Election Live Updates: Trump Unleashes Xenophobic Attack on Ilhan Omar and Falsely Claims ‘Biden Will Turn Minnesota Into a Refugee Camp’

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Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

A day after he refused to condemn white supremacists at the first presidential debate, President Trump unleashed a xenophobic attack on Representative Ilhan Omar at a rally in Minnesota Wednesday night, accusing her of telling “us” — meaning his overwhelmingly white audience — “how to run our country.”

Ms. Omar, Democrat of Minnesota and an outspoken Trump critic, especially on immigration, is one of the first two Muslim women to be elected to Congress. She came to the United States in 1995, at the age of 12, after fleeing Somalia’s civil war and spending four years in a refugee camp, and she has been an American citizen for 20 years, since she was in high school in Minneapolis.

But Mr. Trump, who has a long history of demeaning female adversaries — especially women of color and Ms. Omar in particular — questioned her standing as an American during a rant about a video posted by a right-wing group allied with him that researchers say is part of a coordinated disinformation campaign. The video accuses Ms. Omar’s campaign of ballot harvesting but provides no verifiable evidence that her campaign collected ballots illegally or was involved in voter fraud.




Trump Launches Xenophobic Attack Against Omar in Minnesota Speech

Chants of ‘‘lock her up” broke out during a campaign rally for President Trump after he accused Representative Ilhan Omar of telling “us” how “to run our country.”

“Another massive issue for Minnesota is the election of Joe Biden’s plan to inundate your state with a historic flood of refugees.” [crowd booing] “Biden and crazy Bernie Sanders have agreed on a manifesto. Did you see last night? ‘I didn’t agree. I didn’t agree,’ after the show. They said, oh, actually he did. Oh, great. They fact-checked, they found out he made a mistake, slight mistake. It’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen. But they pledged a 700 percent increase in refugees — 700 percent. Congratulations Minnesota. Congratulations — now what about Omar, where she gets caught harvesting?” [crowd booing] “What the hell is going on? I hope your U.S. attorney is involved. What is going on with Omar? I’ve been reading these reports for two years about how corrupt and crooked she is —” Crowd: “Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up!” “Let’s get with it. Let’s get with it. I mean, frankly harvesting is terrible, but it’s the least of the things that she has done. How the hell — then she tells us how to run our country. Can you believe — how the hell did Minnesota elect her? What the hell is wrong with you people? What the hell happened?”

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Chants of ‘‘lock her up” broke out during a campaign rally for President Trump after he accused Representative Ilhan Omar of telling “us” how “to run our country.”CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

As Mr. Trump rattled off his grievances against Ms. Omar, the crowd chanted, “Lock her up!”

“Harvesting is terrible, but it’s the least of things that she has done,” Mr. Trump said. “Then she tells us how to run our country, can you believe it? How the hell did Minnesota elect her? What the hell is wrong with you people — right? What the hell happened?”

Mr. Trump, his voice rasping amid a cascade of boos, also hammered at his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr., for his pledge to roll back sharp Trump administration restrictions on admitting refugees if he is elected. Mr. Biden has called for raising Mr. Trump’s cap of 18,000 refugees admitted per year nationwide to 125,000, slightly above the level President Barack Obama said should be allowed in his final year in office.

“Another massive issue for Minnesota is the election of Joe Biden’s plan to inundate your state with a historic flood of refugees,” he said.

“Seven hundred percent increase, refugees, coming from the most dangerous places in the world, including Yemen, Syria, and your favorite country, Somalia, right?” Mr. Trump said later, to a chorus of boos.

Minneapolis is home to about 57,000 people of Somali descent, and Minnesota has one of the largest Somali populations in the country.

“Biden will turn Minnesota into a refugee camp,” Mr. Trump said.

While Minnesota has not been carried by a Republican since 1972, Hillary Clinton won the state by less than 2 percent in 2016. Polls of the state show Mr. Biden with a substantial lead over Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump’s comments on Wednesday track closely with a series of tweets last year in which he told a group of four progressive congresswomen of color, including Ms. Omar, to “go back” to where they came from, even though all are American citizens and all but Ms. Omar were born in the United States.

