April 25, 2020

Week 180

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

This week opened and closed with Russia: opening with a bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report reaffirming U.S. intelligence’s January 2017 conclusion that Russia interfered to help install Trump, and closing with Trump surreptitiously signing an unusual joint statement with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the pandemic.

This week the country passed the tragic milestone of 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus — more than 1 in 4 deaths worldwide. The country is losing 10,000 Americans every four days now, and as New York sees its cases and deaths ebb, several other states surged. Trump flipped from encouraging states to reopen, to pulling back, to encouraging again. Polling showed the vast majority of Americans want to stay home, despite the optics of protest rallies, some fomented by far-right groups or groups with ties to Trump himself. He and his regime have yet to come up with a plan or strategy to control the pandemic, as the U.S. continues to be the global epicenter. Data this week revealed the virus was already in major U.S. cities in February, quietly spreading undetected to thousands of Americans.

After a major study cautioned against the use of hydroxychloroquine, Trump later in the week made a remarkable suggestion to try ultraviolet light or disinfectant. Following the uproar thereafter, Trump finally backed off from his daily task force briefings, which had morphed into campaign rallies, some two hours long. Republicans, Trump aides, and campaign staffers fretted the briefings and his lack of response to the outbreak have hurt him in 2020 polling in battleground states, and threaten to drag down not only Trump in 2020, but also Republicans could lose the Senate.

  1. On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s fourth report reaffirmed its support for the U.S. intelligence’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the goal of putting Trump in office.
  2. The panel also reaffirmed intelligence’s January 2017 assessment that Putin ordered the move, citing “specific intelligence” to support the conclusion that Putin “approved and directed aspects” of the efforts.
  3. The report also noted the assessment did not rely on information from the Steele dossier to make its conclusions — contrary to public statements by Trump and his allies — but FBI senior management noted it in an annex.
  4. On Sunday, an NBC News/WSJ poll found 58% of Americans are concerned that lifting stay-at-home orders too soon could lead to more coronavirus deaths, while 32% say the greater worry was the economic impact.
  5. The poll also found 65% believe Trump did not take the coronavirus threat “seriously enough at the beginning,” 30% say he did. Trump’s approval was unchanged from March at 46% approve, 51% disapprove.
  6. The polls also found 36% trust what Trump says on the coronavirus, 52% do not. In contrast, 66% said they trust their governor, and 60% said they trust Dr. Anthony Fauci.
  7. The poll also found that 67% of Americans support vote-by-mail for the November election, 29% are against it. The poll also found 58% who said voting by mail should be a permanent change.
  8. On Saturday, Charlie Kirk, the leader of Students for Trump, called on its members to launch “peaceful rebellion against governors” over stay-at-home orders in states like Michigan and Wisconsin.
  9. On Saturday, Cleveland.com reported some Ohio stay-at-home protests included anti-Semitic symbolism. A protestor in Columbus held a sign of a rodent with the Star of David on its side and the words “The Real Plague.”
  10. On Sunday, WAPO reported pro-gun activist Ben Dorr, the political director of a group called “Minnesota Gun Rights,” and his brothers Christopher and Aaron were behind some of the stay-at-home protests.
  11. The three set up Facebook groups to target Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, which by Sunday had more than 200,000 members. The brothers manage a slew of pro-gun groups nationwide.
  12. The New York Facebook group questioned whether the virus is really that bad. The Pennsylvania group questioned the wisdom of wearing masks publicly, contrary to recommendations by state and federal officials.
  13. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump’s campaign has concluded it will be a more effective strategy to launch a broad effort to tie Joe Biden to China, rather than focus on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
  14. Polling showed Trump’s approval declining with key groups while three-quarters blame the outbreak on China. The shift marks a remarkable acknowledgement it is better to attack than focus on achievements.
  15. On Saturday, at the daily briefing, Trump said of China, “If it was a mistake, a mistake is a mistake,” adding, “But if they were knowingly responsible, yeah, I mean, then sure there should be consequences.”
  16. Trump shared no evidence that China is responsible for the pandemic, but said a U.S. investigation is ongoing. He also said, “Does anybody really believe this number?” about a chart showing deaths in China.
