ICYMI: Michigan Democrats Hold Trump and Pence Accountable for Failed COVID-19 Response

Yesterday, Michigan Democrats blasted Donald Trump and Mike Pence for their failed COVID-19 response, the economic damage it forced on the state, and their continued refusal to seriously address the deadly pandemic as cases again begin to rise.

The day began with a press conference outside Mike Pence’s Grand Rapids rally:

WXMI:

WLNS:

MLive:

State Rep. Rachel Hood, D-Grand Rapids, also criticized the Trump administration’s COVID-19 response at a press event organized by the Michigan Democratic Party Wednesday morning.

“We know that Donald Trump lied to us about this pandemic, and we know he has refused to take it seriously,” Hood said. “The bottom line is the president has no real plan to fix this pandemic. He has proven himself incapable of taking the steps necessary to get COVID-19 under control.”

Tammi Vandenberg, owner of Pyramid Scheme and The Meanwhile bar in Grand Rapids, said she was dismayed to hear that Trump privately acknowledged the deadly and highly transmissible nature of COVID-19 back in February. Vandenberg closed her businesses down before Whitmer’s executive orders, and said she would have done more to protect her business if she had known what the president knew earlier in the year.

“I would have made so many different decisions about my business if I had known this was coming,” Vandenberg said. “I would have conserved cash, I would have reduced my debts and cut my costs. I didn’t have the opportunity to do that, because I was not given information that I strongly feel I deserved.”

Vandenberg’s bars have opened with limited indoor capacity and outdoor seating, but she essentially lost six months of normal revenue. She said Trump’s flipping stances on whether he would negotiate a new round of federal stimulus has put Vandenberg in an “impossible environment to make financial decisions.”

The Michigan Democratic Party also blasted Trump’s announcement of a Saturday superspreader event and highlighted the suffering he has forced on the state:

Detroit Metro Times:

The Michigan Democratic Party lambasted President Donald Trump for hosting “superspreader events” in Michigan and across the country at a time when the state is confirming more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day…

“Just today, over 1,000 Michiganders tested positive for coronavirus,” Slater said Tuesday. “Despite the pain and suffering he has forced on Michigan families, Donald Trump still refuses to address the deadly pandemic he has failed to contain and we will vote in droves by mail, early in person and on November 3 to elect Joe Biden as his replacement and send Gary Peters back to the U.S. Senate.”

Health officials have criticized Trump for downplaying the risks of the coronavirus and poking fun at Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden for often wearing a mask.

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Michigan Democratic Party Statement on Lara Trump and Katrina Pierson Events

The Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement on behalf of spokesman Christian Slater on today’s Lara Trump and Katrina Pierson events:

“Today, the Trump campaign is continuing the spread of lies and misinformation across our state in a last ditch, desperate attempt to distract Michiganders from Donald Trump’s failed presidency. Michigan voters won’t fall for the spin because they’ve seen four years of Trump’s erratic leadership and know he has forced destruction and devastation on our state, including almost 7,000 deaths from COVID-19 and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost. For the next 19 days, Michigan voters will be turning out in record numbers, voting by mail, early in-person, and on election day to reject Trump and elect Joe Biden, Gary Peters, and Democrats up and down the ballot.”

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Barrett Refuses To Respond To Questions About Securing The Integrity Of Our Elections

Throughout the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings this week, Amy Coney Barrett repeatedly refused to respond to questions about securing the integrity of our elections as her record brings her impartiality into question and Republicans race to push through her confirmation in case voting litigation comes before the court.

Barrett repeatedly refused to answer questions about whether Trump can unilaterally delay the election — he can’t.

Vox: “Amy Coney Barrett Refused To Say If Trump Can Delay The Election. The Correct Answer Is He Can’t.”

FEINSTEIN: “Does the Constitution give the president of the United States the authority to unilaterally delay a general election under any circumstances? Does federal law?” BARRETT: “Well senator, if that question ever came before me I would need to hear arguments from the litigants and read briefs and consult with my law clerks and talk to my colleagues and go through the opinion writing process.”

Washington Post: “Trump Can’t Delay The Election, Experts Say.”

Barrett refused to answer when asked whether Trump should commit to a peaceful transfer of power.

BOOKER: “Do you believe that every president should make a commitment, unequivocally and resolutely, to the peaceful transfer of power?” BARRETT: “Well senator, that seems to me to be pulling me in a little bit into this question of whether the president has said that he would not peacefully leave office, and so to the extent that this is a political controversy right now, as a judge I want to stay out of it, and I don’t want to express a view on…” 

Barrett refused to say whether it is illegal to intimidate voters at the polls.

