Campaign

The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden asks if public can trust vaccine from Trump ahead of Election Day | Oklahoma health officials raised red flags before Trump rally

Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail: 

LEADING THE DAY: 

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday questioned whether the public can trust a coronavirus vaccine distributed by the Trump administration in an election year.

Biden said politics should not interfere with the development and distribution of a vaccine, which should be based on science. But he said he didn’t trust President Trump on the issue and that he would look for whether a potential vaccine had support from the scientific community, not the president.

“Let me be clear: I trust vaccines, I trust scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump,” Biden said. 

Biden called on Trump to answer three questions surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine and its development. He said that if Trump could answer the three questions, then he would feel comfortable with himself and others taking the vaccine. 

  • “What criteria will be used to ensure that a vaccine meets the scientific standard of safety and effectiveness?
  • “If the administration green lights a vaccine, who will validate that the decision was driven by science rather than politics? What group of scientists will that be?”
  • “How can we be sure that the distribution of the vaccine will take place safely, cost-free, and without a hint of favoritism?”

The rhetoric surrounding a potential vaccine has become highly politicized during the campaign. Trump has said that he hopes a vaccine would be available to the public before Election Day in November and the administration on Wednesday outlined its own plan to deliver a safe and free coronavirus vaccine to the public as soon as possible. 

The Trump campaign is furious at Biden for questioning the development of the vaccine, accusing the former vice president of “fearmongering” and of “spreading anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.”

“It’s very, very disappointing to hear a presidential candidate Joe Biden and his vice presidential running mate Kamala Harris downplaying this and saying they wouldn’t take it,” said Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), a former podiatrist and a member of the Congressional Doctors Caucus. “That’s very dangerous for the health of America.”

The discovery of a vaccine would dramatically alter the course of the presidential race with 48 days to go until Nov. 3.

But a vaccine before the end of the year is far from certain.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield told Congress on Wednesday that a vaccine will not likely be available to the general public until the “second or third quarter” of next year, although he said it’s possible one will be available for first responders as early as November.

SCOOP FROM THE HILL’S BOB CUSACK

Oklahoma public health officials raised numerous red flags ahead of Trump’s June campaign rally in Tulsa, citing the potential for coronavirus outbreaks. 

The Hill’s editor-in-chief Bob Cusack obtained dozens of emails through a state freedom of information request that display angst and worry in the days leading up to the event. 

This is critical because although it’s unclear exactly how many cases were linked to the rally, Tulsa Health Department Director Bruce Dart said it had “more than likely contributed” to a jump in cases. 

However, the Trump campaign is sticking to its strategy of holding large rallies, despite concerns from public health officials. 

Trump held two rallies in Nevada over the weekend, including one that was indoors and defied public health guidelines. 

Read Bob’s full report here.

VOTER EDUCATION

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is spending $9 million on a program intended to educate voters on different options for casting their ballot in the coming weeks. The investment comes as virtually every state prepares for an expected influx in election-related mail due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Trump has sought for months to sow doubt in the results of the 2020 election, arguing that recent expansions in mail-in voting will open the process to an increased risk of fraud. In some cases, however, he’s encouraged absentee voting, going as far as to urge supporters in North Carolina to vote twice — once by mail and once in person — in order to stress test the state’s election systems.

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), the chair of the DCCC, accused Republicans on Wednesday of waging a “crusade” against voting rights. Here’s what she told reporters on a video briefing:

“You’ve got this Republican crusade – and I do not use that word lightly – a Republican crusade to get in the way of people’s voting rights.”

“[Trump] is trying to lay the groundwork for the skepticism about voting by mail when you’ve had states like Oregon and Washington and Colorado and Hawaii and our men and women in uniform who have been voting by mail for many many years.”

Max has more on the DCCC’s new investment here.

POLLING ROUNDUP

New polling out from the midwestern states of Wisconsin and Minnesota shows Biden with leads of Trump less than 50 days out from Election Day. 

In Minnesota, Biden holds a whopping 16-point lead, 57-41, over Trump, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released this morning. This could be cause for concern for the Trump campaign, which has been hoping to flip the state that the president nearly won in 2016. 

In Wisconsin, Biden holds a much more narrow lead of six points, 52-46, according to the same survey. Remember, Wisconsin is a must-win state for Trump in November. He flipped the state in 2016, which contributed to his victory over Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, new polling from Quinnipiac University, shows Trump leading 58-38 percent in the deep red state of Kentucky, and leading 51-45 percent in South Carolina. Biden maintains a lead of 59-38 percent in Maine, according to Quinnipiac. 

Quinnipiac also did polling in the widely watched Senate contests in Kentucky, South Carolina and Maine, where Republican incumbents are fighting to fend off primary challenges. The three polls tell a very different story for the senators facing reelection. 

In Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leads his Democratic challenger, Amy McGrath 53 – 41 percent. 

In South Carolina, Sen. Lindsay Graham is in a dead heat with his Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison, tying him at 48-48 percent. 

And in Maine, the state’s Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon is leading incumbent Sen. Susan Collins, 54-42 percent. 

THE SNL ELECTION 

And on a light note…..Saturday Night Live revealed on Wednesday that actor and comedian Jim Carrey will play Biden on the show’s 46th season, which premiers on Oct. 3, just in time for the final stretch of the presidential campaign. 

In addition to Carrey playing Biden, Alec Baldwin and Maya Rudolph will reprise their roles as Donald Trump and Kamala Harris in the upcoming season, which will feature a “limited audience” amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

 

Tags Bob Cusack Brad Wenstrup Cheri Bustos Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Mitch McConnell Susan Collins

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Regular the hill posts

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)
In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)

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