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The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Pence rips Biden as radical risk

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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Thursday. We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the daily co-creators, so find us @asimendinger and @alweaver22 on Twitter and recommend the Morning Report to your friends. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 176,809. Tuesday, 177,279. Wednesday, 178,524. Thursday, 179,735.

Vice President Pence made the Republican case for four more years of President Trump’s administration while warning voters on Wednesday night that they “won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”


While accepting the nomination as Trump’s running mate, Pence assailed Biden as a “Trojan horse for the radical left,” wrong on domestic and international policy and a threat to “life and liberty.” 


Speaking from a flag-bedecked Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md., Pence used the third night of the Republican National Convention to argue that Trump’s opponent would set the United States on a “path to socialism” and must be defeated on Nov. 3.


The Associated Press: GOP convention takeaways: Pence pounces while crises swirl.


Only hours before the address, Pence amended his originally prepared remarks to condemn the riots and violence taking place in Kenosha, Wis., following the Sunday police shooting of Jacob Blake, which set off protests across the country. In his speech, Pence offered unequivocal support for law enforcement, a Trump campaign theme. 


“Let me be clear: the violence must stop – whether in Minneapolis, Portland, or Kenosha. Too many heroes have died defending our freedoms to see Americans strike each other down,” he said to applause from an in-person audience seated in rows of folding chairs outdoors. 


The vice president expressed support for the right to peacefully protest, but added, “We will have law and order on the streets of America for every American of every race, and creed and color.”


Pence, who is a somber and disciplined public speaker, did not mention Blake’s name during his address. He also used the opportunity to criticize Biden, saying that unlike the Democratic ticket, he and the president unequivocally support men and women in uniform.


“We will stand with those who stand on the thin blue line, and we’re not going to defund the police — not now, not ever,” Pence said.


The Hill: Pence condemns Kenosha, Wis., violence, backs police in convention speech. 


The Hill: GOP sticks to convention message amid uproar over Blake shooting in Wisconsin.


The Hill: Biden praises Milwaukee Bucks response to Blake shooting.


The vice president also touted the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as head of the White House coronavirus task force. Pence commended the administration’s leadership during the six-month-old crisis as the “greatest mobilization since World War II,” pointing to what he said are 800,000 daily tests and efforts to fast-track an effective vaccine.


“Last week, Joe Biden said ‘no miracle is coming.’ What Joe doesn’t seem to understand is that America is a nation of miracles,” Pence said, continuing, “and we’re on track to have the world’s first safe, effective coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year.”


In closing, the vice president offered a glancing nod to the pandemic’s effect on the economy, saying that with four more years of a Trump presidency, “we will make America great again, again.”


The Hill: Trump, Pence seek to flip the pandemic script with the GOP convention.


Tim Alberta: GOP attacks Biden’s faith even as Pence shows his: Takeaways from RNC Night 3.


Matt K. Lewis, Daily Beast: Pence just made the case for four more years that Trump couldn’t.


The New York Times: From Trump’s shadow, Mike Pence can see 2024.


Trump’s rollercoaster handling of the COVID-19 crisis since March has undercut his standing with female voters, including with the suburban Republican women who favored the fast-talking businessman from New York over Hillary Clinton in 2016.


In focus groups and polls, many GOP women say they object to Trump’s confrontational manner, his tweeting and his shifting approach to the federal government’s handling of a new virus that has killed at least 180,000 people in the United States and left nearly 15 million unemployed. In an attempt to shore up Trump’s standing among women who are likely voters, his campaign staged a female-dominated convention on Wednesday that glossed over specific policies while showcasing conservative women who vouched for Trump and pummeled Biden.


The march of pre-recorded speeches from females in officialdom included second lady Karen Pence, outgoing White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who is in a tough reelection contest, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who insinuated that Biden may be in cahoots with communist China, and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who recently welcomed Trump’s mask-optional rally at Mount Rushmore.





