As the election race reaches its final days, both parties are pushing to reach out to voters a few more times before the big day. President Donald Trump’s supporters ended up getting the short end of the stick when the rally in an airfield in Omaha, Nebraska ended Tuesday night. Many experienced heavy delays getting home and others were left in the cold.
What We Know:
- The Omaha Police Department (OPD) said in a statement that roughly 7 people were taken to a local hospital, and about 30 other people called due to medical reasons. On the other hand, the Omaha Airport Authority reports slightly different figures of those that went to hospitals and suggested that the actual number of people taken to hospitals could not be confirmed. The temperature in the area was in the mid-30s.
Thousands of people left out in the cold and stranded in #Omaha, #Nebraska after a #Trump rally. I’m told the shuttles aren’t operating & there aren’t enough busses. Police didn’t seem to know what to do. Some walked. I saw at least one woman getting medical attention. pic.twitter.com/oIkmixaZt0
— Jeff Paul (@Jeff_Paul) October 28, 2020
- Joe Biden didn’t waste any time on Wednesday and took the opportunity to call out his rival’s approach. “Just look what happened last night in Omaha, after the Trump rally ended, hundreds of people, including older Americans and children were stranded in sub-zero freezing temperatures for hours,” Biden stated during a speech in Wilmington, Delaware. He made it clear how even the Trump campaign put people into a hospital, subtly attacking the president’s way of handling dilemmas.
- The OPD said around 25,000 of those who attended the rally, came over via 40 shuttle buses which ran from 10:00 a.m. to the rally’s start time of 8:00 p.m. Dispatches from the department were recorded by Broadcastify, a radio communications platform. The 30 calls that were prompted were about the elderly, an electric wheelchair user, and families with small children who waited in the cold for hours.
“There’s an issue with a number of people unable to find their cars and wandering in the cold … see if we can’t get everybody reunited with a car,” said one of the recordings.
- Other recordings reveal how 20 buses were delayed and congestion formed as rally attendees had to be shuttled back to already clustered parking lots and exits. So the most definite details obtained from the recording mention that patients were taken to Creighton University Medical Center. So far no further comments have been made from the hospital, camping, or police department.
- In an effort to relieve the massive delays, many people decided to walk several miles to the parking areas. Unfortunately, that ended up causing even more delays since the pedestrian traffic created another obstacle for buses trying to reach those at the rally location waiting to be picked up, said the police department in the statement.
The Trump Campaign finally made a statement on Wednesday regarding the messy end to Tuesday’s rally. It read “President Trump loves his supporters and was thrilled to visit Omaha last night. Despite the cold, tens of thousands of people showed up for his rally.” After mentioning their subpar 40 shuttle bus plan for attendees, they also reassured followers that “tents, heaters, generators, hot cocoa, and hand warmers” were available for all guests.
Formal Transition Between Trump and Biden Administrations Begin
The Trump administration is ready to begin the formal transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden.
What We Know:
- Emily Murphy sent a letter to the Biden team informing them that he has been ascertained as the winner of the 2020 presidential election by the General Services Administration. This will give the Biden transition team access to the necessary federal agencies and funding.
- Although President Trump has not formally conceded the election to President-elect Biden, the GSA ascertainment is the first step in the peaceful transition of power. Trump tweeted some mixed messages over the past couple of days, recommending that the GSA and his team move forward with “initial protocols,” but also not conceding and even saying that the GSA ascertainment does not decide the presidency.
…fight, and I believe we will prevail! Nevertheless, in the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 23, 2020
- Murphy said that she came to her decision independently and was not directed by the president. “I was never directly or indirectly pressured by any Executive Branch official — including those who work at the White House or GSA — with regard to the substance or timing of my decision. To be clear, I did not receive any direction to delay my determination,” said Murphy.
- The Biden team had already begun the preparations for his presidency, well before the GSA ascertainment. Biden had already assembled a team for the pandemic response and announced several Cabinet picks.
Remember, the GSA has been terrific, and Emily Murphy has done a great job, but the GSA does not determine who the next President of the United States will be.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2020
- The delay in ascertainment was detrimental for the Biden transition because it meant that they could not contact federal agencies, use government funding, or get access to Covid-19 data and vaccine distribution plans. They could not even get federal background checks on the White House staff and Cabinet appointments.
The transition process’s formal beginning is a crucial and necessary step for the incoming administration, especially for their coronavirus response. The US is already well past 12 million confirmed cases and nearing 260,000 deaths.