KLOBUCHAR: “Is it illegal to intimidate voters at the polls?” BARRETT: “Sen. Klobuchar, I can’t characterize the facts of a hypothetical situation, and I can’t apply the law to a hypothetical set of facts. I can only decide cases as they come to me litigated by parties on a full record after fully engaging precedent, talking to colleagues, writing an opinion, and so I can’t answer questions like that.”

The Nation: “When Klobuchar followed up with the actual federal statute prohibiting voter intimidation, Barrett still wouldn’t say that voter intimidation is illegal. These were softball questions. It takes nothing for a nominee to support the basic concept of the rule of law. It takes nothing for a judge to say, ‘That statute, which you just read to me, is good law, Senator.’”

If confirmed, Barrett would be the third justice to have been involved in Bush v. Gore — all of whom worked on the Republican side.

KLOBUCHAR: “I think the public has a right to know that now three of these justices have worked on the Republican side on a major, major issue related to a presidential election.”

Barrett’s prior work on Bush v. Gore raises questions about her ability to be impartial in election-related litigation.

National Law Journal: “Barrett worked on Bush v. Gore as an associate at Baker Botts. She was on location in Florida for a week, working with Stuart Levey, the former Baker Botts partner who is now chief legal officer at HSBC. Baker Botts’s James Baker was counsel to George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, and the firm represented the GOP candidate in the Bush v. Gore litigation stemming from the 2000 recount in Florida. Barrett, according to her Senate questionnaire, provided research and briefing assistance ‘at the outset of litigation’ in Florida courts.” [National Law Journal, 6/29/18]

DURBIN: “Please provide a complete answer to Question 17. To the extent you may no longer have complete records of litigation matters you handled, please provide at least ‘a capsule summary of the substance of each case’ and a description of ‘the nature of your participation in the litigation’ per the instructions in Question 17.” BARRETT: “My response to Question 17 of the Senate Judiciary Committee Questionnaire is complete as filed with the Committee. As I explained in my answer, ‘Although I worked on many litigation matters during my time as an associate at Miller Cassidy and then Baker Botts, I no longer have records of the matters upon which I worked. I recall only three significant litigated matters that I personally handled.’”

Trump and Republicans are pushing to confirm a new justice before Election Day in case voting-related litigation comes before the court.

ABC News: “President Trump says he is so keen on having his yet-to-be-announced Supreme Court nominee confirmed by Election Day in part so that the justice would be on the bench to vote on any legal disputes related to the election. ‘We need nine justices. You need that,’ Trump told reporters Tuesday, as he went on to stoke baseless claims that the election will be rife with fraud. ‘With the unsolicited millions of ballots that they’re sending, it’s a scam; it’s a hoax. Everybody knows that. And the Democrats know it better than anybody else. So you’re going to need nine justices up there. I think it’s going to be very important. Because what they’re doing is a hoax, with the ballots.’”

Nexstar Media News: “Republican officials and candidates across 20 states are urging the Senate to quickly confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court ahead of the November 3 general election.  Their message comes in the form of a letter from Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill that will be sent to Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Our Washington D.C. Bureau reports it will be made public Monday.  A majority of the lawmakers who signed the letter are their state’s chief election officer.  ‘In the case an election issue is challenged in court, America cannot afford a tie vote,’ Merrill writes in the letter. ‘Election results must be reported in a timely, secure, and efficient manner. Confirming Judge Barrett ensures we, as election officials, will be able to successfully administer the General Election without hindrance.’”

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Barrett Repeatedly Refuses To Rule Out Trump Pardoning Himself

Throughout the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week, Amy Coney Barrett has repeatedly refused to rule out the possibility that Trump can pardon himself as president, which legal experts broadly agree would be an abuse of power.

Trump has repeatedly claimed that he has unlimited power to pardon himself.

TRUMP: “The U.S. president has the complete power to pardon.”

TRUMP: “I have the absolute right to PARDON myself.”

Barrett was repeatedly asked whether the president can pardon himself – and refused to answer.

NPR: “Amy Coney Barrett declined to address whether she believes President Trump has the power to pardon himself, calling it a matter that could come before the Supreme Court after she is confirmed. ‘That would be a legal question. That would be a Constitutional question — and so in keeping with my obligation not to give hints, previews or forecasts of how I would resolve a case, that’s not one that I can answer,’ she said.”