  17. Trump also defended protestors, saying, “There are a lot of protests out there and I just think that some of the governors have gotten carried away,” citing the governors of Michigan and Virginia.
  18. Trump also bragged, again lying about U.S. testing capacity, and falsely claimed only Democratic governors were complaining, saying, “We have tremendous capacity…They’re the ones that are complaining.”
  19. Trump again blamed the Obama administration, saying, “We started off with a broken system….And I always say it, our cupboards were bare. We had very little in our stockpile. Now we’re loaded up.”
  20. Trump also repeated the lie that no one saw the epidemic coming, falsely claiming as he speaks with world leaders, “You know, we’re only talking about a few weeks since everybody knew this was such a big problem.”
  21. Trump also claimed the U.S. would be at war with North Korea if not for him, saying, “I received a nice note from him [Kim Jong Un] recently. It was a nice note.” On Sunday, North Korea issued a statement denying this.
  22. On Saturday, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, Chair of the Democratic Caucus, called the briefing “deeply troubling,” tweeting to Trump’s cabinet, “it may be time to invoke the #25thAmendment.”
  23. On Saturday, in defending the protestors, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro said on her show, “We understand there are still many sick and dying…But what about the rest of us?”
  24. On Sunday, the U.S. passed 40,000 coronavirus deaths, with more than 750,000 confirmed cases. Globally, 165,000 people had died, and 2.4 million tested positive.
  25. Reuters reported, after recording the first U.S. death on February 29, it took 38 days to reach 10,000 deaths, five more days to reach 20,000, four more days to reach 30,000, and four more to 40,000.
  26. On Sunday, the obituary section in Sunday’s print edition of the Boston Globe spanned 16 pages. The paper said the section had grown every week since the outbreak. Massachusetts, a hot spot, had more than 1,700 dead.
  27. On Sunday, NYT reported on the death of Joe Joyce, who oversaw JJ Bubbles, a popular tavern in Brooklyn, citing his children say Joe went on a cruise in early March feeling assured by Fox News host Sean Hannity.
  28. His daughter said, “he watched Fox, and believed it was under control.” Hannity said Democrats were trying to “bludgeon Trump with this new hoax.” Hannity shot back Monday, calling the article “slander” and “libel.”
  29. On Sunday, a study by the University of Chicago on misinformation during the pandemic contrasted Fox News viewers who watched Hannity versus host Tucker Carlson, who warned viewers about coronavirus risks.
  30. The study of viewers 55 and older found “Hannity relative to Carlson is associated with approximately 30 percent more COVID-19 cases on March 14, and 21 percent more COVID-19 deaths on March 28.”
  31. On Sunday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his state is on “the other side” of the coronavirus curve, as daily deaths dropped to 507, the lowest count since April 6. Hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and intubations also dropped.
  32. On Sunday, Gothamist reported NYPD issued 60 summonses to attendees of an “anti-lockdown” party at a barber shop in Brooklyn, New York late Saturday, and arrested two on gun possession charges.
  33. On Sunday, Reuters reported Neiman Marcus is preparing to file for bankruptcy as soon as this week, becoming the first U.S. retailer to succumb to the economic fallout of the coronavirus.
  34. On Sunday, Trump ally and defender U.K. news anchor Piers Morgan told “Good Morning Britain” that his “friend” is “failing the American people” during the coronavirus, saying he is “aghast at these press conferences.”
  35. Morgan said Trump is turning briefings “into a self-aggrandizing, self-justifying, overly defensive, politically partisan, almost like a rally,” adding, “almost like what’s more important is winning the election in November.”
  36. On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence told “Fox New Sunday” testing could double to 300,000 a day, but the onus was on governors, saying they need “to activate all of the laboratories in their states around the country.”
  37. Asked what Trump intended with his “LIBERATE” tweets, Pence said Trump just meant to “encourage governors to find ways to safely and responsibly let America go back to work.”
  38. On Sunday, Dr. Deborah Birx parroted Trump’s attacks on the WHO on “This Week,” claiming “it wasn’t until the beginning of March that we could all fully see how contagious this virus was.” This claim is false.
  39. Birx also blamed China: “It is always the first country that gets exposed to the pandemic that has really a higher moral obligation on communicating and transparency,” citing other countries make “decisions on that.”
