Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News
- President Trump unveiled a proposal this week to reopen America’s gyms in spite of the coronavirus outbreak after a phone call that included the head of the company that owns luxury fitness brands Equinox and SoulCycle, who also happens to be a high-profile Trump supporter.
- President Trump on Friday defended his support for civil unrest against states that are implementing the very social distancing practices that his administration has recommended—saying protesters who have gathered to demand an end to stay-at-home orders are “very responsible people.”
The comments came hours after a trio of tweets Friday morning, in which Trump called to “LIBERATE” Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia. In his tweet targeting Virginia, Trump added, “And save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”
- Governors from around the U.S. are pushing back against President Trump’s comments about protestors demonstrating against stay-at-home orders and his claims about the U.S. coronavirus testing capacity, saying that social-distancing requirements are needed until testing supplies are adequate: “To encourage people to go protest the plans that you just made recommendations on, it just doesn’t make any sense.”
- Economist Stephen Moore, who is on President Trump’s council tasked with reopening the country, said he is helping plan a protest of Wisconsin’s state-at-home order. “This is a great time for civil disobedience. We need to be the Rosa Parks here and protest against these government injustices.”
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was delayed in quickly producing a test kit for the coronavirus after contamination was found at some of its facilities. The CDC facilities that manufacture the kits reportedly violated manufacturing practices, resulting in a contamination of one of the three components used in the testing process.
- Some Americans are saying that their dead relatives are receiving stimulus checks from the most recent coronavirus relief package. The government is looking into the possibility that some of the funds are being distributed to people who died, but a congressional aide said there’s no mechanism in the law to get the money back.
- President Trump defended demonstrators who are defying federal social distancing guidelines to protest against state stay-at-home orders meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus, saying some state orders “are too tough. It’s too tough.” His praise threatens to incite further clashes even as he’s praised those state leaders for ramping up testing efforts.
“These are people expressing their views … They seem to be very responsible people to me,” he said. “But they’ve been treated a little bit rough.”
- President Trump lashed out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the latest coronavirus task force briefing, accusing her of “not doing her job” and blaming Democrats for a stalemate on a coronavirus relief measure.
“Look, Nancy Pelosi, she’s away on vacation or something and she should come back,” Trump said. “She should come back and get this done. I don’t know why she’s not coming back.
- President Trump says he will deliver the commencement address at West Point’s graduation ceremony, which is expected to be modified to accommodate social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I understand they’ll have distancing,” he said. “They’ll have some big distance, so it will be very different than it ever looked. Do I like the look? No, I don’t. And eventually, next year, they’ll have a commencement like it’s been.”
- The White House asserted Friday that “our best scientists and health experts” believe there are enough coronavirus tests to begin phase one of the Trump administration’s plan to reopen the economy from closures implemented during the pandemic, allowing states to start rolling back some guidelines and reopen some businesses.
- President Trump on Friday announced a $19 billion program to help the struggling agriculture sector and to distribute food to families in need amid the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic. Through the program, the federal government will purchase crops and livestock from farmers and ranchers facing a steep decline in orders and massive supply chain disruption, and donate it.
- Several native American tribes filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Treasury Department on Friday, arguing that for-profit Alaska Native corporations shouldn’t get a share of the $8 billion in federal coronavirus relief for tribes. Native American reservations have been hit hard by the pandemic, leading to a shut down of casinos, tourism operations and other businesses that serve as their main source of income.
“The federal government’s responsibility to consult with tribal nations is based on not only long standing policies, but it’s also based on important standards of respect.”
- The Pentagon has extended its freeze on domestic and international movement of troops through June 30 due to the coronavirus crisis.
- Mike Pence said the U.S. has enough coronavirus testing capacity to reopen the country, even as states say they are struggling to keep up with demand.
- President Trump said he intentionally left GOP Sen. Mitt Romney off his congressional task force on reopening the U.S. economy amid the coronavirus, acknowledging it shows he still holds a grudge over the senator’s impeachment vote.
“I’m not a fan of Mitt Romney,” Trump said, adding “I don’t really want his advice.”
