“We need to know if you’re pretty enough to be on the cover of a magazine.”
Meryl Streep was told she wasn’t pretty enough when she auditioned for the 1976 version of King Kong. The producer actually said, “Why do you bring me this ugly thing?” when referring to Meryl coming in to audition.
Tiffany Haddish left an audition room and overheard someone say that she wasn’t “as urban as [they] thought she’d be.”
Also, right after her audition, Tiffany heard someone say, “I really think we should just go with a white girl. This role should be changed to white.”
Before auditioning for Friends, Jennifer Aniston was reportedly told “to lose 30 pounds” if she wanted to make it in Hollywood.
During one audition, Lana Condor recalled being told to be “more like Hello Kitty.”
Reese Witherspoon was told to “dress sexy” for her Legally Blonde audition. The casting directors thought she was a “shrew” and exactly like her character from Election.
Gina Rodriguez was asked to come back wearing a “black dress” after an audition because they “need to know if you’re pretty enough to be on the cover of a magazine.”
Emma Thompson was originally told that she was “too old for Hugh Grant” while preparing to film Sense and Sensibility. Emma is only two years older than Hugh IRL.
Sophia Bush was told she “didn’t look sexy enough” to play Brooke Davis on One Tree Hill and then, when she auditioned again, she was told she “looked too sexy.” She actually auditioned for the role three times.
A director actually pointed a camera up Thandie Newton’s skirt during an audition and told her to “think about the guy making love to [her] in the scene.”
During one of her first auditions, Judi Dench was told that she had “every single thing wrong with her face” and that she probably wouldn’t be in “any film” because of it.
While auditioning to play a lawyer, Tracee Ellis Ross wore a “skirt suit and heels,” and was quickly forced into a different outfit because she had to look “sexier.” She was put in a mini skirt, a T-shirt, and bra that was a size too small for her.
Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers told Julie Andrews that she was “far too pretty” to play Mary, but she had “the nose for it.”
Elizabeth Banks was told that she was “too old” to play Mary Jane Watson opposite Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man. Elizabeth and Tobey are barely two years apart.
Classical music concert with a sheet music in the foreground
Manuel Breva Colmeiro/Getty Images
Manuel Breva Colmeiro/Getty Images
Classical music concert with a sheet music in the foreground
Manuel Breva Colmeiro/Getty Images
We got a gift from a friend this week—a true note of grace in discordant times. You may know our friend: Amy Dickinson, who writes the advice column “Ask Amy”, and is a panelist on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.”
Amy grew up singing in the choir of the Freeville United Methodist Church in Freeville, New York, where her grandmother was the organist and choir director.
Amy is still in that choir today.
But they’ve had to stop singing during the pandemic. Singing, even words of inspiration, propels aerosol droplets that can carry COVID-19 particles. It is especially incautious in close confines, including the spaces of a church.
Services have resumed at Freeville United Methodist, and Amy says the parishioners scrupulously observe guidelines from the State of New York. They sit six feet or more apart from one another. They wear masks at all times. There are no bibles, church bulletins, or hymnals in the pews, and — of course, no choir singing out — which could risk spraying out potential infection.
But one Sunday, says Amy Dickinson, the 20 or so members of her small congregation began to hum their masked and wordless performance of the hymn, “He Touched Me.”
“We are humming behind our masks,” Amy explained as she sent along the music, “and it is the most heartbreaking and beautiful thing I’ve ever heard… It feels frustrating to hum, but the softness of it means that you are sort of sinking into the quiet and the sadness of it all.”
“One day when this is over, we will tear our masks off with gusto and make a joyful noise,” Amy Dickinson told us. “But I will never forget this… Perhaps we will develop a whisper song or two to mark the time when our voices were stilled…”
Crossing a street in the world of COVID-19 can get you wrapped up like a rubber band. Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman says he’s resorted to all sorts of tricks to activate a pedestrian signal without actually touching a button.
“The other day I used my elbow,” he said, recounting that he’s used pencils, pens, water bottles, his knuckle and even the corner of his shirt. “Humans can be creative when the occasion calls for it, and that’s exactly what our Roads and Airports Department has done.”
This week, the department installed the first touchless pedestrian crossing signals on Bascom Avenue across the street from Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. The devices, which are the first of their kind in California, are activated just by waving your hand in front of a motion sensor. And for those unable to wave something, there’s still a button you can push.
Harry Freitas, the county’s director of roads and airports, said this is the first of 25 installations on county expressways with an eventual goal of having every crosswalk in the county go touch-free.
“Traffic engineers normally are concerned with pedestrian safety related to traffic,” Freitas said. “In this case, our traffic engineers are thinking about pedestrian safety for viruses.”
And the guy who gets the big congratulations for this one is Principal Civil Engineer Ananth Prasad, who prototyped the device and got it approved by Caltrans in fast order. Freitas said normally the state would take much longer than the two months it took to get approval, but he credited Caltrans for recognizing the necessity for an expedited process in this case.
ANOTHER BUSINESS GETS TRIMMED: After 10 years making folks look better in downtown San Jose, Dan Dixon announced Thursday that he was closing his Crewners barbershop. Since the county’s shelter-in-place order went into effect March 17, Dixon was allowed to be open for just 48 hours last month before the re-openings were rolled back.
Like many others in the barber and hairstyling business, Dixon is perplexed by the rules that allow some businesses to operate but not others. “I just can’t understand why a waiter or waitress with no proper sanitation training can be allowed to serve customers who are not wearing masks while dining,” he said in an email, “but a cosmetologist or barber, who has completed 1,500-1,600 hours of state-mandated training (half of which is geared toward proper disinfection and sanitation protocols) cannot service a client wearing a mask, standing behind them.”
Dixon’s one-chair shop, with a retro-style reminiscent of the Rat Pack days of the 1960s, was one of the original tenants at San Pedro Square Market. Dixon expanded and eventually moved the shop a block away to a bigger space at 111 Market Square. He hasn’t entirely given up, though, and has hopes of opening a new barbershop whenever the conditions improve.
VIRTUES OF VIRTUAL VINO: Like many restaurants, bars and wine shops in the Bay Area, Enoteca La Storia had to scramble when Santa Clara County’s public health orders forced them to close the doors of their Los Gatos and San Jose locations for a few months. But one surprising success story out of the forced change has been their wine club virtual tastings, which really became a hit online.
Each month, Mike Guerra and Nick Dazzi spend 75-minutes zipping and sipping through a half-dozen wines, sharing stories about the vintners and other fun trivia along the way. Since the wine club members can’t be at the tasting in person, they order and pick up a kit with 4-oz. pours of each of the wines. The best part is nobody’s driving tipsy after the tasting session’s done.
The virtual tastings are open to both wine club members and non-members, and the next one is coming Thursday. You can register for the virtual and separately purchase a tasting kit at www.enotecalastoria.com by clicking on “Events” at the location of your choice.
By the way, now that the county’s order has changed, both the Los Gatos and San Jose locations are offering limited outdoor dining as well as takeout.
OUTDOOR EXHIBIT RISES UP IN LOS ALTOS: The Los Altos History Museum had plans to celebrate the centennial of the 19th amendment’s ratification this year with “Rise Up! The Fight for Women’s Suffrage,” a large exhibition in the museum’s main gallery. But when the coronavirus pandemic changed those plans, the museum didn’t give up on the exhibition.
