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Friday September 24th, 2021 5:43PM

The Latest: Trump votes a straight GOP ticket in Florida

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the presidential campaign (all times local):

5:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he voted “straight Republican” when he voted early in Florida on Saturday.

Trump had been asked whether he voted for Laura Loomer, the far-right Republican candidate who has been banned from social media sites because of her racist and anti-Muslim speech.

She is facing incumbent Lois Frankel, who has been a political fixture for decades in the Palm Beach County district, where the only Republican to ever run against her, in 2016, lost by 27 percentage points.

A senior administration official told reporters aboard Air Force One that Trump voted Saturday using a passport as identification.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said first lady Melania Trump is also planning to vote in person, just like her husband.

Trump changed his residency from New York to Florida last year.

___

4:20 p.m.

Former President Barack Obama says that Donald Trump’s decision to abruptly end an interview earlier this week with a “60 Minutes” correspondent underscores that Trump isn’t up to being president.

Obama, speaking at a drive-in rally in Miami on Saturday, said he was perplexed that Trump became ruffled after journalist Lesley Stahl pressed him on a series of issues and “got mad and walked out of the interview.”

“Miami, listen, if he can’t answer a tough question like ‘what would you like to do in a second term,’ then it’s our job to make sure he doesn’t get a second term,” Obama said.

Obama added that Trump’s behavior in the interview demonstrated he “ain’t all that tough.”

After cutting short the interview, Trump posted a White House recording of the interview on his Facebook page.

CBS News said the interview will air Sunday, along with a separate one with Biden.

___

3 p.m.

Vice President Joe Biden called Trump supporters gathered outside his drive-in rally “chumps,” but said he’d work hard for them if he win’s next month’s presidential election.

Biden was holding a socially distanced rally at a parking lot in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on Saturday when the Trump supporters could be heard making a ruckus from a short distance away.

“I’ll work as hard for those who don’t support me as those who do, including those chumps out there with a microphone,” Biden said of the Trump supporters, who appeared to be using a megaphone.

Trump during his own rally in Lumberton, North Carolina, mocked Biden’s rally because most of his supporters listened while sitting in their cars. The president jokingly said the cars were “too close together, I think.”

“They weren’t socially distanced,” Trump added.

___

2:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump is continuing to criticize Joe Biden for saying during their debate that the country is headed for a dark winter because of the pandemic — something health experts have been warning for months.

“We’re rounding the turn ... our numbers are incredible,” Trump told supporters in Lumberton, North Carolina, even as the country’s daily coronavirus tally reached record heights with more than 83,000 infections reported on Friday.

The U.S. death toll has grown to 223,995, according to the COVID-19 dashboard published by Johns Hopkins University. The total U.S. caseload reported on the site Friday was 83,757, topping the 77,362 cases reported on July 16.

___

1 p.m.

Joe Biden is repeating that he has no plans to ban hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania, a critical battleground state where many jobs depend on the industry.

Speaking at a drive-in rally on the grounds of a community college in Bristol, near Philadelphia, he said: “Let me be clear, I’m not banning fracking in Pennsylvania or anywhere else."

People in about 100 cars blared their horns.

Still, Biden noted that climate change could lead to more catastrophic floods in places like along the nearby Delaware River.

“We can do something about it,” he said. “But we’ve got to come together.”

President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused Biden of supporting a ban on fracking. Biden mistakenly suggested during a Democratic presidential primary debate that he did, but his campaign quickly corrected that. The former vice president has promised to end fracking on federal land.

Biden also said during this week’s debate with Trump that the country would have to “transition away from the oil industry” to combat climate change -- something he didn’t mention Saturday. Biden has since clarified that the process would be gradual and not cost people who rely on the energy sector their jobs.

___

12:15 p.m.

Joe Biden tells supporters in Pennsylvania that he misses up-close campaigning, but doesn't want his events to “superspreaders.” That's a barb seemingly aimed at President Donald Trump, who's set to hold a trio of big rallies later Saturday at a time of rising coronavirus cases.