LEAHY: “President Trump claims that he has an absolute right to pardon himself. Now, for 200 years the Supreme Court has recognized the common law principal that that nobody can be a judge in their own case. I had to go way back and reread Calder vs. Bull to see that. Would you agree first that nobody is above the law, not the President, not you, not me. Is that correct?” BARRETT: “I agree no one is above the law.” LEAHY: “And does a president have an absolute right to pardon himself for a crime? We heard this question after President Nixon’s impeachment.” BARRETT: “Senator Leahy so far as I know that question has never been litigated, that question has never arisen. That question may or may not arise, but it’s one that calls for a legal analysis of what the scope of the pardon power is. So because it would be opining on an open question when I haven’t gone through the judicial process to decide it, it’s not one on which I can offer a view.”

Legal experts broadly agree that it would be an abuse of power for the president to pardon himself.

Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel: “Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the president cannot pardon himself.”

Columbia Law Professor Philip Bobbit: “A self-pardon by the president is incompatible with the provision of Article II, Section 3 that ‘he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed’ and the provision of Article II, Section 1 that “executive power shall be vested in a President.”

Former Federal Prosecutor Renato Mariotti: “Lately the president and his team have made unusual and extreme legal arguments. They’ve argued that Trump can pardon himself, that he has unlimited power to investigate his enemies and stop investigations of his friends, and that he can’t obstruct justice because he has unlimited prosecutorial power. These sound like the powers of a dictator or king, not a president. Many legal experts call these arguments ‘novel’. That is accurate because no president has ever publicly made these arguments before. But it doesn’t go far enough. The reason these arguments have never been made before is that they are extreme and dangerous. Although the arguments are without precedent, it is hard for me to believe that courts would conclude that the president can commit crimes with impunity and abuse prosecutorial power for his own gain.”

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Captain Scott Kelly Launches New Digital Ad Campaign Encouraging Arizonans to Make a Plan to Vote Early

Today, the DNC is launching a new digital ad campaign featuring retired astronaut Captain Scott Kelly encouraging Arizonans to make a plan to vote early this year.

In a 30-second direct-to-camera video, Kelly educates Arizona voters on their multiple convenient and easy options to vote early this year, including voting early in person as well as returning their requested ballot by mail, in person, or at an official drop box.

“Ten years ago, I was living in space during a critical election year. You might guess that since I was orbiting the Earth, I wouldn’t have been able to vote. Well, you’d be wrong. In fact, I made my plan and voted from space,” says Kelly in the ad. “So there’s no excuse for you this election. Arizonans have many easy and convenient options to vote early this year, by mail or early in person.”

The new ad campaign will reach individuals who are likely to be early voters through digital platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Hulu, and YouTube across Arizona.

The spot will direct Arizona voters to IWillVote.com/AZ — the Democrats’ voter participation website — to learn to learn about their different options to cast their ballot and make a plan to vote today.

The DNC and Biden campaign recently rolled out new features on IWillVote.com that help voters easily request and return their ballot by mail, as well as learn important information about the voting process in their state as they make their plan to vote. The site is also completely accessible in Spanish at VoyaVotar.com.

WATCH HERE:

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Michigan Democrats Blast Trump and Pence’s Failed COVID-19 Response and Economic Damage

Today, the Michigan Democratic Party held a press conference outside Mike Pence’s Grand Rapids rally. At the press conference, State Representative Rachel Hood, small business owner Tami Vandenberg, and Kent County Democratic Party Precinct Organizing Chair Kim Gates blasted Donald Trump and Mike Pence for the economic crisis caused by their failed COVID-19 response and their refusal to extend further stimulus to workers and small businesses. They also encouraged Michiganders to vote early and in-person for Democrats up and down the ballot.

“We know Donald Trump lied to us about this pandemic. And we know he’s refused to take it seriously,” said State Representative Rachel Hood. “We know he attacked Governor Whitmer for taking basic steps to help us save lives and has continued to tweet demands instead of showing real leadership. Bottom line is: this president has no plan to fix this pandemic. And because of that, our economy cannot be fully restored. Month after month, hundreds of thousands file for unemployment in our state. Small business owners are struggling to stay open. Now, we’re standing outside an event that will make this pandemic work and further set our economy back. It didn’t have to be this bad, but Donald Trump failed. He lied about this virus, he refused to take it seriously, and now has tanked our economy.”

“We shut down our business in March, and while PPP was a bridge, here we are in October with no idea if we’ll receive more assistance,” said small business owner Tami Vandenberg. “It is an impossible situation to make decisions. When I look back to when the president knew about the virus, I think how I would have run my businesses had I known. I didn’t have the opportunity to do that because the president did not give us the information we deserve. This mismanagement has been devastating. Because of that, I’m supporting Joe Biden, Gary Peters, Hillary Scholten, and Democrats up and down the ballot— because they have a strategy and a plan to address this public health crisis.”