Instead, on Thursday, the museum will open a smaller version, mounted on the wraparound porch of the J. Gilbert Smith House. Visitors can browse the panels of historic photos and text on their own while keeping a safe distance from each other. And when the museum is allowed to reopen, the outdoor exhibition will become part of the main show, which explores the history of women gaining the right to vote, both nationally and in the Bay Area. Hours and other details are available at losaltoshistory.org.
“We were disappointed not to be able to open the exhibition as planned in the main gallery, but flexibility is the name of the game this year,” said Amy Ellison, the exhibition’s curator. “Our team worked hard to pivot to this outside exhibit so we would have it up before Aug. 26, which is national Women’s Equality Day and the 100th anniversary of the Constitutional Amendment.”
Pardon me for noticing that a) Biden had pledged to pick a woman, b) many Democrats said that the woman should be nonwhite (“Klobuchar Drops Out of Biden’s V.P. Search and Backs Picking a Woman of Color“), c) Biden was better off picking someone who had held high elective office and d) Biden’s eventual choice met these criteria. (I even list the three boxes in the column! “Female, nonwhite, plausibly presidential.” That last one is an odd way to diminish someone.)
Among the other analysts who have used the same offending terminology about Harris: David Axelrod. Here’s Time magazine from around the same time I wrote my column:
“She checks a lot of boxes,” says Democratic strategist David Axelrod, who advised then-Democratic nominee Barack Obama on his 2008 decision to put Biden on the ticket.
Molly Ball and Charlotte Alter, writing for the magazine, did not immediately note that Axelrod was trying to subtly hurt the Democratic ticket with his subtle animus. Presumably that’s because they’re sane, rational, and not eager to take a cheap shot.
New Jersey voters will for the first time cast their ballots for president predominantly by mail in November.
Gov. Philip D. Murphy, a Democrat, announced Friday that the upcoming general election would be conducted using mostly mail-in ballots to ensure voters’ and poll workers’ safety during the pandemic.
The governor, citing the success of the state’s predominantly vote-by-mail primary election last month, said all 6.3 million New Jersey voters would be sent ballots to return either by mail or to deposit in secure drop boxes.
“It doesn’t matter what party you’re in — everybody gets a ballot,” Mr. Murphy said Friday morning on CNN.
He said the state would build on the lessons learned during the July 7 primary, the first broad test of voting by mail in New Jersey. The state, for example, will expand the number of secure locations for in-person delivery of ballots and add more polling places where voters can complete provisional ballots on Election Day.
“We’re going to have more presence of secure drop boxes,” he said. “Make sure there is that physical in-voting capacity.”
New Jersey joins a growing number of states that have shifted to mail-in ballots to minimize the risks posed by the coronavirus, even as President Trump continues to sow doubt, claiming without evidence that the process is plagued by fraud. Voters in at least eight other states and Washington, D.C. — an estimated 38 million people — also are being mailed ballots to cast votes in November.
In addition to the presidential contest, voters in New Jersey will be deciding whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana after legislative initiatives failed.
They will also be voting on several hotly contested congressional races, including a battle in South Jersey between Representative Jeff Van Drew, a turncoat Democrat who voted against the president’s impeachment before pledging loyalty to Mr. Trump, and Amy Kennedy, a former teacher who is married to Patrick Kennedy, a nephew of President John F. Kennedy.
Elected officials in at least one of New Jersey’s 21 counties, Warren County, have already expressed opposition to relying nearly entirely on mail-in ballots in November.
A May special election for Paterson City Council, conducted using mail voting at the height of the pandemic, led the state attorney general to charge four men with ballot fraud. They were accused of fraudulently collecting groups of ballots and delivering them to be counted. Mr. Trump referred to the Paterson arrests on Twitter.
Amber McReynolds, chief executive of the National Vote at Home Institute, applauded New Jersey’s initiative to expand access to voting. But she said she had urged the state to implement an electronic ballot tracking system to increase voters’ trust in the process as well as provide opportunities for them to troubleshoot before Election Day.
For example, if a voter’s signature was being challenged, the person would be alerted while there was still time to cure the problem.
“Just like tracking an Amazon package,” she said, “you can see where your ballot is at every moment.”
New Jersey’s vote-by-mail primary election was not trouble free.
County clerks complained about supply-chain shortages of envelopes. Some voters got the wrong ballots; other ballots never reached voters. A glitch involving a bar code caused some ballots to be returned in the mail before being counted.
An aide to Mr. Murphy said the governor had had high-level conversations with representatives of the Postal Service to try to safeguard against similar problems leading up to the Nov. 3 election.
There was also a lag time in collecting and counting the primary mail-in ballots that only needed to be postmarked by July 7, and the official results of all the races were not certified until last week. Still, the winners of most races were clear within hours or days, much sooner than some people had anticipated.
Ms. Kennedy’s most formidable Democratic primary opponent, Brigid Callahan Harrison, conceded the race about 20 minutes after provisional ballot locations closed.
Elizabeth Matto, director of Rutgers University’s Center for Youth Political Participation, said it would be crucial for New Jersey and other states that are relying heavily on mail-in ballots to invest in “extensive, accurate, nonpartisan” voter education, especially in areas hardest hit by Covid-19.
“People shouldn’t have to chose between voting and their health,” Professor Matto said.
But she said it would also be important to provide ample in-person voting options, especially in a presidential election when turning out to the polls can be a point of pride.
“You want to go get the sticker,” she said. “You want to take your kids into the voting booth.”
But the success of New Jersey’s shift to a predominantly mail-in election will depend on persuading voters to avoid long lines — and an increased risk of spreading the virus — at locations where voters can cast provisional ballots on Election Day.
Mr. Trump has assailed the Postal Service in recent months, growing increasingly critical of mail-in voting and issuing repeated warnings about the possibility of election fraud.
On Thursday, he repeated an unfounded claim that the election could be rife with fraud if mail ballots were widely used. And he made clear that he opposed Democratic demands for additional funding for the post office to ensure it had the capacity to efficiently process an increased volume of mail.
The comments came amid growing scrutiny of the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, a Republican donor.
The issue has also become grist in fund-raising appeals to Democrats. In a fund-raising email, a group founded by Democratic members of the House of Representative’s Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Go for Broke for Vets, asserts that the president and his allies are trying to “undercut, under fund” and weaken the Postal Service, one of the nation’s largest employers of veterans.
This week is Joe Biden’s moment in the spotlight. After keeping his campaign mostly low-key with small digital events since he became his party’s presumptive nominee at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the former vice president will accept the Democratic presidential nod via virtual speech on Thursday.
His selection of California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate will be flaunted at the convention in hopes of exciting Democrats to vote for the Biden ticket. Harris is at once the most expected, conventional choice and a historic choice, pleasing rank-and-file Democrats by making a black and South Asian woman the presumptive vice presidential nominee.
Picking Harris, who repeatedly adopted far-left policies before walking them back during her own presidential run, also reflects Biden’s changing approach to governance and the presidency. Biden increasingly sees himself as a Franklin Delano Roosevelt-like transition figure and is happy to adopt positions further to the left than he ran on in the Democratic primary in an effort to unify the more moderate and far-left wings of the party.
