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Social media companies fire more warning shots at Trump.
After months of increasingly vocal protestations that social media companies are letting President Trump play by a different set of rules, two warning shots were fired this week.
First, Facebook announced on Wednesday that it was removing a post from the president’s page featuring a clip of an interview he had given earlier in the day to Fox News, in which he falsely said that children were “almost immune” to the coronavirus. It was the first time that Facebook had taken such a move against Mr. Trump, despite repeated entreaties.
Several hours later, Twitter announced that it had frozen the president’s campaign account, @TeamTrump, for a post linking to the video. The campaign was, a spokesman said, in “violation of the Twitter Rules on Covid-19 misinformation.” At issue was the statement made by Mr. Trump denying established scientific facts about the virus.
The post was removed a short time later and the account was unlocked.
But both measures represented a turning point in the relationship that major social media companies have with Mr. Trump, who has used their platforms to advance his political aims and to harness energy from supporters, but who has never felt compelled to adhere to their rules.
Mr. Trump’s conservative allies have repeatedly complained that such rules are arbitrarily enforced. But in the pandemic era, in which misinformation about the virus has been hard to stamp out, tech companies have gotten somewhat more serious about enforcement.
To be sure, freezing the campaign Twitter account is nowhere near the wound to Mr. Trump that taking action against his personal feed would be. But after months of stasis, social media firms appear to be showing the president, the White House and his political aides that their pliability goes only so far.
Today, Tennessee voters will decide whether to give a candidate endorsed by Mr. Trump, Bill Hagerty, the state’s Republican nomination for Senate. Mr. Hagerty, who served as the president’s first ambassador to Japan, has coasted through the primary to succeed the retiring Senator Lamar Alexander, in large part on Mr. Trump’s stamp of approval.
Despite styling himself as an outsider of sorts, Mr. Hagerty has also received the backing of a veritable who’s who of Tennessee Republican politics, including Senator Marsha Blackburn and former Gov. Bill Haslam, as well as kind words from Mr. Alexander himself. But the dissonance between Mr. Hagerty’s Trump-centered campaign and his more establishment-friendly background — stints in private equity, a longtime friendship with Senator Mitt Romney of Utah — has made the race take a competitive turn in recent weeks.
Manny Sethi, an orthopedic surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has used his insurgent campaign to put Mr. Hagerty’s ties to Mr. Romney, for one, front and center, and has tried to fashion himself as the race’s most authentic conservative and ally of Mr. Trump’s agenda. He’s managed to collect his own cast of prominent Republican supporters, including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.
The two candidates’ final push to out-Trump one another has made the primary one of the nastiest in the country, with seemingly each morning bringing a new slew of attack ads, many of them misleading. The result has been a race in which voters have learned a great deal about Mr. Hagerty and Mr. Sethi’s allegiance to the president, but perhaps not so much about the candidates themselves.
“I’m not sure people have learned much about either candidate in the course of the race that’s going to be relevant to their service as senator,” said Tom Ingram, a former chief of staff to Mr. Alexander.
Top Democrats and White House officials on Wednesday remained nowhere close to an agreement for a new rescue package to address the coronavirus’s toll on the economy, growing increasingly pessimistic that they could meet a self-imposed Friday deadline as Mr. Trump again threatened to act on his own to provide relief.
Even as they vowed to continue talks, negotiators remained dug in on crucial points of any potential deal, jeopardizing additional relief for small businesses and laid-off workers — and all but guaranteeing that senators who had planned to go home for a scheduled recess next week would instead stay in Washington awaiting a deal.
Given the number of outstanding policy issues, including the revival of expanded unemployment benefits and Mr. Trump’s rejection of a key Democratic demand for nearly $1 trillion for struggling state and local governments, the prospect of votes on such a package next week appeared remote.
“I feel optimistic that there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after hosting another round of talks in her Capitol Hill office with Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary; Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff; and Senator Chuck Schumer, the minority leader. “But how long that tunnel is remains to be seen.”
Mr. Trump raised $165 million in July for his campaign and shared committees with the Republican National Committee, outpacing Joseph R. Biden Jr., who raised $140 million last month as money continued to flood the presidential campaign at a record-setting pace.
Mr. Biden had out-raised Mr. Trump in the two previous months, the first time that the presumptive Democratic nominee had out-raised the Republican incumbent. Mr. Biden had raised $141 million in his shared accounts with the Democratic National Committee in June, compared to $131 million for Mr. Trump with the R.N.C.
