2020 Presidential Debates: Missing ‘The Capital of Latin America’ [UPDATE-1]

[NB: Updates will appear at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]

I pre-wrote posts for the presidential debates, scheduling them to post a half hour before the event began. Here’s the post I wrote about the now-canceled second debate, on which Trump and his team flip-flopped about his participation.

Here’s a post so emptywheel community members can discuss the second of three presidential debates.

Tonight’s second presidential debate scheduled for 9:00–10:30 p.m. ET . Tonight’s moderator will be Steve Scully of C-SPAN.

The debate — changed to a remote format after Trump’s hospitalization for COVID-19 — was to be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida. Moving to a remote or virtual debate model removes a key topic of discussion though it’s best for the safety of the candidates.

Miami has two nicknames: the Gateway to the the Americas, and the Capital of Latin America. I wonder how closely Central and South America will be watching the debate because the original location lent itself to discussion of foreign policy in the Americas.

Good luck to Steve Scully on keeping the tangerine hellbeast from running amok as he did during the first debate.

Of course we now know that roughly 26-28 hours after Trump’s participation in the first presidential debate, Trump tweeted that he and his current spouse tested positive for COVID-19.

This is Day 14 after that announcement, and still an unknown number of days since Trump’s positive test was administered. We don’t know how long the gap was between the time the test was administered and when he announced he was positive, let alone if more than one test was taken or the kinds of tests used.

It’s also an unknown number of days since his last negative test because Trump and his minions have steadfastly refused to answer this question. We’ve seen reports indicating Trump was not tested regularly.

We still don’t have any indication who infected him or when. We know Hope Hicks, whose positive test was announced on October 1, traveled with Trump on Friday September 25. RNC’s chair Ronna Romney McDaniel was also with Trump inside the 24 hours before the “Rose Garden Massacre” super spreader event.

An unknown number of people including senators and GOP political figures were infected at that event; as of this past Monday we could account for 34 but there have surely been more who either didn’t tell anyone for various reasons including Trump’s goddamned NDAs, or fear, or asymptomatic status.

We’re no closer to knowing how the super spreader event began.

Trump ultimately canceled this second presidential debate because of his COVID-positive status seven days before this debate, unwilling as he was to participate on a virtual basis.

But just because he canceled doesn’t mean we the people don’t have questions for the candidates.

~ ~ ~

Make sure to add the date of the third and final presidential debate to your calendar — format and location subject to change, of course, if not outright cancellation:

Thursday, October 22, 2020 8:00–9:30 p.m. ET
Location: Curb Event Center at Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee
Moderator: Kristen Welker, NBC

~ ~ ~

UPDATE-1 — 8:30 P.M. 15-OCT-2020 —

I left this post unchanged while the situation gelled into this evening’s dueling town halls, with Biden on ABC and Trump on NBC.

Since Trump’s appearance on NBC was announced, there’s been a shit storm of outrage across social media platforms. Trump refused to debate on a remote basis, but he’s willing to appear on a network this evening at the same time as Biden?

Fuck that.

Many young people are tuning into ABC on multiple devices and streams to watch Biden’s town hall in order to boost his viewership ratings, knowing of course that Trump is hung up on audience numbers.

After the way in which K-pop fans skewed the reservation numbers for Trump’s Tulsa OK rally back in June, it’ll be interesting to see what youngsters can do this time against a forewarned Team Trump.

Not putting up Trump’s crap here tonight, especially after his rally appearance today in which he implied he authorized the extrajudicial execution of an anti-fascist protester.

57 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    Biden is doing well in his town hall – but Stephanopoulos keeps talking over people, though he does let them finish the question.

    The NBC thing is better than expected, as Samantha Guthrie isn’t throwing softballs at Trmp. He can’t answer questions, and isn’t snowing her.

  2. BobCon says:

    Politico is reporting a ton of anger at NBC and Chuck Todd (!) is publicly disavowing any involvement in the decision.

    Fingers are being pointed at Noah Oppenheim, the president of NBC News, for jamming this through. Oppenheim gained notoriety for spiking Ronan Farrow’s story on Harvey Weinstein and covering up for Matt Lauer.

    NBC CEO Jeff shell is also on the record endorsing the move. It’s clearly a move someone at the highest levels made consulting only someone at the highest levels of the Trump team, and they clearly forgot the basic rule that everyone who kisses the ring gets a kick in the groin.

