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Trump plays on racist fears in appeal to white suburban voters.
President Trump vowed on Wednesday to protect suburbanites from low-income housing being built where they live, continuing his efforts to shore up the support of white suburban voters by stirring racist fears about low-income housing.
In a tweet and later in remarks during a visit to Texas, Mr. Trump painted a false picture of the suburbs as under siege and ravaged by crime, using fear-mongering language that has become something of a rhetorical flourish in his general election campaign against Joseph R. Biden Jr.
In the tweet, he appealed to “people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream,” promising them that they would “no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood.”
He explicitly referenced his administration’s move last week to roll back an Obama-era program intended to combat racial segregation in suburban housing. The program expanded provisions in the Fair Housing Act to encourage diversification and “foster inclusive communities.”
“Your housing prices will go up based on the market, and crime will go down,” he wrote.
And during his remarks in West Texas later on Wednesday, Mr. Trump warned that “the radical left” was a threat to “every American value” and again bragged that he’d ended a government program that tries to reduce segregation in suburban areas.
“People fight all of their lives to get into the suburbs and have a beautiful home,” he said. “There will be no more low income housing forced into the suburbs.”
“It’s been hell for suburbia,” he added, before telling the audience to “enjoy your life, ladies and gentlemen.”
Mr. Trump and his father were sued by the Justice Department in the 1970s for their company’s practice of discriminating against Black tenants.
His remarks on Wednesday were further evidence that he is deploying a strategy rooted in racism, classism and fear-mongering as he courts white suburban voters, particularly white suburban women, who were the key to his victory in 2016 but are slipping away from him.
And his vision of the suburbs as white is outdated, as they become more economically and racially diverse.
In 2018, support from suburban voters helped Democrats retake the House of Representatives. The following year, voters in the suburbs helped Democrats win governorships in reliably red states like Kentucky and Louisiana.
Mr. Trump made similar remarks last week when he first announced his administration’s plans to eliminate the Obama-era rule.
“The Suburban Housewives of America must read this article,” Mr. Trump said, referring to an opinion piece in The New York Post that attacked the housing rule and Mr. Biden, Mr. Obama’s vice president. “Biden will destroy your neighborhood and your American Dream. I will preserve it, and make it even better!”
A spokesman for the Biden campaign said last week that Mr. Trump was trying to distract from his handling of the coronavirus. Mr. Biden has proposed a housing policy that would combat systemic racism, including by ending redlining and other discriminatory practices in the housing market and providing a tax credit of up to $15,000 for first-time home buyers.
On Tuesday, Mr. Biden unveiled wide-ranging plans to address systemic racism in the economy.
During a discussion on Wednesday afternoon with Janet Murguía, president of the UnidosUS Action Fund, Mr. Biden said Mr. Trump’s messaging stemmed from his own fear that he was losing the suburbs.
“Look what he’s doing now, the president,” Mr. Biden said. “He’s trying to scare because an awful lot of suburbanites are now deciding they’re going to vote for me, at least the data suggests, as opposed to him.”
Obama will deliver a eulogy at John Lewis’s funeral.
Former President Barack Obama will deliver a eulogy at John Lewis’s funeral on Thursday. Two other former presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, will also attend the funeral, which will be held at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
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.
A new poll shows Biden tied with Trump in Georgia.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden are locked in a tight race for Georgia, while at least one of the state’s two Senate seats currently appears on track to remain in Republican hands, according to a new poll of voters there released Wednesday.
The survey, conducted by Monmouth University, shows Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden tied with 47 percent support each and only three percent of registered voters indicating that they were undecided.
It also shows Republicans ahead in both of the state’s crucial Senate races. In the tighter of the two contests, Senator David Perdue, the Republican incumbent, currently leads Jon Ossoff, his Democratic challenger, by six percentage points, according to the poll.