While Biden maintains an average national poll lead of around 7 points, those on his campaign and other Democrats continuously warn not to become complacent due to the favorable poll numbers, citing the 2016 election.
“The thing I’m looking for is: Can Donald Trump get this to a 4-point race?” Democratic analyst and consultant Mary Anne Mash told the Washington Examiner last week. “That’s where the 2016 race was as it went into Election Day.” — by Emily Larsen
The Biden acceptance speech: What does he have to do?
On Thursday, Joe Biden will give his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. We asked people of varying backgrounds and ideologies to weight in what they thought Biden should and/or will focus on in his speech:
Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report: “Right now, this election is between Donald Trump and Not Donald Trump. That’s worked out pretty well thus far for Biden. But a presidential candidate has to be able to give voters a reason to vote for him/her. What we know that voters are desperate for at this moment is leadership — someone who can navigate and articulate a path forward. That’s the job ahead of him at this convention. No need to make it about Trump.”
Max Burns, Democratic strategist — “Biden needs to focus on two key areas: convincing hesitant Republicans that his administration will be a safe and predictable alternative to Trump’s play-it-by-ear presidency and refining a national message that sells key progressive wish list items like climate action and criminal justice reform to voters turned off by how toxic the partisanship around those issues has become.”
Erick Erickson, conservative commentator — “I think his focus will have to be on unity and competence. Biden and Trump both need people off the sidelines. Biden gets the Left off the sidelines with a VP pick. He gets the moderates and independents to come out for him by highlighting his ability to competently steer government and unite people for a common purpose. Essentially, Biden needs to make the case that these are insane times largely because of Trump and that he can bring calm back to our lives.”
Shermichael Singleton, political analyst — “Biden needs to present a clear message to the American people that goes deeper than, ‘Trump is terrible, so elect me.’ His words need to be forward-thinking and aspirational. In essence, he needs to give people something to look forward to. Thus far, he’s running on, ‘I’m going to make things normal again,’ and that doesn’t generate excitement.”
Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe — “Joe Biden should use his speech to explain how his presidency will provide Americans with a return to normalcy. How he will fight to preserve constitutional norms, defend the rule of law, and respect checks and balances of Madisonian democracy that Donald Trump ignores. Biden also needs to speak out against the lawless extremists in Portland and across America who spread chaos and undermine the cause of George Floyd, John Lewis, and Martin Luther King Jr.”
Jesse Ferguson, Former Deputy National Press Secretary for Hillary Clinton — “This is one of Joe Biden’s best moments to speak to the whole of the country and showcase how he’s the antidote to Donald Trump. People need to come away with confidence that he’ll bring a stabilizing approach and trust that he can start to cure what Trump has done to us – from the corruption of our government to the division of our nation to the pandemic on our people. Everyone knows that Donald Trump only cares about looking good, so now they can see the antidote is Joe Biden who has spent his life doing good.”
Trump-Pence Campaign: Taking on the Harris choice
After months of attacking presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, known variously as “Beijing Biden,” “Hidin’ Biden,” and “Sleepy Joe,” Trump’s reelection team has a new target: Harris. Biden announced the California Democrat as his running mate ahead of the national convention, and the Trump campaign wasted no time in trying to define her.
“Phony Kamala” is Trump’s nickname for Harris, which the campaign hopes will join the annals of Trump sobriquets alongside “Low Energy Jeb” and “Crooked Hillary.” It’s a Trump branding exercise designed to capture some political weakness as the essence of a given opponent. Harris has a reputation among detractors for political opportunism. This perception helped doom her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination — but not before she leveled her attacks on Biden, which the Trump campaign has also been quick to use against the Democratic ticket.
Team Trump has launched many volleys against Harris, whose nomination takes on added importance because Biden would be the oldest president in U.S. history. Too many, said Patrick Hynes, a communications consultant who advised the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney and John McCain. Both the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have called her a radical, a disappointment to progressives, a reckless prosecutor — charges that may be individually true, Hynes said, but taken together add up to “muddled messaging.” GOP operatives say the key is to find and land on one line of attack and prosecute it through Election Day. — by W. James Antle III
House Races: Is Don Young vulnerable?
The list of Rep. Don Young’s politically incorrect utterances over his 47-year House career is too long to recount. Eyeing November, Democrats think the Alaska Republican’s off-the-cuff approach will catch up with him just as swing state polls show voters getting weary of Trump’s incendiary style.
The House Democrats’ campaign arm is once again arguing that Young is vulnerable. It’s something it’s been trying since Young, now 87, first won Alaska’s lone House seat in a March 1973 special election.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is talking up the chances of Alyse Galvin, who is running as an independent along Democratic lines, emphasizing the former, since Alaska remains a Republican-leaning state.
Democrats point to the epic list of Young’s controversial statements. In 2010, Young described the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as “not an environmental disaster” but a “natural” phenomenon. And in 2014, the former tugboat captain told a group of high school students who were mourning the suicide of a classmate that suicides could be blamed on a “lack of support” from family and friends.
That’s just a sampling of old statements Democrats are dredging up, implicitly linking the most senior House member, known as its dean, to Trump. Alaskans are tired of being embarrassed by their leaders in Washington, goes this line of argument.
There’s some reason to think this is having an effect. That same PPP poll shows Trump leading Biden in Alaska 48%-45%, which would make for the closest Republican win in the state since 1960.
But Young doesn’t seem to be sweating it and is confident of reelection. Young’s campaign website says he is “fortunate to have been named among the top 10 most effective lawmakers in Congress, crediting a laser-like focus on Alaska policy issues and the ability to move bills through the legislative process.” — by David Mark
Senate Races: Democrats on the march, but Gary Peters stands alone
Michigan’s junior senator is one of two vulnerable Democrats on the fall ballot — and the only one up for reelection in a swing state. Senate Democrats are expressing confidence about Peters, pointing to sizable leads over Republican challenger John James in most public opinion polls. But the incumbent might be more concerned than his colleagues back in Washington. This month, the senator took to the airwaves in conservative northern Michigan (not metropolitan Detroit) to highlight his cooperation with Trump to protect the state’s cherry crop from unfair trade practices by Turkey.
“Gary even went directly to President Trump in the White House,” cherry grower association CFO Nels Veliquette says in a television advertisement from the Peters campaign, as a flattering picture of Trump flashes on the screen.
Trump is especially reviled on the Left — and the president trails presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in Michigan in any event, weighed down by voter dissatisfaction with his handling of the coronavirus. In tying himself to such a president, even in a geographically targeted ad, Peters is signaling that he believes he has a fight on his hands with James down the stretch of the fall campaign. And with Republicans defending a narrow three-seat majority and under threat in as many as seven states, whether Peters can hang on could determine the balance of power in the Senate come 2021. — by David Drucker
Latest polling news
In the RealClearPolitics average in a head-to-head matchup, Biden leads Trump by just over 7 points. The good news for Trump? Hillary Clinton had a similar lead at this time in 2016. The bad news for Trump? He hasn’t led in national poll since February. Naturally, the question remains whether Joe Biden gets a “convention bump,” but with the pandemic affecting the event to the point that Biden won’t accept the nomination in person, it remains to be seen what happens in the days after. In the battleground states, Biden enjoys small leads in three states that Trump won in 2016 that had been Democratic strongholds — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
On the Senate side, elections raters at RealClearPolitics declared last week that South Carolina’s Senate race is a “toss-up” despite incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham having an average polling lead of 8 points over Democratic challenger Jamie Harrison. Republican Sen. Martha McSally is hoping to fend off astronaut Mark Kelly, but she has about half the money in her war chest that he has as of July 15: $11 million compared to $21.2 million. Recent polls consistently show Kelly with a lead, sometimes a double-digit lead.