  3. Molly Pitcher says:

    OT, but important:

    Philip Halpern “Assistant U.S. Attorney who worked in the Department of Justice for more than three decades and under “19 different attorneys general and six different presidents” is leaving the department because he’s had enough of Attorney General Bill Barr’s “slavish obedience to Donald Trump’s will.”

    Halpern wrote in an op-ed for the San Diego Union-Tribune on Wednesday that Barr is a “well-trained bureaucrat” and a “career bureaucrat” who “seems determined to turn our democracy into an autocracy.”

    “I won’t work in Attorney General William Barr’s Justice Department any longer,” Halpern painted a picture of Barr, a person who has “never actually investigated, charged or tried a case,” pulling the strings of the criminal justice system in order to help the 45th president and his allies.

  4. Ollie says:

    So after the outage that Twitter suffered? There’s a tweet from Don Winslow stating that after that outage? Twitter reversed it’s policy and is now allowing the NY Post article on Biden. Anyone have anything on this? Thoughts? OH. Found this:


    So this is some serious changes on blocking policies. Would the government be able to cause the world wide blackout of Twitter? I mean, …….

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      That seems like a bad idea if the followed is able to see the person is following them after a block, I’ve read some articles about domestic abuse/stalkers who even after being blocked from direct communication on platform x (google drive was the example) was able to harrass their victim indirectly by changing their display name to something threatening knowing the victim could still see it somewhere (e.g. their list of followers, or requests to access a shared file).

    • skua says:

      If it was a Superbowl game then Scully dropped the ball when the pressure got too much for him.
      But this is actually some brutal defrauding which has produced a death toll of over 200,000 Americans so far.
      Scully might look to patriotic close colleagues who know him and what he has to offer, and ask them for direction.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      Someone help me thru this. 1. Who cares, really, that Scully tweeted Scaramucci? (Trump, obvs, but seriously??) It’s apparent I haven’t followed this tempest in a teapot, so I’m not getting why it’s controversial, other than he Scully felt threatened enough that he *had* to lie about his Twitter acct being hacked. 2. How, on god’s green earth, did Scully think this wouldn’t get out? Why do these clowns think that when they post on ANY social media platform, their communications are private?

      /end rant

      • William Bennett says:

        Same question here. What was so bloody damn offensive about the tweet to Scaramouch in the first place? All it did was ask him to respond to Trump???

  5. PeterS says:

    It’s hardly a challenge spotting Trump’s lies and evasions, but his answer to the question of whether he took a covid test the day of the debate revealed clearly that he didn’t. He said he couldn’t remember if he did take a test that day, but WAS able to remember “I took a test the day before, and the day before”.

    • Chris.EL says:

      There is a particularly strange feeling that comes over ones self, I think, when attempting to communicate with someone who doesn’t process what you are saying, doesn’t communicate truthfully and lies about everything.

      That is Trump. It’s useless to try to communicate with him. Useless.

      Can’t believe this man is out in the world representing the USA and we the people.

      Let’s hope he can and will be prosecuted for this:

      Trump: …”We sent in the US Marshals, took 15 minutes and it was over… They knew who he was, they didn’t want to arrest him and 15 minutes that ended.”

        • Chris.EL says:

          don’t mean to be obtuse, but Trump did say “We”… well, as he always does. Aacckk.

          Is it feasible for someone to explore/investigate where all the money went from Trump’s re-election funds and inaugural events?

          I’d like to see anyone involved in Trump’s financial frauds locked up.

          From wapo: …”Trump has resumed an active campaign schedule, holding his trademark rallies, drawing large and enthusiastic crowds”…

          • madwand says:

            Yep I find it funny also that the campaign was loaded with money and now they are almost broke. Brad Parscale was rumored to have taken a “loan” and it’s not unreasonable to assume others have also. If they really think they are loosing and have no chance of winning then looting, at least by this gang and their leader, would not be unexpected.

            The biggest prop at many of Trumps brother rallies is Air Force 1. Not clear whether the campaign reimburses the Fed for this.

            • Chris.EL says:


              The obvious background placement of the plane in photos was bothering me!

              Knowing Trump, it was done to puff himself up and make Biden look bad. Unfair advantage.

