The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Updates

  • President Trump in an early morning tweet on Tuesday claimed that Asian Americans are angry at “what China has done to our Country and the World” amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and Chinese Americans are “the most angry of all.” 

“Asian Americans are VERY angry at what China has done to our Country, and the World. Chinese Americans are the most angry of all. I don’t blame them!” Trump Tweeted.

  • In a Tweet, President Trump supported Elon Musk’s push to reopen a California Tesla plant in violation of a county order aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus. 

“California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW,” the president tweeted. “It can be done Fast & Safely!”

  • Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, attacked Anthony Fauci ahead of a highly anticipated hearing on Tuesday.

Biggs Tweeted: “Dr. Fauci has continually used his bully pulpit to bring public criticism on governors who are seeking to open up their states. The Fauci-Birx team have replaced faith w/ fear & hope w/ despair. The remedy is to open up our society & our economy. Trust & respect our freedom.”

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that the real number of deaths from coronavirus is “almost certainly” even higher than the official death toll of 80,000 because of the likelihood that some deaths went unrecorded.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said while testifying before the Senate on Tuesday that he is worried reopening areas too prematurely from coronavirus closures “we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks,” adding “the consequences could be really serious.”
  • Dr. Fauci: “The best PPE for the general public, if possible right now, is to maintain the physical and social distancing.”

“Some sort of mask-like facial covering I think for the time being should be a very regular part of how we prevent the spread of infection.”

  • Fauci bluntly told Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that he has never put himself up as the definitive authority on the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t think you’re the end all. I don’t think you’re the one person that gets to make a decision,” Paul said. “We can listen to your advice, but there are people on the other side saying there’s not going to be a surge, that we can safely reopen the economy, and the facts will bear this out.” 

Fauci responded that he doesn’t give economic advice.

“I don’t give advice about anything other than public health,” Fauci said.

“I have never made myself out to be the end all and only voice in this. I’m a scientist, a physician and a public health official. I give advice according to the best scientific evidence,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a Senate hearing about the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Rand Paul: “In rural states we never really reached any sort of pandemic levels in Kentucky and other states … outside of New England, we’ve had a relatively benign course for this virus nationwide.”

NOTE: Warren County, Kentucky – where Rand Paul lives – has more COVID-19 cases per capita than 51 of the 67 counties in New England states.

  • Mitt Romney: The president said the other day that Obama is responsible for our lack of a vaccine. Are Obama or Trump responsible?

“No, no, Senator, not at all. Certainly President Obama nor President Trump are responsible for our not having a vaccine,” Fauci testified.

  • The US ranks 131 out of 140 countries for coronavirus deaths per 100,000.
  • White House senior adviser Jared Kushner acknowledged there could be “risk” to reopening the country too quickly following the coronavirus outbreak while pointing to the economic consequences of the pandemic.

“There’s risk in anything, but the president carries the burden of the 30 million Americans who have lost their jobs due to this historic effort to save lives,” Kushner said.

  • The White House plans to test reporters who are part of the press pool daily for the novel coronavirus as a precautionary measure aimed at protecting the health of individuals working in the White House complex.
  • Some protesters who descended on the Michigan state capitol to demand the state reopen the economy in spite of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have spread infections in rural areas where they live, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told Vice President Mike Pence in a recorded phone conversation obtained by ABC News.

Whitmer asked Pence to discourage the demonstrations after the state’s data suggested the protesters brought COVID-19 back to their rural communities.

“We have seen from initial protests here is that we’ve got COVID-19 spreading in rural parts of our state, from which people traveled,” Whitmer reportedly told Pence.

Whitmer added that the alarming trend could derail the state’s plans to begin reopening.

“And so, our ability to move on to the next phase and keep re-engaging our economy — I’m just concerned about it,” Whitmer said. “We’re going to keep watching those numbers and doing the tests.”

Whitmer then asked Pence to “reinforce” the need for Americans to take the pandemic “seriously.”

“To the extent that you could reinforce kind of those needs to take this seriously, to continue — you know, everyone doing their part,” she said. “And if discouraging protests is something you could consider doing, I’d really be grateful.”

“We will continue to emphasize to people the safe and responsible practices while we all move toward re-opening,” Pence replied, according to the report.

President Donald Trump has taken the opposite approach, repeatedly attacking Whitmer and calling to “liberate” Michigan.

Other Administration News 

  • Donald Trump suggested MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough had committed murder, prompting the morning cable news host to urge the president in real time to stop watching his program.

Trump lashed out in a tweet posted just before 7 a.m. “When will they open a Cold Case on the Psycho Joe Scarborough matter in Florida. Did he get away with murder? Some people think so,” Trump wrote. “Why did he leave Congress so quietly and quickly? Isn’t it obvious? What’s happening now? A total nut job!”

Scarborough issued an on-air response after being alerted to Trump’s inflammatory tweet while broadcasting live.

“For your sake, as I’ve been saying for years — Donald, for your sake, and for the sake of America, you need to stop watching our show, OK? It’s not good for you. I think that might be why you go out and, like — you’re distracted. You’re tweeting so much,” Scarborough said.

“Why don’t you turn off the television, and why don’t you start working, OK?” he continued. “You do your job, we’ll do ours, and America will be much better off for that. Just go. Turn off the TV, Donald.”

  • The Trump administration has given final approval to the largest solar energy project in United States history.

The Department of the Interior signed off on the Gemini Solar Project, an estimated $1 billion solar and battery storage facility set to be built on more than 7,000 acres of federal land, located about 30 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

  • A federal judge said that he would allow interested parties to weigh in on Michael Flynn’s case, delaying the Department of Justice effort to drop the charges against the former national security adviser.

In an unusual move for a criminal prosecution, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the D.C. District Court said in a brief order that “at the appropriate time, the Court will enter a Scheduling Order governing the submission of any amicus curiae briefs.”

  • White House trade adviser Peter Navarro won’t be testifying before a House subcommittee on Thursday about a whistleblower complaint that mentions him multiple times.

Navarro would have joined Rick Bright, who authored the whistleblower complaint. Bright was formerly the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani ordered his country’s security forces into an “offensive” mode against the Taliban and other enemies in another blow to the U.S. peace deal with the Taliban.

In response to Ghani’s comments, the Pentagon said it will defend the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces against the Taliban if necessary.

  • A coalition of conservation groups is suing the Trump administration over its signature border wall, arguing that the transfer of military funds for the wall’s construction is unconstitutional and claiming that the administration did not have the right to waive certain environmental requirements.
  • A judge temporarily blocked a plan President Trump announced with great fanfare that diverted much of California’s water to a growing agriculture industry in the southern part or the state.
  • The federal deficit for the month of April broke all records, hitting $738 billion, a number larger than many previous annual deficits, according to Treasury data released Tuesday.

All in all, the deficit for just the first 7 months of the fiscal year came to $1.48 trillion, eclipsing the largest annual deficit on record, which was $1.4 trillion in 2009.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, CBS News, CNN, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Vanity Fair, Washington Post

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