Joe Biden told reporters yesterday that he would decide on a running mate by next week. “I’m going to have a choice in the first week in August, and I promise I’ll let you know when I do,” he said. Biden had previously named Aug. 1 as his rough deadline for choosing a vice-presidential nominee.
During the primary campaign, Biden committed to choosing a woman as his running mate, and in recent months his team has thoroughly vetted a wide range of contenders.
The Times has done a series of deep dives into the women said to be under consideration. You can find our rundown of that list here. We also recently profiled Susan Rice, who served as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser and is seen as a serious contender.
Others on the shortlist include Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, who both competed against Biden for the presidential nomination; Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois; and Representative Karen Bass of California.
Biden made the V.P. pledge yesterday after giving a speech outlining how his economic plan — titled Build Back Better — would address racial inequities embedded in the United States economy.
“Look at the energy, pride and achievement of communities of color,” he said. “Just imagine if we could truly unleash their full potential.”
He said he would triple the goal for awarding federal contracts to small disadvantaged businesses, increase their access to venture capital, and use targeted infrastructure projects and green jobs to lift Black and brown communities. Before the speech, Biden’s campaign also released a racial-justice policy plan containing further details on the proposal.
After toning down his public statements about the coronavirus last week, President Trump appears to be back to his old ways. On Monday night he shared a video — which quickly went viral — showing people in doctor’s coats making a series of misleading claims about the virus.
In the video, a woman identifying herself as Dr. Stella Immanuel, a Houston physician, states that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment for the disease and that people “don’t need masks” to slow the virus’s spread. Studies have failed to prove that hydroxychloroquine combats the virus, but they have shown that it can result in severe side effects.
The video spread quickly, even as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube worked to remove it. The president, his son Donald Trump Jr. and the conservative news site Breitbart all shared it. Twitter responded by temporarily restricting the president’s son’s account. The video was also removed from the president’s feed.
In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci returned to a familiar role: correcting the misinformation spread by the president, without directly condemning him.
“We should all be wearing masks outside,” Fauci told George Stephanopoulos. “That’s something that’s not really arguable.” Later in the interview, he concurred with the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to revoke its emergency use authorization of hydroxychloroquine. “The overwhelming, prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in coronavirus disease,” Fauci said.
Stephanopoulos then asked about a message that the president had shared accusing Fauci of misleading the public. “I don’t know how to address that — I’m just going to certainly continue doing my job,” Fauci said. “You know, I don’t tweet. I don’t even read them. So I don’t really want to go there. I just will continue to do my job, no matter what comes out.”
The leaders of the country’s second largest teachers’ union said that “safety strikes” should be on the table in school districts that force students to return to in-person classes under unsafe conditions. Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers, issued the threat yesterday in a speech for the union’s convention.
“Just as we have done with our health care workers, we will fight on all fronts for the safety of students and their educators,” she said. “But if the authorities don’t protect the safety and health of those we represent and those we serve, as our executive council voted last week, nothing is off the table.”
Lily Eskelsen García, the head of the larger National Education Association, concurred yesterday in a statement of her own. “Nobody wants to see students back in the classroom more than educators,” she wrote. “But when it comes to their safety, we’re not ready to take any options off the table.”
The A.F.T. adopted a resolution this month stating that schools should reopen only in areas where the positive coronavirus test rate is below 5 percent — widely considered to be an indicator that the virus is relatively under control.
Weingarten spoke to Fauci last night in a video chat that was streamed on the A.F.T.’s YouTube channel, praising him for being “always honest and transparent with the American people.”
William Barr, the attorney general, came under fire yesterday from House Democrats who accused him of dangerously enabling the president and weakening the rule of law.
During Barr’s first congressional testimony in over a year, members of the House Judiciary Committee sharply questioned his decision to drop charges against Michael Flynn, the president’s former national security adviser, who had pleaded guilty to perjury, and his choice to overrule career prosecutors and recommend a shorter prison sentence for Roger Stone, the president’s longtime friend and adviser.
“You have aided and abetted the worst failings of the president,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler, the committee’s chairman. “The message these actions send is clear: In this Justice Department, the president’s enemies will be punished and his friends will be protected, no matter the cost to liberty, no matter the cost to justice.”
Democrats also criticized Barr for supporting Trump’s crackdown on protesters across the country, whereas Republicans praised him for it.
Barr has repeatedly echoed Trump’s unfounded assertion that mail-in voting could lead to widespread voter fraud, and in his testimony he doubled down on the claim. “I think there is a high risk that it will,” he said. “If you have wholesale mail-in voting, it increases the risk of fraud.”
There’s no factual basis for this argument, as indicated by the experiences of states that have expanded access to voting by mail amid the pandemic. Polling shows that a vast majority of the country supports universal access to mail-in voting. But if the White House succeeds in limiting access to mail-in ballots, it could effectively prevent millions of people in remote areas from voting.
Trump himself has voted by mail numerous times. And yesterday, Barr acknowledged that he had once done so himself.