The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's big speech attracts widespread praise

The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's big speech attracts widespread praise
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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 170,052. Tuesday, 170,548. Wednesday, 171,823. Thursday, 173,181. Friday, 174,283.

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden offers support to union organizing efforts Senate Democrats nix 'Plan B' on minimum wage hike Kavanaugh dismays conservatives by dodging pro-Trump election lawsuits MORE vowed to lead the country out of what he called a “season of darkness” and “draw on the best” of what America has to offer as he accepted the Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday night, setting up a general election battle against President TrumpDonald TrumpSacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech Sorkin uses Abbie Hoffman quote to condemn Capitol violence: Democracy is 'something you do' Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress MORE in November. 

During his 25-minute acceptance speech, Biden appealed to voters as a unifying figure who can heal a nation and “get control of the virus that’s ruined so many lives, because I understand something this president doesn’t. We will never get our economy back on track, we will never get our kids safely back to school, we will never have our lives back, until we deal with this virus.”

The party’s four nights of nearly seamless virtual programming celebrated the 77-year-old’s decency, empathy and understanding of the troubles and travails faced by America’s families. The nominee, who never mentioned Trump by name, told voters the election “is going to determine what America is going to look like for a long, long time.”

Biden echoed the criticisms of Trump with a tone of sadness: “The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger. Too much fear. Too much division. Here and now I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us, not the worst,” Biden said. “We’ll choose hope over fear, facts over fiction, fairness over privilege” (The Hill)

Unlike convention speeches of the past, which have been delivered in front of adoring crowds and filled with applause lines, Biden’s address was written to create a feeling of intimacy with Americans watching his speech on their screens. He described his own low moments, evoking tragedy and disappointment along with his search for hope and pursuit of purpose. 

“With passion and purpose, let us begin — you and I together, one nation, under God —  united in our love for America and united in our love for each other,” Biden said, “for love is more powerful than hate. Hope is more powerful than fear. Light is more powerful than dark. This is our moment. This is our mission.”

The Washington Post: Joe Biden accepts Democratic presidential nomination, with a call for optimism at a time of fear. 

The convention marked the most important moment of the campaign for Biden thus far. The campaign now looks ahead to the first presidential debate, scheduled for Sept. 29 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Trump, watching the convention from the White House, gave the night a thumb’s down, calling Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityGrenell hints at potential California gubernatorial bid Cruz blames criticism of Cancun trip on media 'Trump withdrawal' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Tanden's odds plummet to lead OMB MORE on Fox News to complain there was “a lot of hate” among Democrats. But reviews from Biden supporters were glowing (The Hill). 

“No spin. No B.S. True to who he is,” said Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), an early supporter of the former VP. “A relatable president we can be proud of, and very much in the American mainstream.”

The New York Times: Biden and vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBrown vows Democrats will 'find a way' to raise minimum wage Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson vs. Donald Trump: A serious comparison Exclusive: How Obama went to bat for Warren MORE (D-Calif.) will not leave Delaware to embark on the traditional boat, bus or train tour of swing states as presidential tickets usually do, in part because they want to model safe behavior in response to the coronavirus, and because Biden wants to keep voters focused on Trump, avoid unforced errors and confine 2020 to a referendum on the unpopular incumbent. 



Republicans plan to present their virtually-adapted case for Trump’s reelection next week, with a presidential acceptance address from the White House and Vice President Pence’s speech delivered from Fort McHenry National Monument in Baltimore, Md.

The Wall Street Journal: After Democrats nominate Biden, spotlight shifts to Trump, RNC.

The Hill’s Niall Stanage reports five takeaways from the Democratic convention. 

The Hill: What we will remember from the Democrats’ week. 

Matt Flegenheimer, The New York Times: Joe Biden finally got the timing right.

The Hill’s Reid Wilson reports that Biden might be helped this year by being a lifelong Democratic Party booster. The convention he closed Thursday night was evidence that he takes party politics seriously, even as he assailed “partisan politics.” It’s a departure from former Presidents Obama and Clinton, each of whom sidelined or co-opted the party machinery during their terms in the White House.  

The Hill: The nine biggest Democratic National Convention moments that got everyone talking.

