US elections live updates: Trump and Biden campaigns ramp up

As campaigns gain momentum, Biden courts the largest US union federation and Trump hurls insults at his opponent.

Trump and Biden campaign composite [AP Photo]
President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden have ramped up their campaigns as election day approaches [The Associated Press]
  • United States presidential candidate Joe Biden headed on Monday to the crucial battleground state of Pennsylvania, where he spoke with union workers and said President Donald Trump was not ‘made of the same stuff’ as they are.
  • Trump held a news conference on economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and alluded to a sooner-than-expected coronavirus vaccine. Trump also used the event to hurl insults at Biden.
  • Vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence both visited the key battleground state of Wisconsin, days after Trump and Biden visited the city of Kenosha, a hot spot in the country’s civil and racial unrest.
  • Biden remained ahead nearly seven points in national polling averages; some polls suggested a tightening race in states considered key to winning the Electoral College.
  • September 7 was the Labor Day holiday, a date that historically signifies the beginning of the most aggressive stretch of campaigning. There are 56 days until the general election on November 3.

These were the latest updates:

Monday, September 7:

20:45 GMT – Biden says Trump ‘not made of the same stuff’ as working Americans

Biden, speaking from Pennsylvania at a virtual event of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations – the AFL-CIO, the country’s largest union federation – vowed to be the “strongest labour president” the country has ever had.

Biden largely answered questions about the coronavirus pandemic and the US Postal Service, which will play an important role in this year’s election as many plan to vote via mail due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the former vice president also said Trump, a billionaire, “lives by a code of lies, greed and selfishness” and is “not made of the same stuff” as the US working class.

Unions, which have historically supported Democrats, have been in dramatic decline in the US. About 10 percent of US workers are unionised, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about half the percentage of workers in unions compared to the early 1980s.

Biden Pennsylvania
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden waves as he arrives at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Pennsylvania [Carolyn Kaster/The Associated Press]

20:00 GMT – Harris tells Blake family ‘they have support’

While touring the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers training facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Harris was asked how her visit went earlier in the day with the family of Jacob Blake, a Black man left paralysed after police shot him on August 23 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“Really wonderful,” she said.

“I mean they’re an incredible family and what they’ve endured and they do it with such dignity and grace. And you know, they’re carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders,” she added.

When asked what her message for the Blake family was, she said: “Just to, one, to express concern for their wellbeing and of course, for their brother and their son’s wellbeing and to let them know that they have support.”

19:30 GMT – Biden meets with union members in Pennsylvania

Biden began his campaign visit to the key battleground state of Pennsylvania by meeting with three union workers who also served in the US military.

In the backyard of a home in Lancaster, Biden spoke about trade, coronavirus and the economy as he criticised Trump for “refusing to deal with the problems that affect ordinary people” and called for strengthening unions.

He also referenced a recent The Atlantic magazine report that said Trump had called American war dead buried near Paris “losers”  and “suckers”. The president has vehemently denied the report.

“Do you think most of those guys and women are suckers?” Biden asked the union members.

Biden Penn
People watch from a neighbouring yard as Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during an event with local union members in the backyard of a home in Pennsylvania [Carolyn Kaster/The Associated Press]

19:00 GMT – Pence says wife has returned to classroom amid pandemic reopening

Mike Pence has said his wife, Karen Pence, a part-time art teacher, has already returned to the classroom as he touted the administration’s plan to “reopen American” amid the pandemic and vowed to soon have a vaccine during a campaign stop in Wisconsin.

“I’m proud to report to you that that schoolteacher I’ve been married to for 35 years is already back in the classroom teaching art,” he said at the Dairyland Power Cooperative in the important battleground state.

During the wide-ranging speech, Pence also said the Trump administration would create more jobs and continue to support police.

18:45 GMT –  Trump says ‘Biden’s a stupid person’

With his campaign travel significantly curtailed because of the coronavirus, Trump continues to take the non-traditional strategy of issuing campaign-style attacks against his opponent from the White House.

During his news conference Monday, Trump spent a good portion of his 20-minute opening remarks on the economy assailing Democrat Joe Biden, critiquing him on his record as vice president – and on China, Ukraine, Biden’s son Hunter’s business dealings in those countries, and even Biden’s intelligence.

“Biden’s a stupid person,” Trump declared.

Monday’s campaign-style remarks at the White House, just like the series of convention-related events Trump held there last month, are a sharp break from tradition.

Incumbent presidents generally separate campaign activities from official White House activities to avoid criticism as well as the potential legal issues surrounding the use of taxpayer-funded resources for campaigning purposes.

Trump White House
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference on the North Portico of the White House [Patrick Semansky/The Associated Press]

18:30 GMT – Trump says postmaster should resign if wrongdoing ‘can be proven’

Trump has said that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy should resign if reports that he violated campaign finance law “can be proven”.

The statement comes after a former employee told the Washington Post that DeJoy, then a Republican Party fundraiser, would ask workers of the company that he previously ran to donate to Republican candidates. He would then pay workers back in hefty bonuses, in an apparent violation of campaign finance law, the employee told the newspaper.

When asked during Monday’s news briefing at the White House if there should be an investigation in DeJoy’s conduct, Trump responded:  “Sure. I think let the investigations go.”

When asked if DeJoy should resign if wrongdoing is uncovered, Trump said:  “Yeah, if something can be proven, always.”

