the channels stream themselves playing violent video games including Call of Duty and Fortnite to an audience of thousands of young people. On July 22, the military paused its presence on the platform after accusations that it was violating free speech by banning users who mentioned war crimes. First Amendment advocacy groups criticized the military calling the bans unconstitutional.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez introduced her amendment in response to these controversies and outlined her case on the House floor on Thursday. “Children should not be targeted in general for many marketing purposes in addition to recruitment,” she said. “Right now, currently, children on platforms such as Twitch are bombarded with banner ads with recruitment sign up forms that can be submitted by children as young as 12.”

Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota voiced support for the amendment on Twitter. “Video games should not be recruitment tools for the military,” she said. “And it’s particularly concerning that users were blocked from platforms by the US military for asking about war crimes, raising serious first amendment concerns. I am proud to work with @AOC on this.”

[unclear] [Trump and Inhofe talking] Inhofe: “Yes I do. He’d be great.” [Trump speaking] Trump: “— Come out though is he — Inhofe: “No, no. All of his divorces, all of these things — the fact that there is some question as to whether or not he [unclear] or not.” [Inhofe speaking] Inhofe: “There was some real —” [laughter] Trump: “Are you doing good? We’re gonna keep the name of Robert E. Lee?” Inhofe: “Just trust me, I’ll make it happen.” Trump: “I had about 95,000 positive retweets on that. That’s a lot.” Inhofe: “Yeah.” Trump: “That’s a lot — 95,000 —” [Trump speaking] Trump: “— want to be able to go back to life, not this — So it’s very positive. I’ll bet you’ve had a lot of good —” Inhofe: “Yup, sure did, I appreciate it very much.” [laughter]

Mr. Trump called Senator James Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, on Wednesday night for a conversation that Mr. Inhofe put on speakerphone to hear better as he sat in a Washington restaurant, The Times’s Maggie Haberman reports.

The conversation, overheard and recorded by someone in the room, ranged from a discussion about Anthony Tata, the retired Army brigadier general whose nomination for a top Pentagon policy position has become complicated, to Mr. Trump’s desire to preserve the name of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general, on a military base.

“We’re going to keep the name of Robert E. Lee?” Mr. Trump asked Mr. Inhofe, 85, who sat at Trattoria Alberto, a Capitol Hill Italian restaurant that is a favorite haunt of Washington Republicans, as he took the call. Mr. Inhofe put the phone to his ear but put Mr. Trump on speakerphone, and the president’s voice was audible by people sitting at other tables.

Mr. Inhofe, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, replied, “Just trust me, I’ll make it happen.”

Mr. Trump went on, “I had about 95,000 positive retweets on that. That’s a lot,” appearing to refer to a Twitter post last Friday in which he said that Mr. Inhofe had assured him that he won’t change the names of “Military Bases and Forts” and that the senator “is not a believer in ‘Cancel Culture.’”

Mr. Trump, in the Wednesday night phone call, could be heard criticizing “cancel culture” and then told Mr. Inhofe that people “want to be able to go back to life,” and then appeared to dismiss the focus on the cultural shift taking place across the country with an expletive.

Earlier in the conversation, Mr. Trump and Mr. Inhofe discussed the possibility of someone “resigning” and putting them into another appointment. That appeared to be about Mr. Tata, whose nomination for the Pentagon job has become immersed in criticism over his inflammatory Twitter posts about Muslims, his description of Mr. Obama as a “terrorist leader,” and his embrace of conspiracy theories.

Mr. Inhofe could also be heard discussing “divorces” and personal issues that could become a focus of news coverage. That again appeared to be a reference to Mr. Tata.

Mr. Inhofe announced on Thursday morning that a hearing scheduled for later in the day to advance Mr. Tata’s nomination would be delayed.

An aide to Mr. Inhofe declined to comment on their conversation. Aides to Mr. Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a trial judge’s order that would have allowed a group proposing a ballot initiative in Idaho to collect electronic signatures in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Idaho law ordinarily requires hard-copy signatures.

The group, Reclaim Idaho, seeks to place a measure on the November ballot that would increase spending on education.