“Not only is the president a racist, but he’s a racist xenophobic,” Ms. Omar said last week after Mr. Trump made similar comments about her at a rally.

“The president clearly loves to prey on people’s fears,” she said. “He spreads the disease of hate everywhere he goes. These cult rallies that he’s holding across the country are now being fueled by fear.”

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court, signed a newspaper ad in 2006 that supported overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision establishing the right to abortion.

The ad, which ran across two pages in the South Bend Tribune and was first reported by The Guardian on Thursday, quoted Justice Byron White’s dissent in Roe v. Wade, and called the decision “an exercise of raw judicial power” and urged overturning its “barbaric legacy.”

Judge Barrett’s opposition to Roe is in line with a pledge by President Trump to appoint justices to the court who would overturn the ruling. On Tuesday, during his first debate with Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mr. Trump sought to walk back that promise, disputing that abortion was “on the ballot” and telling Mr. Biden of Judge Barrett, “you don’t know her view on Roe v. Wade. You don’t know her view.”

But with news on Thursday that Judge Barrett had signed the open letter, which was also signed by her husband, Jesse Barrett, a fellow lawyer and former federal prosecutor, the nominee’s view on the ruling became clear. Though the judge’s participation in other groups had indicated her personal opposition to abortion, her stance on the court decision specifically had not been widely known.

Some supporters of her nomination, however, had already expressed confidence in how she might rule. “I think her record’s awfully clear,” Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, said earlier this week. “I think that’s one where she meets my standard of having evidence in the record, out there in public, on the record that indicates that she understands Roe was really an act of judicial imperialism and wrongly decided.”

Most Americans support keeping abortion legal. In a recent New York Times/Siena poll, 56 percent of likely said they would be less likely to vote for Mr. Trump if his appointee would help overturn Roe v. Wade, while 24 percent said they would be more inclined to vote for him.

The poll found that 71 percent of independents believed abortion should be legal all or most of the time, and 31 percent of Republicans said the same. A third of the country said it should be illegal all or most of the time.

Ms. Barrett lives in South Bend, Ind., and has extensive ties there, having graduated from Notre Dame Law School in 1997 and taught there since 2002. The ad in question was placed by a local anti-abortion group called St. Joseph County Right to Life.

“Please continue to pray to end abortion,” the ad urged.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Democrats, seeking to exact a political price from Republicans for supporting Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, will force a largely symbolic Senate vote on Thursday to bar the Trump administration from continuing its litigation to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

The measure, scheduled for a vote on Thursday afternoon, is all but certain to fail. But Democrats’ decision to insist on its consideration reflects their emerging strategy for the intensifying election-season confirmation fight over Judge Barrett, President Trump’s conservative nominee.

For now, Democrats have opted against using parliamentary tactics to grind the Senate to a complete halt and try to delay a confirmation vote until after the election, as some progressive groups have demanded. But they do intend to exploit every opportunity to make the case to voters that Republicans are racing to install someone on the nation’s highest court who would endanger the health care law, including its protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions, in the middle of a deadly pandemic.

The calculation appears rooted in realism: Democrats have neither the parliamentary power to delay the confirmation until after Election Day nor the votes to block her eventual approval. But by zeroing in on an issue that polls indicate is among the most important to voters this fall, they intend to apply maximum political pressure on embattled Republicans for embracing Mr. Trump’s nominee.

“We’re fighting this Supreme Court nomination with the tools that we have,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said on MSNBC on Wednesday night, boasting of his maneuvering to force the vote.

Republicans, he added, “all say, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m for protecting pre-existing conditions.’ They’ll have a chance to show it tomorrow.”

The vote is a rare instance in which Republicans allowed themselves to be procedurally outmaneuvered by Democrats. As the majority party, they generally control the Senate floor, including what comes up for a vote and what does not. But in this case, Mr. Schumer waited until no Republicans were present on the chamber floor, sought recognition to speak and then, catching the majority by surprise, managed to wrestle away control and schedule a vote.