In the House, Republicans are not optimistic about taking back control but could still see some gains and not losses. Republicans think they may be able to flip some Democratic-held seats that Trump won, such as longtime Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson’s seat in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District. A Republican internal poll last week found his challenger, former Minnesota Lt. Gov. Michelle Fishbach, ahead of Peterson by 10 points. — by Emily Larsen and Jay Caruso
Progressives blasted the Democratic National Committee for allotting only 60 seconds at next week’s convention to “Squad” member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., while giving larger platforms to former Republican Gov. John Kasich and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Ocasio-Cortez has become an icon among the left since being sworn into Congress in 2018, but she is set to give a one-minute pre-recorded address at the convention, which she acknowledged on Twitter quoting the poem “God’s Minute” by the late civil rights leader Dr. Benjamin E. Mays.
“I only have a minute. Sixty seconds in it. Forced upon me, I did not choose it, But I know that I must use it,” Ocasio-Cortez cited the poem on Wednesday. “Give account if I abuse it. Suffer if I lose it. Only a tiny little minute, But eternity is in it.”
“@AOC needs more than 60 seconds if we’re fine wasting time & space bringing Bloomberg & Kasich. This is more proof the DNC still doesn’t understand the Democratic base, the youth, people of color, or the fact they are not a conservative party. It’s OK to be progressive. It’s OK,” New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali said.
“Joe Rogan’s naughty jokes are worse than a guy who blocked a minimum wage increase and implemented stop & frisk according to Democratic elites,” progressive commentator Kyle Kulinski tweeted, referring to Bloomberg’s policies as NYC mayor.
“With the @DNC giving John Kasich, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg and other Republicans/Republican-lites significantly more speaking time than @AOC… one of the most popular politicians in America…one has to wonder whether they’re trying to lose,” Status Coup co-founder Jordan Chariton pondered.
Many progressives were also outspoken with condemnation of Joe Biden’s selection of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. as his running mate.
Others set to speak at next week’s convention include former President Barack Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton along with several of Biden’s former 2020 rivals including Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Cory Booker.
Five border communities in Texas have escalating rates of new cases.
The communities with the highest rates of new cases relative to their populations all lie along the border with Mexico or on the Gulf Coast: Brownsville-Harlingen, Eagle Pass, Rio Grande City, Corpus Christi and Laredo, according to data compiled by The New York Times. Four of the five metro areas with the worst death rates in the country over the last two weeks were also in the South Texas border region.
The numbers underscore the virulence of the virus in Texas, where officials have struggled to both keep the state open and curb infection. More than 300 deaths were announced in the state on Wednesday, and the state is approaching a total death toll of 10,000.
Representative Filemon B. Vela Jr., a Democrat whose district includes Brownsville and Harlingen, said that in late June, he did not know anyone who had the virus. Now, he said, he knows hundreds. “In one day, I had four people who I knew die,” Mr. Vela said.
In Laredo, hospitals have been at or near capacity every day. The state turned a local Red Roof Inn into a 106-bed temporary hospital for coronavirus patients with mild cases, but local leaders have been urging officials to allow patients with more serious cases in.
“We see an unprecedented amount of death,” said Dr. Victor Treviño, the top health official in Laredo, adding, “When the state opened, that’s when we saw the infection rate increase dramatically.”
Mr. Vela and other congressional Democrats in Texas have criticized Gov. Greg Abbott’s handling of the state’s reopening. When Mr. Abbott, a Republican, reopened the state in phases beginning May 1, he lifted the state’s stay-at-home order and prohibited local officials from adopting their own. After cases increased, Mr. Abbott paused the reopening, ordered bars to close and issued a mask mandate for most Texans.
“Shutting down the bars isn’t enough,” said Mr. Vela, who called on the governor on Thursday to issue stay-at-home orders in hard-hit counties or allow local officials to put them in place. On Thursday, Mr. Abbott met with officials in the West Texas city of Lubbock and warned the public about what he called “Covid fatigue.” In remarks to reporters, he urged Texans to continue to wear masks, though he was without one as he spoke at an indoor news conference.
“If people do not continue to, in a very disciplined way, maintain the highest level of standards, what you will see is an acceleration of the expansion of Covid-19,” the governor said.
The virus has had a scattershot effect in Texas, with some regions seeing rising numbers and others reporting a decrease in cases. And on Wednesday, State Senator Kel Seliger, a Republican and former four-term mayor of Amarillo and one of the most prominent political figures in the region announced on Twitter, that he had tested positive for the virus.
Efforts to reach an agreement on another pandemic stimulus package could get even tougher after weekly new jobless claims fell below one million for the first time since March and the federal budget deficit continued to hit record highs, reaching $2.8 trillion in July — two major elements that could shift the negotiating landscape.
Republicans and Democrats have been at odds over how much to spend on another round of stimulus aid, with Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, pushing for at least $2 trillion and the White House insisting on staying around $1 trillion.
Democrats have insisted that much more than $1 trillion is needed for humanitarian and economic reasons. Republicans have objected to that price tag, with some lawmakers and White House officials saying the economy is beginning to recover and doesn’t need that level of support and that the United States cannot afford to keep piling on debt.
Those positions could further harden given that weekly jobless claims, which had been above one million for months, fell below that number last week, with 963,000 people filing first-time claims for benefits under regular state unemployment programs. On Thursday, Ms. Pelosi doubled down on the Democrats’ position, saying that they would not agree to a stimulus package unless it provided at least $2 trillion of additional aid.
Ms. Pelosi also said she did not plan to deliver her convention speech from Washington, signaling that she did not expect in-person negotiations in the coming days.
The Treasury Department said on Wednesday that the budget deficit had reached a historic high of $2.8 trillion, in large part because of spending from the first $2.2 trillion pandemic package that lawmakers approved in March.
Even before those numbers were released, some Republicans in Washington were already saying they hoped no additional aid would be forthcoming because of the ballooning deficit.
“From my standpoint, the breakdown in the talks is very good news. It’s very good news for future generations,” Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, said in an interview last week with Breitbart News. “I hope the talks remain broken down.”
But economists warn it is too early to withdraw aid, especially given that the virus has not abated and the pace of rehiring has slowed. Millions of Americans remain out of work and much of the spending power from the last stimulus package has run out, including an extra $600 per week in unemployment aid.
“It remains quite stunning that Congress has yet to agree on a fresh round of relief legislation with so many Americans hurting financially,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economist at Bankrate.com.
In other U.S. news:
The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Rhode Island to make voting by mail easier in the November election. The court rejected a request from Republicans that it block a lower court’s order, which had suspended a requirement that absentee ballots be completed in front of witnesses or a notary.
