Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- President Trump on Friday described the decision on when and how to reopen the country as the most difficult one he’s had to make in his life, “I don’t know that I’ve had a bigger decision. But I’m going to surround myself with the greatest minds. Not only the greatest minds, but the greatest minds in numerous different businesses, including the business of politics and reason,” Trump told reporters. “And we’re going to make a decision, and hopefully it’s going to be the right decision,” he continued. “I will say this. I want to get it open as soon as we can.”
- President Trump said: “Antibiotics used to solve every problem and now one of the biggest problems the world has is the germ has gotten too brilliant that the anti-antibiotic can’t keep up with it.”
NOTE: After three months of a viral pandemic, Trump still is not aware that antibiotics fight bacterial infections and do not work on viruses.
- President Trump confirmed he plans to convene a new council of business and medical leaders intended to guide his administration toward reopening the U.S. economy.
Trump teased the new group at a White House news briefing, saying he would dub it the “Opening Our Country Council.” The members would be announced Tuesday, he said.
“We’re also setting up a council of very, very great doctors and businesspeople,” he said, saying the group’s focus would be “beyond economic.”
- U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Friday that most places in the United States would not be able to open up by May 1 amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
- Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said it’s possible that in the future Americans may carry documents to prove they are immune or not infected with the coronavirus.
“It’s one of those things that we talk about when we want to make sure who the vulnerable people are and not,” Fauci added. “This is something that’s being discussed, I think it might actually have some merit.”
- Anthony Fauci said he expects a “real degree of normality” by the November elections as a partisan battle breaks out over voting by mail.
“I would hope that by November we would have things under such control that we could have a real degree of normality. That’s my interest and my job as a public health person.”
- President Trump said he plans to remotely watch Easter Sunday services hosted by one of his most ardent evangelical supporters as the nation avoids large gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump told reporters at the daily White House COVID-19 briefing that he would watch Pastor Robert Jeffress’s services on a laptop.
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressed the Trump administration to boost funding for states and hospitals in the next round of coronavirus relief, which stalled in the Senate a day earlier.
In a phone call with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Pelosi said that while Democrats support an additional $250 billion for small businesses, as the administration and congressional Republicans have proposed
Democrats also want an additional $150 billion for state and local governments, to help facilitate the emergency response, and $100 billion more for hospitals and community health centers providing front-line care in the coronavirus fight.
- The Trump administration is reportedly working on plans to reduce the wages of foreign workers on U.S. farms, a move it thinks would help farmers facing economic uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has been working with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to consider a policy reducing pay for foreign guest workers. Those workers, on the H-2A seasonal guest-worker program, make up about 10 percent of farm laborers.
- Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Thursday night said that the U.S. is closing in on the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.
“I think we’re coming to the peak. … We can see the other side of the curve,” the doctor said in an appearance on CNN. Redfield credited the country’s “aggressive social distancing” techniques for lowering the expected mortality rate.
- President Trump reportedly threatened to veto Congress’s $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package if aid to the United States Postal Service, which has been hemorrhaging money due to the pandemic, was included in the final version of the bill.
- Trump’s aides are debating some potentially far-reaching moves to punish the World Health Organization in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, including cutting off U.S. funding and trying to create an alternative institution.
- Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warned President Trump multiple times about the threat and possibility of a coronavirus outbreak weeks before the president took sweeping action to stop the spread of the virus, according to multiple news outlets.
At the beginning of January, Azar was notified by Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about the virus, which was at the time spreading through the Chinese city of Wuhan. Azar then notified the White House and sent a report to the National Security Council, The Washington Post reported.
Azar first briefed Trump about the threat the virus posed on Jan. 18 while the president was at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, according to both the Post and The New York Times.
- In a Situation Room meeting in March, Trump asked why the US shouldn’t have the disease “wash over” the country, creating “herd immunity.” Dr. Fauci pushed back.
- President Donald Trump lashed out at The New York Times on Saturday.
“So now the Fake News The New York Times is tracing the CoronaVirus origins back to Europe, NOT China. This is a first! I wonder where (sic) the Failing New York Times got for this one? Are there any NAMED sources?” Trump wondered.
However, the reporting from The Times was not based on anonymous sources.
- After complaining about “sources” in a Tweet: “When the Failing @nytimes or Amazon
@washingtonpost writes a story saying “unnamed sources said”, or any such phrase where a person’s name is not used, don’t believe them. Most of these unnamed sources don’t exist. They are made up to defame & disparage. They have no “source”
Trump later Tweeted: ““The President and the Federal Government are doing an excellent job. When they say the death toll isn’t going to be as high as reported, they (the opposition) act like they’re sad because it’s lower. I think they are (Press Conferences) wonderful.” West Virginia Resident, C Span”
- Dr Anthony Fauci appeared on Sunday to confirm a bombshell New York Times report which said he and other Trump administration officials recommended the implementation of physical distancing to combat the coronavirus in February, but were rebuffed for almost a month.
