The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus, Protests, Trump Administration, and Election Updates

Read TIme: 6 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

  • The U.S. reported 60,264 new cases and 1,172 new deaths – The twelfth time in thirteen days over 1,000 deaths have been reported. 
  • Reiterating that Democrats are not interested in a short term coronavirus relief deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived on Capitol Hill on Saturday morning and told reporters she’s hoping “that we make progress on a long-term deal.”
  • Trump administration officials and Democratic leaders negotiating a new coronavirus relief package said they made “progress” during a rare Saturday meeting but aren’t yet close to a deal.
  • Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) tested positive for the coronavirus days after he sat close to Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who also tested positive. Grijalva is at least the 11th member of Congress to have tested positive.

In a statement, Grijalva said, “While I cannot blame anyone directly for this, this week has shown that there are some members of Congress who fail to take this crisis seriously. Numerous Republican members routinely strut around the Capitol without a mask to selfishly make a political statement at the expense of their colleagues, staff, and their families.”

“This stems from a selfish act by Mr. Gohmert, who is just one member of Congress.”

  • The “diversity of response” by U.S. states hampered the country’s ability to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

When asked why Europe appears to have been more effective at controlling the spread of the virus, the nation’s top infectious disease expert said that it might have helped that about 95% of Europe had shut down much earlier.

“When you actually look at what we did, even though we shut down, even though it created a great deal of difficulty, we really functionally shut down only about 50% in the sense of the totality of the country,” Fauci said.

  • A July 23 Delta flight from Detroit to Atlanta was forced to return to the gate when two passengers refused to wear masks, according to Delta Air Lines spokesperson Emma Protis.
  • Just hours after postponing Saturday night’s game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers, MLB announced the postponement of Sunday’s scheduled doubleheader between the two teams after four more Cardinals’ players tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been placed on the NFL’s Reserve/Covid-19 list by his team.
  • New Jersey reported 393 new cases of and 11 deaths.
  • Just days after the owners were arrested and the gym was shut down by officials, the Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, NJ made a dramatic re-open Saturday morning with gym owners kicking in the boarded-up front entrance.
  • 41 New York state establishments were issued Covid-19-related violations Friday.
  • Florida reported 9,591 new cases and 179 additional deaths.
  • Mississippi has the highest percentage of Covid-19 positive tests in the country at 21.11%.
  • California reported 219 Covid-19-related deaths, the most reported in a single day in the state.

Protests/Racial and Social Justice

  • Sgt. Daniel Perry, an active-duty Army sergeant from Fort Hood, says he was the one who shot and killed an armed protester during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Austin last week. His attorney said Perry fired out of self-defense after Garrett Foster allegedly raised an assault rifle toward him.
  • As some federal forces withdraw from Portland, more than 130 other federal officers will stay behind near the federal courthouse there to act as a “quick reaction force.”
  • The superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute said the school will not remove Confederate monuments or rename buildings named after Confederate leaders.

Trump Administration

  • The Census Bureau will cut the amount of time that it will spend knocking on doors across the country.

In April, the agency indicated that it would need until Halloween to accurately count all of the people in the country due to delays incurred by the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the effort to knock on doors will stop Sept. 30,

  • The acting chief of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Matthew Albence, is leaving the government.

Trump officials had accused Albence of favoring humanitarian concerns about the treatment of immigrants over the chance to take more aggressive action, POLITICO reported in March. Albence’s decision to halt most ICE enforcement efforts put him in a tenuous position with White House officials.

POLITICO reported in May that Albence had angered White House officials when he refused to install a number of political appointees at his agency.

  • In a 5-4 ruling that broke along ideological lines, The Supreme Court declined to block the Trump administration from using $2.5 billion in reallocated Pentagon funds to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

A federal appeals court last month said the use of defense funding for the project is illegal.

  • President Trump said  he could use emergency economic powers or an executive order as early as Saturday to ban the social media platform TikTok from operating in the United States.

“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.

  • A new proposal from the Trump administration that defines habitat under the Endangered Species Act would limit the areas species will have to recover, critics say.

When species are endangered, the ESA requires the government to set aside habitat deemed critical for its recovery.

But environmental groups say the new definition being proposed will allow the agency to block setting aside any land that isn’t currently habitat but might be needed in the future, particularly as the climate changes.

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin anticipates that his department will conduct a review of guidance related to the tax-exempt status of universities after President Trump tweeted earlier this month that he wanted the department to re-examine schools’ tax exemptions because of what he deemed “Radical Left Indoctrination, not Education.”
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced new sanctions on Friday against Chinese officials and a government entity over Uighur human rights abuses he called the “stain of the century.”
  • U.S. Africa Command has been ordered to draw up plans to relocate its headquarters as part of the Trump administration’s military drawdown in Germany.

Presidential Campaign

  • House Democrats are warning that the integrity of November’s elections are under significant threat from foreign actors — and the Trump administration, they say, is going out of its way to conceal the danger from the public.

Emerging from a long, classified briefing with top administration officials in the Capitol, a host of Democrats said they now have less confidence that the elections will be secure from outside influence than they did going into the meeting.

  • House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) issued a subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, demanding tens of thousands of documents that the State Department provided to Senate Republicans as part of their investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.

“Secretary Pompeo has turned the State Department into an arm of the Trump campaign and he’s not even trying to disguise it.”

  • Joe Biden’s presidential campaign rolled out his plan to combat racial inequity in the nation’s economy as a part of his wide-ranging “Build Back Better” economic plan in the wake of the pandemic. The plan includes investing millions to help BIPOC-owned businesses recover from the coronavirus fallout, as well as plans to change the criminal justice system and invest in public housing.
  • President Trump held a scaled-down campaign-style rally on an airport tarmac in Florida, drawing a small crowd of supporters who nonetheless packed closely together in a state that has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Republican National Convention in Charlotte, NC, will be closed to the press. Reporters will not be allowed on site as RNC delegates vote to formally nominate President Trump as the 2020 Republican presidential nominee, but the vote will be livestreamed, the Republican official said.

The restriction is unprecedented in modern American political history, but Republican officials said they were forced to limit attendance due to social distancing restrictions imposed by the governor of North Carolina.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, NBC News, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

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