Thousands gather for 2020 March on Washington

Hours after fireworks bearing President Trump’s name burst over the National Mall, thousands flooded its grounds to rally for racial equality on the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” address, reports CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga. Families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and Jacob Blake — Black Americans shot or killed by police officers — gathered alongside Reverend Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial for the gathering dubbed the “Get Your Knee off Our Necks Commitment March.”

Led by the National Action Network, CBS News reporter Audrey McNamara reports organizers first announced the day’s events during a memorial service for George Floyd, the 46-year-old father who died at the hands of police in Minneapolis in May.

Overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, told the crowds he wished “George were here to see this right now.” His sister, Bridgett Floyd, pleaded with demonstrators. “We have to be the change.” The mothers of Dontre Hamilton, Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery also addressed crowds. “Even though we’re going through a crisis, even though it looks dark, I want to tell you to be encouraged,” said Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton. “Don’t stop saying ‘Black Lives Matter.’ Don’t stop protesting,” she said.

In the months since Floyd’s death, Black Lives Matter marches have sprung up from coast to coast, mounting calls for the officers charged in Floyd’s death to be brought to justice, and those involved in other controversial cases including the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by officers in her own home in Louisville, and Elijah McClain, who died after a police chokehold in Aurora, Colorado, last summer.

Protests reignited again this week following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was hospitalized after police shot him several times in the back as he opened the door of his parked car. Attorneys for his family say he is now paralyzed.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris recorded brief remarks for the march that played during the event on Friday. The California lawmaker said that if civil rights activists from the 1960s were here today, they “would share in our anger and frustration as we continue to see Black men and women slain in our streets and left behind by an economy and justice system that have too often denied Black folks our dignity and rights.” She quoted the late congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis. “As John put it, Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Richard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor.”

In a video message posted to Twitter, Wednesday, Joe Biden announced he spoke with the family of Jacob Blake. “What I saw on that video makes me sick,” Biden remarked, referencing a graphic witness video of police shooting Blake seven times. “Once again, a Black man, Jacob Blake, has been shot by the police in broad daylight, with the whole world watching.” In the wake of violent protests in Kenosha, Biden also condemned the “needless violence” endangering lives.

President Trump has not weighed in on Blake’s death or Friday’s march, staged just yards away from the White House grounds. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows reiterated Friday on Fox News that the White House has reached out to his family members through their pastor, but has not yet spoken to them directly. The senior White House official suggested President Trump avoided a “rush to judgment” on the police shooting to ensure “we’re not burning down buildings in the meantime while the jury’s still out.

FROM THE CANDIDATES

BIDEN-HARRIS CAMPAIGN

The Biden campaign weighed in on the Republican convention, saying that instead of outlining a forward-looking agenda, the president offered “a delusional vision completely divorced from the crushing reality that ordinary Americans face.”

The Democratic campaign did not respond to President Trump’s 40+ mentions of Biden in his speech, CBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson reports. But both Biden and Harris are leaning into Trump’s messaging on law and order, saying he is failing his own test, given that the footage he portrays of violence in America is happening under his watch.

With both conventions now over and 67 days to go until the election, Biden is also previewing more campaign travel. At a virtual fundraiser Biden told donors his campaign is putting together plans to travel to battleground states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Arizona. Biden says that any events he may hold will follow local safety guidelines on crowd size and other personal health guidelines.

TRUMP-PENCE CAMPAIGN

President Trump heads to New Hampshire Friday, fulfilling a promise to return to the Granite State following his campaign’s cancelled rally on July 11, reports CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga. The president will also travel to Texas and Louisiana Saturday to survey the damage wrought by Hurricane Laura overnight Wednesday.

Staring into a mask-free crowd of nearly 1,900 supporters seated side by side on the South Lawn of the White House Thursday night, President Trump capped four days of Republican programming with his formal acceptance of his party’s renomination.

He issued a 70-minute defense of his administration’s stewardship amid a mounting set of crises. Calling former VP Joe Biden “a Trojan horse for socialism,” the president said this election’s outcome would preserve or destroy the “American way of life.”

While campaign aides planned for a “positive, optimistic vision” that set out his second-term agenda in “granular detail,” Mr. Trump instead whipsawed between touting his accomplishments and attacking his Democratic rival: a combination State of the Union address and campaign rally.

The president kicked off his remarks with a tribute to those affected by Hurricane Laura but waited 35 minutes before acknowledging 180,000 Americans lost to the pandemic, calling it “so unnecessary” in an unscripted moment. Hundreds of attendees seated side by side without masks were not tested for COVID-19. The president flouted legal and political convention by hosting a campaign rally on federal grounds.

