This comment and others from President Donald Trump near the end of Tuesday’s presidential debate have prompted serious concerns about voter intimidation in the city — and have also been the targets of Philly’s unique brand of loyalty. The president’s statements, made in reference to a false claim regarding poll watchers in the city, thrust Philadelphia into the national news as it deals with administering an election with unprecedented challenges.
Philadelphia is in the news for Trump’s false comments, voter intimidation worries, and more
OK, here’s what’s going on:
On Tuesday, President Trump first retweeted his son Eric and then tweeted on his own a false accusation about poll corruption in Philadelphia. Then, during the debate that night, he echoed that, incorrectly saying that poll watchers in Philadelphia had been “thrown out.” Again, that is false, according to a fact check from my colleague Jessica Calefati.
This has led Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney to have the city prepare for the chance that Trump’s supporters could intimidate voters on Election Day based on the president’s false comments.
Also during his closing comments in Tuesday night’s debate, Trump said, “Bad things happen in Philadelphia.” Not surprisingly, loyal Philadelphians fired back in force, both on social media and with T-shirts, masks, and more.
While Trump’s comments referred to his false allegations about poll watchers in the city, some bad things have happened with Philadelphia elections in the past. And yesterday, my colleagues Jeremy Roebuck and Jonathan Lai reported that memory sticks used to program Philly’s voting machines were stolen from an elections warehouse in East Falls. They reported that officials are confident the theft would not disrupt the election.
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health will not shelter 40 undocumented migrant children in Devon despite receiving a $40.2 million federal grant to house and provide services to children roughly a year and a half ago.
The reversal comes in the wake of my colleagues' investigation that detailed how the organization failed repeatedly to keep children safe from male staffers who sexually abused them in incidents spanning 25 years. It also comes as Trump’s border closures during the pandemic have drastically decreased the government’s need to house migrant children.
A spokesperson from Devereux declined to say what prompted the change in plans.
What else you need to know today
Following Tuesday night’s debate, Joe Biden hopped on Amtrak to campaign in Trump-friendly Southwestern Pennsylvania. My colleague Julia Terruso was on the scene.
Last September, phones in Philadelphia got text messages that seemed to call for criminal-justice reform and recruiting plaintiffs for a discrimination lawsuit against the city. Yes, a lawsuit was filed. But it was filed against the right-wing radio host who commissioned the texts to be a proof of concept to convince wealthy donors that organizers could use texts to recruit Black voters for Trump’s campaign, my colleague Samantha Melamed reports.
What’s the deal with these recently introduced coronavirus antigen tests? My colleague Marie McCullough details how they’re different from the better-known molecular diagnostic tests and whether they could satisfy the need for rapid screening even though there are some accuracy problems.
Philadelphia’s large pro-immigrant community has begun to share information and restart training after news reports indicated that the Trump administration wants to have pre-election raids in sanctuary cities, including Philly.
New Jersey offered a positive report on the scope of in-school coronavirus infections so far. Pennsylvania is still most concerned about its new cases among college students.
The Milton S. Hershey School for poor children has faced criticism for how few students it has actually helped proportionate to its wealth. Now, it has proposed spending $350 million on six Pennsylvania centers to offer infant and early childhood services to 900 kids. It could be the first time the super-rich school has offered to help children outside of its residential campus in rural Hershey.
Through your eyes | #OurPhilly
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🗳️Columnist Elizabeth Wellington gives advice on how to engage a friend who says they’re not going to vote.
🎨West Philly’s Gianni Lee is a multidisciplinary artist working on everything from paintings to rugs. But at least one thing is consistent. Lee told my colleague Brandon T. Harden that the art comes from struggle.
🏀Former Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers is interviewing for the Sixers' vacant head-coaching job, my colleague Keith Pompey reports.
❄️Outlooks point toward another mild winter, but there should at least be more snow than there was last winter.
💿Philadelphia poet, musician, and activist Moor Mother has a new album called Circuit City. My colleague Dan DeLuca spoke to the Brewerytown-based artist.
“Two years ago, Eagles player Jason Kelce addressed a crowd of thousands in Center City to remind everyone that we are the underdogs, and we don’t give a f— if you don’t like us. What he expressed is what many locals felt, a common sentiment after years of enduring trash talk from fans of other teams. ... On Tuesday night, Philadelphians united again, this time to decry President Trump’s assertion that our city is a place where ‘bad things happen.’” — freelance writer Tonya Russell about how “bad things happen in Philly” quickly became a rallying cry for the city.
Columnist Helen Ubiñas writes that Americans were the true losers of the first presidential debate.
Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” The Angry Grammarian writes about what that actually means.
What we’re reading
A 220-acre park that used to be a mining pit in Atlantic County wants to be known for its recreation, NJ.com reports.
Wired has a story about how the wildfires raging in the West are unlike fires of the past.
Your Daily Dose of | Forest bathing
Forest bathing originated in Japan, where it’s called shinrin-yoku. It’s a practice that’s based on the belief that spending time fully immersed in nature benefits your mental, spiritual, and physical health. My colleague Rita Giordano spoke to two local proponents of forest bathing about the wellness practice.