  40. On Sunday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told “State of the Union” it was “my idea” to add Trump’s name to the stimulus checks, citing, “He is the president and I think it’s a terrific symbol to the American public.”
  41. On Sunday, Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam told “State of the Union” that the regime’s claim the states have ample testing capacity is “just delusional,” adding, “We’ve been fighting every day for PPE.”
  42. GOP Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said, “to try and push this off to say that the governors have plenty of testing and they should just get to work on testing — somehow we aren’t doing our job — is just absolutely false.”
  43. GOP Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine told “Meet the Press” that Ohio hospitals lack needed chemicals known as reagents for testing, and called for federal help, saying his state could probably double or triple testing with help.
  44. On Sunday, Trump responded to criticism on testing, tweeting, “I am right on testing,” saying, “just like I was right on Ventilators,” and adding, “our Country is now the ‘King of Ventilators.’”’
  45. On Sunday, the New England Journal of Medicine reported the chief executive of a Massachusetts hospital said he was outbid by the federal government for PPE multiple times, and had to cut a deal and pay extra.
  46. Baystate Health in Springfield had to hire trucks for transport, which were interrogated by the FBI and almost redirected to the Department of Homeland Security before the hospital’s Congressperson intervened.
  47. On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told “Fox New Sunday” she would give Trump an “F” for his leadership during the pandemic, saying, “leaders take responsibility…..he’s a weak leader….He places blame on others.”
  48. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Nervous Nancy is an inherently “dumb” person. She wasted all of her time on the Impeachment Hoax,” adding, “She will be overthrown.” It was unclear what he meant.
  49. Trump also again attacked Fox New anchor Chris Wallace, tweeting, “Wallace & @FoxNews are on a bad path, watch!
  50. On Sunday, scattered protests of lockdowns continued. In Washington, 2,500 rallied at the state capitol in Olympia, defying a ban on gatherings of 50 or more people, and not wearing face masks as recommended.
  51. On Sunday, in Denver, health care workers counter-protested an anti-lockdown rally of hundreds driving, honking horns, and holding up signs, by standing in the street with scrubs and protective masks blocking cars.
  52. On Sunday, governors of Kentucky and Ohio reported their largest daily cases of coronavirus, with Kentucky adding 253 and Ohio adding 1,353. Both states were the sites of protests to lift stay-at-home orders last week.
  53. On Sunday, at the daily press briefing, Trump again said testing was up to states, saying, “The governors wanted to have total control over the opening of their states. But now they want to have us…do the testing.”
  54. Trump added, “Testing is local. You can’t have it both ways. Testing is a local thing.” He also falsely claimed, “Our testing is expanding very rapidly by millions and millions of people.” The actual number is 150,000 per day.
  55. Trump said the government is sending out more than 5 million nasal swabs to states, saying some states “don’t know where they are,” adding, the nation will end up with so many swabs, “you won’t know what to do with them.”
  56. Trump also played a propaganda video including a clip of Gov. Cuomo saying the federal government “stepped up and was a great partner” to New York. Trump used the clip to congratulate himself on the job he was doing.
  57. Trump also snapped at another female reporter, telling CBS’s Weijia Jiang to “lower her voice” and to take it “nice and easy,” after she pressed him on what steps he had taken during the month of February.
  58. Trump also ripped CNN’s Jeremy Diamond, who asked Trump about his “self-congratulation” over his handling of the pandemic with 40,000 dead. Trump responded, “You don’t have the brains you were born with.”
  59. Trump also cited Fox News anchor Bret Baier, who noted the coronavirus did not come up at the February 19 Democratic debate. Trump has been repeatedly questioned by reporters about his inaction in February.
  60. WAPO traced Trump’s events and comments in February, and found amid the multiple campaign rallies, golf, and other appearances, Trump played down the virus and took no real action. There were 15 cases at month-end.
  61. On Sunday, WAPO reported U.S. researchers, physicians, and public health experts who were working full time at WHO late last year relayed information about the discovery and spread in China to the Trump regime.
  62. The Department of Health and Human Services had 17 staff members, including 16 from the CDC, detailed at the WHO’s Geneva headquarters as part of a rotation that has operated for years.
  63. Senior Trump-appointed healthcare officials also regularly consulted with the WHO at the highest level as the crisis unfolded. The presence of so many U.S. officials undercut Trump’s rationale for defunding the WHO.