At a campaign event in Duluth, Minnesota, where early voting starts in three weeks, Vice President Pence slammed Biden for not visiting the state in a thousand days and urged Democrats to help re-elect Mr. Trump. Earlier Friday the Trump campaign announced that six mayors, some of whom have voted for Democrats in the past and represented traditionally Democratic areas of Minnesota are endorsing President Donald Trump, according to CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar.

Early voting in Minnesota starts September 18, and Pence was quick to remind supporters that the time to choose is almost here. He asked voters to consider whether they would trust a “career politician” in Joe Biden or a “builder” in Donald Trump to lead America’s economy to new heights. Pence argued that on jobs, American values, safety and security, the choice should be Mr. Trump.

The law-and-order message has been a mainstay of Pence’s stump speech, and while he used an oft-repeated line about justice for the death of George Floyd, he made no mention of the police-involved shooting Jacob Blake.

Pence attacked Biden for saying nothing about the violence and chaos engulfing places like “Kenosha, Portland, or Minneapolis.”

“From standing up to China’s unfair trade practices to giving our workers and manufacturers a fair-footing on the global stage, Minnesotans know President Trump and Vice President Pence have and will continue to fight for their way of life,” RNC spokesperson Preya Samsundar said. Pence, who is also campaigning in Traverse City, Michigan today, compared last week’s Democratic convention to a “Zoom HR meeting.” He characterized the GOP convention as “inspiring” and a “celebration of American greatness.” Pence offered prayers for the victims of Hurricane Laura and promised the administration would provide support for those impacted by the storm.

AD WARS

MUSICAL MESSAGES

Bad Bunny and Joe Biden — the world-renowned rapper and former vice president — are two names not normally associated with one another. But starting Friday, the Puerto Rican rapper, whose real name is Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, and Alejandro Fernandez, a popular Mexican singer, are lending their star wattage and strains from their recent hits to Biden’s White House bid, reports CBS News political correspondent Ed O’Keefe. The new ads are tailor-made for Puerto Rican and Mexican audiences in three key swing states and are part of a $26 million advertising buy this week that included a two-minute message that aired on national broadcast networks Friday night during coverage of the Republican National Convention.

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM

BLACK NATIONAL CONVENTION

Now that Democrats and Republicans have wrapped up their quadrennial national party conventions, a coalition of Black organizations is convening its 2020 Black National Convention Friday evening at 7 p.m. ET.

The livestream event, hosted and organized by the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) will feature a series of conversations and performances aimed at shaping a Black agenda ahead of the 2020 elections.

“People kept saying to us we want to engage in public policy, we want to engage in protest, we want to engage in electoral strategy, we want to engage in deep organizing and we want to do it on our own terms with our own self-determining vision for black lives,” Movement for Black Lives’ Electoral Justice Project Co-founder Jessica Byrd told CBS News correspondent Nikole Killion.

The event is inspired by the first Black National Convention held in Gary, Indiana in 1972. It brought together a who’s who of Black political thought leaders and activists, including Shirley Chisholm, Reverend Jesse Jackson Jr.,Coretta Scott King, Dr. Betty Shabazz and Harry Belafonte.

“There have been so many examples over our history where movements and leaders have convened to talk and struggled through big ideas — what they wanted to see in our communities which is exactly what happened in 1972 in Gary,” said convention co-host Kayla Reed. “We are in that legacy, we are having these debates out loud.”

Black National Convention co-producer Rukia Lumumba told CBSN’s Elaine Quijano on “Red & Blue” Thursday that it’s “the first time in 40 years we’ve seen a convention of this kind come to fruition again.”

Lumumba said the hope for the convention is that it launches a Black political agenda ahead of the November elections.

“We know that Black voters will play a pivotal role in determining what the next four years will look like,” she said. The event comes on the heels of another wave of protests spurred by the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake.

“We know that the same folks who are fighting on the front lines to protect our families from this violence and on the front lines to push back against police violence are going to be the voters that flip states,” Reed said.

The convention will take place a few hours after the 2020 March on Washington wraps up. M4BL has drafted a policy platform that will be ratified during the convention. It outlines demands for the first 100 days of the next administration, including action on defunding the police, investments in housing, health care and childcare and efforts to combat environmental racism. “

Read more here.

