Trump buoyed by court pick goes on the attack
One week out from America's election day, Donald Trump is riding high after his Supreme Court pick Judge Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the country's highest court, but the US President also went on the attack against his opponent Joe Biden, former president Barack Obama and the media's "obsession" with the coronavirus pandemic.
In an early morning tweetstorm, Mr Trump accused the media of not wanting to talk about anything other than the virus and falsely claimed that "we are rounding the turn" when statistics show that infection rates are rising across the majority of the US.
"Until November 4th., Fake News Media is going full on COVID, COVID, COVID. We are rounding the turn. 99.9%," Mr Trump tweeted.
He also pointed to a report in the US that said hospital admissions had lowered amid rising case numbers.
"Death rate of people going into hospitals is MUCH LOWER now than it was.
@MSNBC. Wow, MSDNC [sic] has come a long way! The fact is that we have learned and done a lot about this Virus. Much different now than when it first arrived on our shores, and the World's, from China!"
Mr Trump also used the opportunity to take a dig at Mr Biden and Mr Obama.
"Obama is drawing VERY small (tiny) numbers of people. Biden is drawing almost no one. We are drawing tens of thousands of people. You'll see that again today. The Great Red Wave is coming!!!"
Until November 4th., Fake News Media is going full on Covid, Covid, Covid. We are rounding the turn. 99.9%.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2020
But, campaigning for Mr Biden in Florida on Tuesday (local time), the former US president bit back.
Speaking about Mr Trump he pointed out, "He was fussing about the crowd size of inauguration again. Saying his is bigger."
"Who's thinking about that right now?" Mr Obama asked.
The ex-president rattled off the most recent COVID-19 numbers.
"He's jealous of COVID's media coverage!" Mr Obama remarked. "If he had been focused on COVID from the beginning, cases would not be reaching new record highs …" he continued.
Mr Obama said Mr Trump "turned the White House into a hot zone."
"And over the weekend his chief of staff, and I'm quoting here, I'm not making this up. His chief of staff on a news program said, 'We're not going to control the pandemic.'
"Yes he did and yes we noticed," Mr Obama said.
The former president also slammed Mr Trump for saying "not much" when asked if he'd change his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Not much? Not much? Really? Not much? You can't think of anything you might be doing differently," Mr Obama said, pointing out how Mr Trump had said "inject bleach" during a White House press conference.
Talking about Joe Biden: "He's not going to screw up testing, he's not going to call scientists idiots, he's not going to host superspreader events at the White House and then take it on a tour all over the country."
TRUMP APPLAUDS 'PIONEER' JUDGE
On Monday night (local time), Mr Trump applauded the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, after she was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice in the United States.
The ceremony to confirm Judge Barrett took place just over an hour after the Senate confirmed the nomination in a 52 to 48 vote.
"It is highly fitting that Judge Amy Coney Barrett fills the seat of a true pioneer for women, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg," Mr Trump said at the White House ceremony.
Democrats have been highly critical of Judge Barrett, considered to be conservative, replacing Bader Ginsberg, who was a pioneer for equal rights and social reform.
Shortly after Judge Barrett was confirmed to the US Supreme Court on Monday, Democrats warned Republicans that they would regret their decision to hold a vote so closely to an election.
"The Republican majority is lighting its credibility on fire … The next time the American people give Democrats a majority in this chamber, you will have forfeited the right to tell us how to run that majority," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said during a floor speech Monday, according to Fox. "My colleagues may regret this for a lot longer than they think," he added.
But Mr Trump said that Judge Barrett being "the very first mother of school-aged children to become a Supreme Court justice" was "very important."
Judge Barrett was officially sworn in by Justice Clarence Thomas, who was also mired in controversy during his confirmation in 1991, when a former colleague, Anita Hill, accused him of sexual misconduct.
During her acceptance speech, Judge Barrett made a series of pointed remarks about the politicisation of her appointment, saying, "a judge declares independence not only from congress and the president, but also from the private beliefs that might move her."
Judge Barrett then said, "even though we judges don't face elections, we still work for you," and promised to carry out her duties "without fear or favour" and without personal political preference.