  64. After a G7 call last week, the White House claimed the focus was “the lack of transparency and chronic mismanagement” by the WHO. The other countries disputed that, issuing strong statements backing the WHO.
  65. On Sunday, the Columbus Dispatch reported more than 1,800 inmates at Marion Correctional Institution tested positive for Covid-19. Overall, 2,426 inmates in Ohio have tested positive, 21% of the state’s cases.
  66. On Sunday, mass testing at LM Wind Power in Grand Forks, North Dakota found an additional 99 workers tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total to 128 workers — the second largest cluster in the state.
  67. On Sunday, KTSM news reported El Paso, Texas is still owed $470,000 from the Trump campaign to cover the police force and fire department during his visit in February 2019. The city added $98,000 in late fees.
  68. On Sunday, the CEO of burger chain Shake Shack said the company would return a $10 million government loan it received from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) meant to help small businesses.
  69. Shake Shack was one of more than a dozen companies with $100 million plus annual revenue that received loans from the $349 billion coronavirus relief bill, using a loophole of having no more than 500 employees per individual location.
  70. On Monday, AP reported based on regulatory findings, at least 94 companies that received PPP relief checks were publicly listed companies, some with market values over $100 million.
  71. On Monday, NPR reported while most small businesses found it impossible to get a PPP check, Continental Materials, owned by a Chicago family with close ties to Trump, was able to get a $5.5 million loan.
  72. On Monday, nations like Germany, New Zealand, and South Korea, credited with fast responses to the coronavirus including lockdowns and mass testing that limited outbreaks, moved to gradually reopen businesses.
  73. On Monday, a Yahoo News/YouGov poll found 60% of Americans oppose the largely pro-Trump anti-lockdown protestors, just 22% support them, and 18% were unsure.
  74. On Monday, registered nurses, wearing masks and standing six feet apart, gathered at the White House. The nurses read the names of 45 healthcare workers who died of Covid-19 and held up signs with their photos.
  75. More than 9,000 healthcare workers have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the CDC. The number is believed to be an undercount due to lack of testing in many areas.
  76. On Monday, Fauci told ABC News his message to protestors of stay-at-home orders who are calling on him to be fired: “unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not gonna happen.”
  77. Fauci added, “So what you do if you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you’re gonna set yourself back,” adding, “it’s gonna backfire. That’s the problem.”
  78. On Monday, hundreds of anti-quarantine protestors organized by Dorr carried signs, honked horns, and waved Americans flags outside the capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Many had guns and few social distanced.
  79. Healthcare workers at the rally asked protestors to go home. Shortly after the rally, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, announced he would extend the state’s stay-at-home order from April 30 to May 8.
  80. On Monday, Arizona Central reported nurses who were on their day off stood wearing masks and in silence in counter-protest as hundreds rallied against the stay-at-home order at the state capitol.
  81. On Monday, a memo from the Office of Management and Budget said federal government would “ramp back up government operations to the maximum extent possible,” as states start to reopen.
  82. On Monday, Facebook said it would take down posts promoting stay-at-home protests being organized in California, New Jersey, and Nebraska after consulting with officials in those states, while leaving up similar posts.
  83. On Monday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said seven people appear to have contracted coronavirus linked to the April 7 election day.
  84. On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Department of Health said that 19 voters statewide who voted in or worked the April 7 election had tested positive. By the end of the week, the number of cases was up to 40 in Milwaukee County.
  85. On Monday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced the state would reopen some businesses as early as Friday, including gyms, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers, hair, nail salons, and massage therapy businesses.
  86. Kemp said no local ordinance can restrict the openings, which will be implemented statewide. Pressed on the timing by reporters, Kemp said, “we’re probably going to have to see our cases continue to go up.”
  87. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told CNN of Kemp’s decision, “I don’t see that it’s based on anything that’s logical,” and Savannah mayor Van Johnson called the move “reckless.” They were not informed in advance.
  88. The Republican governors of Tennessee and South Carolina also said on Monday they would take similar steps, with Tennessee letting its stay-at-home order expire on April 30, and South Carolina reopening some stores on Tuesday.