- President Trump requested a clip of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praising the federal government’s efforts in the coronavirus pandemic be played at the White House press briefing, but after the clip, said he said his staff “left out the good part.”
“This is not about Democrats, Republicans,” Trump said. “This is about a thing that hit our country the likes of which has never happened to us before.”
- Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Democratic congressional leaders say they’re hopeful a deal on funding for the popular Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses will be reached and a bill will pass in the coming days.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Democratic congressional leaders say they’re hopeful a deal on funding for the popular Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses will be reached and a bill will pass
- Fox News host Chris Wallace pressed Vice President Pence about President Trump’s tweets in which he called to “liberate” states where protestors gathered in opposition to stay-at-home orders, noting that the demonstrators were opposing the administration’s own guidelines. Pence did not directly address the question, instead stating that Trump would work with governors to ensure states opened in a safe fashion.
- Congress and the Trump administration are quickly nearing a more than $400 billion deal on emergency funding for small businesses.
Other Administration News
- President Donald Trump’s campaign is secretly paying Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of eldest son Donald Trump Jr., and Lara Trump, wife of middle son Eric Trump, $180,000 a year each through the campaign manager’s private company, according to top Republicans with knowledge of the payments.
The payments are reportedly being made by campaign manager Bradley Parscale through his company rather than directly by either the campaign or the party in order to avoid public reporting requirements.
- A watchdog group called for an investigation after the Army Corps of Engineers awarded a large no-bid contract to build a small stretch of border wall to a company owned by a major Republican donor.
The Army Corps of Engineers revealed that it had awarded a $569 million contract to BFBC, an affiliate of Barnard Construction, to build 17.17 miles of the border wall in California. The contract pays more than $33 million per mile, even more than the $20 million per mile that the administration has spent on wall construction thus far.
The company, which has extensive ties to Republican lawmakers, has already received more than $1 billion to build 37 miles of the border wall, according to The Daily Beast. It originally received $141 million to build parts of the wall in Arizona, but the contract quickly grew to $443 million without any real explanation.
- Smugglers sawed into new sections of President Trump’s border wall 18 times in the San Diego area during a single one-month span late last year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection records.
- President Trump denounced a judge’s decision to deny Roger Stone a new trial after lawyers for the longtime GOP operative and former Trump campaign adviser raised concerns about one juror’s political leanings. “This is a disgraceful situation!” the president Tweeted.
- President Trump went after Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a tweet late Friday, attacking the Democratic leader as “an incompetent political hack” and calling on her to return to Washington after she appeared on “The Late Show” with James Corden earlier this week.
- The FBI has fired a supervisory intelligence analyst (SIA) after an internal watchdog investigation concluded that the official had knowingly possessed and viewed child pornography, according to the Justice Department Office of the Inspector General.
- President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen is penning a tell-all book about his experiences working for the president that a source said is full of “incredible” stories about the president.
- North Korea’s foreign ministry dismissed comments made by President Trump after he claimed that Kim Jong Un, the country’s leader, had recently sent him a “nice note” calling the president’s remarks an “ungrounded story.”
“The relations between the top leaders of [North Korea] and the U.S. are not an issue to be taken up just for diversion nor it should be misused for meeting selfish purposes,” North Korea’s foreign ministry said.
- Officials in El Paso, Texas, say the city is still waiting for President Trump’s reelection campaign to pay a bill amounting to nearly $570,000 for expenses incurred during his campaign visit to the area more than a year ago.
- President Trump lashed out at Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Fox News host Chris Wallace after the Democratic House leader appeared on the network, calling Pelosi an “inherently ‘dumb’ person” and stating that “Wallace and Fox News are on a bad path, watch!”
- President Trump would not say whether he will pardon several former associates who were convicted after being charged as part of the Mueller probe, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and long-time friend Roger Stone.
When asked about pardons at the coronavirus task force briefing, Trump responded: “You will find out.”
Trump also harshly criticized FBI officials for how they conducted the investigation of whether Russia was trying to interfere in the 2016 election, which the bureau started before Special Counsel Robert Mueller took it over.
The President called FBI officials involved in the Russia investigation “human scum” in the briefing because he believes the lives of several of his friends and colleagues were unnecessarily ruined because of the probe.