Senator Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to her seat late last year by Gov. Brian Kemp, must defend her seat in a special election in November that will feature candidates from both parties; she leads the large group with 26 percent support and is followed by another Republican, Representative Doug Collins, who garnered 20 percent support. The leading Democrat, Matt Lieberman, was the choice of just 14 percent of voters, while another Democrat, the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, had the support of 9 percent.
The Monmouth poll of 402 registered voters comes as some Democrats are pressing the Biden campaign to expand its ambitions and compete aggressively in states like Georgia, where a win could help solidify an Electoral College victory and deal a damaging blow to Mr. Trump’s brand of politics. The Monmouth poll of Georgia voters was conducted by telephone from July 23 to 27 and has a margin of error of +/- 5 percentage points.
Georgia has long been seen by Democrats as a fast-changing state where electoral success could help carve a new path to the presidency. Mr. Biden’s campaign has mostly focused on a handful of more traditional battleground states in the months since he became the presumptive nominee.
On Tuesday, the Biden campaign announced a round of key staff hires in Georgia, including a state director, a pair of senior advisers, and other top positions.
But the campaign has yet to spend any money on advertising in the state and the Trump campaign has invested only about $150,000 there so far — a signal that, at least at this stage of the race, neither side is ready to jump into what could be a costly contest.
By comparison, Mr. Trump’s campaign has spent far larger sums in more traditional battleground states like Florida, where his campaign has invested more than $17 million since the general election began in earnest in April, according to Advertising Analytics, an ad tracking firm. Mr. Biden has also spent heavily in Florida, spending roughly $8 million on the airwaves there.
Asked about Russian bounties, Trump says his phone call with Putin focused on ‘other things.’
Mr. Trump said in a new interview that he had not raised concerns with President Vladimir V. Putin about intelligence suggesting that Russia covertly offered bounties for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan in a recent phone call he had with the country’s leader.
“I have never discussed it with him,” Mr. Trump said in the interview, conducted on Tuesday by “Axios on HBO,” which released excerpts Wednesday morning. The full interview is scheduled to air next week.
Mr. Trump spoke with Mr. Putin by telephone last week, but during a public appearance on Monday, he declined to say whether he had raised the issue during the conversation. “We don’t talk about what we discussed, but we had plenty of discussion,” he told reporters.
But Mr. Trump was more direct when pressed by the Axios reporter Jonathan Swan on if he had confronted Mr. Putin about the intelligence, which was first reported by The New York Times.
“That was a phone call to discuss other things, and frankly that’s an issue that many people said was fake news,” he said.
Mr. Trump said the purpose of the call was “to discuss nuclear proliferation,” calling that issue “a much bigger problem than global warming.”
Although Mr. Trump cast the bounty allegation as a media fiction, U.S. intelligence analysts found evidence of the scheme credible, although some intelligence officials have higher confidence on the question than others. The intelligence was provided to Mr. Trump in a written briefing in February, but it is unclear whether he read it.
Mr. Trump’s comments to Axios were made public the morning after he held a coronavirus briefing in which he lamented how his approval ratings were lower than two top government medical experts and once again defended the false claim that hydroxychloroquine was a “cure” for the virus.
His dismissive remarks about the bounties, which amounted to a verbal shrug, along with his wandering rhetoric at the briefing offered more evidence that last week’s brief foray into greater political discipline had ended quickly, with polls showing him considerably behind Mr. Biden nationally and many Americans unhappy with his response to the pandemic.
On Tuesday, he faced fresh questions about why he had retweeted a viral video the day before that included false claims about hydroxychloroquine.
And he devolved into self-pity, at one point bemoaning the fact that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, and Dr. Deborah L. Birx, his administration’s top coronavirus coordinator, have high approval ratings even as his own have sagged.
“They’re highly thought of — but nobody likes me,” he said.
“It can only be my personality,” he concluded.
The president floats the idea of giving his renomination speech at the White House, a likely Hatch Act violation.
Mr. Trump said Wednesday he may give his renomination speech in August from the White House, an idea that took some of his advisers by surprise and that many thought was an unlikely scenario that would be nixed by the White House counsel’s office.