Following the swearing in, Judge Barrett and Mr Trump appeared on the Truman Balcony together before being joined by their spouses.
No one on the balcony wore masks or adhered to recommended social distancing guidelines.
SENATE CONFIRMS CONEY BARRETT
Judge Barrett's appointment is regarded as a major victory for Mr Trump as he celebrates his third conservative appointment to the court.
Despite the controversy over her nomination, polls show a majority of Americans support the Senate confirming her now. The Republican-dominated Senate voted 52-48 in favour of her appointment.
The 48-year-old mother of seven was appointed to the federal court of appeals for the seventh circuit (Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois) by Mr Trump in 2017.
He nominated her to sit on the Supreme Court following the death in September if the iconic progressive Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
She will become the 115th judge of the nine-person Supreme Court since it was first convened in 1789.
She will be the fifth female justice in the court's history and the seventh Catholic.
Conservatives believe she will tilt the ideological balance of the bench for decades - infuriating Democrats.
Mr Trump boasted of the victory hours earlier during a rally in Pennsylvania calling Judge Barrett "one of our nation's most brilliant legal minds".
"She will defend our rights, our liberties and our God given freedoms," Mr Trump said. "We were all watching in great amusement as she was so-called grilled by the opposition. That was easy.
"I'm glad she's not running for president. I'd much rather go against sleepy Joe."
Judge Barrett, previously a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, is a favourite among religious conservatives and will be the seventh Catholic on the nine-person court.
Her appointment - a job for life - has been strongly opposed by the Democrats on procedural grounds, saying Ginsburg's vacancy should not be filled until after the November 3 election.
Mr Trump has countered that it is his right as president to make a nomination.
She will be the youngest judge on the court.
Democrats were furious, one Senator saying "there will be consequences". The Democrats have threatened to "pack" the court if Mr Biden wins, adding seats to the court to ensure it has a liberal-progressive bias.
EARLY VOTING AMERICANS DEMAND RIGHT TO CHANGE VOTE
Meanwhile, many Americans who have already cast early votes in the US election have asked if they can change their minds, with New York one of a handful of states giving some that unexpected right.
More than 58.5 million have already cast their ballots, and searches for "Can I change my vote" started trending over the past few days - linked to searches for "Hunter Biden," according to Google Trends data.
It comes in the wake of damaging reports about the Biden family's business dealings.
As the President Donald Trump danced to YMCA at rallies, the New York Post reported that the biggest interest in changing votes has come from Arizona, Tennessee and Virginia, all states that - like most of the US - only give residents one shot at the polls.
But "in some states, you can submit your ballot, have a change of heart and, and submit a new ballot," Matthew Weil, director of the Election Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told American news network Newsy.
That includes New York, at least for those who mailed in an absentee ballot.
"The Election Law recognises that plans change," the Empire State's Board of Elections says.
"Even if you request or cast and return an absentee ballot, you may still go to the polls and vote in person," the rules state.
"The Board of Elections is required to check the poll book before canvassing any absentee ballot. If the voter comes to the poll site, on Election Day or during early voting and votes in person, the absentee ballot is set aside and not counted."
Those who change their mind after mailing in a vote can also go to the County Board of Elections to request a new ballot to override the initial one, with the last one sent in counting.
But those who voted early in-person do not get the same second chance. "Once you've voted at a machine, that's it," a Board of Elections spokesman told The Post. "You cast one vote and that is complete."
Michigan, Minnesota, Washington and Wisconsin all have specific election laws allowing residents to change their minds after casting an initial vote - with those in the Badger State even getting three chances.
In a recent update, the Wisconsin Elections Commission also noted that "many voters" had been getting in contact to see how they could revoke their initial absentee ballot - something they can easily do.
"A voter, whether voting by absentee ballot in the clerk's office or by mail, or at the polling place, can receive up to three ballots (the first two are spoiled)," the commission notes, saying it "has been the law in Wisconsin for many years."
Michigan also has clear-cut rules allowing an early mailed-in vote to be overridden.
"If a voter has already voted absentee and wishes to change their vote … a voter can spoil their ballot by submitting a written request to their city or township clerk," state law says.