Georgia’s Secretary of State Goes on Facebook Fact-Checking Spree Over Trump’s Misinformation
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger took to Facebook in a series of posts to fact-check Trump’s misinformation about the election.
What We Know:
- Over the weekend, Trump falsely tweeted, “The Consent Decree signed by the Georgia Secretary of State, with the approval of Governor @BrianKempGA, at the urging of @staceyabrams, makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes, etc. They knew they were going to cheat. Must expose real signatures!”
- Raffensberg promptly shared a link on his Facebook page from the Associated Press fact-checking Trump’s tweet. AP News informed readers that there is nothing within the legal settlement that keeps Georgia election officials from checking signatures. Their website explains the signed consent decree focuses on the lack of standards statewide for assessing signatures on absentee ballot envelopes.
- Absentee ballots requested on a paper application must be signed. The signature is compared by election officials to the signature in the voter’s registration system before the ballot is sent to the voter. Once the ballot returns, the obligatory signature on the outside of the envelope is compared to the signature in the voter registration file. The entire process is detailed in the consent decree, which was signed in March.
- Accompanying the link, the GOP Secretary of State added to the opposition of Trump’s tweet stating, “The State of Georgia strengthened signature match this year.” He also advised that election officials were provided with signature match training from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. They were also required to confirm the signature match twice before casting the ballot. Finally, they generated an online portal for absentee ballots that checked and confirmed the voter’s driver’s licenses. He proceeded to say Georgia voters cast their ballots in secret to avoid intimidation from political parties and candidates to change their votes. The post ended with him “upholding their duty to protect the integrity of the vote.”
- In another post, Raffensperger wrote, “The state of Georgia has had no excuse absentee ballots since 2005—”. No excuse absentee voting means any voter is permitted to request a mail ballot without supplying an excuse. “Only those who request a ballot can vote absentee”, he continued. He attached a screenshot below of a tweet from Trump in July saying that absentee ballots are fine because there is a precise process one must go through to get voting privilege, but mail-in ballots were not. He insinuated 20% fraudulent ballots due to mail-ins and a rigged election.
- Collectively, Georgia’s Secretary of State made about seven posts on his Facebook page in rebuttal to Trump’s misinforming tweet. He disclosed that his office received multiple requests to match ballots to voters and expose how Georgians voted. “Georgia voters deserve to vote without intimidation,” he wrote, emphasizing his stance in valuing truth and integrity. He also noted that the first thing he did as Secretary of State was push legislation that banned absentee ballot harvesting. Raffensperger included that for the first time since 2005, he and his team secured and strengthened absentee voting. He shared more screenshots of Trump advocating for absentee ballots while shutting down mail-in votes as well.
In the final post of his debunking series, Raffernsperger called out U.S. Representative Doug Collins as a “failed candidate” and liar. This comes days after Collins said the Secretary of State’s team was responsible for the necessary recount in Georgia.
Virginia Professor Resigns After Facebook Post Calls Biden Supporters Anti-Christian
A Virginia college educator quit, officials said Monday, after he wrote on social media that President-elect Joe Biden supporters are “ignorant, anti-American and anti-Christian.”
What We Know:
- Virginia Wesleyan University Campus, a private liberal arts school in Virginia Beach, stated that Paul Ewell, management, business, and economics professor, had quit. He had earlier stepped down as dean of Virginia Wesleyan’s Global Campus.
- In the now-deleted FB post, Ewell wrote, “If you were ignorant anti-American and anti-Christian enough to vote for Biden, I really don’t want to be your social friend on social media. I wouldn’t hang out with you in real life, I don’t want to hang out with you virtually either. You have corrupted the election. You have corrupted our youth. You have corrupted our country. I have standards, and you don’t meet them. Please remove yourself.”
- President Donald Trump increased Ewell’s remarks when he retweeted a story about the professor where the “ignorant, anti-American, and anti-Christian” comments were in the original post. The president called the description “Progress!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2020
- Ewell stated earlier to Wavy, “I have many Democrat friends, and I want to apologize for saying that I didn’t want to be friends with them and for calling them names,” he told the station. “I am genuinely sorry for letting my anger get the best of me.”
- Regarding the post, the University issued a statement just days afterward, saying, “These views and opinions are expressly the individual’s own. Civic engagement and religious freedom are at the core of the University’s values, and we remain an inclusive and caring community that empowers meaningful relationships through listening, understanding, and communication.”
Ewell stated to Wavy, he wrote the post in anger and that he regrets that he had set a poor example in that post of what a Christian should be.
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