“It’s something we’re thinking about,” Mr. Trump told reporters as he departed from the South Lawn of the White House for a day trip to Texas. He said he would be announcing the location of his speech “fairly soon.”
Giving a political speech from the White House would be a violation of the Hatch Act. While the president himself is technically exempt from the act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activities while on the job, everyone who works for him is subject to it.
“I suppose if he was determined to hold his iPhone to his face, he could do it,” said Norm Eisen, the former ethics czar in the Obama administration. “But from the speechwriters at the White House, to the people setting up the lights and the teleprompters, to the staff escorting people to be there for this event, it would be a wholesale conspiracy to violate both our laws and norms.”
He added that it was important “to comply with not only the strict letter of the law, but the spirit.”
On Tuesday evening, a group of aides, including Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, met with top campaign advisers at the White House to discuss potential plans for the four nights of the Republican National Convention, which Mr. Trump announced last week he was canceling because of the pandemic.
The group did not settle on a location for Mr. Trump’s renomination speech, people familiar with the conversation said, but they discussed having Mr. Trump speak from a critical battleground state.
A local television station reported on Wednesday that Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview that the president would give his acceptance speech in Charlotte, N.C., where the Republican National Convention had been originally set. The White House and the campaign did not immediately confirm the details.
Republican officials and campaign advisers have just under three weeks to figure out a new location for the programming they had been set to hold in Jacksonville, Fla., and to finalize a roster of speakers. Even without a full convention, officials said, they are set on capitalizing on a week of earned media highlighting what they see as Mr. Trump’s accomplishments and record.
On Monday, Mr. Trump announced he would visit Charlotte on Aug. 24 to visit a few hundred delegates who are still planning to convene there for a day of convention business, and for the official roll call where the president is renominated. Mr. Trump is not expected to give extended remarks during the visit.
During a hearing on antitrust, Republicans accuse big tech of censoring conservative views.
What was billed as a hearing about the monopolistic practices of big technology companies devolved into an debate over what one Democratic House member called “fringe conspiracy theories” advanced by Republican lawmakers, illustrating the political undercurrent of congressional oversight in Silicon Valley.
“Conservatives are consumers, too,” said Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, the highest-ranking Republican on the panel. “Reports that dissenting views, often conservative ones, are targeted or censored is seriously troubling. The power to influence debate carries with it remarkable responsibilities,” he said.
Mr. Sensenbrenner, of Wisconsin, questioned why Donald Trump Jr. was sanctioned this week when he tweeted a video of doctors making unfounded claims about the use of hydroxychloroquine, an unproven treatment for Covid-19.
“That happened on Twitter,” Facebook’s C.E.O., Mark Zuckerberg, said when Mr. Sensenbrenner asked him about it. Mr. Zuckerberg told lawmakers, nevertheless, that while Facebook wants to give everyone a voice, some content would be censored.
“Stating that there’s a proven cure for Covid when there is in fact none might be harmful,” he said.
Mr. Sensenbrenner suggested that the drug’s value was a “legitimate matter of discussion and it ought to be up to a patient and their doctor.”
In addition to Mr. Zuckerberg, executives of Google, Apple and Amazon appeared during the hearing, which took place before a Judiciary Committee subcommittee on antitrust.
While Democrats raised concerns about the proliferation of fake accounts on Facebook and about foreign interference in U.S. elections by social media manipulation, Republicans hinted at potential tech regulation because of the industry’s perceived liberal predispositions.
Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, reeled off a long list of what he said were examples of censorship against conservative views.
“I’ll just cut to the chase, Big Tech’s out to get conservatives,” said Mr. Jordan. He later accused the companies of “trying to impact elections” and “censoring conservatives.” And he demanded that Sundar Pichai, the C.E.O. of Google’s parent company Alphabet, commit to not helping Joe Biden in the lead-up to the November election.
In response, Representative Mary Gay Scanlon of Pennsylvania, a Democrat, said, “I’d like to talk about actual antitrust issues and not fringe conspiracy theories.”