The Associated Press: In moving speech, 13-year-old Brayden Harrington says Biden helped him overcome stutter.

A cavalcade of Democrats on Thursday used their camera time to urge Americans to turn out and vote if they want economic recovery, defeat of a virus, a healthier planet, a living wage and racial justice.  

Michael BloombergMichael BloombergDwayne 'The Rock' Johnson vs. Donald Trump: A serious comparison On The Trail: The political perils of Snowmageddon Five things to watch in the New York City mayoral race MORE, who competed in the Democratic primary for 14-1/2 weeks, taunted Trump as a failed businessman who gazes backward with an overly rosy vision of the U.S. expansion prior to the arrival of the coronavirus. “When Trump says he wants to make America great again, he’s making a pretty good case for Joe Biden,” he said. 

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegExclusive: How Obama went to bat for Warren The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden vs. Trump, part II Chasten Buttigieg jokes about his husband biking home from work MORE, Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinBiden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers Democrats want businesses to help get LGBT bill across finish line Democrats offer resolution denouncing white supremacists ahead of Trump trial MORE (D-Wis.), Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthSenate Democrats call on GAO to review child care access barriers for disabled parents, kids Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers Lawmakers commemorate one-year anniversary of Arbery's killing MORE (D-Ill.) and Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerObama says reparations 'justified' Congressional Black Caucus unveils '100 Day Plan' Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill MORE (D-N.J.) made appearances, using their time to talk about Biden’s impact on the LGBTQ community, military veterans and racial injustice.

Others used the opportunity to preach familiar convention themes: It’s a big, diverse party and everyone needs to participate in the election by Nov. 3.  

Our votes can be our voice,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance BottomsKeisha Lance BottomsAtlanta mayor urges fans not to travel to 'made-for-TV' NBA All-Star Game Georgia GOP legislator introduces bill to increase penalties for crimes committed during protests Georgia city removes police chief, officer for racist comments uncovered in body camera footage MORE.   

Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Newsom'SNL' envisions Fauci as game show host, giving winners vaccines More states follow California's lead on vehicle emissions standards On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors MORE (D) tore up a speech he planned on Thursday night and instead delivered his message about supporting Biden and Harris while he was seen standing, tieless, in the California woods in the midst of his state’s latest battle with dangerous wildfires. More than 100,000 acres are ablaze and tens of thousands of residents have been dislocated. Newsom urged climate change skeptics to visit the Golden State.  

The Democratic Party platform can be found HERE. 

Mark Leibovich: The phantom-limb Democratic Convention. 

The Hill: Sanders says Democrats should have given more speaking time to progressives.

ABC News will air excerpts today of its exclusive joint Biden-Harris interviews and broadcast full coverage on Sunday at 8 p.m. EDT. 



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MORE POLITICS: GOP convention: House and Senate Republicans have been invited to be present for Trump’s nomination acceptance speech to be delivered at the White House on Thursday, Fox News reports. The Republican National Convention kicks off on Monday with a combination of virtual and live events. Monday’s pared-down daytime convention proceedings in Charlotte, N.C., will be attended by six delegates from each state and territory, for a total of 336 delegates. … Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump shows he holds stranglehold on GOP, media in CPAC barnburner Trump rules out starting a new party: 'Fake news' Sunday shows - Trump's reemergence, COVID-19 vaccines and variants dominate MORE (R-Ky.) announced on Thursday through his staff that he will not speak next week at the GOP convention: "Leader McConnell is traveling across...Kentucky next week to speak w/ families, workers, and job creators about their needs. While the Leader is not speaking during the RNC, his support for President Trump is clear."



> Battleground states: Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump shows he holds stranglehold on GOP, media in CPAC barnburner Biden brings back bipartisan meetings at the White House McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE (D-Calif.) told Democrats in a virtual meeting on Thursday that the outcome of the presidential election rides on Wisconsin. “No pressure,” she told them (The Associated Press). … A new poll shows Trump and Biden tied in Minnesota (The Hill). … In Pennsylvania, the two presidential contenders are neck and neck with Biden in the lead but Trump trailing within the margin of error, according to a new survey (The Hill).

> Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosHouse Republican campaign arm rolls out target list for midterms Lobbying world Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote MORE (D-Ill.) said in an interview with The Hill’s Reid Wilson on Thursday that House Democrats are likely to add to its 232-seat majority next year, with the committee pushing to flip ruby red seats in Alaska, Indiana and Montana.  

Speaking for The Hill’s Big Questions series, Bustos indicated that Democrats have 31 GOP-held seats on their target list this year, with that number set to rise in the 2 1/2  months before Nov. 3.

“My prediction as we sit here is we will not only hold on to this Democratic majority, we will grow it,” Bustos said. “We’ve got the right candidates and resources, and we are ready to mobilize even in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.” 

The Boston Globe: Pelosi endorses Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyFive centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote LIVE COVERAGE: House votes to name Speaker Government spending bill to include bipartisan energy provisions MORE III (D-Mass.) in the Senate primary against Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyLawmakers commemorate one-year anniversary of Arbery's killing Democrats revive debate over calling impeachment witnesses LIVE COVERAGE: Senate trial moves to closing arguments MORE (D-Mass.). The Speaker cited her loyalty to House members and her close relationship with the Kennedy family in defending her endorsement of the congressman in the race. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez: Detailed sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo 'painful to read' The GOP's uncertain future Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' MORE (D-N.Y.), considers Markey an ally in their shared embrace of the Green New Deal, is not pleased (The Hill). 

The Hill: Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyFive takeaways from CPAC 2021 Trump tears into Biden, GOP critics in first post-presidency speech Trump calls on Republicans to 'get rid' of Cheney, other GOP critics MORE (R-Wyo.) condemns QAnon conspiracy.

The Hill: Pelosi rejects idea of voting Saturday to extend unemployment insurance.  

> Gubernatorial plans: Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) filed paperwork to fundraise to seek his old job in 2021. He said he has not yet committed to run, but it’s no secret he enjoyed being chief executive of the commonwealth and briefly considered a presidential bid. Virginia governors are limited to one sequential term. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s term expires in 2022 (Richmond.com).


ADMINISTRATION: Unemployment: The government on Thursday reported 1.1 million initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending Aug. 15, a worrisome increase of more than 1 million filings following a reported decline in the prior week. … At least 28 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits, a stark reminder that the wreckage tied to the pandemic is widespread. One state that saw a rise in jobless claims last week was Iowa, considered a key battleground in the presidential contest (The Associated Press). 

> Iraq policy: On Thursday, Trump declined to broach a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. forces in Iraq, which number 5,000. “At some point, we obviously will be gone,” he said before meeting at the White House with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi (USA Today).

> Trump’s U.S. “heroes” garden: Chuck Laudner, the executive director of the task force responsible for the Trump-created National Garden of American Heroes, announced on July 3, says proposed sites range from 100 to 1,000 acres in size. For context, the National Mall in Washington spans roughly 300 acres. Beyond Trump’s chosen 31 heroes for inclusion, his order says other honorees must “have contributed positively to America throughout our history.” Anyone can suggest an American hero at americanheroesinfo@ios.doi.gov. The task force has contacted elected officials for hero suggestions and received 118 names (Washingtonian).

> NASA & the asteroid surprise: The closest flyby to Earth by a surviving asteroid on Sunday took many by surprise. "The asteroid approached undetected from the direction of the sun," Paul Chodas, the director of NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies, told Business Insider. “We didn't see it coming.” How close was the car-sized asteroid to the planet? 1,830 miles above the Pacific Ocean, far east of Australia (Space.com). 

> Recovering: Anthony FauciAnthony Fauci'SNL' envisions Fauci as game show host, giving winners vaccines Sunday shows - Trump's reemergence, COVID-19 vaccines and variants dominate Fauci lays out timeline for vaccinating teens, children MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, underwent surgery on Thursday to remove a polyp from his vocal cords and was recovering at home. Fauci, who has spoken widely in public to discuss COVID-19 and federal recommendations and responses, is advised to rest his voice while recovering (CNBC). 


CORONAVIRUS: Researchers are expanding their understanding of the role children play in transmissions of COVID-19. “Some people thought that children might be protected,” said Alessio Fasano, a physician at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. “This is incorrect. They may be as susceptible as adults — but just not visible” (The Washington Post).

