Responding to President Trump's dubious claims that he tried to stop a racist chant directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar at his rally Wednesday night, 2020 candidate Sen. Kamala Harris condemned the president's "empty words" and argued that he is nothing compared to a "real American leader like John McCain."

"I just think they're empty words, Jake. The chant was created not by the crowd, but by the president's tweets, and it's obvious, it's really not a debatable point. And I think it is clearly not a sign of real leadership. I think you have mentioned it. Contrast it with a real American leader like John McCain, who during the campaign in 2008, he stood up, he spoke up. He was -- you know, he understood as an American hero, that the voice of someone who wants to be, much less is the president of the United States, must be about elevating discourse, that is about speaking to our better selves. This president keeps finding new lows. I would like to say it's shocking, but at some point it's sadly predictable."

Flashback: In 2008, McCain — a sworn enemy of Trump's even after his death — shot down claims by a supporter that President Obama couldn't be trusted as president because he was "an Arab."

  • "No ma'am," McCain told the supporter. "No ma'am. He's a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that's what this campaign is all about."

The big picture: A number of Republicans have criticized Trump for his recent racist tweets about 4 Democratic women of color, urging him to attack their policies instead. The chant about Omar, a Muslim woman who came to the U.S. as a teenage refugee, has prompted a new wave of outcry. Even Trump on Thursday attempted to distance himself from the crowd's ugly words, claiming that he "wasn't happy with that message they gave last night" — despite using similar language in his tweets.

Go deeper: Trump says he disagrees with "send her back" chants about Ilhan Omar

Go deeper

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Where key GOP senators stand on replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks to reporters on Capitol Hill last Thursday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With President Trump planning to nominate his third Supreme Court justice nominee this week, key Republican senators are indicating their stance on replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with less than 50 days until Election Day.

The state of play: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has vowed that "Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate." Two GOP senators — Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) — have said they oppose holding a vote before the election, meaning that two more defections would force McConnell to delay until at least the lame-duck session of Congress.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 30,873,714 — Total deaths: 958,383— Total recoveries: 21,103,559Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 6,788,343 — Total deaths: 199,421 — Total recoveries: 2,577,446 — Total tests: 94,211,463Map.
  3. Politics: Testing czar on Trump's CDC contradictions: "Everybody is right" Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure
  4. Education: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning
  5. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19.
  6. World: England sets £10,000 fine for breaking self-isolation rules — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

Biden to Senate GOP after RBG passing: "Please follow your conscience"

Joe Biden made a direct appeal to Senate Republicans in a speech addressing the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, urging them to "cool the flames that have been engulfing our country" by waiting to confirm her replacement until after the election.

The state of play: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said soon after the news of Ginsburg's death that President Trump's nominee would get a vote on the Senate floor.