The Hill: Ernst says Iowa flyover country to the national media.


The Hill: Convention speaker Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) credits Trump for a spike in GOP women running for office.


The Hill: Conway hails Trump as “champion” of women.


The Washington Post recently reported a “gender chasm” facing the GOP, which helps explain why the Trump team is trying to repair the problem in the next 60 days. Women this month favored Biden by more than 20 points, according to an average of national polls conducted between late June and early August. “Trump has created an environment where women are not particularly interested in the Republican Party,” said GOP strategist Sarah Longwell, who has conducted regular focus groups with female Trump voters who say they no longer approve of the president.


Another voting bloc in the Republican convention spotlight: Black men. From sports celebrities to military leaders, and from clergy to ex-convicts, the convention presented African American Trump supporters who urged Black voters to “think for themselves.” At issue for both parties is voter turnout. Biden’s campaign wants to recreate the minority coalition that helped former President Obama twice win the White House, and Republicans want to improve Trump’s margins and depress support for the Democratic nominee. The tipping point is Black men (The New York Times).


Trump and the GOP struck a balancing act in the convention’s messaging to minorities, reports The Hill’s Marty Johnson.


Another convention target: Voters of faith. Speeches this week have been replete with mentions of prayer and freedom to worship, a sign that faith remains a guidepost for how Republicans approach the 2020 race. In a Pew Research Center survey last month, 82 percent of white evangelicals and 55 percent of all Christians said they planned to vote for Trump; 88 percent of black Protestants supported Biden (Christianity Today). 


Tonight the president will officially accept the GOP nomination for president as part of a 10:30 p.m. address from the South Lawn of the White House. Among those who are also scheduled to speak tonight are Ivanka Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. 


The Associated Press: Trump’s big night: Expect talk of GOP progress, Democratic anarchy.


The White House said a postponement of the president’s address was under consideration because of Hurricane Laura, a Category 4 storm (Politico). 


The Hill: Marjorie Taylor Greene to attend Trump nomination speech at White House.


Matt Flegenheimer, The New York Times: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) didn’t get a convention invite. He still has plenty to say.


Stagecraft: The National Park Service is in hot water with ethics watchdogs for a slickly produced video promoting Trump along with approval to host a fireworks spectacle following his acceptance speech tonight (The Hill). … One thousand to 1,500 guests are expected to attend the president’s South Lawn speech in the midst of a pandemic, in addition to production crews and White House staff members, CBS News reports. … Critics accuse the president of using the White House and government resources as props for partisan political purposes in violation of the law and ethics requirements, but the U.S. Office of Special Counsel ruled the Hatch Act does not apply to the president or vice president and the White House and the RNC say all restrictions are heeded (VOA News). … According to Nielsen, the first night of the GOP convention drew an estimated 17 million TV viewers across 11 networks. Online and digital news coverage and viewing expanded the audience, but both political parties saw declines in television viewership for their respective convention openers (NBC News).





Facebook launches new Voting Information Center


Facebook is building the largest voter information effort in US history, starting with the new Voting Information Center, where you can find the latest resources about voting in the 2020 election. Our goal is to help register 4 million voters.


Explore our new Voting Information Center now.



MORE POLITICAL HEADLINES: Urban protesters are triggering backlash from conservatives and liberals alike for tactics that muddy a basic message of advocacy for racial justice. A crowd confrontation with restaurant diners on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., is one example that went viral (The Washington Post). Continued violence in Kenosha, Wis., after Blake’s Sunday shooting by police officers is another. Trump on Wednesday tweeted that he will send law enforcement to Wisconsin to deal with the protests. “We will NOT stand for looting, arson, violence, and lawlessness on American streets,” Trump wrote after he said he spoke with Gov. Tony Evers (D) by phone (The Hill).


Biden acknowledges that Trump’s willingness to deploy federal law enforcement against urban protesters strikes a cord with many voters. “Burning down communities is not protest,” Biden said on Wednesday (The Hill). Republican National Convention speakers this week have asserted inaccurately that the former vice president backs defunding police departments nationwide. He does not (The Hill).


