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Trump focuses on his vice presidential finalists: from the politburo

Trump focuses on his vice presidential finalists: from the politburo
Trump focuses on his vice presidential finalists: from the politburo


Welcome to the online version of From the Politics Desk, an evening newsletter bringing you the latest reporting and analysis from NBC News Politics teams from the campaign trail, the White House and on Capitol Hill.

In today's edition, we report on the final stages of Donald Trump's vice presidential search. Plus, Chief White House Correspondent Peter Alexander looks back at the last debate between Trump and Joe Biden, more than 1,300 days ago, for clues about the next one.

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Trump focuses on his VP finalistsBy Henry J. Gomez, Jonathan Allen, Dasha Burns, Carol E. Lee, Matt Dixon and Olympia Sonnier

Two top finalists are emerging in former President Donald Trump's search for a vice presidential nominee: North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Sen. JD Vance of Ohio.

In interviews with NBC News, more than a dozen sources connected to the process described an intensifying debate over the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate.

A third candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, remains in the running, sources said. But doubts about his enthusiasm for the job and concerns about handling a constitutional logjam that would force Trump or Rubio to take up residency in another state have persisted in ways that could hurt his chances.

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Publicly, Trump has said he plans to announce his choice near or during the Republican National Convention, which begins July 15 in Milwaukee. But three sources close to the discussions said the timeline remained a matter of debate.

One option would be for Trump to announce a few days early, immediately after his July 11 conviction on 34 counts, in an effort to quickly move past a damaging news cycle.

One source said, however, that the choice could also take place before sentencing in an effort to generate a fundraising windfall separate from Trump's sentencing or the convention, both of which his allies hope to generate significant donations. Another source said that scenario was unlikely, for fear that his legal troubles would quickly stifle any news of his running mate's revelation.

The vice president's campaign deliberations have been closely watched and, given Trump's love of the element of surprise, could veer sharply in other directions.

Internally, a key point of tension and indecision is balancing the desire for a vice presidential candidate who is non-threatening with the desire for someone who can also be seen as the future of the Trump movement , said a source close to the matter. This tension, the source added, continues throughout the campaign, including with Trump.

Read more about the search for Trump's vice president

What we learned from the latest Biden-Trump debateBy Peter Alexander

It's been more than 1,300 days since the last debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump and the last time either man appeared on a debate stage.

Usually, it is the sitting president who is at a disadvantage in general election debates, because he is not used to being attacked face-to-face.

But Biden and Trump face the same challenge in Thursday's showdown in Atlanta: Neither has debated in four years, although both have had plenty of experience debating elections primaries and generals over the last two decades (2008, 2012 and 2020 for Biden; 2016). and 2020 for Trump).

So, what did we learn from this latest debate, moderated by my colleague Kristen Welker, on October 22, 2020?

1. Covid dominated: It has become easy to forget, since it has now disappeared as a national scenario, but the subject of Covid dominated the first minutes of this debate given the deaths, hospitalizations and the vaccine future.

We have a vaccine arriving, it is ready. It's going to be announced in a few weeks and it's going to be delivered. We have Operation Warp Speed, which will allow the military to distribute the vaccine, Trump said in his opening speech.

Biden replied: 220,000 Americans dead. If you hear nothing else I say tonight, listen to this: Whoever is responsible for not actually taking control, says: I take no responsibility, in the first place, whoever is responsible for so much of dead should not remain president of the United States. of America.

2. It was more civil than the first: The first debate of 2020 moderated by then-Fox News Chris Wallace was full of interruptions and insults.

But the second was much more civil. One reason for that: The Commission on Presidential Debates muted the candidates' microphones during the two-minute opening remarks for each topical section. (Another reason why: Welker did a masterful job of moderation.)

If the microphones were reopened after these opening remarks, the candidates largely refrained from interrupting each other. And since the microphones will be turned off for the candidate who doesn't speak in the next debate, this second debate of 2020 could be a preview of what we might see on Thursday night.

I want to open the schools, Trump said in response to a question about whether schools should be open during the coronavirus pandemic. We must open our country. You know, I've said it many times: the cure can't be worse than the problem itself, and that's what's happening, and [Biden] wants to close. He's going to shut down the country if one person in our huge bureaucracy says we should shut it down.

When asked for his response, Biden said: Just not true. We will be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. We should be able to open safely, but they need resources to open.

3. Biden constantly tried to bait Trump: Biden took numerous opportunities to put himself in Trump's shoes, just as Hillary Clinton did during the 2016 debates.

This is the same guy who told you it would end at Easter last time. This [is] the same guy who told you that, don't worry, this was going to end this by the summer, Biden said of Covid.

And here's Biden on Trump's taxes: You haven't released a single year of your tax return. What are you hiding? Why do not you want ?

4. When attacked, Trump fought back: And every time Biden harassed Trump, the then-president fought back.

I mean, your brother made money in Iraq, millions of dollars. Your other brother made his fortune, and it's all thanks to you, Joe. And they say you get some of it. And you live very well. You have houses everywhere. You live very well, Trump said during the tax exchange.

And here's Trump's response to Biden's attack on his handling of Covid: Biden caused H1N1 swine flu, and it was a total disaster. Much less deadly. But it was a total disaster.

Today's Headlines Decision Day: The Supreme Court upheld a federal law that prohibits people subject to domestic violence restraining orders from possessing firearms, taking a step back from its recent approval of an expanded right to own a firearm. Read more Waiting game: Florida federal judge hears challenge over whether special prosecutor appointed to investigate allegations Trump misused classified documents was unconstitutionally appointed, as no date no trial is in sight. Learn more Flip the script: The Biden campaign is seeking to shift the focus back to Trump by posting a series of unflattering videos of the former president on social media. Read more Biden vs. polls: Biden and his allies are increasingly critical of public polling as they seek to distance themselves from data showing him virtually tied or trailing Trump. New York State of Mind: Politico heads into a key Democratic primary in upstate New York to take on Republican Rep. Brandon Williams in a district Biden won by 12 points in 2020. Read more The Cavalry is here: Businessman Timothy Mellon donated $50 million to a pro-Trump super PAC the day after the former president's conviction in New York, according to new campaign finance records. Read more Green light for green cards? Trump floated the idea that non-citizens would automatically get a green card if they earned a college degree in the United States. Read more Convention crisis averted: Trump's campaign moved to cancel a potential disruption of the GOP convention by seeking to replace six delegates they feared were potentially going to cause unnecessary distractions on the ground. Learn more

That's all from The Politics Desk for now. If you have comments you like or dislike, email us at [email protected]

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