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Trump news: President accuses Democrats of anti-Catholic bias at charity event after Biden speaks of his faith

Campaign rages at debates commission plans to add ‘structure’ to next events 

Trump rows back and says he 'doesn't know who the Proud Boys are' after debate outrage

Donald Trump and Joe Biden gave back-to-back remarks at the 2020 Alfred E Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, broadcast virtually from New York, typically a tuxedo affair that during an election year features candidates delivering chummy remarks and discussions of faith during the Catholic charities fundraiser.

This year, the president accused his rival’s party of housing “anti-Catholic bigotry" as he pitched his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, moments after Mr Biden invoked his own Catholic faith.

The former vice president spoke to the “hope and possibility” for America’s future as it emerges from the public health crisis.

Their appearances follows Tuesday’s chaotic debate, though the president’s campaign has pushed against the Commission for Presidential Debates plan to add more “structure” to the next rounds after the opener was marred by constant cross-talk and the president’s interruptions.

His campaign accused the nonpartisan committee of political bias and listed a number of unofficial online polls declaring the president the winner of the first debate. 
Fox News’ anchor Chris Wallace, who moderated the first debate between Mr Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden, said it was the president who “bears the primary responsibility for what happened.”

The White House was repeatedly asked to “unambiguously” denounce white supremacy, following remarks by the president at the debate urging nationalist gang the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” during while he dodged demands to condemn white supremacism.

Republicans have distanced themselves from his remarks while the FBI warns that the election and pre-inaugural period could be potential for violent “flashpoint” among right-wing extremists.

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Hello and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of the Donald Trump administration.

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President attacks Ilhan Omar as crowd chants ‘Lock her up!’

Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail in Minnesota on Wednesday and immediately went on the attack, making unsubstantiated - and racist - claims about the state’s Somalia-born congresswoman Ilhan Omar, whom he said had “harvested” mail-in ballots, entirely without evidence.

To chants of “Lock her up!”, the US president complained in Duluth that local voters had elected Omar, who, in his words “tells us how to run our country”, and argued she would assist his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, with “flooding” the state with refugees - another claim without any basis whatsoever.

Much of Trump’s ire was reserved, however, following their bad-tempered debate in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday, which Biden was widely thought to have won with ease.

The president tried everything he could to discredit his rival, falsely claiming he had cancelled their two further scheduled debates, mocking him for observing coronavirus precautions like wearing a mask and social distancing and claiming he planned to abolish the suburbs in an attempt to scare up votes from middle class America.

He was also back to pet themes for reassurance, like berating NBC for covering a hurricane threat rather than his bogus Nobel Peace Prize nod (he was nominated by a far-right Norwegian MP clearly seeking publicity) and claiming Mexico would be paying for his still unfinished border wall (they most definitely won’t be).

Here’s John Bennett’s report.

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Why Trump’s Minnesota rally was among his most important campaign stops this year 

Here’s John T Bennett again on why last night’s stop in Duluth was so crucial to this president’s re-election hopes in the wake of a fairly disastrous debate performance characterised by anger, bluster and incoherence in which he failed to articulate policy goals or a clear vision for America and instead resorted to crude scaremongering and personal attacks on Biden’s family.

Before Tuesday night, Trump appeared to be clawing back support in several key swing states, only to blow it with his erratic efforts on stage and failure to denounce white supremacist groups like the Proud Boys.

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Trump U-turns on Proud Boys and claims not to know who they are

Speaking of the far-right collective, the president changed course yesterday and told reporters at the White House he didn’t actually know who they were (a stance as cowardly as it is untrue) - still declining to overtly denounce them after telling them instead to “stand by” on Tuesday. 

He continued to insist Antifa is the real problem and refused to turn down any vote, no matter how grubby the source.

Here’s more.

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‘The Proud Boys heard Trump on Tuesday night. Their reaction tells you everything you need to know’

For Indy Voices, here’s Hannah Selinger on the president’s reluctance to disavow any support - even that of neo-Nazis - and why that’s so dangerous.

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President rages at ex-FBI director James Comey on Twitter

In addition to staging his latest coronavirus-provoking group therapy session in Minnesota last night, Trump was also busy on Twitter.

He had plenty of grievances to air, beginning with this laughable interpretation of his debate performance against Biden, which bore little relation to reality and will likely only appeal to the already-brainwashed.

From there, he repeatedly lashed out at ex-FBI director James Comey after he said attorney general William Barr’s efforts to dismiss charges against Trump’s first national security adviser Michael Flynn were "deeply concerning."

Perhaps he’s just annoyed about Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty, being adapted into a Showtime miniseries featuring Brendan Gleeson giving a deeply unflattering portrayal of himself.

We also got another attack on Fox for daring to interview a Democrat and further unfounded claims of mail vote tampering, bashed out in all-caps for added derangement.

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Brad Parscale leaves re-election campaign after arrest

Trump’s ex-campaign manager has stepped down from his senior role at the campaign after his arrest at his home in Florida, a campaign official said on Wednesday.

Parscale was detained by police at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, out of concern he might hurt himself after they received a report from his wife, Candice.

Parscale had been Trump's campaign manager for his re-election effort but was pushed aside during the summer after a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, saw just 6,000 people turn up despite the former’s boast that he had seen 1m applications for tickets.

He was subsequently moved on to the campaign's digital effort, producing ads aimed at helping Trump ahead of the 3 November election.

Parscale said in a statement issued to Politico that he was stepping away from the re-election effort and getting help for what he called ”overwhelming stress”€ on him and his family.

Here’s Gino Spocchia’s report.

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‘Amtrak Joe’ appeals to Rust Belt working class voters left behind by Trump

While the president was in Minnesota yesterday, Biden also touring battleground states aboard a private Amtrack train and arguing that he can “win back” such conservative-leaning territories as Ohio and Pennsylvania, telling a crowd in Pittsburgh: “We gotta get on this train.”

Kicking off a 200-mile journey yesterday morning from Cleveland, Ohio, the candidate stopped throughout the day in Alliance, Ohio,  and Pittsburgh, Greensburg and Latrobe in Pennsylvania, pushing his “Build Back Better” economic plan.

“Everyone is just looking for a chance - not a guarantee - just an equal shot to get ahead,” he said in Johnstown in western Pennsylvania, the final stop of his trip, making an explicit appeal to the Rust Belt working class left behind despite Trump’s rhetoric.  

“That dream is getting further and further out of reach. That’s what I’ve seen today at every stop on that train.”

Here’s Richard Hall’s report.

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Presidential debate rules to be redrawn after Tuesday’s toxic bout

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has said it will consider changing the format of the remaining two debates between Trump and Biden after Tuesday’s chaotic spat was widely criticised.

The president repeatedly spoke over his rival and avoided answering questions posed by the moderator, Fox News host Chris Wallace.

At one point, the former vice president told Trump: “Will you shut up, man? This is so unpresidential,” after he interrupted him and Wallace had to regularly shout in order to keep the conversation moving.

On Wednesday, the commission, which sponsors televised debates in the US, released a statement, which read: “Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.

“The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly.”

The organisation added: “The commission is grateful to Chris Wallace for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night’s debate and intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates.”

Here’s James Crump’s report.

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Chris Wallace admits losing control of chaotic Trump-Biden debate

The veteran Fox host has expressed his regret over how Tuesday’s battle played out, calling it a “terrible missed opportunity”.

Graham Massie has this one.

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