  89. On Monday, LA Times reported the first large-scale study tracking spread of Covid-19 in Los Angeles Country found 4.1% of adults had antibodies, suggesting roughly 221,000 to 442,000 have recovered from an infection.
  90. On Monday, oil future contracts for May crude delivery fell more than 300%, from $18.27 Friday to settling at negative $37.63 per barrel, the first time oil futures traded in negative territory.
  91. The futures price below zero mean producers would have to pay traders to take oil amid a glut in supply due to the global pandemic. The price for June future contracts closed Monday at $21.
  92. On Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus raised alarms about countries easing restrictions, saying, “the worst is yet ahead of us,” adding, “It’s a virus that many people still don’t understand.”
  93. On Monday, NYT reported Maryland Gov. Hogan, frustrated by lack of tests, ordered 500,000 tests from South Korea, saying, “It should not have been this difficult.” His wife, a Korean immigrant, did the negotiating.
  94. On Monday, at the daily briefing, Trump said adequate coronavirus testing existed, but blamed governors for not adequately using it. Trump continued to resist states’ demands for additional testing help.
  95. Trump attacked Gov. Hogan, falsely claiming he was unaware of all the testing sites in his own state, saying, “The governor of Maryland didn’t really understand. He didn’t really understand what was going on.”
  96. On Monday, GOP Texas Lieutenant Gov. Daniel Patrick told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that his state needs to take the risk of getting back to work, saying, “there are more important things than living.”
  97. On Monday, LA Times reported more than 1 million U.S. citizens have been blocked from receiving stimulus checks under the CARES Act because they are married to immigrants who don’t have Social Security numbers.
  98. On Monday, in a tweet at 10:06 p.m., Trump said, “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens,” he would suspend immigration into the U.S.
  99. In recent weeks, the Trump regime had been using the pandemic to justify aggressively restricting immigration, expanding travel restrictions, slowing visas, and seeking to bar asylum seekers.
  100. On Tuesday, NYT reported according to people familiar, Trump planned to issue an executive order temporarily barring new green cards and work visas for an undetermined period of time.
  101. The move was part of Trump’s nativist approach of “America First,” and came as travel restrictions with Europe and China were already in place and few seeking to come to the U.S., but as Trump faced criticism.
  102. On Tuesday, the number of global cases topped 2.5 million, as the U.S. surpassed 800,000 cases (32%). The U.S. death toll topped 43,000, accounting for 25% of worldwide deaths.
  103. On Tuesday, AP reported a nationwide study at Veterans Affairs hospitals, the largest look so far at hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin use, found no benefits, and more death from the use of the drugs.
  104. The study found 28% who were given hydroxychloroquine plus usual care died, versus 11% of those getting routine care alone. Hydroxychloroquine made no difference in the need for a ventilator either.
  105. Later Tuesday, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recommended against the use of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin in patients with Covid-19, citing it increases the risk of sudden cardiac death.
  106. The recommendation came from an expert panel at NIH, which Fauci directs, finding there was insufficient evidence to use hydroxychloroquine to either prevent Covid-19 or treat its symptoms.
  107. On Tuesday, documents obtained by the Center for Public Integrity show HHS officials estimated in early April that more than 300,000 Americans would die from Covid-19 if social distancing measures were abandoned.
  108. The HHS document has been shared with other federal agencies to help shape their response. The White House coronavirus task force has referenced models by academic institutions, but not its own modeling.
  109. The report lays out four scenarios ranging from 151,000 deaths to more than 1,800,000 deaths, with 302,000 deaths being the “Best Guess.” HHS and the White House did not respond to NPR’s request for comment.
  110. On Tuesday, Politico reported that acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell rebuffed House Intelligence Chair Adam’s Schiff demand to halt an intelligence community overhaul or to provide justifications.
  111. On Tuesday, Politico reported as Trump looks to reopen, House Democrats say the Office of Personnel Management is refusing to brief them on the status of the agency and federal employees’ teleworking arrangements during the pandemic.
  112. OPM, which functions as the federal government’s human resources department which sets policies and guidelines, has declined two requests. Democrats say they have never been denied a briefing before.
  113. On Tuesday, Missouri became the first U.S. state to sue the Chinese government alleging negligence, saying it will cost the state tens of billions in economic damages. The lawsuit also alleges China hoarded PPE.