The Supreme Court’s brief order was unsigned, and the vote count was impossible to determine. But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., joined by Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, issued a concurring opinion setting out his reasoning.

A stay of a trial judge’s injunction was warranted, the chief justice wrote, because the Supreme Court was likely to throw out the injunction, which he said had placed an unacceptable burden on state election administrators. “In addition to preparing for elections with a record number of absentee ballot requests,” the chief justice wrote, “the county clerks must now also learn, under extraordinary time pressures, how to verify digital signatures through an entirely new system mandated by the district court.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dissented, saying that the Supreme Court should have waited for an appeals court to rule before intervening in the case. This was, she added, part of an unfortunate pattern.

“By jumping ahead of the court of appeals,” she wrote, quoting from an earlier opinion, “this court once again forgets that it is ‘a court of review, not of first view’ and undermines the public’s expectation that its highest court will act only after considered deliberation.”

It is a great honor to be back at Ebenezer Baptist Church, in the pulpit of its greatest pastor, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to pay my respects to perhaps his finest disciple. The life of John Lewis was in so many ways exceptional. It vindicated the faith in our founding, redeemed that faith, that most American of ideas. The idea that any of us — ordinary people without rank, or wealth or title, or fame can somehow point out the imperfections of this nation and come together, and challenge the status quo, and decide that it is in our power to remake this country that we love until it more closely aligns with our highest ideals. What a radical idea. You want to honor John? Let’s honor him by revitalizing the law that he was willing to die for. Once we pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, we should keep marching to make it even better.

Former President Barack Obama eulogized Representative John Lewis at his funeral Thursday at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, calling the civil rights leader “a man of pure joy and unbreakable perseverance” who advanced the cause of racial equality as an activist and a lawmaker.

“America was built by John Lewises,” Mr. Obama said. “He, as much as anyone in our history, brought this country a little bit closer to our highest ideals.”

He hailed Mr. Lewis as a “founding father of that fuller, fairer, better America” and a “gentle soul” who pulled America “closer to its promise.”

In remarks that blended Mr. Lewis’s place in history with Mr. Obama’s own personal interactions (Mr. Lewis was a “mentor to young people, including me at the time,” Mr. Obama recalled, with a laugh), the former president praised Mr. Lewis’s dedication to civil rights at such an early age.

“The life of John Lewis was in so many ways exceptional,” Mr. Obama said. “It vindicated the faith in our founding, redeemed that faith — that most American of ideas, the idea that any of us, ordinary people without rank or wealth or title or fame, can somehow point out the imperfections of this nation and come together and challenge the status quo and decide that it is in our power to remake this country that we love until it more closely aligns with our highest ideals.”

Mr. Obama was the third of three former presidents to speak on Thursday, following Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Mr. Trump did not attend.

Mr. Clinton clearly relished “a chance to say a few words about a man I loved for a long time,” as he put it. “He got into a lot of good trouble, but let’s not forget he also developed an absolutely uncanny ability to heal troubled waters,” Mr. Clinton said of Mr. Lewis. “I suggest we salute, suit up and march on.”

Mr. Bush spoke immediately before Mr. Clinton and praised Mr. Lewis for his belief that “hate and fear had to be answered with love and hope.”

Mr. Lewis, a civil rights icon who represented Atlanta in Congress for more than three decades, died on July 17 at age 80, amid a national reckoning over racism and police brutality. This week, he became the first Black lawmaker to lie in state in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol.

Herman Cain, the former pizza executive whose insurgent campaign for president in 2012 catapulted him to fame as an unlikely hero of Tea Party conservatives, died on Thursday after contracting the coronavirus, a former staff member confirmed. He was 74.

Mr. Cain attended Mr. Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Okla., last month and was photographed not wearing a mask, though he said in a video on his website about the rally that he had worn one at times. He tested positive for coronavirus and was hospitalized in the Atlanta area shortly after.

“People were concerned, because of the media, about whether or not this was going to turn into another uptick in number of cases of Covid-19,” Mr. Cain said in the video. On Twitter, the night of the event, he encouraged attendees to “ignore the outrage” and “shaming.”