Five months after AMC Theatres closed all its U.S. cinemas — crowded indoor spaces not being the best places to be during a pandemic — the company announced that it would reopen more than 100 theaters across the country on Aug. 20. To celebrate its 100th anniversary, the company said it would price all movies that day at 15 cents, so “moviegoers can again enjoy the magic of the big screen at 1920 ticket prices.” Twitter users were less than thrilled by the gimmick. “Only 15¢ for the chance to catch a deadly virus!” one wrote. “Bargain of a lifetime.”
The country is not where it should be in terms of staving off the pandemic, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said on Tuesday.
“Bottom line is, I’m not pleased with how things are going,” he told the ABC News journalist Deborah Roberts at a National Geographic panel.
Describing himself as “quite exhausted,” Dr. Fauci said that disparities between the ways different states were handling the situation were keeping the country from bringing it under control once and for all. To end the pandemic, he said, Americans would have to “pull together” by wearing masks, washing their hands and avoiding crowds, among other safety measures.
“You can’t run away from the numbers of people who’ve died,” he said, also pointing to the hospitalization rates and recent surges. “It’s going to depend on us.”
In 40 years of leading efforts against H.I.V., Ebola and other viral disease outbreaks, Dr. Fauci said, he had never experienced the rancor that has colored the national conversation on the coronavirus, which he said “has taken on a political tone like nothing I’ve ever seen.”
Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sounded a similar theme on Wednesday about the need for universal mask-wearing and social distancing.
“I keep telling people, I’m not asking some of America to do it,” Dr. Redfield said. “We’ve all got to do it.”
He said the United States was paying the price for failing to invest in public health.
“We need to owe it to our children and grandchildren that this nation is never underprepared again for a public health crisis,” he said in an interview with Dr. John Whyte, chief medical officer of WebMD.
Trump’s testing czar expresses satisfaction with testing levels.
The Trump administration official in charge of coronavirus testing said on Thursday that the United States was doing enough testing to slow the spread of the virus — an assessment at odds with that of public health experts who say more testing with faster results is necessary.
“We are doing the appropriate amount of testing now to reduce the spread, flatten the curve, save lives,” the official, Adm. Brett M. Giroir, told reporters on a conference call.
Dr. Giroir made his remarks as the Department of Health and Human Services announced that the administration was investing $6.5 million in two commercial laboratories to beef up testing capacity. He argued that the pandemic was moving in the right direction, with the number of hospitalizations declining nationally, and said the test positivity rate — the percentage of tests that come back positive — was under 7 percent.
“It is clear that the number of cases is decreasing,” he said, “and that decrease is real.”
Some experts disagreed.
“Unfortunately, the United States needs to improve testing to reduce spread and flatten the curve,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
While the national positivity rate may be around 7 percent, she noted, “several states have double-digit positivities.”
Mark McClellan, director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, who was commissioner of food and drugs under former President George W. Bush, agreed, writing, “I don’t think we have enough, which seems reinforced by the significant continuing community spread and resulting disruptions to schools, economy, etc.”
Dr. Giroir said the issue was not the total number of tests being conducted, but how tests were being deployed. He said that by testing a minimum of 2 percent of the population, health professionals could detect hot spots and outbreaks, and then increase testing in those areas to get a better handle on the spread of the virus.
“You beat the virus by smart policies supplemented by strategic testing,” he said. “You do not beat the virus by shotgun testing everyone all the time.”
Distrust of the president hardened the conviction of some educators that teaching in person was unsafe.
In June, as the coronavirus crisis appeared to hit a lull in the United States, teachers and parents across the country finally began feeling optimistic about reopening schools in the fall. Going back into the classroom seemed possible. Districts started to pull together plans. Then came a tweet.
“SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” President Trump declared on July 6, voicing a mantra he would repeat again and again in the coming weeks, with varying degrees of threat, as he sought to jump-start the nation’s flagging economy.
Around the same time, caseloads in much of the country started to climb again. In the weeks since, hundreds of districts have reversed course and decided to start the school year with remote instruction.
“If you had told me that Trump was doing this as a favor to the schools-must-not-open crowd, I’d believe you,” said Rick Hess, director of education policy at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.
Indeed, as the president has pushed for schools to reopen, parents have largely moved in the other direction. A recent Washington Post poll found that parents disapprove of Mr. Trump’s handling of school reopening by a two-thirds majority. And a new Gallup poll shows that fewer parents want their children to return to school buildings now than did in the spring.
On Wednesday, New York City’s bid to become the only major district to bring students back into physical classrooms hit a snag. The city’s influential principals’ and teachers’ unions called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to delay the start of in-person instruction by several weeks before phasing students back into buildings throughout the fall. Students are scheduled to return to classrooms one to three days a week starting Sept. 10.
On Thursday, Mr. de Blasio announced that all of New York City’s roughly 1,300 public school buildings will have a full-time, certified nurse in place by the time schools are scheduled to physically reopen. The announcement fulfills a major safety demand made by the teachers’ union. The union has also demanded that the city upgrade outdated ventilation systems and create a clearer protocol for testing and tracing in schools.
In a survey, U.S. residents reported signs of eroding mental health, in reaction to the toll of coronavirus illnesses and deaths and to the life-altering restrictions imposed by lockdowns.
The researchers argue that the results point to an urgent need for expanded and culturally sensitive services for mental health and substance abuse. The online survey was completed by 5,470 people in late June. The prevalence of anxiety symptoms was three times as high as those reported in the second quarter of 2019, and depression was four times as high.
The impact was felt most keenly by young adults ages 18 to 24. According to Mark Czeisler, a researcher at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, nearly 63 percent had symptoms of anxiety or depression that they attributed to the pandemic and nearly a quarter had started or increased their uses of substances to cope with their emotions.
Overall, nearly 41 percent reported symptoms of at least one adverse reaction, ranging from anxiety and depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. Nearly 11 percent said they had suicidal thoughts in the month leading up to the survey, with the greatest clusters being among Black and Latino people, essential workers and unpaid caregivers for adults. Men were more likely to express such feelings than women were.
The researchers, who represent a joint effort largely between Monash University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said the symptoms were less pronounced in older groups.
Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia said on Thursday that he was abandoning a lawsuit against city officials in Atlanta over the city’s attempt to require mask-wearing and resume tighter coronavirus precautions. But the move did not signal that the governor had stopped fighting the city’s moves or that he had reached any kind of detente with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta.
In place of the lawsuit, Governor Kemp said he would issue a new executive order this week that will probably forbid city governments from requiring businesses to make their customers wear face masks. But he was also expected to lift an earlier order forbidding cities from issuing mask mandates for public places.
The judge handling the lawsuit had ordered the governor and the mayor to try to negotiate a settlement, but the talks did not succeed. “Unfortunately, the mayor has made it clear that she will not agree to a settlement that safeguards the rights of private property owners in Georgia,” Mr. Kemp said in a statement on Thursday. “Given this stalemate in negotiations, we will address this very issue in the next executive order.”
Mr. Kemp, a Republican, had been criticized for moving slowly to issue a statewide stay-at-home order when the coronavirus first started spreading, and then starting to reopen the state prematurely while the virus remained uncontrolled.
