Trump Chides Biden For Wearing Mask; Former Pence Aid Blasted For Siding With Biden

The president has also mocked the Biden campaign’s strict adherence to public health officials’ guidance on social distancing. Presidential election news is on GOP voters against Trump, an upcoming rally in Virginia, key topics of the first debate and more.

The Hill:
Trump Mocks Biden Appearance, Mask Use Ahead Of First Debate 

President Trump mocked Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s appearance and use of a face mask on Tuesday as the first presidential debate draws nearer. “He feels good about the mask, and that’s OK. Whatever makes you feel good,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Pittsburgh. “Honestly, why the hell did he spend all that money on the plastic surgery if he’s going to cover it up with a mask?” (Moreno, 9/22)

Pence Aide Blasts Former Coronavirus Task Force Member Who Criticized Trump 

Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser on Tuesday assailed the former White House coronavirus task force adviser who recently lambasted the administration’s pandemic response and announced that she’d vote for Joe Biden this November. Retired Gen. Keith Kellogg took to the podium during a press briefing at the White House to say he was “not proud of Olivia Troye,” and pushed back on her claims that President Donald Trump was callous in the face of the public health crisis, which has now killed more than 200,000 Americans. (Niedzwiadek, 9/22)

Trump Schedules Rally In Virginia To Reach Rural North Carolina 

President Donald Trump is slated to hold a Friday evening rally in Virginia — but the trip is really about the next state over. Advisers say the idea behind Trump’s event in Newport News at the end of the week is to woo voters in neighboring North Carolina, a key battleground where absentee balloting has begun. (Isenstadt, 9/22)

The Hill:
First Presidential Debate To Cover Coronavirus, Supreme Court 

President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will face questions about the novel coronavirus, the Supreme Court and their respective records in elected office when they meet for the first 2020 presidential debate next week. Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, the moderator of the first debate, announced the list of topics on Tuesday. The debate will also cover the economy, race and violence in U.S. cities, and the integrity of the election, according to Wallace. (Chalfant, 9/22)

The Hill:
The Memo: COVID-19 Uptick Spells Trouble For Trump 

Cases of COVID-19 are beginning to rise again, and that spells trouble for President Trump, who would prefer to fight for reelection on almost any other issue. The number of coronavirus cases confirmed on a daily basis in the United States “has jumped more than 15 percent in the past 10 days,” The New York Times reported Tuesday. The Times noted this was the biggest increase since late spring and warned that a “surge appears to have begun.” (Stanage, 9/22)

In other election news —

Judge Will Rule Soon On GOP Attempt To Block Mail Ballots

Requiring Montana counties to open polling places for November’s election would be “absolutely catastrophic,” for voters and for public health, the governor’s chief legal counsel, Raph Graybill, told a federal judge Tuesday.U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen heard arguments in Missoula on a motion by President Donald Trump’s campaign and other Republican groups who want to overturn an option that Gov. Steve Bullock gave counties to hold the election by mail to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Christensen said he would rule quickly. (Hanson, 9/23)

Voters To Trump And Biden Camps: Don’t Come Knocking On Our Doors 

Voters overwhelmingly prefer that campaigns don’t dispatch workers to knock on their doors as part of their outreach efforts, with the number rising because of the pandemic that has sickened millions of Americans. Sixty-three percent of voters now feel apprehensive about encountering canvassers outside their door, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released Tuesday. Just 28 percent say they are comfortable being contacted in person by campaign volunteers. (Cadelago, 9/22)

Q&A: Vivek Murthy On Trump, Vaccines, And The Drug Industry

After a years-long hiatus, Vivek Murthy is back in the political spotlight. As a top health care adviser to Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, Murthy is filling a role similar to the one he played during the Obama administration: Providing key counsel on public health issues to the Democratic Party’s leader. (Facher, 9/23)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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