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President Donald Trump will hold rallies in Mississippi and Kentucky next month as he campaigns for Republican candidates running for governor, according to three people familiar with the plans.

The Nov. 1 rally in Tupelo, Mississippi, will support Republican Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves in his race against Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood.

Trump will travel to Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 4 to help Republican Governor Matt Bevin in his race against Democrat Andy Beshear on the night before the election.

Trump to Address Same Forum as 2020 Democrats (1:42 p.m.)

The general election debates aren’t for a year, but President Donald Trump will get a chance to come close to several of his potential Democratic opponents later this month.

Trump has accepted an invitation to appear at a forum on criminal justice issues at the historically black Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, on Oct. 25., according to a White House official.

The three-day event will also feature at least nine Democrats, including the top-polling contenders Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Trump will showcase the First Step Act of 2018, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that he signed into law. His re-election campaign is reportedly looking to woo African-American voters on the assumption that picking up even a few percentage points could tip the balance in some key states.

Still, it’s a tough climb for a politician who’s frequently tangled with black lawmakers and been criticized for racist remarks. A recent Hill-HarrisX poll found that 85% of black voters said they would choose any Democratic candidate over Trump in 2020. – Ryan Teague Beckwith

Buttigieg Boots Donor Who Backed Chicago Police (12:03 p.m.)

Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is returning campaign contributions from the former city of Chicago attorney who fought the release of the video of a controversial police shooting in 2014.

Stephen Patton, who was scheduled to co-host a fundraiser for Buttigieg on Friday, was a central figure in the police response to the shooting of Laquan McDonald.

“Transparency and justice for Laquan McDonald is more important than a campaign contribution,” said Buttigieg campaign spokesman Chris Meagher. “We are returning the money he contributed to the campaign and the money he has collected. He is no longer a co-host for the event and will not be attending.”

As mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Buttigieg has faced criticism of his own in response to police shooting of an African-American man, Eric Logan, this summer.

Federal Election Commission records show Patton, now an attorney at Kirkland & Ellis, contributed $5,600 to the Buttigieg campaign on June 11. The fundraiser was first reported by The Associated Press. – Gregory Korte

Mattis Savors Being ’Meryl Streep’ of Generals (7:38 A.M.)

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis flipped an insult from his former boss on its head Thursday night, saying that having President Donald Trump call him “overrated” put him on the level of perennial Oscar nominee Meryl Streep.Trump has also labeled the actress – who has won three Academy Awards and leads all actors with 21 overall nominations – as overrated.

“I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals,” Mattis said at the Al Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York, the annual fundraiser frequented by politicians on both sides of the aisle. “And frankly, that sounds pretty good to me. You do have to admit that between me and Meryl, at least we’ve had some victories.”

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has confirmed reports that Trump called Mattis “the world’s most overrated general” during a chaotic White House meeting with congressional leaders on Wednesday.

“The only person in the military that Mr. Trump doesn’t think is overrated” is Kentucky Fried Chicken’s founder and mascot, Colonel Sanders, Mattis jabbed.

Mattis didn’t stop there, adding that while he earned his “spurs” on the battlefield, “Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor.” The reference was to Trump receiving a medical deferment from military service in Vietnam for bone spurs.

Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton spoke at the dinner in 2016, in keeping with a tradition that the major party candidates headline the event in presidential election years. – Kathleen Miller

Coming Up

  • Elizabeth Warren will hold a town hall in Norfolk, Virginia, on Friday.
  • Bernie Sanders will hold a “Bernie’s Back” rally in Queens, New York, on Saturday. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will endorse him at the event.

With assistance from Kathleen Miller.

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