Ms. Bottoms, a Democrat, has supported more stringent measures to curb the spread of the virus. (She also tested positive for the virus herself over the summer.) On July 10, citing a surge in new cases in Atlanta, she ordered the city to return to Phase One of its reopening plan, which mandates that people cover their faces in public and stay at home except for essential trips. Restaurants and retail stores would have to go back to takeout and curbside pickup only.
Mr. Kemp responded with the lawsuit, saying the mayor had no such authority and that legally her order was merely a suggestion. He said on Thursday that he had filed the suit to “immediately stop the shuttering of local businesses and protect local workers from economic instability.”
Ms. Bottoms responded with a tweet on Thursday that included a screenshot of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s article on the governor’s announcement and a quote from Audre Lorde: “Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose the time, and the arena, and the manner of our revolution, but more usually we must do battle where we are standing.”
Biden, appealing to governors, calls for nationwide mask mandates to fight the virus.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. called on Thursday for governors to require mask wearing in their states, saying that he believed that all Americans should wear face coverings to fight the spread of the virus.
“Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside for the next three months at a minimum,” said Mr. Biden, the presumptive presidential candidate for the Democrats.
The remarks came after Mr. Biden and Kamala Harris, the presumptive vice-presidential nominee, met with public health officials in Delaware for a briefing on the virus — yet another signal of their intention to make the pandemic a major part of their effort to unseat President Trump.
So far, more than 30 states have enacted mask requirements, following public health guidance that covering mouths and noses could reduce the spread of the virus. The mandates have been met with resistance from some, including a number of Republican leaders who see the rules as infringements on personal liberty.
Mr. Biden countered by saying wearing a mask was a necessary civic duty.
“It’s not about your rights,” he said. “It’s about your responsibilities as an American.”
Ms. Harris, who on Wednesday criticized Mr. Trump’s management of the pandemic, supported Mr. Biden’s comments.
“That’s what real leadership looks like,” she said.
The two did not answer questions from reporters.
Greece reports a virus case at one of its overcrowded island migrant camps.
A 35-year-old man from Yemen living at the Vial camp on Chios tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday night, a Greek Migration Ministry official said, and a woman employed at the camp by a branch of the European Asylum Support Office tested positive on Thursday.
The man, who arrived from neighboring Turkey in September, has been hospitalized on the island with mild symptoms. Another 25 camp residents believed to have been in contact with him have been quarantined, the official said. Contact tracing for the woman was still in progress.
The Chios infections are not the first in a Greek migrant camp — dozens of cases were reported in April at three facilities on the mainland. But they are the first in an island camp, where overcrowding is the most intense.
Greece has generally weathered the pandemic better than many of its neighbors, recording around 6,000 cases since late February and just over 200 deaths. But daily case reports have increased sharply in recent weeks, prompting the authorities to reintroduce some restrictions. The country reported 262 cases on Wednesday, its highest figure so far; only 29 of them appeared to be linked to foreign arrivals.
In other news from around the world:
India has now reported the fourth most coronavirus-related deaths in the world after the United States, Brazil and Mexico. It surpassed Britain on Thursday. The country has recorded at least 47,033 deaths so far, according to a New York Times database. Britain’s total as of Thursday morning was 46,706.
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who offered this week to be “injected in public” with Russia’s coronavirus vaccine to allay concerns about its safety, may not be cleared to do so until May 1, 2021, his government said on Thursday. A spokesman for Mr. Duterte said the president would not take part in Russian-financed clinical trials scheduled to begin in the Philippines in October.
Canada has established a system to divert fresh food that would otherwise go unused because of restaurant shutdowns to food banks and other relief agencies. Marie-Claude Bibeau, the agriculture minister, said on Thursday that the project would prevent about 12 million kilograms of food, including eggs, meat, seafood and vegetables, from going to waste.
Officials in multiple provinces in China said the virus had been found on packaging of seafood imports from Ecuador, and Shenzhen said a sample of frozen chicken wings from Brazil had tested positive. Officials in China only tested for coronavirus genetic material on the imported food and packaging, but it is unclear if there was infectious virus and there is no evidence to suggest that people can get the virus from food.
A 68-year-old woman in the Chinese province of Hubei, where the global outbreak was first detected, tested positive again this month after recovering from a case of the virus recorded in February, officials said. Another man who had recovered from an infection in April was also found to be an asymptomatic carrier in Shanghai this week. The two cases have revived concerns about mysterious second-time infections that have baffled experts since the early days of the pandemic, with some blaming testing flaws. Other experts have said that it is highly unlikely that the virus would strike a person twice within a short window, and that reports of reinfection may instead be cases of drawn-out illness.
The British government wants to appoint a “head of pandemic preparedness” to review the government’s approach and to act on “lessons learned” from the coronavirus crisis, according to a job posting on an internal website that was reported by British news outlets. Britain is among the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, and many experts, lawmakers and health care professionals say the government’s handling of the situation is to blame.
Does it seem as if everyone’s got it better than you?
A beach house, a suburban home, a home without children, a home filled with family: These days, everyone wants something that someone else has. You are not alone if you are filled with “quarantine envy.” Here are some ways to deal with it.
Reporting was contributed by Ian Austen, Alan Blinder, Ben Casselman, Damien Cave, Emily Cochrane, Katie Glueck, Michael Gold, Jason Gutierrez, Jan Hoffman, Mike Ives, Thomas Kaplan, Niki Kitsantonis, Apoorva Mandavilli, Elian Peltier, Amy Qin, Rick Rojs,Christopher F. Schuetze, Eliza Shapiro, Mitch Smith, Deborah Solomon, Serena Solomon, Eileen Sullivan, Lauren Wolfe, Sameer Yasir and Elaine Yu.
Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Kamala Harris, two Democrats from opposite coasts and different generations, made their first public appearance as running mates on the Democratic ticket on Wednesday afternoon.
“I have no doubt that I picked the right person to join me as the next vice president of the United States of America,” Mr. Biden said.
The appearance, held at Alexis I. duPont High School in Wilmington, Del., offered the first indication of how Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris, formerly political rivals who sparred on debate stages, might fuse their messages together as they campaign to unseat President Trump in the White House this fall.
The event also marks a significant first, with Ms. Harris taking to the stage as the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major political party.
As he introduced Ms. Harris as his running mate for the first time, Mr. Biden leaned heavily on the qualities that set her apart and added diversity to the Democratic ticket. He presented her as a historic candidate, and someone whose background reflected a diversifying country.
“This morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and brown girls, who so often feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities,” Mr. Biden said. “But today just maybe they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way: as the stuff of president and vice presidents.”
Mr. Biden, who has said in the past that he wanted a vice president with whom he was “simpatico” also stressed that he and Ms. Harris shared similar values and ideals that would guide their campaign.
“One of the reasons that I chose Kamala is that we both believe that we can define America simply in one word: possibilities,” he said.
Yet he added that he expected Ms. Harris, with whom he publicly disagreed several times as he sought the nomination, to challenge him at times.
“I asked Kamala to be the last voice in the room, to always tell me the truth, which she will, to challenge my assumptions if she disagrees, to ask the hard questions,” Mr. Biden said.
