Trump sets refugee cap at record low: US election live updates | US & Canada

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  • Trump and Biden are fundraising and off the campaign trail today.
  • Mike Pence campaigns in the battleground state of Iowa.
  • Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Amy Coney Barrett, continues meeting with Senate Republicans.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds a news conference.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US election. This is William Roberts and Steve Chaggaris.

Thursday, October 1

13:15 ET – Biden campaign highlights Joe Biden’s Catholic faith in new ads

The Biden for President campaign announced it is launching a paid media campaign centered around Joe Biden’s faith. A trio of ads will be placed on Catholic and Christian TV and radio programs and faith-related digital platforms in key battleground states, the campaign said.

In an ad titled “Principles” airing on Catholic TV programs Biden speaks to Father Matt Malone, a Jesuit priest and editor of ‘America’ magazine, about core lessons he learned from his father such as stopping the abuse of power and treating everyone with dignity.

13:00 ET – House Speaker Pelosi, Treasury Sect Mnuchin in last ditch bid to reach a COVID stimulus deal

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are to speak by telephone about a potential $2.2 tn to $1.6 tn coronavirus relief package.

Pelosi told reporters earlier she is “optimistic” about the opportunity to reach an agreement with the Trump administration although she said Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on broad principles.

“We not only have a dollars debate, we have a values debate. Still, I’m optimistic,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference.

Members of the House are preparing to leave Washington to campaign for re-election. Pelosi told members of the Democratic caucus earlier this morning she did not “see a deal happening right now”, according to a report in the Politico news outlet.

12:40 ET – Top Democrat Pelosi says Trump debate ‘behaviour’ keeps her up at night

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said President Trump’s conduct in Tuesday night’s presidential debate with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden “keeps me up at night”.

“As Speaker, over time, people have said to me, ‘What keeps you up at night?’ The night of the debate you saw what keeps me up at night,” Pelosi said a news briefing at the US Capitol.

“To see the president of the United States, in a debate with a potential president of the United States, refuse to condemn white supremacists, refuse to commit to a peaceful transfer of government. To ignore the climate crisis – our country is burning and our coasts are hit by fierce storms. To be there to crush the Affordable Care Act instead of crushing the virus,” Pelosi said.

“What keeps me at night is what we saw that night was authenticity on both sides of the stage. The president authentically as a bully. Joe Biden authentically a decent person who cares about America’s working families,” she said.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest ranking Democrat in the US government, disparaged Trump’s debate with Biden on Tuesday night [Erin Scott/Reuters]

11:50 ET – Brad Parscale steps down from Trump campaign after incident with police

Brad Parscale, a senior political adviser to President Donald Trump, has stepped away from the president’s re-election campaign after being involuntarily detained by police in Florida on suspicion of risk of self-harm.

In a statement late Wednesday, Parscale said: “I’m stepping away from my company and any role in the campaign for the immediate future to focus on my family and get help dealing with the overwhelming stress.”

Parscale’s wife raised alarm that he had chambered a bullet in a gun.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner at a Trump rally with supporters in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 30, 2020. [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

11:35 ET – White House spokesperson McEnany says Trump has answered ‘white supremacy’ question

Trump spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany said at a White House media briefing that President Trump has adequately answered questions about whether he condemns white supremacy following his statement in the first presidential debate with Joe Biden on September 29.

“This has been answered, yesterday by the president himself the day before by the president himself on the debate stage the president was asked. He said ‘sure’ three times. Yesterday he was point-blank asked, ‘do you denounce white supremacy’ and he said ‘I’ve always denounced any form of that’,” McEnany said.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks to reporters in the White House briefing room in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2020. [Joshua Roberts/Reuters]

10:00 ET – Trump cuts refugee admissions to record low

In an 11th-hour announcement, the US State Department announced President Donald Trump will accept only 15,000 refugees next year, the lowest number since the US refugee programme began.

“The United States anticipates receiving more than 300,000 new refugees and asylum claims in Fiscal Year 2021,” the State Department said in its announcement, adding: “Of that number, up to 15,000 would be refugees admitted through the US Refugee Admissions Program.” The State Department cited the Trump administration’s “continuing commitment to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of Americans, especially in light of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic” as its reason for the cut.

Trump has been cutting the number of new refugees each year since he took office in 2017. The 15,000 planned for the fiscal year 2021, which begins today, is a record low since 1980 when the refugee resettlement programme was created by the US Congress.

Trump has promised to cut the number of immigrants allowed into the US, arguing Americans are losing jobs to immigrants. Trump’s challenger, Joe Biden, has promised to increase the number of refugees allowed to 125,000.

09:30 ET – Minnesota Trump supporters’ familiar chant

Rally-goers at Trump’s campaign event on Wednesday night in Duluth, Minnesota trotted out a familiar refrain: “Lock her up.” Instead of directing it at Hillary Clinton, who the chant was originally directed towards four years ago, last night’s target was US Representative Ilhan Omar.

Trump referenced an unsubstantiated report that supporters of Omar were “harvesting” ballots – collecting absentee ballots and allegedly filling them out in favour of Omar. “And what about Omar, where she gets caught harvesting? What the hell is going on?”

The crowd then began their chant.

Read all the updates from Wednesday, September 30, here.

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