The bill would bar the Justice Department from arguing in court to strike down the Affordable Care Act when the Supreme Court hears a challenge to the law next month.

Republicans facing difficult races in politically competitive states have tried to avoid taking a position on a law that infuriates their conservative base but has become broadly popular.

Democrats, pointing to Ms. Barrett’s legal commentary before she became a judge, argue that she could cast a deciding vote in favor of striking down the law, which guaranteed protection for pre-existing conditions and drastically expanded the number of Americans covered by health insurance.

Credit…Tom Brenner for The New York Times

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, repeatedly refused to denounce white supremacy on Thursday, insisting that President Trump had already done so and angrily accusing the media of refusing to accept his answer.

In a series of remarkably heated exchanges with reporters, even by the standards of the Trump White House, Ms. McEnany said that Mr. Trump has “always denounced any form of that” and read from past quotes from the president in which he condemned bigotry and racism, including “the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups.”

But she would not explicitly condemn white supremacy from the briefing room lectern or specifically denounce the Proud Boys, a far-right group that Mr. Trump said should “stand back and stand by” during Tuesday’s presidential debate with Joseph R. Biden Jr.

When Ms. McEnany was asked why the Proud Boys, an extremist organization that embraces violence and hate against minorities, was celebrating Mr. Trump’s debate comments, she once again declined to denounce the group and noted that the president on Wednesday had clarified that the group should “stand back” and let law enforcement do their jobs.

Under repeated questioning by reporters from CBS, Fox News, CNN and other organizations, Ms. McEnany lashed out, blaming journalism organizations for publicizing the Proud Boys in their stories. She told a CNN reporter that “truth is of no moment” to the cable network and complained when a CBS News reporter interrupted her.

“It’s quite funny that the media goes haywire about interrupting and debates and then chooses to pursue that very same tactic themselves,” Ms. McEnany said. “This is a White House briefing: You ask a question and you give me time to answer.”

The president has — as Ms. McEnany said — at times denounced the K.K.K. and other hate groups. But he has often done so under pressure, and only as part of a broad condemnation against violence in which he quickly attacks left-wing groups as the bigger threat to the country.

In the debate, Mr. Biden said that antifa, a left-wing movement that has perpetrated violence, was “an idea,” different from specific right-wing hate groups, citing recent testimony by Christopher A. Wray, the director of the F.B.I., who described antifa as an “ideology or movement” rather than an organization.

Ms. McEnany mocked Mr. Biden’s answer on Thursday.

“Ideas do not target police officers. Ideas do not burn down buildings. Ideas do not kill innocent Americans. Organizations do,” she said. “And Democrats should condemn that shameful group in the same manner President Trump continues to condemn white supremacy.”

Credit…Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times

The group of Trump campaign officials came carrying cellphone cameras and a determination to help the president’s re-election efforts in Philadelphia. But they were asked to leave the city’s newly opened satellite election offices on Tuesday after being told local election laws did not permit them to monitor voters coming to request and complete absentee ballots.

On social media, right-wing news sites and in the presidential debate on Tuesday night, President Trump and his campaign quickly suggested nefarious intent in the actions of local election officials, with the president claiming during the debate that “bad things happen in Philadelphia” and urging his supporters everywhere to “go into the polls and watch very carefully.”

The dark and baseless descriptions of the voting process in Philadelphia were the latest broad-brush attempt by the Trump campaign to undermine confidence in this year’s election, a message delivered with an ominous edge at the debate when he advised an extremist group, the Proud Boys, to “stand back and stand by” in his remarks about the election.

The sinister insinuations and calls for his followers to monitor voting activity are clear. What’s less apparent is how the Trump campaign wants this to play out.

In recent weeks, the Trump campaign has distributed carefully lawyered training videos to prospective poll watchers around the country describing what they can and can’t do while monitoring the voting process, imploring them to be courteous to “even our Democrat friends.” The poll watchers will challenge ballots and the eligibility of voters, but they are not supposed to interact with voters themselves.