              Hey how about Oprah flying Biden to campaign? Or another nice wealthy Biden/Harris supporter!

              I’d love to see Trump debate Winston Peters … deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand!

              “Sorry sunshine, wrong place”

              Shooting down a covid deniar — well spoken, definitive, knows his facts!

    • Earthworm says:

      Trump & the test he can’t remember: Reminds me of George HW Bush being unable to remember where he was when JFK was assassinated.

  6. harpie says:

    GOP VOTER SUPPRESSION continues apace:

    3:28 PM · Oct 15, 2020

    New: The 6th Circuit has ruled 2-1 that Tennessee’s signature match procedures for absentee ballots can stand, upholding a district court’s decision to deny an injunction to challengers who argued it infringed on voting rights

    Steve Vladeck adds:
    3:30 PM · Oct 15, 2020

    Judge Moore’s dissent is a must-read:

    And Vladeck is correct…wow!
    Moore’s DISSENT is MUCH longer than the opinion…and she’s does NOT hold back.

    Make no mistake: today’s majority opinion is yet another chapter in the concentrated effort to restrict the vote. […]

    To be sure, it does not cast itself as such—invoking instead the disinterested language of justiciability—but this only makes today’s majority opinion more troubling. As a result of today’s decision, Tennessee is free to—and will—disenfranchise hundreds, if not thousands of its citizens who cast their votes absentee by mail. Masking today’s outcome in standing doctrine obscures that result, but that makes it all the more disquieting. I will not be a party to this passive sanctioning of disenfranchisement. I dissent. […]

    • harpie says:

      [pg. 52] “While I am saddened, I am not surprised by today’s ruling.” […] That is because many federal courts—more specifically, many federal courts of review—have sanctioned a systematic effort to suppress voter turnout and undermine the right to vote. […]

      On its own, today’s ruling may not—likely will not—change the course of this election. But it is another drop in the bucket that is the degradation of the right to vote in this country.

      [cites, among others, Sotomayor and Ginsburg dissents]

      I fear the day we come out from behind the courthouse doors only to realize these drops have become a flood.

      I dissent.

        • harpie says:

          Foser’s tweet:
          12:40 PM · Oct 16, 2020

          Blockbuster new study from @TakeBacktheCt: Republican-appointed judges voted to make it harder to vote ***80 percent of the time***

          [Foser links to Charlie Savage’s NYT article I link to below.]

          This is not an accident: Republicans have illegitimately seized control of the judiciary specifically so they can use the judiciary to destroy democracy, because they know they are a minority party.
          Republican-appointed judges have voted to weaken democracy an astounding 80 percent of the time, according to this new study.
          Incredibly, Trump-appointed judges are even more anti-democracy: 85 percent of the time.

          Foser links to a tweet of his from last NOVEMBER which has a great chart illustrating this problem:

          2:37 PM · Nov 20, 2019

          This is what we’re up against.

          If we don’t break this cycle — not by winning an election here and there, but by deep structural reform — we will slide further and further away from democracy.

          We will have an entrenched ruling party supported by a minority of Americans. [CHART]

    • harpie says:

      Yes, PJ. It was interesting that came out yesterday soon after this Tennessee case hit my radar. I saw this thread by Charlie Savage, which links to his NYT article about the study you mention.

      12:35 PM · Oct 16, 2020

      A new study shows GOP-appointed judges have been far more likely to interpret the law in ways that make it harder for Americans to vote, fueling the ongoing intra-liberal debate over whether to expand the Supreme Court & pack it w/ extra liberal justices. […]

      Despite GOP winning the popular vote just once in 3 decades, its appointees have a hammerlock on the judicial branch. [link]

      Links to:
      G.O.P.-Appointed Judges Threaten Democracy, Liberals Seeking Court Expansion Say
      A new study found a partisan pattern in rulings that could make it easier or harder to vote, fueling a debate among Democrats over court packing.
      Charlie Savage Oct. 16, 2020

      • bmaz says:

        Things that have been argued here since pretty much our opening. Republicans are determined to forge judicial policy, Democrats are stunningly lame and feckless on it.

        DiFi thinks that if the Dems take back the Senate, she would, as lead on SJC, would want to go back to adherence to the Blue Slip policy that Pat Leahy sternly used to crimp Obama judicial policy. Designated stupidity.