 Louis DeJoy
A former employee says Postmaster General Louis DeJoy violated campaign finance laws as a fundraiser for the Republican Party [Reuters]

18:15 GMT – Trump says ‘only an animal’ would call American war dead ‘losers’

Trump, in a news briefing at the White House, has again denied that he called American war dead “suckers” and “losers”, as reported in an article published in The Atlantic magazine last week.

“Who would say a thing like that? Only an animal would say a thing like that,” Trump said during the wide-ranging briefing from the White House.

Trump also asked a reporter during the question-and-answer portion to take off his mask, saying: “You’ll have to take that off.”

The reporter refused, and said he would speak louder.

18:00 GMT – Harris meets with Jacob Blake family

Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris has met with the family of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, where Vice President Mike Pence was also visiting as the presidential race enters its final phase.

Harris gathered with Blake’s father, two sisters and members of his legal team at a private airport in Milwaukee while Blake’s mother and attorney Ben Crump joined by phone. Blake also joined the conversation by phone.

Joe Biden met with the family last week in Milwaukee before visiting Kenosha, the city where police shot Blake seven times in the back.

She is set to tour the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers training facility before holding a roundtable with Black business owners.

Kamala HArris
Democratic US vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris arrives at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin [Alex Wroblewski/The Associated Press]

17:45 GMT – Poll: More US voters think Trump will best Biden in debates

More US voters think Trump will win the upcoming presidential debates than think Democrat Joe Biden will win, a new poll reveals.

Forty-seven percent of voters say Trump will perform better than Biden in their three debate meetings, the first of which is on September 29, compared to 41 percent who say Biden will win, according to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll.

Trump, who is lagging behind Biden in national and battleground state polls, is looking to the debates for a boost.  With the candidates’ in-person campaign schedules drastically altered due to the coronavirus, the thinking is that voters will be looking at the debates even more closely to help them decide who to vote for.

In 2016, 84 million watched the first debate between Trump and his opponent Democrat Hillary Clinton. The poll of 1,000 registered voters taken Aug. 28-31 by landline and mobile phone has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 points.

Presidential debate
Trump performance during the 2016 presidential debates are credited with boosting his support [File: Mark Ralston/Reuters]

17:30 GMT – Singer Cardi B responds to Candace Owens criticism of Biden interview

Singer Cardi B has responded to conservative figure Candace Owens, who had called her an “illiterate rapper” and questioned whether she was fit to interview Biden.

“Why wouldn’t Joe Biden sit down with me? I have millions of followers and I pay millions in taxes,” she said. “I’m heard all around the word.”

In a video produced by Elle magazine in August, the singer interviewed Biden about police brutality and the coronavirus pandemic.

17:00 GMT – Trump launches battleground ad touting ‘Great American Comeback’

The Trump campaign will launch a new ad in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan this week, touting the country’s recovery from the coronavirus.

The campaign has repeatedly sought to portray Trump, who has been resistant to lockdowns across the country throughout the pandemic, as the candidate best suited to lead the US economy out of the crisis.

The ad seizes on comments made by Biden in August, in which he said he would lock down the country again if the spread of the coronavirus warranted it.

Why is Trump worried about mail-voting? | Start Here

16:30 GMT – In op-ed, Warren says Biden ‘will stand up for working women’

Senator Elizabeth Warren, who ran against Biden in the Democratic primary, has written in an op-ed in Cosmopolitan magazine that the candidate will “stand up for working women”.

“America’s women are getting us through this crisis,” she wrote. “They deserve a break, a chance to get ahead, and an economy that works for them. Donald Trump doesn’t get that, but Joe and Kamala do.”

Progressive primary candidates have largely embraced Biden, citing the urgency of defeating Trump.

16:00 GMT – Trump expected to address coronavirus recovery

President Donald Trump in recent weeks has sought to reframe the election away from his handling of the coronavirus, towards a “law and order” message.

However, on Monday, he appears set to address the economic comeback from the pandemic, tweeting “Jobs number, and the Economic comeback, are looking GREAT.”

Republicans have repeatedly focused on the country’s economic strength before the pandemic to portray Trump as the man to lead the recovery. Biden, meanwhile, has said Trump’s ineptitude in handling the crisis has made the situation worse.

15:30 GMT – Biden campaign capitalises on war dead comments

The Biden campaign has sought to capitalise on the uproar about Trump’s reported disparagement of fallen military members by relaunching an advertisement this week in battleground states with large numbers of military personnel that highlighted his own record of support for the armed forces.

The advertisement, titled “Protect Our Troops”, portrays Biden as being from a military family and understanding the sacrifices service members make, according to the campaign. Biden’s son Beau was deployed to Iraq in 2008 as part of the Delaware Army National Guard.

The Atlantic magazine, citing four unnamed people, reported last week that Trump had referred to Marines buried in an American cemetery near Paris as “losers” and declined to visit their graves during a 2018 trip to France. Trump vehemently denied the report. The Associated Press, the Washington Post and Fox News confirmed parts of the report also with unnamed sources.

Biden Campaign Ad
The Biden campaign has relaunched its “Protect Our Troops” advertisement in battleground states [Screengrab/Joe Biden Campaign]

15:00 GMT – Biden to address labour unions

Biden will meet on Monday with the leader of the largest federation of US labour unions, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, at the group’s state headquarters in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and take questions from union workers.

The Harrisburg event highlights the Biden campaign’s strategy for Pennsylvania, where early voting starts in mid-September.

The former vice president needs his party’s base, including African Americans in places like majority-Black Harrisburg, to vote. His campaign also wants to convince enough working-class white voters in the state, many of them unionised, that Biden is a better option than Trump.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US elections. This is Joseph Stepansky.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies