Ayesha Rascoe | KALW

Ayesha Rascoe

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. In her current role, she covers breaking news and policy developments from the White House. Rascoe also travels and reports on many of President Trump's foreign trips, including his 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and his 2018 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.

Prior to joining NPR, Rascoe covered the White House for Reuters, chronicling President Barack Obama's final year in office and the beginning days of the Trump administration. Rascoe began her reporting career at Reuters, covering energy and environmental policy news, such as the 2010 BP oil spill and the U.S. response to the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011. She also spent a year covering energy legal issues and court cases.

She graduated from Howard University in 2007 with a B.A. in journalism.

Former President Barack Obama had six Cabinet members confirmed by the Senate before his Inauguration Day in 2009. President Trump had two. But when President-elect Joe Biden takes office next week, it's unclear whether he'll have any Cabinet members in place.

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President Trump pardoned some more people last night - among them, his friends, his loyalists and his daughter's in-law. NPR White House reporter Ayesha Rascoe is following this one. Good morning, Ayesha.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Well, President Trump now says he has problems with the COVID relief bill Congress passed earlier this week. Here's Trump last night.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

President Trump is still not conceding that he lost the election, but he's getting closer.

Trump on Monday tweeted that he had directed the General Services Administration to begin the process of transferring the government to President-elect Joe Biden.

Until Monday, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy had declined to take the formal step to allow the Biden team to begin working with federal agencies to prepare for governing. But Trump and Murphy faced increasing pressure to kickstart the transition process.

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In the hours before President Trump began to realize that he may not get to "Make America Great Again, Again," the former reality television star who stunned the world in 2016 with his improbable leap to the White House allowed for a moment of candor.

"You know, winning is easy. Losing is never easy. Not for me, it's not," Trump told reporters on Election Day, his voice hoarse from an unforgiving three-week marathon of rallies.

Now, the world is seeing just how difficult it is for a man who built his brand on winning to lose.

Updated at 4 a.m. ET

The 2020 presidential election remained up in the air early Wednesday after tight races, strong turnout and record amounts of mail-in voting left millions of legitimate votes still to be counted, and races in six key states too close to call.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden urged patience until "every vote is counted," but President Trump railed against the extra time required to count the ballots, falsely accusing Democrats of trying to steal the election from him.

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

Before President Trump left Miami on Thursday for another long day on the campaign trail, he had a private meeting with a supporter with a big following among a group of voters his campaign has been courting all year: rapper Lil Wayne.

Later, Lil Wayne revealed the meeting to nearly 35 million fans on Twitter.

President Trump is racing from tarmac to tarmac in the final weeks of the campaign, holding large rallies to blast out an array of closing arguments — buckshot style — for a second term in office.

So far, most of the stops have been in swing states — Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan and Nevada. But he has also held rallies in Iowa and Georgia, states he won easily in 2016 in a sign the electoral map has shifted on him.

Updated at 9:05 p.m. ET

President Trump was back on the campaign trail on Monday, telling a packed outdoor rally in Florida that he feels "powerful" after his bout with the coronavirus.

Trump spoke for about an hour to an enthusiastic crowd, at an event that his campaign billed as the start of a breakneck stretch of travel leading up to the Nov. 3 election.

Trump stuck to much of his usual stump speech, but he did touch on the illness that led to him being hospitalized just over a week ago. He said he's feeling good now.

Vice President Pence, famous for happily ceding the spotlight to his boss, takes a rare turn in center stage on Wednesday, squaring off with Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California at the vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City.

It's a moment fraught with political peril, coming just after President Trump was hospitalized for the coronavirus — the pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans this year, sent the economy spiraling, and shaken voter confidence that they have what it takes to fix the crisis.

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Vice President Mike Pence, by his own admission, is a low-key presence. But tonight at the debate in Salt Lake City, he'll be one of two people - the other is Kamala Harris - who all eyes will be on. Here's NPR's Ayesha Rascoe.

The White House is struggling on Monday to show that it has a burgeoning public health and political crisis under control as President Trump enters his third day of aggressive and experimental treatment for the coronavirus.

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Some of our colleagues were also watching last night, including NPR White House reporter Ayesha Rascoe and our senior political editor and correspondent Domenico Montanaro.

Good morning to you both.

AYESHA RASCOE, BYLINE: Good morning.

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With the White House as his stage, President Trump accepted his party's nomination last night at the Republican National Convention. He attacked Joe Biden and framed voters' choice in November this way.

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President Trump promised a convention that would be uplifting and positive as a response to the Democrats. There were a lot of moments last night that did not seem to fulfill that promise.

(SOUNDBITE OF 2020 REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION)

President Trump has been arguing that he has been the best president for Black Americans outside of Abraham Lincoln, but with less than 100 days before the election, it's not clear that his campaign to reach African Americans is changing many minds.

Trump won just 8% of the Black vote in 2016. Current polls show the vast majority of Black voters backing Trump's Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. But, in swing states like Wisconsin and North Carolina, where the presidential race could be tight, squeezing out a few more Black votes could make a difference for Trump.

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The economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic is stifling a federal program meant to spur new investment in low-income neighborhoods, according to a new survey from an advocacy group that backs the initiative.

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The White House is looking at extending a tax break for investments in certain low-income neighborhoods as it tries to find ways to address the devastating impact of the coronavirus on communities of color in America.

A provision in the 2017 tax cut law allows investors to defer and lower their capital gains taxes through 2026 if they invest their profits into designated "opportunity zones" –- areas struggling with high unemployment and low wages.

Before the coronavirus crisis decimated the U.S. economy, the record-low unemployment rate for African Americans was the backbone of President Trump's reelection pitch to black voters.

It was always a tough sell, given his past performance with African Americans. Now it's even tougher after the pandemic has erased economic gains and forced the campaign to adjust its message in its outreach to black voters.

A top aide to President Trump on Monday delivered a critique of the Chinese government's efforts to clamp down on free speech in a speech delivered in Mandarin and seemingly aimed at the Chinese public.

Deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, who worked as a journalist in China early in his career, hailed two "brave" Chinese doctors who raised early alarms about the coronavirus and faced retribution from the Chinese government.

President Trump twice received intelligence briefings on the coronavirus in January, according to a White House official. The official tells NPR the briefings occurred on Jan. 23 and Jan. 28.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

The White House released a blueprint for states on coronavirus testing on Monday at a daily news conference it spiked and then revived.

The document presents "key strategic considerations" for states, including their roles, the roles of the federal government and local governments, the private sector and monitoring systems, officials said.

An employee of the Federal Emergency Management Agency working on coronavirus response efforts at the agency's Washington headquarters has tested positive for the virus.

The employee tested positive on Monday. FEMA says it's now disinfecting its workspace.

The employee did not have prolonged contact with people on the White House coronavirus task force, the agency said in a statement.

President Trump wants to bring back the tax write-off for business meals and entertainment, but critics say reviving what is known as the "three-martini lunch" tax break is not the answer to the problem that restaurants face right now.

Trump is pushing Congress to restore the measure that gave corporations a tax break for the cost of food and entertainment for clients and potential customers. He says it will give restaurants a leg up when they reopen after the social distancing guidelines for the coronavirus are lifted.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Two weeks ago, President Trump entered the White House briefing room and announced an aggressive plan to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Stay home for 15 days, he told Americans. Avoid groups of more than 10 people. "If everyone makes this change, or these critical changes, and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus," he said.

Updated at 4:18 p.m. ET

President Trump ordered the border with Canada partly closed on Wednesday and the Pentagon said it would join the coronavirus pandemic response with hospital ships, field treatment centers and medical supplies.

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