President Trump, his Republican allies and conservative hosts on Fox News unfurled a string of sexist attacks on Senator Kamala Harris, a day after she was chosen by Joseph R. Biden Jr. as his vice-presidential running mate.
“They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Biden would reinstall it, in a bigger form, with Corey Booker in charge!”
The president did not explain why he referred to Mr. Booker, whose first name he misspelled. (Mr. Booker’s campaign team quickly turned the tweet into a fund-raising opportunity.) But the salvo came after a chorus of Fox News hosts on Tuesday night assailed Ms. Harris, attacking everything from the pronunciation of her name to Mr. Biden’s selection process for focusing on women of color.
Over and over on Tuesday night, Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host, mispronounced her first name, even growing angry when corrected. “So what?” he said, when a guest told him it was pronounced “Comma-la.”
Mr. Carlson said that there were “time-share salesmen you could trust more” than Ms. Harris and “payday lenders who are more sincere,” alluding to an institution long accused of exploiting poor communities of color.
Martha MacCallum, the Fox anchor, said that focusing the search for a running mate on women of color “takes away” from the selection process overall. The Fox News host Sean Hannity called Ms. Harris a senator with a “radical extremist record” whose selection “solidifies what’s the most extreme radical far-left out-of-the-mainstream ticket of any major political party in American history.”
Jeanine Pirro, another opinion host on the cable news channel, threw in a wildly conspiratorial twist, asking viewers, “Who really picked this woman to be the vice-presidential candidate?’
Ms. Harris ran her own presidential campaign and was widely seen as the most obvious choice for Mr. Biden: at once a conventional and groundbreaking choice. But when he finally announced her selection on Tuesday, Mr. Trump and his allies appeared to be caught without a coordinated game plan, lurching from one attack to another.
After Ms. Harris was chosen, Mr. Trump described her four times as “nasty” or “nastier,” using some of his favorite terms for female opponents, and complained that she had not been nice to his Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh during confirmation hearings.
Hours after calling Ms. Harris the “most liberal” member of the Senate, the Republican National Committee sent out an email blast saying that progressives hated her because she was not progressive enough.
Ms. Harris will have several chances in the coming months to respond directly to criticism from Mr. Trump’s allies, including during the vice presidential debate on Oct. 7, when she will share the stage with Vice President Mike Pence.
Andrew Bates, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, said Mr. Trump’s tweet about suburban housing amounted to “clumsy, bigoted lies” and showed the president was “dumbfounded after Joe Biden’s selection of a strong running mate.”
In announcing Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, Joseph R. Biden Jr. told supporters she was the person best equipped to “take this fight” to Mr. Trump, making space in a campaign premised on restoring American decency for a willing brawler who learned early in her career that fortune would not favor the meek among Black women in her lines of work.
“She had to be savvy to find a way,” said Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, who has known Ms. Harris for more than two decades. “There was no path laid out for her. She had to find her way through the kind of set of obstacles that most people in the positions that she’s held have not had to ever deal with.”
It is this dexterity, people close to her say, that has most powered Ms. Harris’s rise — and can be most frustrating to those who wish her electoral fearlessness were accompanied by policy audacity to match.
Caustic when she needs to be but cautious on substantive issues more often than many liberals would like, Ms. Harris has spent her public life negotiating disparate orbits, fluent in both activist and establishment circles without ever feeling entirely anchored to either.
Friends say she can be difficult to pin down in part because she is, by virtue of her identity, not like any political figure who came before — a lawmaker whose strengths and tics can at times feel incongruous.
As a young candidate for district attorney, Ms. Harris was by turns an irrepressible fixture in supermarket parking lots, unfurling an ironing board from her car as a canvas for campaign materials, and a canny veteran of the San Francisco society pages, with an overstuffed Filofax full of high-end fund-raising contacts. (Friends eventually made her switch to a Palm Pilot.)
She can project an air of disarming nonchalance, holding forth on cooking and 1990s hip-hop music with a just-between-us touch. She has also often defaulted to a political reticence so firmly held that her own aides had trouble explaining her positions on several key issues throughout a 2020 campaign that did not make it to 2020.
President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, met privately last weekend with Kanye West, the rapper who has filed petitions to get on the November ballots for president in several states.
The meeting took place in Colorado, where Mr. Kushner was traveling with his wife, Ivanka Trump, those familiar with the meeting said. Mr. West had been camping in Colorado with his family, and afterward flew to Telluride to meet with Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump, but was not accompanied by his wife, Kim Kardashian West, those with knowledge of the meeting said.
After an inquiry, Mr. West tweeted Tuesday evening: “I’m willing to do a live interview with the New York Time about my meeting with Jared,” adding that they had discussed a book about Black empowerment called “PowerNomics.” He did not elaborate on his meeting with Mr. Kushner in a brief follow-up interview. He instead expressed anger about abortion rates among Black women and said he didn’t reflexively support Democrats.
A White House spokesman did not respond to an email seeking comment.
The meeting came at a notable time. Mr. West recently criticized Joseph R. Biden Jr. in an interview with Forbes. He did not deny that he is acting as a spoiler to damage the Biden campaign with his effort to get on several ballots in states like Colorado, where he will appear. It’s less clear that his name will be on the ballot in Wisconsin, where his signature petitions are being challenged.
Silicon Valley and Wall Street cheered the selection of Kamala Harris as a running mate who would reinforce Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s moderate policy stances. Mr. Biden had already been gaining traction among tech and finance executives, and his pick is likely to strengthen that support.
In Ms. Harris, Silicon Valley sees a familiar face: She got her start in the Bay Area and has been a fixture in fund-raising circles there for decades. Tech executives appear reassured by her circumspect stance on things like breaking up the sector’s dominant companies.
During her presidential primary run last year, when asked by The New York Times whether she would break up tech companies, she didn’t answer directly but said her “first priority” was regulation that gave consumers better control of their privacy.
For Wall Street, Ms. Harris was a moderate choice, in contrast to more left-leaning candidates in the Democratic primary race who called for a tougher line on finance firms. That said, during her presidential primary campaign, Ms. Harris said that she would pay for her health-care plans with taxes on financial transactions, an unpopular move in bank boardrooms.
Although Mr. Biden has vowed to raise some taxes and has signaled that he will crack down on corporate America, many of the details remain vague. Traders and financiers have donated more to Mr. Biden’s campaign than to President Trump’s by a factor of nearly five to one.
“I think she’s the perfect partner for Biden,” said Marc Lasry, co-founder of Avenue Capital and a supporter of Mr. Biden’s campaign. “She’s smart and extremely experienced.”
Wall Street was likely to look favorably on almost any moderate running mate, said Michael Novogratz, who runs a cryptocurrency investment firm and has been a big Biden backer. Stock market futures rose after Mr. Biden announced his pick.
But given his expectation that a Biden administration would raise taxes and adopt a more conservative approach to spending, Mr. Novogratz said, “I think Wall Street is out of their minds, thinking the Democrats are going to be good for the stock market.”
Climate activists praised the selection of Ms. Harris, saying the move signaled a sustained Democratic focus on environmental justice.
Ms. Harris was an original co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, an expansive plan to curb planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions while also addressing economic inequality. She supports abolishing the Senate filibuster if Republicans stand in the way of passing climate change legislation. And she has called for a $10 trillion increase in spending over a decade as well as a price on carbon dioxide pollution, with a dividend that is returned directly to households.
