The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 4 minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Updates

  • Experts are increasingly alarmed about the conditions in airports. There are no coronavirus screening procedures for domestic flights and a House probe found lax screening from international COVID hotspots.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued travel guidelines encouraging air passengers to wear face coverings, “keep 6 feet of physical distance from others” and only board planes for essential travel. However, these guidelines are merely suggestions. There is no requirement for masks. 

The Transportation Security Administration has also experienced over 560 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and six deaths from the illness.

  • President Trump, who spent the weekend at the presidential retreat at Camp David, lashed out at the Obama administration’s early handling of the Russia investigation, mocked the news media and flatly dismissed his presumptive Democratic rival Joe Biden in an hours-long tweetstorm.

The president’s tweets come as his administration faces growing scrutiny over its lack of a national plan to handle the coronavirus pandemic as some states begin to open. The social media storm also comes amid fresh backlash over his move Friday to oust a top government watchdog.

  • The Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency clearance to Everlywell, Inc for a coronavirus testing kit that allows people to take a nasal sample in their own homes and send it to a laboratory for diagnostic testing.
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Sunday pointed to a “significantly disproportionate burden of comorbidities” when asked about the high coronavirus death rate in the U.S. 

Azar said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the U.S. has been able to manage the health care burden of the coronavirus, despite having the highest reported death rates of any country from the virus. 

“Every death is a tragedy, but the results could have been vastly, vastly worse,” he said, adding that “to our knowledge” nobody in the U.S. has died because they didn’t have access to a ventilator or a bed in an intensive care unit.

Azar also said that reports of people crowding in bars across the country as some states lift restrictions is “part of the freedom” Americans have. 

“I think in any individual instance you’re going to see people doing things that are irresponsible. That’s part of the freedom that we have here in America,” Azar said on CNN’s “State of the Union” when asked about images of crowds at a bar in Columbus, Ohio, as well as similar situations across the country.

  • Eric Trump declared that COVID-19 social distancing measures are part of a “cognizant strategy” for Democrats to win the 2020 Presidential election, and that the novel coronavirus will “magically” disappear after Nov. 3.

Other Administration News 

  • Top Democratic lawmakers have launched an investigation into the ouster of the State Department’s inspector general Steve Linick, alleging the dismissal was politically motivated and an attempt to block an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
  • President Trump removed the inspector general tasked with overseeing the State Department after receiving a recommendation to oust him from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
  • The State Department inspector general who was removed from his job Friday was looking into whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a staffer walk his dog, pick up his dry cleaning and make dinner reservations for Pompeo and his wife, among other personal errands, according to two congressional officials assigned to different committees.

The officials said they are working to learn whether former Inspector General Steve Linick may have had other ongoing investigations into Pompeo.

  • White House trade adviser Peter Navarro appeared on multiple Sunday morning political talk shows, taking shots at former President Obama, whistleblower Richard Bright and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • A senior official from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday offered a pointed rebuke of White House trade adviser Peter Navarro’s scathing criticism of the top health agency in the latest sign of growing tension between the CDC and the White House.

“We should remind Mr. Navarro that the CDC is a federal agency part of the administration. The CDC director is an appointed position, and Dr. Redfield was appointed by President Trump,” the official told CNN.

“If there is criticism of the CDC, ultimately Mr. Navarro is being critical of the President and the man who President Trump placed to lead the agency.”

  • President Trump called former President Obama “grossly incompetent” when asked on Sunday about criticism his Democratic predecessor leveled the previous day. 

“Look, he was an incompetent president, that’s all I can say. Grossly incompetent,” Trump told reporters Sunday outside the White House.

  • The celebrity law firm targeted by a hacking group with a $42 million ransom demand said Sunday that it had no previous relationship with President Trump after the hackers threatened to release damaging information on Trump and others.
  • President Trump posted a heavily doctored clip from the 1996 movie “Independence Day” featuring himself as Bill Pullman’s character delivering a motivational speech to GOP allies, who were also photoshopped into the video.
  • Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, posted a social media message suggesting Joe Biden was a pedophile, an incendiary and baseless charge that illustrates the tactics the president is turning to as he attempts to erase Biden’s early advantage in key state polls.

Don Jr. posted on Instagram a picture of Mr. Biden saying: “See you later, alligator” alongside an image of an alligator saying: “In a while, pedophile.”

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

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