Minnesota voters also get a chance - though not if they have left it this late.
"You can ask to cancel your ballot until the close of business two weeks before Election Day," the office of Secretary of State Steve Simon says. If they contact the election office before then, though, they can have a new ballot mailed or vote in person on Election Day.
Washington state also allows voters to "cancel a ballot at any time before Election Day," said Weil, the Election Project director, with the state not counting any mailed-in votes until polling closes.
TRUMP PLAYS BACK BIDEN'S WORDS AT RALLIES
Massive "Jumbotron" screens have been used at rallies by President Donald Trump to play videos mocking rival Joe Biden's fluid policy positions on fracking and the oil industry in three back-to-back rallies in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.
Mr Trump has committed to a packed schedule of rallies around the key swing states this week, poking fun at Mr Biden for "hiding in his basement".
Mr Biden made one appearance today and promised to make more visits to a number of states this week.
"I am not closing down the oil industry or banning fracking," Mr Biden said in his appearance in Pennsylvania.
It comes as reports emerge of Americans who voted early wanting to change their vote after media coverage of the business dealings of Mr Biden's son Hunter.
The President said that Joe Biden has "waved a white flag on life" - and claimed his rival is at 50 per cent mental capacity.
Speaking to reporters in Pennsylvania ahead of his rally, Mr Trump was asked about Biden's comments on the Trump administration "waving a white flag" on the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Trump said that Mr Biden was the one waving a flag of surrender on his own life.
"This guy doesn't leave his basement. He is a - he's a pathetic candidate, I will tell you that," the president told reporters.
During his rally in Allentown - one of three events to be held in Pennsylvania on Monday - Mr Trump mocked Biden, claiming he was at "50 per cent" mental capacity.
The President showed a number of videos at his rallies showing former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders attacking Mr Biden during the primaries over his apparent plans to reduce welfare programs.
"You have been on the floor of the Senate time and time again, touting the need to cut Social Security, Medicare and veterans' programs," Senator Sanders said to Mr Biden in one clip.
"That is not true," Mr Biden snapped back.
Mr Trump called the clip "devastating."
"That's a devastating video. I just saw it for the first time. That's devastating," he said.
BIDEN GAFFE: 'FOUR MORE YEARS OF GEORGE'
US President Donald Trump has blasted the media for protecting Joe Biden and mocked the former Vice President after he appeared to confuse the current commander-in-chief with former US President George W. Bush.
The 77-year-old Biden was speaking to supporters at a virtual concert as he continues to shun large rallies over coronavirus fears.
Mr Biden appeared to stumble over his words as he said the Democrat campaign was fighting against "four more years of George".
His wife Dr Jill Biden then appeared to quietly correct him under her breath, and Mr Biden went back to referring to his opponent as "Trump".
Following the gaffe, Mr Trump slammed Mr Biden on Twitter on Monday morning local time.
"Joe Biden called me George yesterday. Couldn't remember my name. Got some help from the anchor to get him through the interview. The Fake News Cartel is working overtime to cover it up!"
Joe Biden called me George yesterday. Couldn’t remember my name. Got some help from the anchor to get him through the interview. The Fake News Cartel is working overtime to cover it up!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 26, 2020
"The character of the country, in my view, is literally on the ballot," Mr Biden said. "Four more years of George, um, George, gonna find ourselves in a position where if Trump gets elected, we're gonna be in a different world."
George Bush was finishing his second term in office when Barack Obama and Biden ran in 2008.
WHY BIDEN THINKS TRUMP COULD STILL WIN
Joe Biden has said Donald Trump can still win the 2020 US election because delegitimising the race to the White House is part of "how he plays" his strategy.
CBS' 60 Minutes program in America aired its full interviews with the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates after Mr Trump walked out of the interview last week when it was recorded with journalist Lesley Stahl.
Mr Biden said he knows it will be a hard fight to win against Mr Trump.
"I'm one of those folks, or competitors, it's not over till the bell rings. And I feel superstitious when I predict anything other than going to be a hard fight," Biden said.
"We feel good about where we are. But, you know, I don't underestimate how he plays."
Mr Biden said Mr Trump is "trying to sort of delegitimise the election," and those efforts are "all I think designed to make people wonder whether or not they should, whether it's worth going to vote. Just the intimidation factor".
"I feel superstitious when I predict anything other than [it’s] going to be a hard fight,” says Joe Biden about the outcome of the presidential election. https://t.co/UNKF4PsWPn pic.twitter.com/hvN8HV1YnG— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 26, 2020
Mr Biden's running mate, Kamala Harris, who was also interviewed, said she thought Mr Trump is racist.
When asked: "Do you think the president is racist?", she replied: "Yes, I do.
"You can look at a pattern that goes back to him questioning the identity of the first Black president of the United States."
"Calling Mexicans rapists and criminals. His first order of business was to institute a Muslim ban. It all speaks for itself."
Does Kamala Harris think President Trump is racist?— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 26, 2020
“Yes, I do. You can look at a pattern that goes back to him questioning the identity of the first Black president of the United States.” https://t.co/EF7jsaRXM5 pic.twitter.com/w3n8zUbU6D
In his interview, Mr Trump said his social media presence is important in light of "fake news."
But then he claimed he was getting tougher questions than Mr Biden.
"I wish you would interview Joe Biden like you interview me," he said.
"I see Joe Biden given softball after softball.
"You started with me. Your first statement was: 'you ready for tough questions?' That's no way to talk."
He then said: "I think we have enough of an interview here," before walking out.
TRUMP TO CELEBRATE NEW VICTORY
He may be trailing in almost every poll just eight days before the election, but Donald Trump is set to celebrate a legacy-defining victory today.
If Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed, she will give conservatives a 6-3 hold on the nation's highest court and potentially shape American life for decades.
Mr Trump selected the 48-year-old mother of seven to fill a vacancy left by the death of liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month and the Republican-rush to nominate her ahead of the election passed a final hurdle yesterday.
She is all-but-certain to be confirmed on Monday night in Washington DC, Mr Trump's third conservative appointment.
While polls put the incumbent behind by an average 9.2 points nationally and by a tighter margin in several key swing states, Mr Trump is showing no signs of giving up.
He continued his action packed rally schedule over the weekend as his Democrat opponent Joe Biden again lay low yesterday, only appearing in public to visit church.
BIDEN LAYS LOW WITH LIGHT SCHEDULE
Mr Biden was also to appear at a virtual "get out the vote" concert last night with his running mate and musicians John Legend, Cher and Jon Bon Jovi.
Thousands of supporters cheered the president at a scheduled rally in New Hampshire and later at a "surprise" visit to Bangor, Maine, that wasn't widely advertised.
"Nine days from now, we are going to win this state. Can you believe nine days?" he said at his first rally.
"We're going to win four more great years in the White House. We're going to keep it going."
He also needled Mr Biden for his light schedule.
"I don't know what the hell's wrong with him. He never goes anywhere," Mr Trump said.
"And when he does, it's Delaware. Now, I like Delaware too, but, you know, he just wants to stay right next to that house."
Mr Biden's campaign co-chair last night denied claims the former vice president wasn't throwing enough at the race.
"I don't think it's strolling to victory, I think it's being smart," said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer of his approach.
"We are still in the middle of a global pandemic."
PENCE'S AIDES GET COVID-19
Despite the fact the US, like Europe, is grappling with an explosion in new COVID cases and set a record of new cases Friday, Mr Trump plans to stump in as many as five events in the final days of his campaign.
He acknowledged yesterday that the pandemic had been a "setback" but said he was the right person to turn the country around.
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence also continued his public appearances despite his chief of staff and four other aides testing positive to the coronavirus.
And White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows defended the lack of mask wearing at Mr Trump's events, saying: "We're not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations."
A record number of Americans have already cast their vote ahead of next Tuesday, with more ballots already cast in some states than in the entire 2016 election.
There are forecasts as many as 150 million will vote, compared to 132 million four years ago, which would be the highest turnout in more than a century.
Originally published as Trump buoyed by court pick goes on the attack