5 min read

Wake Up To Politics - October 13, 2020

It’s Tuesday, October 13, 2020. Election Day is three weeks away. Have questions, comments, or tips? Email me.

ICYMI: Don’t forget to check out the brand-new Wake Up To Politics Store, featuring t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, face masks, and more. Thanks to everyone who ordered their WUTP gear yesterday!

Campaign 2020

President Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail Monday, holding his first rally since contracting COVID-19. Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, released a memo hours before the event announcing that Trump had tested negative for the virus “on consecutive days” using a rapid antigen test.

“The president is not infectious to others,” Conley claimed — although some health experts say that is uncertain, while others have questioned his use of an antigen test, as opposed to a PCR test, which is recommended by the CDC for use in clearing sick patients to end their isolation.

Nevertheless, Trump celebrated his return to the campaign trail, addressing thousands of supporters in Sanford, Florida, for just over an hour. Neither Trump nor many of the attendees wore masks. “Now they say I’m immune. I just feel so powerful,” he said. “I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women. Just give you a big, fat kiss.” (Scientists have warned that patients who have recovered from coronavirus may not gain immunity from it; the first confirmed case of COVID-19 reinfection in the United States was reported on Monday.)

Trump is scheduled to hold a campaign rally every day this week; according to Axios, he wants to headline events every day until November 3. For the president, it marks a return to his barnstorming of four years ago — as he once again hopes to quickly salvage a languishing presidential bid.

According to polls, he has even more ground to gain back this time around: Democratic nominee Joe Biden now leads Trump by more than 10 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics national polling average. A pair of New York Times/Siena College polls released Monday also found Biden leading Trump in two key states, Michigan and Wisconsin, by 8 points and 10 points, respectively. According to CNN,  

According to CNN, “Biden is in a better position at this point than any challenger since 1936, when the first scientific polls were taken in a presidential race.”

Read more:

  • “Biden and Democrats outspending Trump and GOP by $85 million on ads in final weeks” (ABC News)

Supreme Court

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett will face questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the second day of her confirmation hearings today. Barrett was introduced to the panel on Monday, following hours worth of opening statements from members on both sides of the aisle.

Democrats mostly focused on health care in their statements, showcasing posters with the faces of constituents who would be impacted if a six-member conservative majority on the court were to strike down the Affordable Care Act. Republicans, meanwhile, praised Barrett’s qualifications and criticized Democrats for prior statements about her Catholic faith.

“This is probably not about persuading each other, unless something really dramatic happens,” the committee’s chairman, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), acknowledged in his own statement. “All Republicans will vote yes, and all Democrats will vote no.” Still, the hearings will be closely watched to discern Barrett’s positions on issues ranging from abortion to gun rights; they also mark an important moment of visibility for several members of the panel.

Graham is one of four Republican senators on Judiciary — John Cornyn (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) are the others — hoping the hearings boost him in a tough re-election fight. The stakes are also high for his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who has faced criticism from some in her party that she is too old at 87 to keep her spot as ranking member. And Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) will likely be one of Barrett’s tougher questioners today, a rare return to Senate business for the vice presidential candidate.

Read more:

  • “Rooted in Faith, Amy Coney Barrett Represents a New Conservatism” (New York Times)


As coronavirus cases rise in the United States, President Trump is engaged in a public spat with the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. The president’s re-election campaign debuted an ad last week touting Trump’s record combatting the coronavirus, which quoted Fauci as saying, “I can't imagine that anybody could be doing more.” But Fauci told CNN that he was taken out of context and he had been referring to the Trump administration writ large, not the president himself.

Fauci, who said his comments were used in the ad without his permission, called for the spot to be taken down. When the Trump campaign refused to do so, he told the Daily Beast that the campaign is “in effect, harassing me.” The president weighed in on the controversy this morning, retweeting a message about Fauci’s comments and adding a dig at the doctor’s handling of the pandemic: “Tony’s pitching arm is far more accurate than his prognostications,” Trump said.

In a CNN interview on Monday, Fauci also criticized the president for resuming campaign rallies. “That is asking for trouble,” he said. 17 states reported record 7-day highs for new coronavirus cases on Monday.

Read more:

  • “How to Keep a Fall Surge From Becoming a Winter Catastrophe” (The Atlantic)


All times Eastern.

President Donald Trump will speak at a campaign rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, at 7 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence will speak at a campaign event in Waukesha, Wisconsin, at 1 p.m.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will deliver remarks on “his vision for older Americans” in Pembroke Pines, Florida, and attend a voter mobilization event in Miramar, Florida.

The Senate will convene at 8:45 a.m for a brief pro forma session.

The House will convene at 11:30 a.m. for a brief pro forma session.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will gavel in Day 2 of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings at 9 a.m. Each member of the panel will have about 20 minutes to question the nominee.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases:

  • United States v. Briggs (10 a.m.): When can military service members be tried for rape? In the Third Circuit’s view, you can be sued within five years after the alleged rape — any longer, and it’s too late. The U.S. government is appealing the Third Circuit’s decision, arguing that the Uniform Code of Military Justice holds that there’s no time limit for bringing a rape lawsuit.
  • City of Chicago v. Fulton (11 a.m.): Here the Court hears a bankruptcy case arising from Illinois. The question: whether federal law requires creditors to return lawfully repossessed property to the debtor as soon as the debtor files for bankruptcy. Several circuit courts have disagreed on this issue, and the Supreme Court’s job is to resolve their disagreement by creating a clear rule.

— Supreme Court case summaries contributed by Anna Salvatore.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoy Wake Up To Politics, please consider donating to support me and my work, listening to my podcast with St. Louis Public Radio, and spreading the word about the newsletter to your friends and family. If this newsletter was forwarded to you, go to wakeuptopolitics.com to subscribe and learn more.