The Past 24 Hours or So – Protests/Race Relations, Trump Administration, and Presidential Campaign Updates

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Protests/Race Relations

  • In a Fox News interview, Mr. Trump refused to back down from supporting people who were against abolishing the Confederate flag, even as Chris Wallace pointed out that they had used it in defense of slavery. The president equated the movement to pull down the flags and Confederate monuments to “cancel culture,” a term more commonly used to describe a boycott against a person, often a celebrity, who says or does something culturally offensive.

“And you know, the whole thing with cancel culture, we can’t cancel our whole history,” Mr. Trump said. “We can’t forget that the North and the South fought. We have to remember that. Otherwise we’ll end up fighting again.”

  • Top Homeland Security officials said on Monday they had no intention of pulling back in Portland, Oregon, and defended the federal crackdown on anti-racism protests, including the use of unmarked cars and unidentified officers in camouflage.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf reacted to the pushback on their crackdown in Portland, Oregon, “I don’t need invitations by the state, state mayors, or state governors to do our job. We’re going to do that, whether they like us there or not.” 

  • Trader Joe’s will remove ‘racist branding and packaging’ from some of its international food items.

The grocery store chain said it will change product branding on some of its international food products, following an online petition that called for the elimination of the labels “Trader Ming’s,” “Trader José,” and “Trader Giotto’s.”

  • Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple that drew national attention earlier this month after footage of them pointing guns at protesters outside their home went viral, have been charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon.
  • The Department of Homeland Security expanded the authority of personnel to collect information on people they say are threatening to harm or destroy public monuments
  • Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a four-star general who served under former President George W. Bush, said Sunday he supports the push to rename Army bases named after Confederate leaders.

Trump Administration

  • A whistleblower complaint from a State Department employee about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s conduct, made public for the first time through a lawsuit, reveals that eyewitnesses made repeated attempts to inform executive leadership and legal advisers about his “questionable activities.”

The whistleblower said they had additional evidence to back up their allegations against Pompeo, according to a redacted complaint to the State Department inspector general’s hotline. The complainant said concerned parties were “blocked” from reporting the activity to the department’s Office of Legal Affairs.

  • White house Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the Trump administration is readying a new executive order to expand the federal takeover of cities based on alleged lawlessness: “Attorney General Barr is weighing in on that with Secretary Wolf, and you’ll see something rolled out on that this week.”
  • Homeland Security officials said they are making preparations to deploy federal agents to Chicago, while President Trump threatened to send U.S. law enforcement personnel to other Democratic-led cities experiencing spates of crime.

Trump made the pronouncement as he defended his administration’s use of force in Portland, where agents have clashed nightly with protesters and made arrests from unmarked cars. Calling the unrest in Portland “worse than Afghanistan.” 

Trump’s rhetoric escalated tensions with Democratic mayors and governors who have criticized the presence of federal agents on U.S. streets, telling reporters at the White House that he would send forces into jurisdictions with or without the cooperation of their elected leaders.

“We’re looking at Chicago too. We’re looking at New York,” he said. “All run by very liberal Democrats. All run, really, by the radical left.”

“This is worse than anything anyone’s ever seen,” Trump continued. “And you know what? If Biden got in, that would be true for the country. The whole country would go to hell.”

  • A coalition of 20 states, several cities and a county are suing the EPA over a regulation that undermines the justification for certain clean air standards. 

The states sued over changes to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule, which regulates pollution from power plants.

Presidential Campaign

  • “I understand you still have more than 100 days to this election, but at this point you’re losing,” Mr. Wallace told Mr. Trump after detailing a new Fox News poll that showed Mr. Biden leading the president by eight points, 49 percent to 41 percent, among registered voters.

“First of all, I’m not losing,” Mr. Trump replied, “because those are fake polls. They were fake in 2016, and now they’re even more fake. The polls were much worse in 2016.”

  • In an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, President Trump wouldn’t commit to honoring the results of the November election. 

TRUMP: “I think mail-in voting is going to rig the election.”

WALLACE: “Are you suggesting that you might not accept the results?”

TRUMP: “I have to see.”

WALLACE: “Can you give a direct answer that you will accept the election?

TRUMP: “I have to see.”

  • Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) is expected to speak on behalf of former Vice President Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention next month. Kasich has been fiercely critical of President Trump, going as far as to call for his impeachment last year. Kasich’s expected speech on Biden’s behalf could also give the former vice president a boost in Ohio, a longtime swing state that has increasingly moved in Republicans’ favor in recent years.
  • With the Republican National Convention just over one month away, Jacksonville, Florida, Sheriff Mike Williams issued a statement Monday questioning whether the event can still be held safely in his city.

“I am compelled to express my significant concerns with the viability of this event,” Williams said in the statement. “It is my sole responsibility to provide safety and security for our city and more importantly, for the citizens who I serve. With a growing list of challenges — be it finances, communication and timeline, I cannot say with confidence that this event and our community will not be at risk.”

  • Democratic leaders in the House and Senate wrote to FBI Director Chris Wray requesting a “defensive counterintelligence briefing” for all members about Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, according to a copy of the letter released Monday.

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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

Read Time: 7 Minutes

  • In the US, at least 140,255 people have died as a result of the novel coronavirus.
  • In mid-April, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx advised the Trump administration that the coronavirus pandemic would soon slow down, The New York Times revealed in a report.

Birx believed that the U.S. would see a peak in cases, followed by a slow and lasting decline. Birx’s assumption did not take into account states’ reopening prematurely.

The models she used for the assessment did not properly capture how Trump’s eagerness to quickly return to normal would undermine social distancing measures. Her optimistic take on models assessing the virus encouraged President Trump to put pressure on states to relax regulations meant to slow the spread of the virus in mid-April.

Mr. Trump’s bet that the crisis would fade away proved wrong. The approach he embraced was not just a misjudgment. Instead, it was a deliberate strategy that he would stick doggedly to as evidence mounted that, in the absence of strong leadership from the White House, the virus would continue to infect and kill large numbers of Americans.

The administration’s goal was to shift responsibility for leading the fight against the pandemic from the White House to the states. They referred to this as “state authority handoff,” and it was at the heart of what would become a catastrophic policy blunder and an attempt to escape blame for a crisis that had engulfed the country.

  • In an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, Mr. Trump falsely claimed that the United States had “one of the lowest mortality rates in the world” from the virus.

“That’s not true, sir,” Mr. Wallace said.

“Do you have the numbers, please?” Mr. Trump said. “Because I heard we had the best mortality rate.”

The United States has the eighth-worst fatality rate among reported coronavirus cases in the world, and the death rate per 100,000 people — 42.83 — ranks it third-worst, according to data on the countries most affected by the coronavirus compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

  • Mr. Trump called Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, an “alarmist” who provided faulty information in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Mr. Trump threatened to pull federal funding from schools if they did not open soon. When Mr. Wallace pointed out that only a small portion of funding from the federal government goes to schools — and is mostly used to support disadvantaged and disabled children — the president replied, “Let the schools open.”
  • The president reiterated his earlier claim, unsupported by science, that the virus would suddenly cease one day. “It’s going to disappear, and I’ll be right,” Mr. Trump said. “Because I’ve been right probably more than anybody else.”
  • As caseloads surge in many states, especially in the West and South, the debate over mask mandates continues, though evidence of their benefits has mounted substantially in recent months.

President Trump, who first wore a mask in public on July 11, said in a Fox News interview with Chris Wallace that he was a “believer” in masks, but that he would not support a nationwide mask mandate: “I leave it up to the governors.”

  • Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes for Health, called the politicization of face coverings “bizarre.” “Our best chance is for all of us to get together and do the right thing [by wearing masks].

Regarding the backlog of tests at laboratories, Dr. Collins acknowledged, “The average test delay is too long,” and the dangers associated with delays have left anxious patients waiting days — and sometimes a week or more — for their results.

“That really undercuts the value of the testing, because you do the testing to find out who’s carrying the virus, and then quickly get them isolated so they don’t spread it around. And it’s very hard to make that work when there’s a long delay built in.”

  • Dr. Collins encouraged all Americans, “If we want to see this current surge, and it’s a real surge, turn around, all Americans need to recognize it’s up to us.” 

Collins stressed wearing a mask when outside the house, social distancing, not convening in large groups, especially indoors, and hand washing will help the country’s attempts to control the virus’ spread. 

  • Deteriorating conditions in their states and the president’s seeming indifference to the problem, has led republican leaders to split with Mr. Trump over the best way to combat the spreading pandemic. 

Some, concluding that the president may never play a constructive role in addressing the crisis, have decided that they must work around him.