TESTING

Just three days after Republicans gathered in Charlotte, N.C. for the official business of the RNC, CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell reports that Mecklenburg County says four people who attended and supported the event tested positive for COVID-19, out of the nearly 800 tests conducted.

RNC communications director Michael Ahrens insisted that convention officials took appropriate safety precautions. “The RNC had diligent safety protocols in place, including testing all attendees before arriving in Charlotte, and again upon arrival,” said Ahrens in an emailed statement. “Out of roughly 1,000 tests administered, two RNC attendees, despite having negative tests prior to travel,and two Charlotte locals who planned to serve as event support staff tested positive upon arrival. All were sent home.”

STATE-BY-STATE

ARIZONA

Our Voice, Our Vote Arizona says it has “launched the largest Black-led voter movement and Political Action Committee in Arizona history,” aiming for “close to 250,000 voter contacts” in the state to support Biden and Senate candidate Mark Kelly. The group counts among the broader “Mi AZ” campaign a coalition of several left-leaning groups in Arizona seeking to oust President Trump. While dwarfed by the state’s white and Hispanic demographics, CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin says some 5% of Arizonans in Maricopa County – the battleground state’s most populous – identify as Black.

Meanwhile Navajo Nation members are suing Arizona’s Secretary of State Katie Hobbs over the state’s mail ballot deadline, citing research showing tribal voters face significant mail delivery delays compared to other Arizonans.

“Secretary Hobbs has said that Arizona voters have 27 days to vote by mail. For Native voters using the Dinnehotso location, they have only seven days,” OJ Semans, director of Four Directions Vote, said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

In 2016, the Navajo Nation made up the lion’s share of on-reservation voting in Arizona, casting an estimated 40,731 ballots. “The deadline is set by state law. I understand their concerns, which is why we are prioritizing outreach efforts in parts of the state that don’t have consistent postal service,” Hobbs, a Democrat, said in a statement.

And Democrats in Arizona are denouncing their state’s governor, Republican Doug Ducey, for “openly flouting” mask recommendations after appearing to don a face covering only for a photo posted with other GOP governors attending the final night of the Republican convention. Ducey was later spotted, in footage aired by CNN, not wearing a mask while mingling in the audience at the White House. Attendees to the president’s remarks were required to wear face coverings only “upon arrival and in security screening areas,” according to a document obtained by CBS Newspath correspondent Natalie Brand.

NEVADA

The “Women for Trump” bus tour is in Nevada for a second day, touring Southern Nevada Friday to rally the president’s supporters with Women for Trump Advisory Board members Jessie Jane Duff and Carrie Prejean, Latinos for Trump Advisory Board Member Elisa Slider, and Erin Perrine, the campaign’s press communications director. They also met with staff at the Women’s Resource Medical Centers of Southern Nevada, a faith-based organization that seeks to reduce abortions in the state. The visit comes as Biden’s campaign released an “open letter” signed by several of the state’s top female elected Democrats criticizing the president for having “failed America’s women.”

Also in Nevada an influential labor union is pushing back against a Newsweek report that had suggested its field program had been hobbled by record job losses in the state’s casino industry, according to CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin. The Culinary Union, a Unite Here local seen as a key component of Democratic voter turnout in the potential swing state, claims to have “over 200 hospitality workers canvassing and making phone calls” ahead of November. “Nothing is promised and we have to fight to #DefeatTrump, but we are not turned off,” tweeted the labor group’s spokesperson Bethany Khan.

VOTING INTEGRITY

SLAM DUNK

When players decided to halt the NBA playoffs earlier this week in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, they were taking the stand that for racial justice in America, more Americans will have to have access to voting. Reinforcing that theme, the NBA Players Association announced today that a deal has been struck between players and owners. In order for playoffs to resume this weekend, teams would have to commit to working, “with local elections officials to convert the[team’s] facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election.” In a statement, the NBAPA stated that the rule applies to any team, “where the league franchise owns and controls the arena property.” CBS News campaign reporter Cara Korte notes there are 30 NBA teams and 29 arenas (the Lakers and Clippers share Staples Center) across the country. The Pacers (Indianapolis), Clippers (LA), Bucks (Milwaukee) and Wizards (DC) had already committed to turning their arenas into voting centers this November. Other pro sports teams had previously committed to this, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, Boston Red Sox, and the New Jersey Devils (Newark). Also included in the deal was a commitment to establish a “social justice coalition” of players, coaches, and front office personnel. And to ensure their message is being spread during games, the players mandated that “the league will work with the players and our network partners to create and include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.”

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