Election Live Updates: Trump Heads to Pennsylvania, a Key State Where He Is Trailing

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Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump and the first lady will campaign on Tuesday in Pennsylvania, one of the key battleground states where Joseph R. Biden Jr. leads in the polls exactly two weeks before Election Day.

Mr. Trump trails Mr. Biden, his Democratic opponent, in all of the swing states that he carried in 2016, according to a New York Times snapshot of polling averages. That includes Pennsylvania, where Mr. Biden’s polling lead is averaging eight percentage points.

At his airport rally in Erie, Pa., on Tuesday night, Mr. Trump will be joined by the first lady, Melania Trump, in her first public appearance since recovering from the coronavirus.

Mr. Biden, who was born in Pennsylvania and has been trying to flip blue-collar voters there who supported Mr. Trump four years ago, is not expected to make any public appearances before the final presidential debate on Thursday in Nashville.

But as the debate nears, his presence is looming large over Mr. Trump’s campaign.

On Monday, Mr. Trump unleashed a torrent of anger about Mr. Biden and the business practices of his son Hunter Biden during a morning conference call with campaign staff members that several reporters listened in on.

Mr. Trump also called Mr. Biden “a criminal” during a rally in Arizona, and his re-election campaign announced a $55 million advertising blitz that will focus on reaching older voters in battleground states — a demographic that polls suggest is moving toward Mr. Biden.

Mr. Trump’s Pennsylvania rally comes a day after the Supreme Court let stand a ruling by the state’s highest court that allowed election officials to count some mailed ballots received up to three days after Election Day, citing the pandemic and postal delays.

The ruling is a major victory for Democrats who have been pushing to expand access to voting in the pandemic, and for a party that has been requesting absentee ballots in far greater numbers than Republicans.

Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s attorney general, said on Monday that the ruling “makes clear our law will stand despite repeated attacks.”

“With nearly a million votes already cast in Pennsylvania,” he added, “we support the Court’s decision not to meddle in our already-working system.”

The ruling was a defeat for Pennsylvania Republicans who had asked the Supreme Court to intervene. Yet the court’s action — the result of a deadlock — suggested that Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, could play a decisive role in election disputes if she is confirmed to the court as expected next week.

Credit…Erin Scott for The New York Times

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California is racing against a self-imposed Tuesday deadline for a compromise with congressional Republicans on a coronavirus stimulus package that could be considered before the election.

She and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, held their latest talks on Monday afternoon, speaking for nearly an hour by phone. The two “continued to narrow their differences,” said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi. He added that “the speaker continues to hope that, by the end of the day Tuesday, we will have clarity on whether we will be able to pass a bill before the election.”

The odds of a last-minute deal remain long, with Democrats and the Trump administration still haggling over funding levels and policy issues. Even if they could agree, Senate Republicans have all but ruled out embracing a plan anywhere near as large as the more than $2 trillion package under discussion.

If such a deal were struck, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, said the chamber would consider it, but he also made a point of scheduling two separate votes in the coming days on narrower bills of the kind senators in his party are more willing to accept. One would revive a lapsed federal loan program for small businesses and the other would provide $500 billion for schools, testing and expired unemployment benefits.

President Trump has insisted in recent days that he wants to spend more than the $2.4 trillion Ms. Pelosi has put forward in negotiations, and claimed he could easily cajole enough Senate Republicans into supporting an agreement of that size — a notion that many of them have told his top deputies would never happen.

In a private call with Democrats on Monday, Ms. Pelosi instructed committee chairmen to work with the top Republicans on their panels to try to resolve critical differences holding up the deal. She outlined a number of remaining areas of disagreement, including Democratic demands for hundreds of billions of dollars in funding for state and local governments, support for restaurants devastated by the pandemic and additional health provisions, according to a person on the call, who disclosed the details on condition of anonymity. Democrats also remain wary that the administration would spend the funds as Congress intended.

Still, Ms. Pelosi insisted she was optimistic a bargain could be reached and said she was intent on reaching one before a new Democratic administration began in January.

“I don’t want to carry over the droppings of this grotesque elephant into the next presidency,” Ms. Pelosi told her members. “We’ve got to get something big, and we’ve got to get it done soon and we’ve got to get it done right.”

Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

President Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. will be muted during portions of Thursday’s final presidential debate, an effort by the organizers to avoid the unruly spectacle that played out at the candidates’ first meeting in Cleveland last month.

As in the first debate, each candidate will be allotted two minutes of speaking time to initially answer the moderator’s questions. But under a plan announced on Monday by the Commission on Presidential Debates, his opponent’s microphone will be turned off during that period, an attempt to ensure an uninterrupted response.