The claims about conservative bias are a persistent, if largely unproven, gripe among Republicans. Mr. Trump, Attorney General William P. Barr and lawmakers like Mr. Jordan and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas have all raised concerns that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube purposely downplay or remove conservative voices on their sites.
Val Demings, a V.P. finalist, has a complicated record on police accountability.
Mr. Biden told reporters on Tuesday that he would decide on a running mate “in the first week in August.” But for now, his choice is still anyone’s guess.
One woman who is on the short list is Val Demings, a second-term Democratic congresswoman from Florida. In a profile, Brian M. Rosenthal and Patricia Mazzei write that Ms. Demings, a former police chief in Orlando, Fla., is having a moment in the spotlight as the nation reckons with the difficult legacy of police brutality and racial discrimination.
If she is chosen as the vice-presidential nominee, her career could prove to be a political asset against an incumbent president who is building his re-election campaign around his call for law and order, while attacking Mr. Biden as weak on crime. But in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, with protests continuing to rock the country, it could also be a political liability.
In recent weeks, Ms. Demings has become a leading voice calling for changes in policing, and she has cast herself as an experienced reformer, repeating that she started out as a social worker and brought a “social worker’s heart” to police work. But a review by The New York Times shows a more complicated record: that of a police leader with a long history of defending the status quo.
An anti-Trump group is starting an Instagram meme campaign to sway voters and bring young people to the polls.
The Lincoln Project, the group of anti-Trump Republicans who have gained prominence with their no-holds-barred attack ads, is starting an Instagram campaign in partnership with social media influencers and the progressive viral media company Rhyme Combinator.
The campaign — led by Meme 2020, a collection of Instagram influencers who supported Michael Bloomberg during the Democratic presidential primary, and funded by the tech entrepreneur Reid Hoffman — is intended both to sway voters away from Mr. Trump and to encourage people to register to vote by mail.
In particular, it is aimed at members of Generation Z — people born after 1996 — who will be an estimated 10 percent of the eligible electorate this year but did not turn out to vote in the primaries as much as some candidates and advocates had hoped.
The campaign began on Wednesday with a series of memes showing texts from “F.B.I. agent” popping up over a vote-by-mail application. (“It’s nice to see you’re finding new and creative ways to avoid other people,” one says.) Sarah Lenti, executive director of the Lincoln Project, said the group planned to continue the campaign through Election Day.
The memes coming later are “not so dark as the Lincoln Project tends to go — they’re going to be biting, but they’re funny,” Ms. Lenti said. The idea, she added, is to emphasize “the absurdity of what we’re actually watching right now.”
It is a stark departure from the Lincoln Project’s usual slash-and-burn ads, which have mocked Mr. Trump’s physical and cognitive health, described the coronavirus as “Trump’s virus now” and called Senator Susan Collins a “fraud” who obeys Mr. Trump’s and Senator Mitch McConnell’s orders.
Ms. Lenti and Mick Purzycki, the founder and chief executive of Meme 2020, said the group had spent months testing various memes to determine which were most effective. Mr. Purzycki said that research had shown that memes directly attacking Mr. Trump were less effective.
In Tennessee’s Senate Republican primary race, candidates accuse each other of supporting Black Lives Matter.
With just over a week until Tennessee’s Senate Republican primary on Aug. 6, Black Lives Matter has emerged as a major flash point in the race, with the top two candidates attempting to tie each other — however tenuously — to a movement that has slim support among the state’s Republican voters.
With help from a politically conservative super PAC, Bill Hagerty, the Trump-endorsed front-runner, has in recent days attacked his opponent, Dr. Manny Sethi, for donating to ActBlue, a major progressive fund-raising platform. (Dr. Sethi gave the organization $50 in 2008.) The PAC, which is operated by Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, ridiculed Dr. Sethi for giving to “the left-wing group that subsidizes the Antifa thugs that attack our police.”