  114. On Tuesday, NYT reported an informal network of conservative groups and leaders, including some with connections to the White House, were quietly also behind fomenting the anti-lockdown protests.
  115. FreedomWorks and Tea Party Patriots agitated, as did a law firm led partly by former Trump White House officials, state-based conservative policy groups, and a group of conservative leaders known as Save Our Country.
  116. Those behind it hoped the protests would energize the conservative base, similar to the Tea Party movement in 2009 and 2010, and be helpful to Trump in his re-election. So far the protests garnered little traction.
  117. On Tuesday, in a radio interview, Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department would support legal action against states that continue to impose stay-at-home orders, even as the surge in cases subside.
  118. Barr said, “The idea that you have to stay in your house is disturbingly close to house arrest,” adding, “in some places it might still be justified. But it’s very onerous, as is shutting down your livelihood.”
  119. Barr also praised Trump, saying his guidance has been “superb and very commonsensical,” and “to the extent that governors…impinge on either civil rights or on the national commerce…we’ll have to address that.”
  120. Later Tuesday, Pelosi told reporters, “I think that the attorney general has injected himself into a place that I think even the public knows doesn’t make sense.”
  121. Pelosi also said of the Senate Intelligence report, “It leads you to the question what does Vladimir Putin have on President Trump personally, politically, financially, in every way, that he would choose.”
  122. On Tuesday, CDC Director Robert Redfield told WAPO the second wave of the coronavirus is likely to be far more dire, citing, “We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time.”
  123. Redfield warned that having two simultaneous respiratory outbreaks will put unimaginable strain on the health-care system, and said federal and state officials need to use the coming months to prepare.
  124. On Tuesday, STAT News reported Dr. Rick Bright, one of the nation’s leading vaccine development experts, and director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, left the role suddenly.
  125. The shake-up at BARDA, the agency which invests in drugs, devices, and other technologies that help address infectious disease outbreak, comes amid the pandemic. No reason was given for his departure.
  126. On Tuesday, the stock market fell 630 points, bringing the two day loss on the Dow Jones to over 1,200 points, after another plunge in oil prices, and a continued dampening of the market outlook.
  127. On Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo told MSNBC he had a “productive” meeting with Trump at the White House, saying, “the big issue was testing ” and how “we separate the responsibilities and the tasks on testing.”
  128. Cuomo said it was “just honest and open” and “the tone of the conversation was very functional and effective.” He also told Trump that NYC no longer needed the USNS Comfort, and to deploy it elsewhere.
  129. On Tuesday, at the daily briefing, Trump said, “I will be issuing a temporary suspension of immigration into the United States,” claiming, “By pausing, we’ll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs.”
  130. Trump said he will halt immigration to the U.S. for 60 days, barring new immigrants, including family members of U.S. citizens to enter, but will allow temporary workers to enter on nonimmigrant visas.
  131. White House officials and lawyers met Tuesday to sort out logistics and the legal implications for Trump’s late Monday proclamation. Critics called it a PR stunt, and an attempt to distract from mishandling the pandemic.
  132. Asked about Gov. Kemp’s decision to reopen, Trump said, “He’s a very capable man. He knows what he’s doing. He’s done a very good job as governor.” Earlier, Trump and Pence spoke to Kemp to offer support.
  133. Trump continued his support for protestors, falsely claimed they were using social distancing. Videos and photos of protests in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and more show this was not the case.
  134. Asked about large companies taking PPP money, Trump threatened Harvard University for taking coronavirus funding “meant for workers.” The monies Harvard received came from the CARES Act for higher education.
  135. Later Tuesday, Pelosi told PBS Trump is “always engaged in distractions like immigration…supporting people in the street. They’re all distractions away from the fact…he’s a total failure when it comes to testing.”
  136. Pelosi added, “What is impeding the federal government from addressing the COVID-19 crisis is the president’s denial, delay in all of this, and that has been deadly,” adding he “is engaged in a series of misrepresentations.”
  137. On Tuesday, Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos ordered higher education institutions to exclude undocumented students, including Dreamers, from receiving any of the $6 billion in emergency relief funds.
  138. The stimulus law, Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, directed DeVos to distribute the funding in the same manner as other financial aid, but did not define which students were eligible.