After the candidates finish their two-minute replies, they will be allowed to freely engage with one another for the remainder of the segment. (The debate, to be moderated by Kristen Welker of NBC News, is divided into six segments of 15 minutes apiece.)

Aides to Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump were notified of the change late Monday. Mr. Trump signaled late Monday that he was not happy about it.

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One after a day of campaigning in Arizona, Mr. Trump raised objections to the commission’s plans but confirmed that he would take part in the debate.

“I’ll participate, I just think it is very unfair,” Mr. Trump said.

Credit…Tom Sherlin/The Daily Times, via Associated Press

A federal appeals court on Monday exempted first-time Tennessee voters from having to appear in person at the polls on Election Day if they registered online or by mail, as required by state law. Critics of the law said it would endanger residents during the pandemic.

Siding with civil rights and union groups, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati denied an emergency motion by Tennessee election officials for a stay so that they could enforce the law while it was being litigated.

The court’s unanimous ruling upheld a preliminary injunction that had been granted on Sept. 9 by a district court in Tennessee. The state ranked 12th nationally in the number of virus cases per capita as of Monday, according to a New York Times database.

In their 16-page ruling, the three federal judges who heard the case noted that state election officials had waited a month after the district court’s order to request a stay, and that many of those who would have been affected by the rule might have already voted.

“Given that there are approximately 128,000 first-time voters in Tennessee to whom the first-time voter requirement would apply, the confusion caused by a stay of the district court’s order at this juncture could be relatively widespread,” the judges wrote. “This confusion could lead to frustration and, conceivably, to voters’ decisions not to partake in an ever-changing process.”

Election officials are allowed to deputize residents to register new voters at places that include churches, which exempts them from having to appear in person at the polls, Suzanne Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Shelby County Election Commission in Memphis, said in an interview on Monday night.

Early voting began last week in Tennessee. In Memphis, a poll worker was fired late last week after he turned away several voters who were wearing T-shirts that said “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe,” Ms. Thompson said.

A Tennessee law prohibits voters from wearing clothing with the names of active candidates or political parties, but the rule does not apply to social justice expressions, she said.

“Frankly, we were horrified when we learned that,” Ms. Thompson said. “So we took immediate action. No one should ever be turned away from a polling location.”

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump told voters in Arizona that Americans are “getting tired of the pandemic” and accused the news media of exaggerating the crisis, as he sought to make up ground in a traditionally Republican state where the virus is making a comeback.

“Your state is doing great with the pandemic,” Mr. Trump said at a rally in Prescott, his first of two in the state on Monday. “They’re getting tired of the pandemic, aren’t they? You turn on CNN. That’s all they cover: Covid, Covid, pandemic. Covid, Covid, Covid.”

“You know why? They’re trying to talk people out of voting,” Mr. Trump added. “People aren’t buying it, CNN, you dumb bastards,” he said to cheers.

His dismissive remarks about the coronavirus echoed earlier ones he made Monday morning in a call with members of his campaign.

“People are tired of Covid,” Mr. Trump had complained on the call, to which several reporters had been invited. “I have the biggest rallies I’ve ever had. And we have Covid. People are saying: ‘Whatever. Just leave us alone.’ They’re tired of it.”

He added, “People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots.”

After landing in Arizona, Mr. Trump complimented its Republican governor, Doug Ducey, saying that the state was “really in great shape” despite the fact that infections are again on the rise there. Arizona has had 231,910 coronavirus cases, the eighth-highest total in the nation, according to a New York Times database. Over the past week, there have been an average of 796 cases per day, an increase of 58 percent from two weeks ago.

In his rallies, Mr. Trump also revived his far-fetched warnings, clearly designed to appeal to affluent white voters, that Democrats want to “destroy” America’s suburbs by promoting affordable housing.

Speaking in Prescott, Mr. Trump boasted that he had rescinded a 2015 initiative requiring localities to create detailed plans to remedy racial segregation in housing. “It allows low-income housing to be built, right next to your American dream,” Mr. Trump said. “What ultimately it means is crime will come pouring in.”

“I’ve watched it for years,” he added. “You’ve all watched it, right? Where they destroy these incredible communities.”

He again harped on that message at a second rally in Tucson. “I kept hearing that women from the suburbs won’t like Trump,” he said. “I said, ‘Why because I’m stopping crime?’ You’re gonna have the suburbs be safe.”

Recent polling has shown Mr. Trump’s Democratic rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., with a lead of as much as eight percentage points in Arizona, a traditionally Republican state that is growing more Democratic. Early voting has been underway in the state for nearly two weeks.

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