Mr. Cain said that all rally participants, including him, had their temperatures checked and that some people had worn masks. Sanitizer stations were scattered throughout the arena.

“Whether or not it’s going to work or not, we don’t know, but the chances are even though it was a crowded room of people, if they took precautions, probably not going to be a big uptick,” he said.

While it is not clear where Mr. Cain contracted the virus, public health officials, who had urged the Trump campaign to call off the rally because of a surge of cases in the state, have said that the event was a likely source of an uptick in cases reported in Tulsa County.

Even after being hospitalized, he tweeted approvingly of masks not being required at Mr. Trump’s Mount Rushmore speech, which occurred nearly two weeks after the Tulsa event. “Masks will not be mandatory for the event, which will be attended by President Trump,” he wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “PEOPLE ARE FED UP!”

Mr. Cain, who was an official surrogate for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, also wrote an op-ed after the rally defending the event, writing, “The media worked very hard to scare people out of attending the Trump campaign rally last Saturday night in Tulsa.”

Mr. Cain’s political ambitions were derailed after women stepped forward and accused him of sexual misconduct. But his political celebrity endured after the election as he brought his folksy, irreverent style — best captured by his so-called “9-9-9” tax plan that would have set corporate, personal income and sales taxes to 9 percent — to Fox News and conservative political conferences across the country.

He caught the eye of a similarly styled political novice, Donald J. Trump, who later considered nominating Mr. Cain to a seat on the Federal Reserve’s board of governors. Mr. Trump did not follow through, though Mr. Cain remained a political ally and served on the Trump campaign’s Black Voices for Trump coalition.

Mr. Trump’s latest campaign ads warn of left-wing mobs destroying American cities. His recent White House comments have depicted a rampage of violence and a “radical movement” to dissolve the police. His Twitter feed has sounded alarms over an Obama-era fair housing rule he has framed as a threat to “The Suburban Housewives of America” and the “Suburban Lifestyle Dream.”

It is a transparent effort to capitalize on what Mr. Trump perceives to be suburban voters’ racist and classist fears. A similar strategy worked for Richard Nixon on the heels of urban unrest in 1968, but there are several reasons to believe it is less likely to be effective for Mr. Trump in 2020.

For one, these are not the American suburbs of the 1960s (and they have a lot fewer housewives). The scale of urban violence and the threats to that suburban lifestyle are a faint echo of Nixon’s time. And while white suburban voters were key to Mr. Trump’s victory in 2016, they now disapprove of the job he is doing — and they disapprove even more of his handling of the very issues he is trying to elevate.

Over all, just 38 percent of voters in the suburbs approve of Mr. Trump’s job performance, compared with 59 percent who disapprove, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll in June. Suburban voters disapproved of Mr. Trump’s handling of recent protests and race relations by an even wider margin, and 65 percent had a favorable view of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Mr. Trump vowed on Wednesday to protect suburbanites from low-income housing being built in their neighborhoods, trying to stir up racist fears about affordable housing and the people who live there. In a tweet and later in remarks during a visit to Texas, he painted a false picture of the suburbs as under siege and ravaged by crime.

“People living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream” would “no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood,” he wrote, referring to his administration’s decision last week to roll back an Obama-era program intended to combat racial segregation.

Nearly a year after the El Paso shooting, the deadliest anti-Latino attack in modern American history, Michael R. Bloomberg’s gun control organization is releasing new advertisements directed toward Latino voters in battleground states including Texas, Arizona and Florida.

The group, Everytown for Gun Safety, said it planned to spend more than $2 million on digital, radio and television advertising in both English and Spanish, starting in Texas.

The group’s advertising criticizes Mr. Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, for not doing more to enact stricter gun control laws since the El Paso attack, accusing them of “empty words and empty promises.” The police said that the suspect in the shooting told them he had been targeting Mexicans and that he had left a manifesto saying he was carrying out the attack in “response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

“Victory for gun sense candidates up and down the ballot is impossible without the support of Latino voters,” said Charlie Kelly, a senior adviser to the group, Everytown for Gun Safety. “We’re making it a priority to reach the Latino community this cycle with gun safety messages that we know will resonate.”