  139. On Tuesday, NYT reported the Trump Org. is requesting a break on the terms of its lease for the Trump Hotel DC due to the coronavirus. It will be up to the Trump regime to decide, as the payment is due to government.
  140. The General Services Administration holds the lease and will decide. Trump Org. has also sought payment relief from Deutsche Bank and Palm Beach County, but was barred by Congress from the $500 billion relief bill.
  141. On Wednesday, an AP-NORC poll found 61% of Americans say the stay-at-home orders in place “are about right.” Just 12% say they “go too far,” and 26% say the limits “don’t go far enough.”
  142. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “States are safely coming back. Our Country is starting to OPEN FOR BUSINESS again,” the day after Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee said they would start to reopen.
  143. Trump added, “Special care is, and always will be, given to our beloved seniors (except me!). Their lives will be better than ever…WE LOVE YOU ALL!” AP estimated 11,000 Americans in nursing homes had died.
  144. AP also reported nursing homes suffer a lack of testing availability to help stop the spread, with just one-third having access to tests. Neither the federal government or states require workers to be tested.
  145. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted “CDC Director was totally misquoted by Fake News @CNN on Covid 19,” citing Redfied’s interview with the Post, adding, “He will be putting out a statement.”
  146. Shortly after, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News that Redfield was mostly encouraging Americans to “get their flu shots,” but “leave it to the media to really take those out of context.”
  147. Trump also tweeted, “I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” shortly after “Fox & Friends” aired a segment on the topic.
  148. On Wednesday, NBC News reported Trump aides are exploring ways to get a “frustrated” Trump out of Washington for events in the coming weeks, as he grows restless, with a target of starting the week of May 4.
  149. Trump is eager to hit the campaign trail again. Senior officials are evaluating how to organize social gatherings, as the campaign has pledged to hold rallies before November. His last event was on March 2.
  150. On Wednesday, National security adviser Robert O’Brien told NPR the WHO is “a bit of a propaganda tool for the Chinese,” and said China “controls” it. Asked for details, he parroted Trump’s previous remarks.
  151. On Wednesday, Harvard University announced it would not accept the $8.6 million in relief money, following Trump’s criticism. Stanford and Princeton also they would not take money allocated to them.
  152. On Wednesday, Rick Bright said in a statement he was abruptly removed as head of BARDA after calling for rigorous vetting of hydroxychloroquine, saying the regime put “politics and cronyism ahead of science.”
  153. Bright said he was pressured to direct money toward hydroxychloroquine, one of several “potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections” and repeatedly touted by Trump as “game changer.”
  154. The drug was championed by Trump allies like Oracle founder Larry Ellison and several Fox News contributors. Bright will be represented by Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, the lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford.
  155. On Wednesday, NYT reported Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who for a month pushed hydroxychloroquine as a “game changer” to her nearly four million viewers, stopped mentioning it on her show last Wednesday.
  156. Hosts Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity also cut back on referring to the drug: since April 13, the drug was only mentioned 12 times on Fox News, but in the four previous weeks it was mentioned more than 100 times.
  157. On Wednesday, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman told CNN her city should reopen, saying her city’s workers could be used as a “control group” to determine the effectiveness of social distancing measures.
  158. On Wednesday, CNN reported autopsies of two people who died in California in early to mid-February showed the cause was Covid-19. The first death was thought to have occurred on February 29 in Washington.
  159. The two were a woman, 57, who died in her home on February 6, and a man, 69, who died at home on February 17. Neither had “significant travel history,” indicating the infection was likely from community spread.
  160. On Wednesday, WAPO reported although a month ago doctors thought Covid-19 would act like a standard variety respiratory virus, they have since seen the virus attack the kidneys, heart, intestines, liver, and brain.
  161. Doctors are reporting bizarre cases that do not fit their textbooks, including patients with startling low oxygen, asymptomatic patients going into cardiac arrest and patients with mild disease dying instantly at home.
  162. Some doctors believe the unusual cases may be a result of blood-clotting complications. Some doctor groups have raised the controversial possibility of giving preventive blood thinners to everyone with Covid-19.
  163. On Wednesday, Tyson Foods announced it would close its largest pork plant in Waterloo, Iowa. The Black Hawk County health department linked the plant to 182 of the 374 coronavirus cases in the county.