“I can tell you people in Kent County are fired up and ready to send a message to this president,” said Kent County Democratic Party Precinct Organizing Chair Kim Gates. “They see a president who, at a time when our country needed leadership the most, let us down. Kent county wants to send a message to Donald Trump, and we know how to do that— vote, vote vote.However you want to vote, either by mail, early in person, or November 3rd we’re getting unprecedented numbers of people to the polls and it’s going to turn Donald Trump out of office and elect Joe Biden, Gary Peters, and Democrats up and down the ballot. If you’re upset about this president’s reckless disregard for the safety of our state, how he has tanked our economy and put us in harm’s way, go vote.”

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NEW DNC AD IN MICHIGAN: “Tested Positive”

The DNC War Room released a new television ad today, “Tested Positive,” that highlights how, even after contracting the coronavirus, Trump continues to put lives at risk by ignoring experts and lying to Michiganders about the threat of the virus.

“Time and again, Donald Trump has knowingly put Michiganders at risk,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez. “He ignored the experts, lied about the severity of COVID-19, and failed to get the pandemic under control. Seven months into this crisis, he is still downplaying the virus and refusing to take action to protect Michiganders’ health, lives, and livelihoods. We deserve better than his failed, incompetent leadership.”

The ad will air starting this week in the Grand Rapids media market as part of a six-figure buy.

WATCH HERE: 

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Barrett Is A Threat To America’s Seniors

Senator Feinstein’s questioning today made clear that Amy Coney Barrett would be a threat to America’s seniors if she is confirmed to the Supreme Court. Barrett refused to say Medicare is constitutional, she’s ruled against age discrimination, and has strongly suggested she would overturn the Affordable Care Act.

Barrett refused to say that Medicare is constitutional.

Senator Feinstein: “Do you agree with originalists who say that the Medicare program is unconstitutional?”

Barrett: “Well, let’s see. So, I think, I can’t answer that question in the abstract.”

Barrett ruled that age discrimination did not cover job applicants.

Senator Feinstein: “What do you understand to be the purpose of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act?”

Barrett: “In Kleber v. CareFusion I joined a majority… and the question is whether the prohibiton on age discrimination covered applicants or only employees, and the statute said employees, and so an applicant isn’t an employee, so the majority said that the statue by its terms didn’t cover the conduct.”

Barrett has strongly suggested that she would strike down the ACA, which risks raising costs and limiting options for America’s seniors.

Washington Post: “Judge Barrett’s Writing Criticizes The Supreme Court Decision Upholding Obama-Era Health Law”

New York Times: “Medicare beneficiaries would have to pay more for preventive care, like a wellness visit or diabetes check, which are now free. They would also have to pay more toward their prescription drugs.”

MarketWatch: “While toppling the law wouldn’t necessarily erase all the reporting requirements, it would weaken resident protections, strip many nursing-home workers of health coverage, limit long-term-care options for many seniors, and undermine efforts to improve nursing-home quality at a critical moment, policy experts say.”

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Michigan Democratic Party Statement on Trump’s Muskegon Superspreader Event

The Michigan Democratic Party released the following statement on behalf of spokesman Christian Slater on the announcement of Trump’s Saturday superspreader event in Muskegon:

“Trump has shown nothing but a reckless disregard for the lives of Michiganders as he and his campaign host superspreader events throughout our state. For months, Donald Trump lied about a deadly pandemic. Then he refused to take action as it caused crisis after crisis and he attacked leaders like Governor Gretchen Whitmer who are fighting to keep Michigan safe. Now, almost 7,000 Michiganders are dead, over 130,000 have been sickened, unemployment has skyrocketed, and small businesses have been forced to close while he continues his relentless assault on protections for the 4.1 million Michiganders with preexisting conditions. Just today, over 1,000 Michiganders tested positive for coronavirus. Despite the pain and suffering he has forced on Michigan families, Donald Trump still refuses to address the deadly pandemic he has failed to contain and we will vote in droves by mail, early in person and on November 3 to elect Joe Biden as his replacement and send Gary Peters back to the U.S. Senate.”

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NEW DNC AD: “Tested Positive”

The DNC War Room released a new television ad today, “Tested Positive,” that highlights how, even after contracting the coronavirus, Trump continues to put lives at risk by ignoring experts, holding in-person superspreader events, and lying to the American people about the threat of the virus.

“Trump ignored the advice of experts, didn’t contain the pandemic, and endangered American lives with all his lies — even after he tested positive for COVID himself,” said DNC War Room Senior Spokesperson and Advisor Lily Adams. “Now, as new cases surge, Trump is still claiming the virus will disappear and refusing to act, while the American people pay the price.”

“Tested Positive” will air in battleground states and on cable in Washington, D.C. It is the 14th ad the DNC War Room has released since June to hold Trump accountable for his failed record. 

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