Ms. Harris’s core environmental focus has consistently been on how poor communities are disproportionately affected by polluting industries.
A former prosecutor, Ms. Harris vowed to maximize the power of the legal system to punish corporate polluters. Last year she laid out specific plans for protecting vulnerable communities, including establishing an independent Office of Climate and Environmental Justice Accountability and scoring environmental regulations or legislation based on how they affect low-income communities.
“I’m super hopeful,” said Catherine Flowers, a senior fellow at the Center for Earth Ethics. The choice of Ms. Harris, she said, “is elevating the conversation and making it a priority.”
White House officials have explored whether President Trump has the power to sidestep Congress and unilaterally cut a broad swath of taxes as the president looks for ways to inject fuel into a slumping economy, according to a senior administration official.
While such a move is not imminent, Mr. Trump’s advisers have sought legal guidance from White House lawyers about whether the president has the authority to eliminate certain taxes, including income and business taxes, without the approval of Congress.
The discussions about how much power the president can wield over tax policy come as Mr. Trump prepares to delay payroll taxes for some workers until the end of the year. But unlike that move, which simply defers what workers owe until some point in the future, the White House is discussing whether the president can actually eliminate taxes owed by businesses, workers and investors.
The legality of such a move is dubious, but Mr. Trump has not been shy about pushing the boundaries of his authority. He has made clear that another big tax cut will be a central part of his pitch for a second term. Getting such a tax cut through Congress would be tough, particularly if Democrats retain control of the House.
A Treasury spokeswoman declined to comment on internal discussions about additional tax cuts. A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
White House officials are aware that stretching the boundaries of tax policy would bring backlash from Democrats and Republicans, along with possible legal challenges. But Mr. Trump, who had planned to campaign on a record economic expansion before the coronavirus pandemic struck, has made little headway in developing new economic policies that could help the U.S. climb out of what is expected to be a long, slow and painful recovery.
White House officials believe that temporarily delaying taxes is a powerful political tool for the president. It allows him to draw a contrast Mr. Biden, who would raise some taxes if elected. And they believe that it will put Democrats in what will be the uncomfortable position of allowing those taxes to be reinstated when the deferment expires.
State officials said on Tuesday that if Mr. Gilmer won the primary, he would remain on the November ballot unless he formally withdrew. Republicans might be able to nominate someone to replace Mr. Gilmer if he wins and withdraws, depending on the timing, the Connecticut Secretary of State’s office said.
Whoever ends up as the Republican candidate faces long odds in November against the seven-term Democratic incumbent, Representative Joe Courtney, who was re-elected with 62 percent of the vote in 2018.
Here are results from some of Tuesday’s other races:
In a Georgia runoff between two Republicans to replace Representative Doug Collins, Andrew Clyde, a gun dealer and a Navy veteran, beat Matt Gurtler, a state legislator. Mr. Collins, also a Republican, is leaving his seat to challenge Senator Kelly Loeffler in November.
Republicans in Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District chose Michelle Fischbach, a former lieutenant governor, to face off in November against the longtime incumbent Representative Collin Peterson, a conservative Democrat in a rural district that leans heavily Republican.
If Kamala Harris becomes vice president, her ascension would leave an opening in January for her seat in the Senate. The pick would be made by Gov. Gavin Newsom of California.
In this morning’s California Today newsletter, The Times’s California correspondents Adam Nagourney and Jennifer Medina tossed around names of possible successors. One is Representative Karen Bass of Los Angeles, who was herself on Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s short list for vice president and is the former speaker of the State Assembly. Another is the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti.
Here’s more of our reporters’ thinking:
Jennifer Medina: “Within minutes of the announcement, I had texts from politicos around the state throwing out names that included Ms. Bass, Mr. Garcetti, as well as State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, former Senate majority leader Kevin de Leon and Attorney General Xavier Becerra (who was appointed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown after Ms. Harris won her Senate seat). Needless to say, there will be a lot of jockeying in the coming months.”
Adam Nagourney: “Here’s a conspiracy theory for you. Mr. Newsom picks Mayor Eric Garcetti, just to make absolutely sure Mr. Garcetti doesn’t think of primary-ing him in a few years.”
In 2015, when Donald Trump used the Neil Young song “Rockin’ in the Free World” to announce his presidential campaign, it did not make Mr. Young happy.
But the rocker did not think there was anything he could do, and the song became yet another in the long list of anthems repurposed by candidates against artists’ wishes. (Other examples: Ronald Reagan’s use of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.,” Barack Obama’s use of Sam and Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin’” and John McCain’s use of “Still the One” by Orleans.)
Now, Mr. Young is trying a new strategy. Last week, he sued the Trump campaign over the use of “Rockin’ in the Free World” and another song, “Devil’s Sidewalk,” both of which were played at Mr. Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Okla., in June.
Mr. Young accused the campaign of copyright infringement for playing the tracks without a license, and asked for the campaign to be ordered to stop using them, as well as for statutory damages.
Mr. Young’s complaint said he “in good conscience cannot allow his music to be used as a ‘theme song’ for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate.”
The suit, and others like it filed in the last few years, relies on artists withdrawing songs from the lists of works offered to political campaigns by performing-rights organizations like ASCAP and BMI, which license the rights for millions of songs in exchange for a fee.
But it is not clear whether such withdrawals are allowed under ASCAP and BMI’s agreements with the federal government, which were instituted to prevent anticompetitive conduct.
Mr. Young’s case is being closely watched as a test of artists’ power to protect their work against political use.
As a nation unpacks the political implications of Kamala Harris’s selection on Tuesday as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, at least one sizable constituency could stand to benefit: those who enjoyed Maya Rudolph’s star appearances as the California senator on “Saturday Night Live.”
The former “S.N.L.” cast member shined in three guest appearances lampooning the Democratic primaries, depicting Ms. Harris as a “fun aunt” who “will give you weed, but then arrest you for having weed.” The performances earned Ms. Rudolph an Emmy nomination for guest actress in a comedy series and an approving tweet from Ms. Harris herself.
Ms. Rudolph, who was in the cast of “S.N.L.” on NBC from 2000 to 2007, was in the middle of recording an “Entertainment Weekly” panel discussion on Tuesday when Ms. Harris was announced as Mr. Biden’s pick. She did not commit to playing Ms. Harris when “S.N.L.” returns for its scheduled 46th season in the fall, but seemed intrigued by the idea.
“I love going to the show,” Ms. Rudolph said. “Any excuse I can get, I love.”
Ms. Harris appeared to have little problem with the impersonation. In October, before she dropped out of the race, she told MSNBC, “I plan on keeping Maya Rudolph in work for the next eight years.”
The Times is hosting a discussion at 6 p.m. Eastern about what Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris of California as his running mate means for his campaign and the election. A former rival who later became a vocal supporter, Ms. Harris will be the first Black woman to be nominated for national office by a major political party. The virtual event will be hosted by Rachel Dry, deputy politics editor, and include the Miami bureau chief, Patricia Mazzei, and the politics reporters Alexander Burns, Astead W. Herndon and Nick Corasaniti. Sign up here.