        • harpie says:

          Feinstein, Schumer, Pelosi

          Biden is ALSO too centrist IMO, just like Obama was.

          I know this all has been discussed here before…I’m sorry for taking up so much space and for SHOUTING…, but

          SIRENS are going off in my head and
          LIGHTS are blinking RED.


          • Rayne says:

            At least Biden has acknowledged he would be a transitional president — this was a clincher for my 20-something college senior.

            I hope the progressives in the Dem congressional caucus get their demand that no corporate execs should be nominated to jobs requiring senate approval. We need seasoned public servants in place who know how to fix the mess Trump’s corrupt corporate cabinet created, especially the trashing underway now that they’ve begun smash-and-grab on the way out the door.

        • harpie says:

          NARAL has called for FEINSTEIN to be pulled from top DEM spot of the SJC because of how she “handled” the C B “hearings”:

          5:03 PM · Oct 16, 2020

          This is not normal, these hearings are not legitimate. Dianne Feinstein gave credibility to the process when the majority of Americans have been clear that they want to choose the next president—and the next president should fill the vacancy. The committee needs new leadership. [screenshot of statement]

          • harpie says:

            Brian Beutler with an observation:

            4:28 PM · Oct 16, 2020

            One thing that isn’t obvious until you notice it:
            The interest groups that comprise the Dem Party are increasingly helmed by people MUCH younger than the leadership, whose formative political experiences have been radicalizing.

            There will be democratic reform,
            or a bloodbath.

        • P J Evans says:

          I wanted her to retire last time she was up – I voted for someone else in the primary. She’s forgotten who put her in that catbird seat, and why.

      • harpie says:

        From NYT:

        […] Backed by a new study of how federal judges and justices have ruled in election-related cases this year, the activists are building on their case for why mainstream Democrats should see their idea as a justified way to restore and protect democracy, rather than as a radical and destabilizing escalation of partisan warfare over the judiciary.

        The study, the “Anti-Democracy Scorecard,” was commissioned by the group Take Back the Court, which supports expanding the judiciary. It identified 309 votes by judges and justices in 175 election-related decisions and found a partisan pattern: Republican appointees interpreted the law in a way that impeded ballot access 80 percent of the time, versus 37 percent for Democratic ones. […]

        law students at Yale and Stanford checked the data set for accuracy under the oversight of a University of Michigan law professor, Leah Litman, who wrote an essay in The Atlantic last month discussing the partisan pattern in election-litigation cases. […]
        By volume, most of the cases involved district court judges. But the pattern held when isolated to the 87 votes in the database by appellate judges

        Here’s a link to Litmans article:
        The Election Is Already Under Way in America’s Courts
        And the two parties—and the judges they have appointed—are on completely divergent legal paths.
        SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 Leah Litman [Assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan]

        • bmaz says:

          Leah is great, and I heartily recommend her as a follow in today’s world. Used to be at UCI with Dean Erwin Chemerisnky, before moving back to Michigan (and Erwin moving to Berkeley to head Boalt Hall).

        • harpie says:

          From Litman’s article [I added the numbers]:

          So far, the litigation has mainly been of two kinds.
          1a] One kind seeks to make voting easier and to ensure that more people are able to vote. [examples]
          While these lawsuits seek to extend the right to vote,

          2a] others seek to restrict it. [examples]

          The case captions tell much of the story.

          2b] Republican Party officials, including those in President Trump’s reelection campaign, are trying to stop states’ efforts to expand voting—they are suing to prevent mail-in voting, extensions for counting ballots, and drop-box voting, and intervening in lawsuits in order to defend Republican-led states’ ability to enforce voting restrictions in the midst of the pandemic.

          1b] The Democratic Party and its voters and interest groups, by contrast, are using litigation to make voting easier for more people to do safely, and not in person, in the midst of the pandemic […]

          The Florida lawsuit in particular affects whether 750,000 people can vote in a state that President Trump won by 115,000 votes. Altogether, there is no doubt that these cases could decide the election. Coupled with the pattern of partisanship so far, this means that a lot will ride on which judges hear those cases, and which party’s president appointed them. […]

    • harpie says:

      In my opinion, IF Biden/Harris win, and
      IF WE expand The Supreme Court, then


    • harpie says:

      This is a REALLY GOOD read:

      What to Do About GOP Bad Faith After Trump
      Brian Beutler October 16, 2020

      […] If after four years of the Trump presidency, we can’t stipulate that Republicans have been malicious rather than simply misguided, we may as well also stipulate to their implicit terms: that rules, laws, and norms apply only to those who care about rules, laws and norms. We may as well stand back as they transform the United States into a kleptocracy.