Both campaigns announced their dueling July figures on Wednesday evening, with Mr. Biden’s campaign going first and Mr. Trump’s soon following.
“Silent Majority Donors,” Gary Coby, Mr. Trump’s digital director, wrote on Twitter, surrounding the phrase with four American flag emojis.
The Biden campaign cheered how much of its haul it had saved for the fall.
“The Biden campaign is on the march, building off the incredible momentum from this summer with another lights-out fund-raising month, banking another $50 million for the final stretch to Election Day,” Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, said in a statement.
She said the campaign and party entered August with $294 million in the bank. Mr. Trump’s campaign said it and the party had more than $300 million cash on hand.
“The enthusiasm behind President Trump’s re-election continues to grow as July’s massive fund-raising totals prove,” said Bill Stepien, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager. The Trump campaign said that July was its biggest online fund-raising month ever, as donations poured in even as Mr. Trump trails Mr. Biden in national and key battleground polls.
When Bernie Sanders lost to Mr. Biden, the left mourned what could have been, worried that it had faltered at a once-in-a-generation crossroads for the Democratic Party.
But in the time since Mr. Sanders dropped out of the 2020 presidential race in early April, progressives have had a number of victories to celebrate, in Missouri, New York, Michigan and Illinois — congressional primary triumphs that demonstrate a new path for building political power and grass-roots momentum that threatens the position of longtime Democratic leadership.
This week, the progressive activist Cori Bush defeated Representative William Lacy Clay Jr. of Missouri, a 10-term incumbent and member of a political dynasty that had represented the St. Louis area for more than 50 years. Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan also cruised in her primary against the more moderate Detroit City Council president, proving the staying power of the group of progressive congresswomen known as the “Squad.”
Earlier primary contests led to other victories for the left: Jamaal Bowman, a former middle school principal, ousted the longtime incumbent Representative Eliot L. Engel in the Bronx and Westchester, the progressive lawyer Mondaire Jones won a House primary for an open seat in New York’s Rockland County, and Marie Newman defeated an anti-abortion Democrat in Illinois. And so what began for the party’s left wing as a year of “what could’ve been” is turning into a promise of “what can be,” as the successes provide a new road map of political possibilities.
“People are ready to elect people who they see actually doing the work,” Ms. Bush said in an interview.
Mr. Sanders hosted Ms. Tlaib, Ms. Bush, and Mr. Bowman in a livestreamed conversation Wednesday night, an event that drew nearly 100,000 viewers.
Mr. Sanders said the trio would “take the progressive banner” and bring it into “conflict with the establishment politicians and the corporate elite” who hold the reins of power in Congress.
As they recounted their resounding victories, the trio heaped praise on Mr. Sanders for continuing to provide leadership for them and progressives even after he lost his presidential bid.
“You didn’t become the Democratic nominee, but you didn’t give up on this movement,” Ms. Tlaib told Mr. Sanders.
Biden’s Milwaukee moment is canceled, and so is a normal presidential campaign.
Mr. Biden acknowledged on Wednesday that he would not appear in Milwaukee to accept the presidential nomination he has sought on and off since the 1980s, bowing to the realities of the pandemic.
The decision to cancel major in-person appearances at the Democratic National Convention, at the recommendation of health officials, was the final blow to the prospect that the fall campaign would even remotely resemble a traditional presidential contest, as the country confronts more than 150,000 deaths from the virus and cases continue to rise in parts of the country.
“The conventions as we traditionally have known them are no more,” said Terry McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman who oversaw the party’s 2000 and 2004 conventions. “They will be more interactive and more digital, with more on social media.”
Other than the party chairman, Tom Perez, a small handful of Democratic officials will travel to Milwaukee from out of state to attend the convention. Some Wisconsin officials may deliver speeches from the crowd-free soundstage at the city’s convention center, where Mr. Biden was to deliver his nomination acceptance speech. He will now do that from his home state, Delaware.
Mr. Trump and Republicans, who have careened from moving most of their convention from Charlotte, N.C., to Jacksonville, Fla., to canceling the made-for-TV portion of their event, have been slower to give up on the prospect of an in-person convention despite the serious health risks, and 336 delegates are still set to gather in North Carolina.
Reporting was contributed by Luke Broadwater, Reid J. Epstein, Sheera Frenkel, Katie Glueck, Shane Goldmacher, Maggie Haberman, Astead W. Herndon, Cecilia Kang and Elaina Plott.