Asked on CNN’s State of the Union why the administration did not act when he and other officials advised, Fauci said: “You know … as I have said many times, we look at it from a pure health standpoint. We make a recommendation. Often, the recommendation is taken. Sometimes, it’s not…It is what it is. We are where we are right now.”
- Because COVID-19 is officially classified as a recordable illness, employers would typically be required to notify OSHA of coronavirus cases among their workers. However, new guidelines issued by Trump’s Labor Department informs most employers that they will not be required to record and report coronavirus cases among their workers because doing so would supposedly constitute an excessive burden on companies.
The new rules were met with alarm by public health experts and former Labor Department officials who said the new rules are an absurd attack on transparency that could further endanger frontline workers.
- President Trump lashed out at Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday, calling the “Fox News Sunday” host a “Mike Wallace wannabe,” a reference to Chris Wallace’s late father.
In a tweet following the program’s episode on Sunday, Trump quipped that it was a “new ballgame” at Fox News, his latest insinuation that the network’s coverage of his presidency has turned negative.
“Just watched Mike Wallace wannabe, Chris Wallace, on @FoxNews,” Trump tweeted. “I am now convinced that he is even worse than Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd of Meet the Press(please!), or the people over at Deface the Nation. What the hell is happening to @FoxNews. It’s a whole new ballgame over there!”
- Jedediah Bila, weekend co-host of “Fox & Friends,” criticized Trump for his “3rd grade name-calling,” adding that Wallace “is doing his job.”
“Enough with the 3rd grade name-calling. Chris is doing his job. The news should not be any president’s friend, ally, or buddy. If it bothered you when Obama complained about Fox News, but you’re silent on this complete nonsense, then just stop,” she tweeted Sunday afternoon. “Seriously. Enough.”
- President Trump on Sunday reposted a tweet from a supporter who called for Anthony Fauci, a top member of the White House coronavirus task force, to be fired.
Former congressional candidate DeAnna Lorraine in her tweet accused Fauci of reversing his position on the danger posed by the coronavirus, writing that Fauci claimed the virus “posed no threat to the US public at large” on February 29. “Time to #FireFauci.”
- Jared Kushner’s family real estate company, which owns and manages thousands of apartment units, continued its aggressive eviction practices and debt collection lawsuits as Americans wait for government relief. Well into the coronavirus crisis, which has led to skyrocketing unemployment, court records show properties owned by Kushner Companies are still filing new eviction lawsuits.
At least 15 tenants in New Jersey and Maryland have been on the receiving end of lawsuits from Kushner-owned properties even after both states declared states of emergency. Govs. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., and Larry Hogan, R-Md., have both called for a moratorium on evictions and courts have been closed, postponing hearing dates for a range of debt collection-related activities.
The Maryland and New Jersey moratoriums on evictions, however, do not prevent debt collectors from filing new lawsuits.
Other Administration News
- The Treasury Department’s inspector general office found that the department “properly” processed House Democrats’ request for President Trump’s tax returns when it refused to turn over the documents to the Ways and Means Committee.
- A Justice Department internal investigation has found that there were at least two surveillance warrant applications in 2019 with material errors, according to a newly unsealed court filing. In both cases, the review found that probable cause did still exist, despite the errors.
- President Trump’s family members had Secret Service protection on more than 4,000 trips in the first three years of his term, according to figures released by a government watchdog group.
For comparison, the Trump family far surpassed the number of trips Obama and his family took with 1,625 trips annually compared to Obama’s took 133.3.
- President Trump said the U.S. would reduce its oil production to move forward with a tentative deal limiting global output, part of an effort by the administration to address sinking prices affecting American oil producers.
- President Trump on Friday spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin for the second time in as many days, discussing oil production and the coronavirus pandemic. The White House said in a 43-word readout of the conversation that Trump and Putin talked about combating the virus, maintaining stability in energy markets, and other “bilateral and global issues.”
- A U.S. Border Patrol agent is facing charges on suspicion of sexually abusing multiple children for several years. Authorities in Sierra Vista, Ariz., reported Friday that suspect Dana Thornhill, 49, had been arrested Thursday evening following an armed standoff at a nearby church lasting four hours
- Bishop Harry Jackson who delivered the Good Friday Easter blessing at the White House has in the past come under fire for anti-LGBTQ comments, was introduced by President Trump as a “highly respected gentleman.”
Jackson has been in the national spotlight for anti-LGBTQ rhetoric throughout the past decade. In 2011, he spoke with the Sons of Liberty Radio and called the push for marriage equality “a Satanic plot.”