“Bill Hagerty has spent millions of dollars attacking Manny Sethi, trying to fool you into thinking Dr. Manny’s for Black Lives Matter. Not true,” the Sethi campaign’s ad begins. “But while Hagerty’s been slamming Dr. Manny, it’s Hagerty who’s been on the board of a company for years that is a huge supporter of B.L.M.” The ad says Mr. Hagerty did not acknowledge his position on his financial disclosure form “until he got caught red-handed.”
The Tennessee Star recently published Mr. Hagerty’s resignation letter, which included a misleading and inflammatory characterization of Black Lives Matter.
“I have learned that the firm has promoted support for the Black Lives Matter movement, a Marxist organization that seeks to destroy the America that I know and long to support,” Mr. Hagerty wrote.
Representative Louie Gohmert, who refuses to wear masks in the Capitol, tests positive for the coronavirus.
Representative Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican who has frequently refused to wear a mask in the Capitol, tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday ahead of a planned trip with Mr. Trump on Air Force One, officials familiar with the matter said.
The results immediately sent a shudder through the Capitol, where Mr. Gohmert has actively participated in multiple congressional hearings this week, including Tuesday’s Judiciary Committee session with Attorney General William P. Barr.
Lawmakers and Mr. Barr were seated more than six feet apart during the hearing, but reporters spotted an unmasked Mr. Gohmert outside the hearing room exchanging words with Mr. Barr and in close proximity to him. He also participated in a hearing held by the Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday, without wearing a mask, possibly spreading the virus.
Mr. Gohmert is among a group of House Republicans who have pointedly refused to wear masks in many instances while in the Capitol in recent weeks despite warnings from public health experts and an outbreak in his home state. He told CNN last month that he did not wear a mask because he did not have coronavirus.
“But if I get it, you’ll never see me without a mask,” he said.
Democrats were furious at the news, and both parties spent Wednesday morning scrambling to retrace Mr. Gohmert’s steps. The House Judiciary Committee was waiting for official guidance from Congress’s attending physician. It is a daunting task since Mr. Gohmert is a frequent schmoozer who could have come into close contact with dozens of fellow lawmakers and aides this week alone.
“I’m concerned about the irresponsible behavior of many of the republicans who have chosen to consistently flout well established public health guidance,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York and a member of the Judiciary Committee. He pleaded with Republicans like Mr. Gohmert to put on masks or go home.
Members of Congress have been flying between Washington and their home states — some of which are experiencing serious outbreaks — weekly, and they are not required to be tested. Mr. Gohmert only received a test because he was scheduled to be in close proximity to the president.
Later, Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats in a private conference call that she would start mandating masks on the House floor, according to a person on the call who told The Times on condition of anonymity.
Trump has quietly retreated from Michigan’s airwaves.
Michigan was expected to be one of the most intense battlegrounds in the country, but Mr. Trump’s campaign has quietly receded from television airwaves in the state in recent weeks.
With Mr. Biden building a steady advantage in the polls, a state that Mr. Trump won narrowly in 2016 threatens to move more firmly back into the Democratic column in 2020.
Since the end of June, Mr. Trump has spent more money on ads in 10 other states — with Michigan falling behind even much smaller states like Iowa and Nevada — and in recent days Mr. Trump’s campaign stopped buying ads in Michigan entirely.
The Biden campaign has more than tripled what Mr. Trump spent on television in Michigan in the last month, by far the most lopsided advantage of any swing state where both are advertising. And in Detroit, the state’s largest media market, the Trump campaign last ran a television ad, outside of national ad buys that include the state, on July 3, according to data from Advertising Analytics.
Mr. Trump faces a trifecta of troubles in Michigan, according to political strategists and state polling: reduced support among less educated white voters in a contest against Mr. Biden compared with Hillary Clinton; motivated Black voters in the state’s urban centers; and suburban voters who continue to flee Mr. Trump’s divisive brand of politics nationwide.
“Of all the states he won in 2016, Trump would be most hard-pressed to keep Michigan in his column this time around,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster for Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC.
On Michelle Obama’s new podcast, she and her husband warn against cynicism and apathy.
