As President Trump makes increasingly impassioned promises that a vaccine will become available within weeks, scientists and experts have been left to throw cold water on his claims.
Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in testimony before a Senate committee yesterday that a vaccine would not be widely available until the middle of next year and that masks would remain essential to fighting the disease. Ultimately, he said, wearing masks might be more important than a vaccine.
The president quickly lashed out, rejecting the scientific findings of his own government in particularly stark terms, even for him. “I think he made a mistake when he said that,” Trump said in comments to reporters hours later. “It’s just incorrect information.”
Trump went on to say that a vaccine would be available “immediately” and that “under no circumstance will it be as late as the doctor said.”
Joe Biden has been saying almost daily that Trump is treating the vaccine as a political tool and cannot be trusted with information about it. “I trust vaccines,” Biden said yesterday during a speech in Delaware, shortly before Trump made his comments about Redfield. “I trust the scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump. And at this moment, the American people can’t either.”
You might’ve received a card yesterday from the Postal Service, advising, “If you plan to vote by mail, plan ahead.” The postcards, sent out to households across the country, promised that “we’re committed to providing you a secure, effective way to deliver your ballot” — but some Democrats saw them as an attempt to sow confusion and doubt about voting by mail.
The mailings instructed voters to “start today,” even though most states haven’t begun accepting applications for mail-in ballots.
Secretaries of state across the country expressed frustration with the mailings, saying that they had not been consulted on the language until it was already completed. Kim Wyman, the Republican secretary of state in Washington State, called the postcards “inaccurate” and said she wished her office had been consulted on them in advance.
Some secretaries of state said that they planned to raise concerns over the mailings in a conference call with Louis DeJoy, the postmaster general, scheduled for today.
Colorado’s Democratic secretary of state, Jena Griswold, has obtained a temporary restraining order preventing the delivery of the postcards, which instruct voters to request their ballots at least 15 days before Election Day and send them in at least a week before. Colorado is encouraging voters to allow slightly more time — eight days — when mailing in a ballot.
DeJoy, who is also a major Trump donor, has said that states should allow at least 15 days between when ballot requests are due and when filled-out ballots must be received by the elections office.
Secretaries of state said they also planned to express concerns on today’s call about a series of cost-cutting measures DeJoy carried out earlier this year, raising accusations that the Trump administration was seeking to undermine the post office ahead of an election that will rely heavily on voting by mail.
It’s been a long time since things have looked this challenging for Lindsey Graham, the senior senator from South Carolina and a fierce Trump loyalist. A Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday showed him tied at 48 percent with Jamie Harrison, his Democratic opponent, among likely voters.
“You don’t have to believe in miracles to believe we can win this race,” Harrison wrote on Twitter as he shared the poll results. Graham was running considerably behind Trump, who had the support of 51 percent of likely voters in South Carolina, according to the survey.
Quinnipiac also polled Maine and Kentucky, where two other Republican Senate incumbents face high-profile challenges. In Kentucky, Mitch McConnell led his Democratic rival, Amy McGrath, by a comfortable 12 percentage points. But in Maine, the incumbent, Susan Collins, was 12 points behind Sara Gideon, the Democratic speaker of the state House.