Oct 21, 2020
AP MORNING WIRE
Good morning. In today’s AP Morning Wire:
- Biden prepares for debate as Trump tends to his electoral map.
- Report: Tax records show Trump tried to land China projects.
- Leaders in US, Europe divided on response to surging virus.
- Landmark US antitrust case against Google mirrors Microsoft battle.
DEPUTY DIRECTOR – GLOBAL NEWS COORDINATION, LONDON
AP PHOTO/PATRICK SEMANSKY
Election 2020: Biden prepares for debate as Trump focuses on his electoral map with rallies
With the final presidential debate on Thursday hovering with intent over the campaign week and the home stretch, President Donald Trump is careening from one must-win stop on his electoral map to the next in the lead-up to the faceoff which may be his last, best chance to alter the trajectory of the 2020 campaign.
Joe Biden has been taking the opposite approach, holing up in Delaware for prep in advance of the debate in Nashville.
Trump trails in polls in most battleground states. Working to reverse that, he stopped in Pennsylvania and is bound for North Carolina today as he delivers what his campaign sees as his closing message. Zeke Miller, Will Weissert and Jonathan Lemire have the latest.
The president’s pitch that he should lead the rebuilding of an economy ravaged by the pandemic has been overshadowed by a series of fights.
In the last two days he has attacked the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, had a run-in with venerable TV newsmagazine CBS’ “60 Minutes” that apparently ended acrimoniously, while suggesting that the country was tired of talking about a virus that has killed more than 220,000 Americans.
Biden Transition: The Democrat’s biggest challenge may begin the day after Election Day. If he wins, he’ll have just over 10 weeks to set up a new government. After making Trump’s handling of the pandemic a centerpiece of his campaign, Biden will have to show that his team can better handle the public health crisis. He will also have to contend with what Democrats say is the damage the Trump administration has done to the bureaucratic machinery in Washington. Alexandra Jaffe reports.
Obama on the Trail: Former President Barack Obama is returning to Philadelphia for his first in-person 2020 campaign event for Biden. He’ll be speaking today at a drive-in rally, where supporters will listen to him over the radio inside their cars. The format underscores the challenge Democrats face in drumming up enthusiasm and getting out the vote in a year when they’ve eschewed big rallies in favor of small, socially distanced events.
Election Dispute: The Supreme Court’s action in a Pennsylvania voting case has heightened fears among Democrats about Amy Coney Barrett joining the high court in time to decide a post-election dispute and with it, the winner of the White House. The justices split 4-4 Monday. That outcome left in place a Pennsylvania court order to count mailed ballots if they are received up to three days after the election. Four conservative members of the court are likely to be joined soon by Barrett. That’s a potential majority in any election-related dispute, whether from Pennsylvania or any other battleground state where mailed-in ballots or a recount fight could decide the winner, Mark Sherman reports.
Florida’s Barometer: Pinellas County is one to watch on election night. Unlike places such as Tampa and Orlando, which have steadily grown more liberal, Pinellas is harder to categorize, and it’s set apart by its decidedly purple reign. Residents voted for Obama twice — and then Trump. It was one of only four counties in the state to switch from Obama to Trump. One thing everyone can agree on: Keep an eye on Pinellas because it’s a barometer for broader trends in the state and possibly the nation, Tamara Lush reports.
AP PHOTO/JON CHOL JIN
Report: Tax records show Trump tried to land China projects; Thorny global situations hinge on US election outcome
Donald Trump spent a decade unsuccessfully pursuing projects in China, operating an office there during his first run for president and forging a partnership with a major government-controlled company.
That’s according to a report in The New York Times. China is one of only three foreign nations — the others are Britain and Ireland — where Trump maintains a bank account, according to a Times analysis of the president’s tax records. The foreign accounts don’t show up on Trump’s public financial disclosures, where he must list personal assets, because they are held under corporate names.
China continues to be an issue in the 2020 presidential campaign, from the president’s trade war to his barbs over the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. His campaign has tried to portray former Vice President Joe Biden as misreading the dangers posed by China’s growing power. Trump has also sought to tar his opponent with overblown or unsubstantiated assertions about Hunter Biden’s business dealings there while his father was in office.
Global Pressure Points: Before the pandemic struck, in the beginning of 2020, the most serious global concern was whether Washington and Tehran were on the cusp of a ruinous war that would inflame the Middle East. The way that the world’s foremost superpower moves forward after its presidential election stands to impact many thorny global dynamics — whether the victor turns out to be Trump or Biden.