Voting rights groups fear that effort could veer toward voter intimidation. But the question is how far Mr. Trump’s supporters will take the exhortations to protect a vote the president has relentlessly, and baselessly, described as being at risk of widespread fraud.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Of the flood of misinformation, conspiracy theories and falsehoods seeding the internet on the coronavirus, one common thread stands out: President Trump.

That is the conclusion of researchers at Cornell University who analyzed 38 million articles about the pandemic in English-language media around the world. Mentions of Mr. Trump made up nearly 38 percent of the overall “misinformation conversation,” making the president the largest driver of the “infodemic” — falsehoods involving the pandemic.

The study, released on Thursday, is the first comprehensive examination of coronavirus misinformation in traditional and online media.

“The biggest surprise was that the president of the United States was the single largest driver of misinformation around Covid,” said Sarah Evanega, the director of the Cornell Alliance for Science and the study’s lead author. “That’s concerning in that there are real-world dire health implications.”

The study identified 11 topics of misinformation, including various conspiracy theories, like one that emerged in January suggesting the pandemic was manufactured by Democrats to coincide with Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial, and another that purported to trace the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China, to people who ate bat soup.

But by far the most prevalent topic of misinformation topic was “miracle cures,” including Mr. Trump’s promotion of anti-malarial drugs and disinfectants as potential treatments for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That accounted for more misinformation than the other 10 topics combined, the researchers reported.

Credit…Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Multiple USB memory sticks and a laptop used to program voting machines in Philadelphia were stolen from a warehouse, city officials confirmed on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear when the materials were stolen, nor whether any machines had been compromised. Mayor Jim Kenney of Philadelphia said that law enforcement was investigating the incident, and that he was providing additional resources to strengthen security at the warehouse.

But city election officials pledged that the theft would not disrupt the November election. “This matter should not deter Philadelphians from voting, nor from having confidence in the security of this election,” Mr. Kenney said in a statement.

The machines’ manufacturer, Election Systems & Software, said in a statement that the theft “will not in any way compromise the integrity of the election.”

“The laptop did not hold any sensitive data related to elections,” said Katina Granger, a spokeswoman for the company. “It was not used to program the election or interact with USBs used in elections. The USBs are encrypted and contain multiple levels of security. Upon learning of the theft, ES&S immediately changed the employee’s corporate network user account and the device address was blocked and passwords changed.”

Ms. Granger also noted that the USBs, once programmed, are married to a specific machine and cannot be used elsewhere. All machines, once programed, are sealed until Election Day. It was not clear how many of the machines had already been programmed and sealed.

The machines record both a digital tally and a paper backup for each vote. Philadelphia bought 3,750 of the machines and first used them in an election last year.

The theft, first reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, comes as President Trump cast the city as riddled with election problems during Tuesday’s presidential debate, falsely claiming that Republican poll workers were unfairly barred from polling places.

Philadelphia recently opened seven satellite election offices that allow voters to request and fill out absentee ballots; they are not polling locations, and poll watching is not permitted.

But technical glitches plagued the first day that the satellite election offices were open, including a period where the state voter database went down. Some voters waited for over an hour while the technical issues were sorted out.

Facebook on Wednesday said it would prohibit the purchase of ads that seek to delegitimize the outcome of the election, as the social network prepares for a turbulent next few weeks.

Facebook, under its amended policy, said it would not allow paid ads on its site that try to undermine the election process, such as by declaring voter fraud. The change builds on the company’s recent moves to keep out political ads that make premature declarations of victory and to stop candidates from purchasing political ads entirely in the week before Election Day, Nov. 3.

“For example, this would include calling a method of voting inherently fraudulent or corrupt, or using isolated incidents of voter fraud to delegitimize the result of an election,” said Rob Leathern, a director of product management at Facebook, in a tweet on Wednesday.

The changes will apply to ads on both Facebook and Instagram, Mr. Leathern said, and are effective immediately.

Facebook updated its policies less than 24 hours after President Trump, in a debate Tuesday with the Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., refused to agree to accept the election outcome. Mr. Trump repeatedly railed against voting and the integrity of the election, suggesting without evidence that voter fraud was rampant and telling his supporters to go to the polls and watch voters closely.