The Hill: Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) on Wednesday said violence and property destruction in Kenosha are not advancing “the cause of racial justice. … I support Governor Evers’ approach to providing more National Guard support for local law enforcement to help provide safety for the community.” 


The Hill: Justice Department launches civil rights investigation into shooting of Blake. 





> Sports: The ripple effect following Blake’s shooting extended to the sports world as NBA players boycotted the entire Wednesday slate of NBA playoffs games and are expected to do so again on Thursday, with questions surrounding whether the season will even continue. 


The boycotts started in the late afternoon when the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the floor against the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of their first round series. Shortly after, evening games between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, and between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers were scratched as a form of public pressure to agitate for investigations and changes following months of police shootings of Black Americans. 


“F*** THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT,” Lakers forward LeBron James tweeted shortly after Milwaukee refused to take the floor.


Late Thursday night, the NBA players and coaches present in the Orlando bubble met to determine the next steps. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the players will once again meet at 11 a.m. today, coinciding with the NBA Board of Governors conference call. 


In MLB, the Milwaukee Brewers followed suit and decided to sit out Wednesday night’s game versus the Cincinnati Reds (The Wall Street Journal). Late Thursday, two other games (Seattle Mariners-San Diego Padres, and Los Angeles Dodgers-San Francisco Giants) were also postponed as players decided to sit out the games due to Blake’s death (ESPN). 


> Biden strategy: Concerns are rising among some Democrats that Biden and his campaign are not doing enough to counter-program the GOP convention. 


As The Hill’s Amie Parnes writes, Democrats acknowledge that Trump has the advantage of the bully pulpit and that it is difficult for Biden to break through during the GOP’s convention week to win his own headlines. Trump challenged criticism lobbed his way during the Democratic National Convention last week using events across swing states, including a Thursday speech near Biden’s hometown of Scranton, Pa.. Democrats believe Biden could and should be doing more to try to prevent Trump from getting a large bounce out of the GOP convention.


“Has anyone heard anything from Joe Biden this week?” one Democratic strategist said, annoyed by the lack of meaningful pushback from the former VP. “Are we just going to let them say whatever they want and go unanswered? And I don’t mean on Twitter.”


The Associated Press: Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) will be Democrats’ main counter to Trump on Thursday.


Reuters: U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials say they see no evidence of foreign interference with mail-in ballots.


The Hill: Biden holds 1-point lead over Trump in new Texas poll. Biden campaign plans $280 million fall ad spending in 15 states, including Ohio.


The Hill: Sen. Ed Markey (D) widens lead to 12 points in Massachusetts Senate race: poll. 


CORONAVIRUS: Confirmed COVID-19 cases nationally are falling from peaks in July, even as the U.S. death toll from the virus remains at about 1,000 people a day. Mask mandates and bar closures are credited for improvements in the grim summer statistics. Public health experts continue to bemoan the U.S. caseloads compared with other developed nations and they worry about what’s ahead as Americans move activities indoors this fall just as the flu season compounds the health risks (The Hill).  


> Testing guidance: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he was under anesthesia having throat surgery last week when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) met and without public explanation decided to quietly change the government’s COVID-19 guidance to say people who have been in close contact with someone infected with the coronavirus do not necessarily need to be tested for the virus if they are asymptomatic but not thought to be at high risk (The Hill and CNN).


Fauci said he is “concerned about the interpretation of these recommendations” and “worried it will give people the incorrect assumption that asymptomatic spread is not of great concern.


“In fact, it is,” he told CNN.


The new CDC advice, which appeared on Monday, set off howls of bafflement and protest among virologists and public health experts who believe more U.S. testing, not less, is essential to tracing cases and halting wider spread of the coronavirus (The Hill).