> Schools & teachers: The Trump administration issued new guidance designating teachers as “critical infrastructure workers,” potentially clearing the way to exempt them from quarantine requirements tied to contacts with COVID-19-infected adults and pupils. Health officials in South Carolina also designated teachers critical infrastructure workers, according to The Associated Press. The school board in Greene County in Eastern Tennessee, meanwhile, voted to give the designation to teachers in July. Several other Georgia and Tennessee districts have also announced they intend to bring asymptomatic teachers back to in-person instruction (The Hill). 

The Hill: Hackers eye students returning to virtual classes as easy targets.

> Vaccines: Russia announced its coronavirus vaccine will be tested in trials on 40,000 volunteers amid international concerns about safety (CNBC). … The World Health Organization is in contact with Russia about assessing the vaccine it has licensed and tested on a small number of people (The Associated Press).

> Congress: Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyTrump rules out starting a new party: 'Fake news' Sunday shows - Trump's reemergence, COVID-19 vaccines and variants dominate Cassidy: Trump won't be GOP nominee in 2024 MORE (R-La.), a gastroenterologist, announced on Thursday that he tested positive for COVID-19 after learning he was in contact with someone who had contracted the coronavirus. He is the second U.S. senator to test positive, following Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Health Care: 50 million coronavirus vaccines given | Pfizer news | Biden health nominees Rand Paul criticized for questioning of transgender health nominee Haley isolated after Trump fallout MORE (R-Ky.). Cassidy said he is isolating at home in Baton Rouge (The Hill). 

> Sports: Pittsburgh Pirates President Travis Williams has tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing symptoms on Monday (CBS Pittsburgh). … NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said on Thursday that the league is likely to push back the planned Dec. 1 start to the 2020-21 season, with the hope of getting fans back into arenas. Previously, Silver has said that 40 percent of the league’s annual revenue depends on having fans attend games (ESPN). 

> Travel: Delta Air Lines announced Thursday that it will continue to block out middle seats on flights throughout the winter and holidays, but that it will increase capacity of flights starting in October. According to the Atlanta-based airline, the middle seat rule will continue through Jan. 6, with the passenger capacity rising from 60 percent to 75 percent on Oct. 1 (Star Tribune).


The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! 



America must have fair elections, by Glenn Nye and James Kitfield with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, opinion contributors, The Hill. https://bit.ly/3ghvZaa

Israel’s new friendship with UAE will come at a cost, by Eli Lake, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/3j4mXiB  

Key voters are still up for grabs — Democrats have two months to take them, by Matthew Rey, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2YmHI13


The House holds a pro forma session at noon. Members will convene for legislative business on Saturday at 10 a.m.

The Senate meets at 11:15 a.m. for a pro forma session. The full Senate is scheduled to meet on Sept. 8. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a virtual hearing with testimony at 9 a.m. from Postmaster General Louis DeJoyLouis DeJoyBiden believes Postal Service leadership 'can do better,' White House says, as DeJoy faces scrutiny The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided House on full display The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help MORE about controversial operational changes he’s supervised since his appointment in May and Postal Service plans for processing mailed ballots ahead of the November elections.

The president will deliver remarks at the 2020 Council for National Policy Meeting in Arlington, Va., at 11 a.m.

Vice President Pence will do a morning show blitz today, with appearances on “Good Morning America,” “Fox & Friends,” CNN’s “New Day,” “CBS This Morning” and Fox Business’s “Mornings With Maria.”    

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➔ Walled off: In the Southern District of New York, Stephen Bannon, Trump’s former campaign CEO and White House strategist, and three others were arrested by Postal Service agents and charged on Thursday of defrauding donors by raising “more than $25 million to build a wall along the southern border of the United States,” while allegedly using some of the money they raised for personal gain (CNBC). In a White House statement, Trump disavowed the project and said he cut ties with Bannon, who left the White House in 2017. The president said Bannon’s private group raised money for a border wall project, which he suggested “was only done to make me look bad.” Bannon pleaded not guilty and was released on $5 million bond. … The Hill: Five things to know about the Bannon indictment.