The group also released new polling showing that Latino voters are more likely to support gun control measures enthusiastically than they were before the El Paso shooting. More than two-thirds of Latino voters said they would not vote for a candidate who does not support background checks on all gun sales and indicated the issue is equally important as health care, job creation, racial equity and protecting children at the border, according to the poll, which was conducted by Equis Research, a Washington-based firm that focuses on Latino voters.

A survey released on Thursday by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy found Mr. Biden ahead of Mr. Trump in Florida by a margin of 50 to 46 percent, just within the margin of error of four percentage points, with 4 percent of respondents undecided.

It is the latest in a string of polls showing Mr. Biden in front of Mr. Trump in the president’s adopted home state, the nation’s largest battleground.

The Mason-Dixon poll, which surveyed 625 registered voters by phone from July 20-23, shows Mr. Biden beating Mr. Trump among independents, women, Black and Hispanic people, and younger voters, while Mr. Trump leads among men, white people and older voters.

An earlier poll by Quinnipiac University showed the former vice president leading Mr. Trump by 13 percentage points, significantly outside the margin of error — a worrisome sign for Mr. Trump in a state he won four years ago.

In that July 23 poll, 51 percent of respondents supported Mr. Biden, compared with 38 percent who supported Mr. Trump; the margin of error was plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

A federal grand jury has indicted Larry Householder, the speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, as well as four others on racketeering charges in what federal officials described as a $60 million scheme to bail out a foundering energy company.

Shortly after the indictment was announced on Thursday, the State House voted 90-0 to remove Mr. Householder, a Republican, as speaker.

In a criminal complaint last week, the F.B.I. described a wide-ranging conspiracy in which an energy company, FirstEnergy Corp., and some of its subsidiaries, helped finance Mr. Householder’s 2019 election as House speaker. According to the complaint, the company bankrolled an effort led by Mr. Householder to pass the $1.3 billion bill that subsidized two of its troubled nuclear power plants, and then also financed a campaign to defeat a referendum to repeal the measure.

Mr. Householder and the four others who were arrested — including a former head of the state’s Republican Party — face up to 20 years in prison.

When the criminal complaint was unsealed, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, David M. DeVillers, said that the conspiracy was “likely the largest bribery, money-laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of the State of Ohio.”

Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, called for the bailout bill to be repealed and then replaced in a process involving greater public vetting.

“The most important thing is that the public have confidence in the process,” Mr. DeWine said in a news conference last week.

Mr. DeWine has also called on Mr. Householder to resign, though Mr. Householder previously told reporters that he was not planning to leave office.

A man accused of setting a fire to the Arizona Democratic Party headquarters this month was arrested on Wednesday, the authorities said.

The man, Matthew Egler, 29, was arrested on a charge of arson of an occupied structure, the Phoenix Police Department said. Mr. Egler, the police said, was a former volunteer at the office but had been recently barred from volunteer service.

It was not immediately clear whether he had a lawyer, or why he had been barred from volunteering.

The fire took place after midnight on July 24 at the party’s offices in downtown Phoenix, causing damage but no injuries.

The Phoenix police said that Mr. Egler had posted information on social media that linked him to the fire. Investigators were also able to connect a car seen in a surveillance video from that night to a relative of Mr. Egler. The video showed a man arriving in the car and breaking glass to get into the building.

“We are deeply saddened and shocked by today’s news, but appreciate the swift action by law enforcement to ensure that the suspect is in custody,” the Arizona Democratic Party said in a statement.

Reporting was contributed by Maggie Astor, Emily Badger, Luke Broadwater, Alexander Burns, Emily Cochrane, Nate Cohn, Johnny Diaz, Reid J. Epstein, Sydney Ember, Robert Gebeloff, Katie Glueck, Shane Goldmacher, Maggie Haberman, Annie Karni,Adam Liptak, Patricia Mazzei, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Jennifer Medina, Jeremy W. Peters, Matt Stevens and Glenn Thrush.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/us/elections/biden-vs-trump.html

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