First Thing election special: Trump’s on the stump and all masks are off | US news


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Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail on Monday evening, his voice still audibly hoarse but with two supposedly negative Covid-19 tests to prove he was no longer infectious, as he addressed a packed and mostly mask-free crowd in Sanford, Florida. “I feel so powerful,” the president said, claiming he was now immune to the virus. “I’ll walk into that audience. I’ll walk in there, I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women – everybody.”

‘I’ll kiss everyone’: Trump claims he has immunity at first rally since Covid diagnosis – video

Trump has been itching to return to a full schedule of in-person rallies since leaving hospital last Monday, as he scrambles to shore up his dwindling support in swing states such as Florida.

  • A 25-year-old Nevada man with the first case of a confirmed coronavirus reinfection in the US was hospitalised and given oxygen support the second time he caught the disease, after suffering only mild symptoms from his first infection.

  • A new documentary about the federal coronavirus response, Totally Under Control, shows how America experienced a “sclerotic government response … amplified by leadership which doesn’t seem to care,” director Alex Gibney tells Adrian Horton.

Republicans’ ‘rank hypocrisy’ on show at the Barrett hearings

Republican senator Chuck Grassley takes a picture during the hearing on Monday.

Republican senator Chuck Grassley takes a picture during the hearing on Monday. Photograph: Getty Images

As the Amy Coney Barrett hearings got under way in Washington on Monday, the senate judiciary committee chairman, Lindsey Graham, and his GOP colleagues loudly lamented the partisanship that has come to characterise the supreme court confirmation process. “A visitor from outer space might have thought that they were the upholders of civics and civility,” writes David Smith. “No matter that Trump has played divider-in-chief or that Republicans blocked Barack Obama’s nominee to the court in 2016.”

Amy Coney Barrett: US supreme court nominee delivers opening statement – video

In her own opening statement, Barrett insisted government policy should be set by Congress, not the courts, whose responsibility is to interpret the law, not shape it. But as Tom McCarthy explains, her confirmation as a justice would have far-reaching political consequences. For Jill Filipovic, the very fact that the hearings are taking place at all, three weeks before the election, is a demonstration of Republicans’ rank hypocrisy:

Republicans have said over and over that Barrett’s personal life, including her faith, should be off-limits. And yet they repeatedly raised her personal life, including her faith, as an asset.

Biden’s bid to expand the battleground map

Joe Biden in Ohio: Trump ‘turned his back on you’ – video

With Trump trying to cling on to the crucial swing states he won in 2016, Joe Biden is trying to expand the Democrats’ electoral college reach by picking off red states such as Ohio, where he held a rally on Monday night. Speaking to union workers at the drive-in event in Toledo, Biden hammered his campaign message that he represents working-class values, while the president represents only Wall Street:

I don’t measure people by the size of their bank account. You and I measure people by the strength of their character, their honesty, their courage.

Some early voters in Georgia endured 11-hour waits

Early voters wait in line at the Bell auditorium in Augusta, Georgia, on Monday.

Early voters wait in line at the Bell auditorium in Augusta, Georgia, on Monday. Photograph: Michael Holahan/AP

Some people waited up to 11 hours to cast their ballots in Georgia on Monday, the first day of early voting in a state that has become infamous for voting issues. Election officials have already seen record turnouts on the first day of in-person early voting in other states including Virginia and Ohio. Georgia, long considered a Republican stronghold, is increasingly purple, with Trump and Biden tied in recent presidential polls and Democrats hoping to pick up a US Senate seat in the state.

In other election news …

A genuine ballot drop box in Los Angeles.

A genuine ballot drop box in Los Angeles. Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images
  • Republicans have placed unauthorised ballot drop boxes in several California counties, leading to an investigation by state authorities who have warned that the practice is illegal.

  • John McCain’s mother has died aged 108. Roberta McCain became something of a fixture on the campaign trail in 2008, when at 96 she was the “secret weapon” of her son’s presidential bid, telling voters they need not worry about his advanced age.

Stat of the day

More than 200 different companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments have patronised Trump properties during his presidency, while also reaping benefits from Trump and his administration, according to an investigation of the president’s tax returns by the New York Times.

View from the right

The Democrats spent the first day of the Amy Coney Barrett hearings focusing on the danger they say she poses to Obamacare. That line of questioning says more about them than it does about her, argues Rich Lowry in the New York Post.

As always, progressives don’t view the ­supreme court as a neutral body devoted to interpreting the constitution and the law as written, but as a supra-legislature that should protect and advance their policy goals. As far as they are concerned, there is no reason a supreme court hearing should be different from any other forum for the advocacy of policy.

Don’t miss this

Alamance county, an overwhelmingly white-majority rural area of North Carolina, has never entirely recovered from the 2008 recession. And its economic woes have been accompanied by a surge of white supremacist activity, leaving Black residents worried about what could happen if Trump wins again – or if he loses, Frances Madeson reports.

Last Thing: the true story of the trial of the Chicago 7

Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and Rennie Davis speak to the press during a break in their 1969 trial.

Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and Rennie Davis speak to the press during a break in their 1969 trial. Photograph: Bettmann/Bettmann Archive

Aaron Sorkin’s Oscar-tipped new movie, The Trial of the Chicago 7, is a star-studded and stirringly topical depiction of the legal proceedings that followed the protests at the 1968 Democratic convention. One of the surviving defendants, Rennie Davis, tells David Smith that the timing of its release, into the tumultuous politics of 2020, “is just really perfection.”

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