Some republican governors have been holding late-night phone calls among themselves to trade ideas and grievances; they have sought out partners in the administration, including Vice President Mike Pence, who, despite echoing Mr. Trump in public, is seen by governors as being far more attentive to the disaster.

“The president got bored with it,” David Carney, an adviser to the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, a Republican, said of the pandemic. His boss instead directs his requests to Mr. Pence, with whom he speaks two to three times a week, Mr. Carney said.

  • Researchers in South Korea have found that children between the ages of 10 and 19 can transmit Covid-19 within a household just as much as adults, according to new research published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
  • The NFL Players Association still has not agreed with the league on key safety issues, prompting some of football’s biggest names to voice their concerns on social media. “If the NFL doesn’t do their part to keep players healthy there is no football in 2020,” Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback, wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “It’s that simple. Get it done.”
  • Golf legend Jack Nicklaus announced Sunday he and his wife, Barbara, tested positive for Covid-19 in March.
  • Vermont has reported no new coronavirus-related deaths since June 19. 
  • New York State saw a new low hospitalizations since March 18 as hospitalizations are down to 722.

The state reported 502 additional Covid-19 cases as of yesterday and 13 additional deaths.

  • New Jersey reported 144 new cases of Covid-19 and 11 additional deaths.
  • Pennsylvania reported 786 additional cases of Covid-19 and 8 deaths from the virus, according to a release from the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDOH).

In an alert, the PDOH said, “The department is seeing significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases among younger age groups, particularly 19 to 24-year-olds.”

  • Georgia (4,688) and North Carolina (2,522) both reported record highs for single-day coronavirus case count increases Saturday. 
  • Florida, on Sunday, reported more 12,478 additional cases and 87 deaths as Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) resists implementing a statewide mask mandate.
  • There are 49 hospitals in Florida with no ICU beds available, according to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration. 
  • In Miami-Dade County, ICUs are at about 127% capacity, with 398 beds for 507 patients, but the county has the ability to convert more than 1,200 beds, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration. In the past two weeks, Miami-Dade has seen a 40% increase in the number of coronavirus patients being hospitalized and a roughly 64% increase in the use of ventilators, according to county data.
  • Representative Donna E. Shalala (D-FL) who was formerly the nation’s longest-serving Secretary of Health and Human Services, called on her state’s governor, Ron DeSantis (R), to issue mask and stay-at-home orders.
  • Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said on “Meet the Press” that his state was heading in the “wrong direction” and that he would not rule out a mask order. While single-day tallies for new cases in Ohio averaged around 400 a month ago,Friday set a state record with 1,679 cases.
  • Indiana recorded 927 new cases of the novel coronavirus Sunday, just below its highest daily increase since the outbreak. 
  • Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said he would not support a national mask mandate, though he issued a state ordinance on Thursday.
  • Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said that he would not issue a statewide mask order, even though cases and hospitalizations were soaring. “The number on June 27 was approximately 490 patients in hospital beds,” Reeves said. “Today that number is closer to 890.” “If I believed that [a mandatory mask order] was the best way to save lives in my state, I would have done it a long time ago.”
  • Louisiana reported 3,116 new cases Sunday, exceeding the previous single-day record of 2,728 new cases, which were reported on April 2. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, “95% of today’s newly reported cases are tied to community spread, rather than congregate settings like nursing homes.” 
  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said in a tweet Sunday: “COVID-19 is more rampant in Louisiana now than it has ever been. We now have a statewide epidemic, it is no longer one or two regions driving case growth.

It’s on all of us to do better and wear masks in public, practice social distancing and avoid congregating.”

  • Texas reported 7,300 new coronavirus cases and 93 deaths Sunday. The positivity rate statewide remains alarmingly high at 15.03%.
  • The Defense Department sent Navy teams to help support four medical centers in South and Southwest Texas as the virus surges there.
  • Eighty-seven doctors have signed a letter to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) urging him not to reopen schools until at least October.
  • Arizona reported 147 deaths on July 18. The positivity rate remains high at a blistering 39.04%.
  • In April, White House officials told California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) he would need to personally appeal to President Trump and thank him if he wanted aid in obtaining coronavirus test swabs, according to The New York Times.
  • Health officials in Los Angeles reported the highest number of hospitalizations in a day with 2,216 people hospitalized.

In Los Angeles, eleven people died and 2,848 new cases were reported Sunday. This is a significant drop in both of those numbers from the past week.

  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) said that the coronavirus was spreading in the city to the point where a new stay-at-home order would have to be issued.

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