The United States presidential election is in 5 days.
Here is a summary of the top 5 political issues making headlines today.
1. Trump, Biden both have eyes on Florida prize
With the U.S. presidential race down to its final days, both Republican President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, campaigned Thursday in the same state, as Florida and its 29 electoral votes are seen as possibly the key to victory.
Biden, who has a small lead in the polls in the state, appealed to Hispanic voters, especially Cuban immigrants, during a drive-in event in Coconut Creek.
“Cuba is no closer to freedom and democracy today than it was four years ago,“ the former vice president said. “In fact, there are more political prisoners, and secret police are as brutal as ever, and Russia once again is a major presence in Havana.”
“President Trump can’t advance democracy and human rights for the Cuban people or the Venezuelan people, for that matter, when he has praised so many autocrats around the world,” Biden added.
Trump responded on Twitter, tweeting: “Our opponents want to turn America into Communist Cuba or Socialist Venezuela.”
The U.S. president also spoke in Tampa to a mostly maskless outdoor crowd.
“Weekly jobless claims, this is boring but it’s really good, just hit a 7 month low,” Trump said.
“You will have a crippling Depression the likes of which you’ve never seen if sleepy Joe becomes president.”
Unemployment is at 7.9% nationally but Trump said: “This explosive economic growth is four times greater than what the experts expected.”
The latest polls have Biden likely to become the next U.S. president.
2. Warren reportedly interest Treasury slot in Biden cabinet
Former Democratic presidential candidate and current U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts would like to be the next secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department should fellow Democrat Joe Biden be elected president on November 3, Politico reported Thursday.
Warren, whose positions are most often on the liberal end of the Democratic Party, would be sure to draw opposition from Wall Street and business executives. She has advocated for stricter regulations of America’s financial sector.
The next U.S. Treasury secretary will have the unenviable task of trying to accelerate the economic recovery from the effects of the coronavirus and ensure investors and consumers alike that the United States is headed toward another period of prosperity.
Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants labor union, said Warren would be ideal for the job.
“She’d be the person to meet the moment. She understands all the failed strategies in the past in terms of how to rebuild the economy and how to shore up average Americans,” Nelson told Politico.
Other leading contenders for the Treasury position, the publication says. include Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard; Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former Treasury Department official; and Roger Ferguson, former Federal Reserve vice chairman and current CEO of TIAA.
3. Walmart pull guns from sales floor as issue remains a political divider
In response to outbreaks of violence, Walmart, which has about 5,000 stores operating in the United States, has removed all guns and ammunition products from its sales floors.
“We have seen some isolated civil unrest and as we have done on several occasions over the last few years, we have moved our firearms and ammunition off the sales floor as a precaution for the safety of our associates and customers,” Kory Lundberg, a spokesman for Walmart, told NBC News in an emailed statement Thursday.
The move comes in the wake of peaceful protests that gave way to violence and looting in Philadelphia after a fatal police shooting.
Gun violence, police brutality against African-Americans and gun ownership are key campaign issues in which Republican U.S. President Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, have widely differing views.
“If Biden becomes President your GREAT SECOND AMENDMENT doesn’t have a chance,” Trump tweeted earlier during his presidential campaign. “Your guns will be taken away, immediately and without notice. No police, no guns!”
The much-debated amendment to the U.S. Constitution about a citizen’s right to bear arms was written in 1791 and has long been a volatile issue in U.S. politics.
Biden advocates banning assault weapons and more stringent background checks for gun purchases. He would also seek to end the sale of firearms and ammunition online.
a. A Second Amendment Grade for President Trump So Far – Heritage
4. Fauci says vaccine for some available late this year, early next
The first doses of a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine will likely become available to some high-risk people in late December or early January, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said in a chat on Twitter and Facebook Thursday.
“The first interim look (at trial results) should be, we hope, within the next few weeks,” Fauci, the head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has made U.S. President Donald Trump’s handling of the covid-19 pandemic a main focus of his campaign, saying Trump’s response has been an insult to the victims of the disease that has killed more than 228,000 Americans and created economic hardship for millions more.
Trump, who has frequently questioned Fauci’s credibility, has also criticized Biden for saying he would listen to scientists and as a result, according to the president, cause greater economic harm to many Americans.
“If you vote for Biden, that means there will be no kids in school, no graduations, no weddings, no Thanksgiving, no Christmas, and no Independence Day together,” Trump said Wednesday during a rally in Goodyear, Arizona.
“Outside of that, they will have a wonderful life.”
Fauci said even with an effective vaccine it will take some time for life to get back to close to normal as vaccine-induced immunity builds both nationally and globally. He said life will likely not get back to normal “until the end of 2021 at least.”
a. US election 2020: Fact-checking Trump and Biden on Covid – BBC News
b. Oxford Covid vaccine trials offer hope for elderly – Financial Times
5. Twitter’s blocking of U.S. official ignites another angry response
Twitter is once again making headlines for blocking an account.
The time the criticism comes from the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection regarding his tweet about the U.S.-Mexico border wall, whose building U.S. President Donald Trump has turned into a major political promise.
Mark Morgan’s blocked tweet hailed the under construction wall, saying that “every mile helps us stop gang members, murderers, sexual predators and drugs from entering our country,” according to media outlets that have seen it.
At a press conference marking the 400th mile of completed wall on Thursday, Morgan said his tweet “intended to educate the American people that borders matter. … My tweet was intended to emphasize that border security is national security.”
Twitter had originally blocked Morgan’s tweet for violating its policies on hate speech.
A Twitter spokesperson confirmed to Politico that Morgan had been locked out of his account but said “the decision was reversed following an appeal by the account owner and further evaluation from our team.”
Not satisfied, Morgan said: “This should outrage every American citizen because they didn’t lock me out, they locked you out. They imposed their own ideology, their own belief system to justify keeping the truth from the American people because it didn’t fit the very obvious and transparent agenda.”
Twitter, Facebook and Google have raised the ire of U.S. lawmakers because of their publishing policies and what critics claim is ideological censorship.