Trump’s tax returns: A federal judge on Thursday cleared the way for Manhattan’s top prosecutor to get Trump’s tax returns, rejecting a last-ditch attempt by the president’s lawyers to block a subpoena issued to his accounting firm. Trump’s lawyers immediately appealed U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero’s decision to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. Marrero’s ruling echoed his prior decision in the case that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court last month. Analysts have suggested Trump’s legal challenges have succeeded in running out the clock, even as New York City District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. wins proceedings in court to obtain eight years of Trump’s financial records (The Associated Press). 

State Watch: Michigan officials on Thursday announced a $600 million settlement with payouts to the residents of Flint, Mich., whose health was affected by lead-contaminated drinking water, discovered in 2014. The settlement responds to a class-action lawsuit. The amounts awarded would be based on how severely applicants were harmed, particularly children (NBC News). … In California, Lyft announced on Thursday it suspended its ride-hailing operations in the state as a result of a court ruling determining its workers are employees, not contractors (The Verge). … Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced his state applied for federal funds to give unemployed residents an extra $300 per week in benefits. Virginia will do the same, a spokesman said. The District of Columbia has not announced plans because of questions about the program’s legality and sustainability (DCist).  

Supreme Court: Justices agreed to hear a constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act on Nov. 10 and their ruling is not expected until June. The case, brought by Republican attorneys general, will be argued a week after Election Day (CNBC). …  The Trump administration on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling that determined the president cannot block his critics on Twitter (Reuters). 

International: This week’s alleged poisoning of a public critic of Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinWest's 'wokeness' helped Russia to redefine a 'prisoner of conscience' For better or worse: Which way will US-Saudi relations go under Biden? How to rethink Russia sanctions MORE is a reminder of Moscow’s brutality and capabilities in the interest of suppressing dissent. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a noted Putin foe, is reportedly in a coma in a Siberian hospital after drinking tea that was allegedly laced with poison. His spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, wrote on Twitter that this is the second time Navalny has been poisoned under suspicious circumstances (The Hill). Navalny’s organization is trying to transport him to Germany for special treatment (The Associated Press), but his friends say the Kremlin is blocking his evacuation out of Russia (Reuters).

Mosha Green, New Yorker columnist, writes that “the history of Russian opposition figures who have been poisoned is so long that it is almost tedious to recite. Pyotr Verzilov, an activist with the protest-art group Pussy Riot and an opposition publisher, spent months recovering from an apparent poisoning that put him in intensive care, in Moscow, in September, 2018. The journalist and historian Vladimir Kara-Murza was poisoned twice, in 2015 and 2017, and came close to death both times. The defector spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned with the chemical-warfare agent Novichok in England, in 2018. The defector Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium, in 2006. The investigative journalist Yuri Shchekochikhin died in agony in a Moscow hospital, in 2003; his colleague Anna Politkovskaya survived a similar poisoning, in 2004, only to be shot to death, in 2006. This is far from a complete list.”


And finally … A big round of applause for all the Morning Report Quiz Masters who knew their August current events trivia (only one more week).

️Here’s a list of those who aced this week’s quiz: Norm Roberts, Donna Minter, Susan Reyes, J. Patrick White, Patrick Kavanagh, Candi Cee, R. Milton Howell III, Donna Nackers, Peter J. Stewart, Phil Kirstein, Ki Harvey, Leon Burzynski, Eric Chapman, Sandy Walters, Allen Reishtein, Madi Johnson, Stewart Baker, John Donato, Luther Berg, Stuart Babendir, Jack Barshay and Ken Stevens. 

They knew that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not played an instrumental role in passing a COVID-19 relief bill, with the other three lawmakers taking part in day-to-day negotiations. 

Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaO.T. Fagbenle to play Barack Obama in Showtime anthology 'The First Lady' Gillian Anderson to play Eleanor Roosevelt in series on first ladies Obama, Springsteen launch eight-episode podcast MORE set the internet ablaze by wearing a necklace reading “Vote” during her speech on Monday.  

The ACC (seen below) has not yet canceled its college football season (along with other fall sports). 

And finally, the St. Louis Cardinals had only played eight games as of Thursday morning (nine as of today) due to the novel coronavirus.