Health and Human Services Department officials, who for six months have said patient contract tracing relied on rapid and effective testing for the virus, did not explain their newest rationale, which to some medical authorities seemed to wave a flag of surrender. Researchers believe infected but asymptomatic people, including children, may account for 30 percent to 50 percent of infected people, who in turn may unwittingly spread the virus (The New York Times).


It’s just the latest in a string of revisions, amendments and corrections to public statements issued by the Trump administration about COVID-19 since March.


> Rapid tests: Abbott Laboratories on Wednesday launched a $5 coronavirus test that yields results in 15 minutes without needing any laboratory equipment, an innovation expected to speed testing efforts. The company, which received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, said it can produce 50 million such antigen tests a month, boasting the results are 97.1 percent sensitive for COVID-19 within the first seven days of symptom onset. The company is releasing a companion app at no charge that allows people who test negative to display a temporary digital health pass on their smartphones (Bloomberg News). 


> Vaccine: Amid the global race to find a cure for COVID-19, pharmaceutical companies release interim updates on ongoing human trials, offering information that animates investors and encourages a public belief that a return to pre-pandemic activity may be possible. Moderna Inc. on Wednesday said its experimental vaccine induced immune responses in older adults similar to those in younger participants, offering hope that it will be effective in people considered to be at high risk for severe complications from the coronavirus (Reuters). … A vaccine may not work as well for overweight people because researchers believe obesity increases the risk of COVID-19 death by 48 percent (The Guardian).


> Transportation: Concerned about the economic strain on U.S. airlines caused by the pandemic, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Wednesday said the president is considering new executive actions that could stave off looming industry furloughs (The Washington Post). Meadows, who spoke to Politico during a newsmaker event, said Trump was prepared to act in the absence of a deal with Congress next month on another coronavirus relief bill. … New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) warned on Wednesday of a possible 40 percent reduction in subway and bus service and thousands of job losses tied to the drop in passengers during the pandemic. The MTA is seeking $12 billion in federal aid (The Hill).


> Schools: A New York Times survey found more than 26,000 cases of coronavirus infection at more than 1,500 U.S. colleges and universities since the pandemic began. … Boston University Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore recently emailed the student body about new rules that will discipline anyone who hosts or attends non-sanctioned large gatherings with 25 or more people on- or off-campus. Students will be suspended and unwelcome on campus if they violate restrictions (Boston University). … North Carolina State University said Wednesday that it will close its dorms due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases and labeled the number of virus clusters on campus “untenable” (The Hill). … How did Maine’s beautiful summer camps keep outbreaks of COVID-19 at bay? One word: testing (The Hill).




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


Alexei Navalny can’t just become another name on the roll call of Putin’s victims, by The Washington Post editorial board. 


Trump’s pitch to African-Americans needs some fine tuning, Jason L. Riley, columnist, The Wall Street Journal.  


How Facebook is preparing for the US 2020 election


— Launched new Voting Information Center
— More than tripled our safety and security teams to 35,000 people
— Implemented 5-step political ad verification
— Providing greater political ad transparency


Learn about these efforts and more.


The House will convene on Friday at 9 a.m. for a pro forma session.


The Senate meets on Friday at 2 p.m. for a pro forma session. The full Senate is scheduled to meet on Sept. 8. 


Trump will accept the nomination of the Republican Party as the nominee for president during remarks from the White House at 10:30 p.m.


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Muscat, Oman, where he meets today with Sultan Haitham bin Tarik Al Said.


The Federal Reserve’s virtual version of the annual Jackson Hole, Wyo., symposium begins at 9:10 a.m. ET and continues on Friday. Comments by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and others will be livestreamed by the Kansas City Fed. The topic: “Navigating the Decade Ahead: Implications for Monetary Policy.” The Hill’s Sylvan Lane reports that Powell today will preview a significant shift in the bank’s approach to price and wage increases as the central bank faces intense political pressure to lay out how it plans to fight years of low inflation that could weaken the U.S. economy’s long-term growth potential.