      Alternatively, we can free ourselves from any sense of obligation to behave as though we were born yesterday. […]

      Their recalcitrance brought the country to the brink of destruction and it should not now compel the rest of us to let bygones be bygones. If in the name of unearned and unreciprocated comity we grant Republicans a seat at the table and a voice in governing, they’ll learn only one thing: that cheaters prosper.

      If we do nothing but elect Joe Biden and close the book on the past, things will only get better until the pendulum inevitably swings back again, and Republicans come roaring back to power unchastened.

    • harpie says:

      Another very good read, this one about Barr:

      “What must be understood about Barr is that he is not a lawyer in the political arena. He is a political ideologue and operative who happens to function through the law.”

      Enabler in Chief
      The attorney general exemplifies the growing influence of right-wing Catholicism under Trump.
      Fintan O’Toole November 5, 2020 issue

  7. Pete T says:

    I watched the Trump event because – well Twitter was saying Savanah Guthrie wasn’t taking any crap – and she wasn’t.

    But I couldn’t help but notice the trio of women behind Trump in many of the camera shots of him. The one on his left was bobbing her head up and down most of the time.

    Plant much?

        • Rugger9 says:

          It turns out she’s a Trumpie that ran for Congress in FL, getting 3% of the vote behind the D winner and the GOP challenger.

          I was also interested in how DJT screamed “setup” when it was his campaign that strong-armed NBC into pre-empting Chris Hayes. His MAGA base will believe him but no one else does.

          OT, CA allows you to check on your ballot status through the Secretary of State’s office, mine is accepted and will be counted.

          • P J Evans says:

            Mine was verified Tuesday. It’s nice to be able to check. (I used a very-official drop box in front of my local branch library.)

  8. Chris.EL says:

    Just a tad off topic — read (again) today about the huge amount of money that goes to Trump’s properties/business every time he or his children travel to his properties…

    Trump is starting to make noise about …if Biden wins, Trump just might have to leave the country.

    We should be believing him. Perhaps Vance should start prosecuting the individuals who are running The Trump Organization NOW — jump on it — don’t wait. It is an ongoing conspiracy, isn’t it?

    I think about George Bush and his staying out of this mess. In photos of Bush, you can see by the expression on his face, he likes people. Recent example, a photo of Bush with the Dalai Lama. For what it’s worth…

  9. Chris.EL says:

    From NYTimes —

    This article is part of a [NYTimes] Special Sunday Review: End Our National Crisis.

    …”The Washington Post has estimated that the U.S. government had paid well over $1 million to the president’s company since he took office in costs associated with the Secret Service. This includes at least 530 nights at Mar-a-Lago and 950 nights at the president’s club in Bedminster, N.J.

    Taxpayers are also footing part of the bill for business trips by the Trump kids. In January 2017, Eric Trump jetted down to Uruguay to check on one of the Trump Organization’s condo projects, costing Americans around $98,000 in hotel rooms for the Secret Service and embassy staff members. Two trips the following month, one by Eric to the Dominican Republic and one by Eric and Don Jr. to Dubai, ran taxpayers nearly $250,000 for Secret Service expenses such as airfare, lodging and ground transportation.

    In May of 2018, China awarded Mr. Trump’s golden child, Ivanka, seven trademarks for her now-defunct lifestyle brand, right around the same time her father was pledging to save a major Chinese telecommunications company, ZTE, from going belly up. Ivanka’s office said there was no special treatment involved.

    What’s good for the Trump family is, apparently, also good for the family of Ms. Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, and their business interests. In May 2017, Mr. Kushner’s sister played up her brother’s position as senior adviser to the president when pitching some of Kushner Companies’ real estate developments to prospective Chinese investors through a federal program that provides fast-track visas to wealthy foreign investors. The project “means a lot to me and my entire family,” she told them.” …

Comments are closed.