US-North Korea: “Where’s the war?” That’s how Trump defends his North Korea policy at campaign rallies even though he’s joined the list of U.S. presidents unable to stop the ever-growing nuclear threat from Kim Jong Un. That threat will transcend the November election. Despite Trump’s three meetings with Kim, the North Korean leader is expanding his arsenal. This month, Kim rolled out a new, larger intercontinental ballistic missile during a nighttime parade in Pyongyang, Deb Riechmann reports.
AP PHOTO/LEWIS JOLY
Leaders in US, Europe divided on response to surging virus; European nations also vary in their actions to stem worrying spikes
Coronavirus cases are surging across Europe and many U.S. states, but responses and execution by leaders are a world apart.
Officials in Ireland, France, Britain, the Czech Republic and elsewhere are imposing tough curfews and restricting gatherings as some U.S. governors resist mask mandates or more aggressive measures.
The contrasts in infection containment efforts come as outbreaks on both sides of the Atlantic raise alarm about shrinking hospital bed availability amid rising deaths, Brady McCombs and Adam Geller report.
Countries across Europe are battling their alarming infection spikes with new lockdowns, curfews, face mask orders and virus tracking smartphone apps. But as the resurgence sweeps across the continent, local and national governments also are facing swelling opposition to the new measures.
Amid the public frustration, some countries are dangling a festive carrot in front of virus-weary populations, saying that tough action now could clear the way for an easing of measures before the Christmas holiday period at the end of December, Mike Corder reports.
South Korea Education Gap: Students there like elsewhere are taking online classes off and on, studying from home during the coronavirus pandemic. South Korea may be one of the world’s most wired nations, but remote learning is a challenge for many students and is particularly worrisome in a country so obsessed with education that 70% of high school graduates attend university. Hyung-jin Kim reports from Seoul.
US Urban Renewal: As office workers continue to stay home, cities that were in the middle of bustling downtown comebacks are feeling a lot of uncertainty. Places like Detroit, Cleveland and Oakland were seeing big downtown growth before the pandemic hit. Now the revitalizations have been stalled and experts say it’s likely to take the once-struggling cities longer to come back than those with established commercial and residential markets. Many redeveloping cities already were losing population, making comebacks harder, Tom Krisher and Michael Liedtke report.
Technology may be bringing the future ever closer, but the Trump administration’s legal assault on Google actually feels like a blast from the past.
That’s when the U.S. Justice Department filed a high-profile lawsuit against a technology giant that leveraged a methodically built monopoly to set up a system that made consumers almost reflexively rely on its stable of products.
Only that game-changing case was brought against Microsoft and its personal computer software empire in 1998, around the same time Google was founded.
Now things are coming full circle with a strikingly similar argument against Google and its dominant search engine, Michael Liedtke and Marcy Gordon report.
Other Top Stories
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett served for nearly three years on the board of private Christian schools that effectively barred admission to children of same-sex parents and made it plain that openly gay and lesbian teachers weren’t welcome in the classroom. The policies that discriminated against LGBTQ people and their children were in place for years at Trinity Schools Inc., which is affiliated with the insular community People of Praise. The AP spoke with more than two dozen people who said the community’s teachings have been consistent for decades, holding that homosexuality is an abomination against God, sex should occur only within marriage, and marriage should only be between man and woman.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have reported more fighting over the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, where clashes have continued for over three weeks despite two attempts at establishing a cease-fire. Azerbaijan accused Armenian forces of shelling the Terter and the Agdam regions, and Armenian military officials reported “intensive fierce battles” in the southern areas of the conflict zone. The two countries announced a cease-fire on Saturday, but the agreement was almost immediately torn apart by mutual claims of violations.
A grand juror who won a court fight to speak publicly about the Breonna Taylor investigation has taken issue with statements by Kentucky’s attorney general. The anonymous grand juror also said that the jury wasn’t given the option to consider charges connected to Taylor’s shooting death by police. The grand juror had filed suit to speak publicly after Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced last month that no officers would be directly charged in the March shooting death of Taylor during a narcotics raid.
An altered photo of rappers Ice Cube and 50 Cent in hats that appear to show support for President Trump circulated widely on social media, fueled in part by a tweet by Eric Trump. “Two great, courageous Americans,” Trump’s son tweeted. He removed the tweet with a photo of the two in hats saying “Trump 2020” after being called out by Ice Cube. In the original photo, both rappers were wearing baseball caps with sports logos. Ice Cube shared the original photo on his Twitter account in July to send a birthday message to 50 Cent.