Economic indicator: The Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. will report initial jobless claims for the week ending Aug. 22.


The Hill’s virtual 2020 Convention Hub wraps up the Republican National Convention with the Big Questions RNC Morning Briefing offering insights from pollsters, party leaders and campaign veterans at 11 a.m. RSVP HERE! 


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube


Hurricane Laura: This morning, ferocious wind, torrential rains and rising seawater roared ashore over southwestern Louisiana near the Texas border as a life-threatening hurricane. Authorities had ordered coastal residents to evacuate, but not everyone did in an area that was devastated by Hurricane Rita in 2005. More than 290,000 homes and businesses are without power in Louisiana and Texas. Search and rescue missions await breaks in the weather to get underway (The Associated Press). Experts are describing Laura as one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the United States, with sustained winds of 150 mph and an anticipated wall of water estimated at 20 feet high. The National Hurricane Center called the expected storm surge “unsurvivable” (The New York Times). 


International: The United States announced on Wednesday it is restricting travel of certain individuals tied to the Chinese government because of “malign activities” in the South China Sea (The Hill). 


Environment: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Wednesday that the Trump administration is committed to starting an aid program to help the struggling lobster industry, with funding coming from a coronavirus stimulus package instead of federal aid used to bail out farmers in the wake of the president’s tariffs war with China. Perdue said lobstermen and women will soon be able to apply for aid through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, a $19 billion program established for farmers in April in response to COVID-19 (The Hill). The GOP convention on Tuesday featured remarks by a Maine lobsterman who said he supported Trump’s fisheries policies.


➔ Tech: TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer resigned on Thursday amid heightening pressure for its Chinese owner to sell the popular video app, which the White House says is a security risk. Mayer made the decision as the president continues to push to force DanceByte to sell the social media platform to an American company in the coming months (The Associated Press). … Facebook said on Wednesday that privacy changes planned by Apple for its upcoming iPhone operating system will “disproportionately affect” a large number of developers who deliver ads using Facebook’s tool in applications. In response, Facebook said it was making multiple changes to its advertising operations (Reuters).


And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Inspired by back-to-back political conventions, we’re eager for some smart guesses about convention speeches delivered by nominees’ children.


Email your responses to and/or, and please add “Quiz” to subject lines. Winners who submit correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame on Friday.


Which offspring of a presidential candidate delivered a prominent national nominating convention speech that described a “wonderful, thoughtful, hilarious” parent?


  1. Josh Romney
  2. Jeb Bush
  3. Chelsea Clinton
  4. Julie Nixon


In 2004, the Democratic National Convention gave Ron Reagan, son of former President Ronald Reagan, a speaking role to talk about which issue?


  1. Stem cell research
  2. Climate change
  3. Campaign finance reform
  4. Solar energy


In 2000, Karenna Gore nominated her father, Al Gore, to be president during the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. Which anecdote from those remarks is fiction? 


  1. She said he taught her how to drive her first car, an electric vehicle
  2. She praised her father for accepting a lot of her late-night phone calls 
  3. She described how he helped build an igloo out of snow for her outdoor sleepover and brought her hot chocolate
  4. She related how he made breakfast for her as a child with “toast with lots of butter”


During his 2000 convention acceptance speech in Philadelphia, nominee George W. Bush called the 41st president, George H.W. Bush _______?


  1. “The most decent man I have ever known”
  2. “A gentle soul”
  3. “The last president of a great generation”
  4. “So strong”
  5. All of the above




Tags Al Gore Anthony Fauci Ben Carson Donald Trump Ed Markey Elise Stefanik Hillary Clinton Ivanka Trump Joe Biden Joni Ernst Karen Pence Kellyanne Conway Kevin McCarthy Kristi Noem Mark Meadows Marsha Blackburn Mike Pence Mike Pompeo Mitch McConnell Sonny Perdue Tammy Baldwin Ted Cruz Tom Cotton Tony Evers

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