The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 6 Minutes

5/23

Administration News 

  • Donald Trump said he had spoken to the family of George Floyd. “I just expressed my sorrow,” Trump said, adding “that was a horrible thing to witness” and saying it “looked like there was no excuse” for Floyd’s death.

But according to Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, the conversation did not go well, as he said Trump gave him little chance to express his views and appeared to have no interest in what he was trying to say.

“He didn’t give me an opportunity to even speak,” Floyd told MSNBC on Saturday. “It was hard. I was trying to talk to him, but he just kept, like, pushing me off, like ‘I don’t want to hear what you’re talking about.’

  • As officials in Minnesota are investigating whether outsiders, including white supremacists, are inciting riots, the president Tweeted: “It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don’t lay the blame on others!”

Authorities have been monitoring alleged criminals online, including postings by suspected white supremacists trying to incite violence.

  • The president appeared to invite his supporters to oppose protestors outside the White House. Trump Tweeted: “The professionally managed so-called “protesters” at the White House had little to do with the memory of George Floyd. They were just there to cause trouble. The @SecretService handled them easily. Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???”
  • Contrary to a Secret Service statement that D.C. police were very much part of a coordinated response with Secret Service and Park Police, Trump Tweeted: “As you saw last night, they [Secret Service] were very cool & very professional. Never let it get out of hand. Thank you! On the bad side, the D.C. Mayor, @MurielBowser, who is always looking for money & help, wouldn’t let the D.C. Police get involved. “Not their job.” Nice!”
  • Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the executive mansion, some of them throwing rocks and tugging at police barricades.

Trump spent nearly an hour in the bunker, which was designed for use in emergencies like terrorist attacks,

  • “Big crowd, professionally organized, but nobody came close to breaching the fence. If they had they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen” Trump Tweeted Saturday morning.
  • President Trump called out out-of-state protesters inciting violence in demonstrations in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, threatening to unleash the “unlimited power” of the US military.

Trump called for area elected officials to “get much tougher” as protests continue over the weekend.

  • Trump lashed out against the media on Twitter: “The Lamestream Media is doing everything within their power to foment hatred and anarchy. As long as everybody understands what they are doing, that they are FAKE NEWS and truly bad people with a sick agenda, we can easily work through them to GREATNESS!”
  • Attorney General William Barr announced on Saturday that he won’t wince at prosecuting protesters who cross state lines to participate in violent rioting over the death of George Floyd.
  • President Trump called the death of George Floyd a “grave tragedy” Saturday, slamming “violence and vandalism” at protests across the country and accusing “rioters, looters, and anarchists” of dishonoring the man’s memory.

“In America justice is never achieved at the hand of an angry mob. I will not allow angry mobs to dominate,” Trump said.

  • President Trump called for “law and order” as protests raged nationwide, urging local leaders to crack down against demonstrators while tensions remained high between them and law enforcement.

“Get tough Democrat Mayors and Governors. These people are ANARCHISTS. Call in our National Guard NOW,” Trump Tweeted. “The World is watching and laughing at you and Sleepy Joe. Is this what America wants? NO!!!”

  • President Trump announced that he will postpone the annual Group of Seven summit set to be held in Washington, D.C. until September and invite Russia, South Korea, Australia and India.

“I don’t feel that as a G-7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Trump explained.

  • President Trump Tweeted: “The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.”

NOTE: Antifa is a vaguely defined movement of people who like direct-action protest, not an actual organization. Even if it were a real group, the law that lets the government deem entities as terrorists only applies to foreign organizations.

  • White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien dismissed charges that there is “systemic racism” inside law enforcement. O’Brien claimed that there are only a “few bad apples” to blame for issues of police brutality and that they are giving law enforcement a “terrible name.”
  • Some of Trump’s advisers, reportedly including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, don’t think there’s any political benefit in Trump addressing the nation from the Oval Office since the few times he’s done so haven’t turned out so great. But others, like White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, believe it’s a chance for Trump to show that he’s a strong leader and a unifier, in a similar fashion to former President George H.W. Bush during the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles.
  • The Trump administration has appointed a controversial Republican donor and businessman to head the U.S. consulate general in Bermuda, bypassing bipartisan opposition to his nomination to be a U.S. ambassador.

Lee Rizzuto, heir to the Conair Corporation fortune, was nominated by President Donald Trump in 2018 and 2019 to be the U.S. envoy to Barbados and other Caribbean island countries, but his nomination was sunk by Senate Republicans and Democrats after his controversial tweets promoting a conspiracy theory about Sen. Ted Cruz’s wife and trashing Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, and others came to light.

His new appointment has sparked criticism for the message it sends America’s closest neighbors and the State Department’s rank and file, many of whom were upset with the decision.

  • On Sunday, in response to questions about what he was doing to address the tumult surrounding nationwide protests, Mr. Trump forwarded a reply through an aide that focused on the upcoming campaign.

“I’m going to win the election easily,” the president said. “The economy is going to start to get good and then great, better than ever before. I’m getting more judges appointed by the week, including two Supreme Court justices, and I’ll have close to 300 judges by the end of the year.”

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Updates

  • The White House announced that the U.S. will send 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine and 1,000 ventilators to Brazil as the South American country confronts the coronavirus pandemic.

The president and his administration have been pushing for the use of hydroxychloroquine to fight and prevent coronavirus, despite it not being proven effective to treat the viral disease.

  • The European Union urged President Trump to rethink his decision to cut American funding for the World Health Organization. Leaders worldwide have criticized Trump’s move as spiking coronavirus infection rates in India and elsewhere served as a reminder the global pandemic is far from contained.
  • White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien repeatedly slammed the World Health Organization as “corrupt” on Sunday after the U.S. withdrew from the agency late last week.

O’Brien stressed in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the United States would continue to spend the same amount on public health but was opting to divert the funds to organizations that would better use them.

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

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