Barack and Michelle Obama, the former president and first lady, in the first episode of Mrs. Obama’s new podcast, described what they saw as a change in American values among the younger generation.
In a roughly 45-minute conversation released Wednesday, the Obamas expressed concern about some younger Americans’ apathy toward politics and government and blamed parents like themselves for telling their children to dream big without working to institutionalize the values that they espoused around the dinner table.
“The danger for this generation is that they become too deeply cynical in government, not understanding that all government is, is us collectively making decisions together,” Mr. Obama said.
“Young people are idealistic as they’ve ever been,” he added later with the caution: “There are some things we just can’t do by ourselves.”
The Obamas shared intimate stories about their own upbringings, spoke about the importance of community, and shared how their early careers taught them that chasing individual success would bring only isolation and loneliness.
“One of the reasons I fell in love with you, is because you are guided by the principle that we are each other’s brothers and sister’s keepers,” Mrs. Obama said. “And that’s how I was raised.”
They expressed concern that Americans had become more focused on material things than on relationships in a quest “to have it all,” as Mrs. Obama put it. Mr. Obama argued that a sort of “cutthroat competition” had emerged between anxious Americans constantly assessing their place in a “pecking order” relative to everyone else.
“And that then reflects itself in our politics, right?” he said. “Because at a certain point, I am going to start thinking about politics in terms of how do I protect me? Not how do I look after us.”
But he argued for a more inclusive view — for Americans to embrace the ideas that “our tribe is everybody.” And he said he was encouraged by young people protesting systemic racism and police brutality, adding that they have shown that their instinct was to “lift all boats.”
Democrats introduce a new group to attack congressional Republicans over ethics issues.
Tired of watching Republicans with their own checkered ethics backgrounds attack Mr. Biden over his son’s business dealings in Ukraine, a group of Democratic officials on Wednesday introduced an organization intended to target corruption by congressional Republicans.
The group, the Congressional Integrity Project, released the first of what its organizers say will be a series of reports called “Covering for Corruption.” The five-page document aims to highlight what the group calls business self-dealing by Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, accusations of which have been reported in the past but that Democrats largely did not highlight during his 2016 re-election campaign or while pushing back against Mr. Johnson’s attempts to investigate the Bidens.
“For too long, members of Congress like Ron Johnson have put their own personal interests before the needs of the American public, covering for Trump’s corruption and ignoring their oversight responsibilities,” said Kyle Herrig, the new group’s executive director. “While conservatives try to distract the American people with baseless, partisan investigations, we will use every tool at our disposal to stop officials like Johnson from misleading and manipulating voters.”
Of course, few Washington politicians have used the federal government to boost their personal business interests more than Mr. Trump has, so it remains to be seen how effective the new organization will be in damaging the political reputation of Mr. Johnson, who doesn’t face re-election until 2022, and other future targets.
‘Do not hold grudges’: Photos emerge of Biden’s talking points on Kamala Harris.
For those wondering about whom Mr. Biden’s running mate will be, handwritten notes that he held at an event on Tuesday, where he laid out his plan to address systemic racism in the economy, offered a tantalizing clue.
Written on top was the name of someone thought to be a top contender: Senator Kamala Harris of California. Five talking points followed:
The notes about Ms. Harris — which were captured by photographers and reported by The Associated Press — indicate that he was prepared to field questions about her.
That may not mean anything about her likelihood (or not) of being picked. Mr. Biden — who is often quite fond of talking — had relatively little to say when asked on Tuesday about his vice-presidential search. But he did tell reporters one thing: He will make his selection next week.
Reporting was contributed by Maggie Astor, Nate Cohn, Nick Corasaniti, Michael Crowley, Reid J. Epstein, Sydney Ember, Nicholas Fandos, Shane Goldmacher, Kathleen Gray, Cecilia Kang, Thomas Kaplan, Annie Karni, Taylor Lorenz,Patricia Mazzei, David McCabe, Elaina Plott, Katie Rogers, Brian M. Rosenthal, Stephanie Saul and Matt Stevens.