GREG MURPHY TWEETS KAMALA HARRIS WAS ONLY PICKED BECAUSE OF HER COLOR: Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris was picked for her color and her race, an Eastern North Carolina Republican congressman tweeted — and then deleted — during Wednesday’s vice presidential debate. Greg Murphy is a first-term Republican representative from Greenville. He was elected in a special election in 2019 to fill the 3rd Congressional District vacancy left by the death of Rep. Walter Jones. “@KamalaHarris is a walking disaster. ... she was only picked for her color and her race .... is that how we pick our leaders now in America??,” Murphy tweeted. Murphy spent much of the debate weighing in on Twitter, posting several tweets questioning Harris’ credentials. “Biggest take away from the VP Debate -- @KamalaHarris is not qualified to be POTUS in any way, shape or form,” Murphy tweeted.
UNC-CH DELAYS BEGINNING OF SPRING SEMESTER BY TWO WEEKS, CANCELS SPRING BREAK: In a message to the campus community, Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Robert Blouin said the college will eliminate its traditional spring break so it can “limit any potential spread of the virus caused by travel during an extended break.” UNC will instead offer five days of breaks during the semester either individually or in combined clusters. “The schools and deans will make clear that these wellness days are intended as breaks from the semester – not for studying – so faculty will be instructed to avoid scheduling exams, quizzes and other major assignments on days following these breaks. The dates for the wellness days will be updated on the Registrar’s website soon,” Guskiewicz and Blouin wrote. Classes will start on Jan. 19 and end on May 5. Commencement is scheduled for May 16. In-person undergraduate classes were halted in August a week into the semester after a series of COVID-19 outbreaks struck campus.
ERIC TRUMP SAYS BIDEN WOULD PROBABLY "CHEAT" DURING VIRTUAL DEBATE: Campaigning Thursday in North Carolina, Eric Trump defended his father’s decision to opt out of a virtual presidential debate next week, charging that former Vice President Joe Biden would “probably cheat” if the two candidates weren’t standing side by side on a stage. The younger Trump, second son of Republican President Donald Trump, said during a phone interview with the Observer that if there is “a Zoom call” rather than an in-person debate, “You know (Biden) would have had 12 people behind the cameras with flash cards and three teleprompters telling him what to say. ... Listen, Biden’s a coward. He’s been doing everything he can to get out of this debate.” But it was the Commission on Presidential Debates, citing concerns about the coronavirus, that announced plans to change the candidates’ second debate on Oct. 15, from an on-stage encounter in Miami to a virtual face-off.
MILITIA PLOT TO KIDNAP (AND EXECUTE) GRETCHEN WHITMER FOILED BY FBI, WITH HELP FROM FACEBOOK: Fox and other suspects in the plot to kidnap Whitmer (D) left a trail on social media that, viewed with the hindsight of Thursday’s announcement of their arrests, looks both troubling and troublingly familiar — a line of rage that flows from online memes to real-world violence that at times has become deadly. In the 15-page FBI affidavit about the Michigan plot released Thursday, there are three references to a private Facebook group and 11 to encrypted communication apps. Independent researchers soon found the arrested men active on Twitter, TikTok, Facebook and YouTube. A second criminal affidavit, filed by the Michigan State Police, said that one of the arrested men, Joseph Morrison, was the commander of Wolverine Watchman. But he had another name he used online, Boogaloo Bunyan, in yet another reference to the violent anti-government movement that gained prominence during the anti-government protests that erupted in many state capitals and other cities in the spring. SITE Intelligence Group, meanwhile, found threats to Whitmer and government officials generally on fringe social media sites, such as 8kun. One user lamented that the governor wasn’t killed when protesters entered the Capitol in Lansing in April to protest pandemic-related restrictions on individuals and businesses. “You can’t seize power unless you kill those who had power,” the anonymous user said. “They did not.” Alethea Group and the Global Disinformation Index identified 25 militia groups in Michigan, including several that operate well-organized bureaucracies with leadership hierarchies, local chapters, and fitness and training activities. While some of the groups have recently been banned from Facebook, their members say they quickly have been able to restore their personal accounts and have little difficulty communicating through other channels, including the social networking app MeWe.
TRUMP AGAIN TRIES TO BLAME POLICE AND MILITARY FOR HIS INFECTION, INCLUDING GOLD STAR FAMILIES: Even as he scrambles to shore up support from his base, President Trump on Thursday again suggested that veterans and their families had spread the coronavirus at the White House, floating the idea that a meeting with the loved ones of fallen military members might have been the source of his own infection. In an interview on Fox Business, Mr. Trump described an event at the White House on Sept. 27 with a group of Gold Star families — those whose relatives have died in military conflicts — and said he had “figured there would be a chance” he would become infected there, because the family members “come within an inch of my face sometimes.” “They want to hug me and they want to kiss me,” he added. “And they do. And frankly, I’m not telling them to back up. I’m not doing it. But I did say it’s obviously dangerous.” Last week, Mr. Trump suggested that Marines and other service members, as well as police officers, might have infected one of his top advisers, Hope Hicks. In fact, by the time the president made those comments, in an interview with Fox News on Thursday night, he had already tested positive using a rapid test and was awaiting the results of a more precise test. The president’s remarks on Thursday drew rebukes from liberal veterans and their political groups, as well as from elected Democrats, including the usually circumspect Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Whether he intended it or not, the president has blamed an event with families who lost their loved ones in battle for giving him Covid,” he said in a statement. Mr. Reed added: “Instead of casting aspersions on the families of the fallen for infecting him, President Trump should be transparent about his own actions, who he met with and when, and release detailed medical information including a timeline and do some real contact tracing to help stop the spread. Instead, President Trump is continuing his pattern of irresponsible behavior.”