President Tells Donors It WIll Be Hard to Hold the Senate: Trump Update


President Donald Trump rallied in a small Ohio city which cancelled its namesake pumpkin show this fall. Former President Barack Obama was back on the stump in Miami, tweaking his successor. Trump has a frenetic few days ahead. While optimistic about his own chances, he’s worried about holding onto the Senate. Trump mocked a “drive-in” rally held earlier in Pennsylvania by Democrat Joe Biden. Trump also mused at a rally and on Twitter about the record number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., saying cases are up because of the push to “test test test.”

Key Developments:

Circleville, Ohio, Got Campaign Show But No Pumpkin Fest

Trump’s second campaign event of the day was in the city of Circleville, Ohio, about 40 miles south of Columbus, where he got to riff on the return of college football and other heartland topics.

Citizens of Circleville got the presidential show but are missing this year’s Circleville Pumpkin Show, which dates back to 1903 and is one of the largest and oldest such festivals in the U.S.

Organizers cancelled this year’s event due to coronavirus pandemic protection orders in Ohio which -- unlike Trump’s rally on Saturday -- discourage mass gatherings and encourage social distancing.

Nearly 400,000 people attend the festival each year, with vendors, artists, entertainers and guests flocking to nine blocks of downtown Circleville, according to event organizers. -- Alyza Sebenius

Obama Says Pandemic Playbook Must Have Been Lost (17:48 p.m.)

Obama was back on the campaign trail in Florida, bookending praise for Biden with pointed criticism of Trump on the coronavirus response and other topics.

The event, like Biden’s earlier in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, was a drive-in rally, with about 230 cars on site. During Obama’s speech a number of attendees left their vehicles to get closer to the stage.

“We literally left this White House a pandemic playbook that showed them how to respond before a virus reached our shores,” Obama said. “It must be lost along with the Republican health care plan. We can’t find it.”

Obama also addressed GOP Suggestions that Biden is a Socialist: “Listening to the Republicans, you’d think Joe was more Communist than the Castros. Don’t fall for that garbage.”

Trump responded to Obama’s appearance, saying on Twitter that “nobody is showing up” to the former president’s speeches. -- Maria Elena Vizcaino

Trump Tells Donors It Will Be Tough to Hold Senate (5:12 p.m.)

Trump told donors this week that it will be very tough for Republicans to keep control of the Senate because some of the GOP’s senators are candidates he can’t support, the Washington Post reported.

The newspaper cited a person it didn’t identify, who attended a closed-door fundraiser with Trump on Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee, before the final Trump-Biden debate.

Trump reportedly mentioned “a couple” of senators he couldn’t get involved with. It was unclear who those senators were, although Trump has ongoing antagonism toward Susan Collins of Maine, who’s in a tough re-election fight. -- Ben Livesey

Frenetic Travel Schedule is Coming Together (5 p.m.)

Rally, rinse and repeat.

A senior administration official said Saturday that upcoming campaign travel would include Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, then another swing west to Nevada and Arizona. And then back to Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin again.

That corresponds closely with the Trump campaign released on Friday: two rallies in Pennsylvania on Monday, then a busy day Tuesday that takes in Michigan, Wisconsin and also Nebraska -- a state the president won in 2016 by 25 points.

Tim Murtaugh, Trump campaign communications director, told reporters earlier on Saturday that “I wouldn’t be surprised to see five or six events on any given day before we’re finished.” -- by Mario Parker and Josh Wingrove

President Tells Piers Morgan, ‘I’m Going to Win’ (4:24 p.m.)

British broadcaster Piers Morgan tweeted that he had a 25-minute phone call with Trump early on Saturday.

“His last words? ‘Piers, I’m going to win.’”

In another tweet Morgan said he and Trump talked about “all sorts of stuff -- the election, coronavirus, this week’s debate, Joe Biden, Boris Johnson...”

The two have a long history; the former tabloid editor and host of CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live” won Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” reality TV competition in 2008. On Saturday Trump gave Morgan a Twitter plug for his new book, “Wake Up: Why the World Has Gone Nuts.”

Trump Mocks Biden’s Rally of Supporters in Cars (1:50 p.m.)

Joe Biden held an event on Saturday in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with supporters confined to their cars -- a coronavirus-era homage to the great American tradition of the drive-in movie.

Biden told attendees that he doesn’t like all of the distancing, but “what we don’t want to do is become super-spreaders.”

The spectacle didn’t escape Trump’s attention once the president was on stage in Lumberton, North Carolina, in front of a mostly mask-free crowd.

“I just watched Biden making a speech and he goes ‘oh thank you for everybody, thank you’ -- you know, he has people in cars, I don’t get it. They’re in cars. There were so few cars, I’ve never seen an audience like this,” Trump said.

“You heard a couple of horns, honk, honk. It’s the weirdest thing, you make a speech and you have people honking.”

The Lumberton event was being held in honor of the Lumbee Tribe, the largest Native American tribe east of the Mississippi River. Trump on Wednesday said he supports full federal recognition to the Lumbees; Biden made a similar pledge some weeks ago. -- Mario Parker and Alyza Sebenius

Trump Says Covid Cases Include ‘Many Low Risk People’ (12:31 p.m.)

The president tweeted while en route to a rally in North Carolina, addressing the latest spike in coronavirus cases to record levels -- including a surge in much of “Trump Country” in the Midwest and Mountain West.

“The Cases are up because TESTING is way up,” Trump said, accusing the media of wanting to “create fear” ahead of Election Day, Nov. 3.

‘I Voted For a Guy Named Trump,’ President Says (10:32 p.m.)

“I voted for a guy named Trump,” the president told reporters in West Palm Beach, Florida, emerging from a voting booth after casting what his press secretary said was a paper ballot.

“It was a very secure vote,” Trump said. “Everything was perfect.”

Trump, who voted absentee in Florida’s primary this year, has repeatedly railed against potential fraud from mail-in voting, without evidence. A mailed ballot isn’t “secure like that,” Trump said of his in-person effort.

“It’s an honor to be voting, it’s an honor to be in this great area, which I know so well,” Trump said, praising the “tremendous spirit” of his campaign crowds before departing for the airport and rallies across three states. -- Mario Parker and Jennifer Jacobs

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