Facebook has struggled with how to police political advertising. The company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has said he supports unfettered speech on his platform while also trying to minimize the amount of harm Facebook can do to the electoral process.

That position has been tested as Mr. Trump has spread falsehoods about the voting process, something that Facebook has asserted it would prohibit on the platform. Critics have slammed Facebook for unevenly policing its election-related posts and advertising, citing the company’s unwillingness to upset conservatives and the White House.

Over the past two years, Facebook has stepped up its efforts to fight against malicious actors and foreign influence campaigns across its service. Mr. Zuckerberg has vowed not to see a repeat of the 2016 election, in which Russian operatives used Facebook to manipulate Americans and sow discord.

Credit…Mark Makela for The New York Times

There are two more presidential debates left before Election Day, but now, after the debacle of the first debate — 90 minutes dominated by insults, attacks and interruptions by President Trump — everything seems up in the air.

The Commission on Presidential Debates, whose members were frustrated that its marquee event was widely viewed as a failure, announced that it would propose a new format before Mr. Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. meet for their second debate on Oct. 15.

That idea was immediately rejected by Mr. Trump’s campaign. “Joe Biden is trying to work the refs,” said Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for the Trump campaign. “They shouldn’t be moving the goal posts and changing the rules in the middle of the game.”

Things were so unsettled that Mr. Biden’s aides felt compelled to respond to a wave of speculation that there would be no more debates, announcing that he was not backing out. Why should he? By every measure, Mr. Biden had a good enough night, and there’s little reason, Democrats said, for him to do anything that would make him look wavering and take the spotlight off a struggling Mr. Trump. What’s more, the next debate is a town hall event with voters, the kind of format that should play to Mr. Biden’s strengths.

But might Mr. Trump, who left the stage to withering debate reviews, decide this is just not worth it? Some Democrats suggested that was exactly the way to interpret the fast slapdown by the Trump campaign of the debate commission’s announcement that it was changing the rules.

“If you think that the president gained nothing but trouble from that so-called debate, it’s very easy to imagine him using the proposed rules change as an excuse to skip the last two debates,” said James P. Manley, who was a senior aide to Harry Reid, the former Democratic leader of the Senate.

Still, there are less than five weeks left until Election Day, Mr. Trump is trailing in many polls, and he is running out of opportunities — ideal or not — to shake up the race. And it would seem out of character: Through his public life, Mr. Trump has always seemed more likely to run into the flames than run away from them.

Here are the daily schedules of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates for Thursday, Oct. 1. All times are Eastern time.

President Trump

3 p.m.: Participates in a round table with supporters in Bedminster, N.J.

3:45 p.m.: Delivers remarks at a fund-raising committee reception.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Afternoon: Hosts online fund-raiser.

Mike Pence

Noon: Delivers a campaign speech at Owen Industries in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Kamala Harris


Credit…Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

A flood of mail-in ballots that will need processing. Foreign disinformation campaigns. A shortage of poll workers. And voters afraid of catching a potentially fatal disease at the ballot box.

As the person in charge of carrying out a free and fair presidential election in a key swing state this November, Secretary of State Frank LaRose of Ohio, a Republican, is bracing for it all.

He has visited the printing press to see 17 semitrailer trucks ready to ship out 7.8 million absentee ballot forms — the most ever for Ohio.

He fields calls in his work-from-home “driveway studio” (his car) from county officials unsure how they will iron the creases in heaps of wrinkled mail-in ballot envelopes so they can be read by automated machines.

He sets his own mother straight when she calls to ask if that post she saw on Facebook claiming voters’ party affiliations would be stamped across mail-in ballot envelopes is true (it’s not).

Mr. LaRose and other secretaries of state, who serve as the top elections officials in most states in what is usually a partisan elected position, are in charge of managing a chaotic, disinformation-prone, pandemic-plagued presidential vote that none of them envisioned when they took office.

They knew they would be facing a divided electorate this November.

“But I don’t think any of us envisioned a global pandemic, right?” Mr. LaRose said.

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