At a drive-by rally in the Philadelphia suburb of Bristol, Biden said: “I don't like the idea of all this distance, but it’s necessary.”

He added, "We don’t want to become superspreaders.”

Trump's events in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin come as the U.S. has hit a daily record of coronavirus cases with more than 83,000 reported infections. The U.S. death toll has grown to nearly 224,00, according to the tally published by Johns Hopkins University. The total U.S. caseload reported Friday was 83,757, topping the 77,362 cases reported on July 16.

Trump said in a tweet said the rise in positive cases is overblown.

A Rose Garden event in late September has been labeled a “superspreader” for the virus. More than two dozen people linked to the White House have contracted COVID-19 since the president’s Sept. 26 event announcing Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court.

___

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, are framing their closing messages in the sprint to the Nov. 3 election. Trump voted Saturday in Florida before rallies in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin. Biden has events in Pennsylvania.

Read more:

— Work already underway for presidential inauguration

— As Trump casts doubt on election, new agency contradicts him

— The Needle goes away as probability experts assess 2020 race

— Reid says Biden should end Senate filibuster after 3 weeks

— Four years in, Trump has plenty of unfinished business

___

HERE'S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:

10:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump has cast his ballot Saturday morning in West Palm Beach, Florida, and he tells reporters afterward: “I voted for a guy named Trump.”

West Palm Beach is near his private Mar-a-Lago club. He used to vote in New York but changed his residency to Florida last year.

There were several hundred supporters gathered with flags and signs outside the library where he voted. And there were chants of “Four more years.”

The president wore a mask while voting but he took it off as he approached reporters afterward in the building.

He called it “a very secure vote. Much more secure than when you send in a ballot, I can tell you that.”

Democrat Joe Biden hasn’t voted yet and it likely to do so in person in Delaware on Election Day, Nov. 3. Delaware doesn’t offer early, in-person voting like Florida.

Trump said at a Florida rally on Friday that he likes being able to vote in person. “I’m old fashioned, I guess,” he said.

The president has a busy Saturday, with rallies scheduled in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.

___

9:20 a.m.

Joe Biden is holding two drive-in rallies in all-important Pennsylvania on Saturday as he works to shore up support in his native state.

The Democratic presidential nominee is a Scranton native. He’s set to campaign in Bucks County, southeast of Allentown, which voted narrowly Democratic in 2016.

Biden also plans a stop in Luzerne County, which went easily Republican four years ago. It’s northwest of Bucks County and close to Scranton.

The former vice president angered some oil industry advocacy groups by suggesting during this week’s presidential debate that the U.S. will have to transition away from fossil fuels eventually if it is going to get serious about climate change.

Biden says that process would be very gradual and that he has a post-coronavirus pandemic economic plan that can create “millions” of new jobs by retrofitting key infrastructure to be more environmentally friendly.

Jon Bon Jovi is set to perform at Biden’s drive-in rally in Luzerne County. His appearance is reminding some of Election Day eve in 2016, when he was part of a huge outdoor concert with the Obamas and then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia. That event came mere hours before Clinton lost to Donald Trump.

___

9 a.m.

Joe Biden says climate change is “the No. 1 issue facing humanity” but he's pledging to protect energy industry jobs that could amid federal efforts to combat it.

The Democratic presidential nominee is campaigning Saturday in Pennsylvania, where parts of the state are heavily dependent on the energy sector. Biden has faced criticism from some in the oil industry for suggesting during this week’s debate that the U.S. would have to transition away from fossil fuels eventually for environmental reasons.

Here's what Biden said about climate change during an episode of “Pod Save America” that was released Saturday: “Unchecked, it is going to actually bake this planet.”

He added: “We cannot discount the concerns of people, what it means for their well-being and not only in the future and now, but what about how they make a living?”

Biden noted on the podcast that some unions have endorsed his economic plan to retrofit infrastructure to make it more environmentally friendly. He said that can create “millions” of new, green jobs.

___

This Biden item from 9:20 a.m. has been corrected to reflect that he will hold events in Bucks County and Luzerne County, not Bucks County and Lancaster County, and that Bon Jovi will appear only in Luzerne County.

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