  164. The closing came after a week of public pressure. CNN reported employees claim the company did not provide PPE, did not enforce social distancing, and hallways and locker rooms had crowded conditions.
  165. On Wednesday, top economist Joseph Stiglitz said Trump’s botched handling of the coronavirus crisis has left the U.S. looking like a “third world” country, and on course for a second Great Depression.
  166. On Wednesday, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, WAPO reported Washington D.C.’s air has the lowest level of pollutants in 25 years, a trend being seen around the globe with the slowdown from the pandemic.
  167. On Wednesday, the CDC confirmed two cats living in separate homes in New York tested positive for Covid-19, the first U.S. pet cases. One cat lived in a home where a human did not test positive, the other with a positive.
  168. On Wednesday, National Geographic reported four more tigers and three lions at the Bronx Zoo have tested positive for the coronavirus. The animals caught it from an asymptomatic zookeeper who was positive.
  169. On Wednesday, at the daily briefing, Redfield walked back his comments, saying, “I didn’t say that this was going to be worse. I said it was going to be more difficult” and complicated with flu and Covid-19 at the same time.
  170. Redfield added, “The key to my comments and the reason that I really wanted to stress them was to appeal to the American public and to embrace the flu vaccine with confidence,” but then relented, saying the Post had in fact quoted him accurately.
  171. Trump called the Post “fake news” and claimed the title was wrong. When reporters asked Birx, she said, “I don’t know if it will be worse,” adding, “I believe that we’ll have early warning signals.”
  172. Trump again bragged about how well he was doing, falsely claiming on testing, “Ultimately, we’re doing more testing, I think, than probably any of the governors even want.”
  173. Asked about Bright’s firing, and whether he was forced out because he challenged Trump’s support for hydroxychloroquine, Trump said, “Maybe he was and maybe he wasn’t; I don’t know who he is.”
  174. Trump also reversed himself on supporting Kemp, saying he told him, “I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the phase one guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia.”
  175. Trump said Georgia is not meeting the threshold of the White House guidelines to reopen so far, but added that Kemp “must do what he thinks is right.”
  176. CNN reported the flip came after Fauci told Trump at an afternoon meeting, “I cannot defend this publicly,” then Trump met with Birx. Trump called Kemp to ask that he slow down, but Kemp said no.
  177. Trump also falsely claimed that at Speaker Pelosi’s visit to San Francisco’s Chinatown on February 24, she was having a “rally in San Francisco, in Chinatown.” Pelosi went amid concerns of rising anti-Chinese bigotry.
  178. Fauci urged caution to avoid a “rebound” of cases, saying, “I plead with the American public, with the governors, with the mayors…I know one has the lead to leapfrog over things, don’t do that. Do it in a measured way.”
  179. On Wednesday, ABC News reported that after Trump’s nearly two-hour long briefing, he walked away from the podium and seconds later did a hand-off to his campaign’s digital team, which started its online show.
  180. The slickly produced digital shows are streamed across social media platforms, and often incorporate guests from the regime who earlier had appeared at his press briefing.
  181. Later Wednesday, Kemp praised Trump for his “bold leadership and insight during these difficult times,” but said he would reopen, citing a “measured step…. driven by data and guided by state public health officials.”
  182. On Wednesday, Reuters reported HHS Sec. Alex Azar tapped Brian Harrison in to lead HHS’s day-to-day response to Covid-19. Harrison, 37, a Labradoodle breeder from 2012–2018, has no public health experience.
  183. Harrison was Azar’s deputy chief of staff in 2018. In the summer of 2019, he was promoted to chief of staff. In January, he became a key manager of the Covid-19 response with everyone reporting up through him.
  184. On Wednesday, supermarket chain Publix announced an initiative to buy excess milk and produce from Florida farmers and southeastern dairy farmers and donate it to food banks.
  185. On Wednesday, in a radio interview, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested states most impacted by the coronavirus and seeing sharp shortfalls should consider bankruptcy rather than get federal aid.
  186. Although states do not have the ability to go bankrupt, McConnell said, “I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route. It saves some cities. And there’s no good reason for it not to be available.”
  187. McConnell said, “I think this whole business of additional assistance for state and local governments needs to be thoroughly evaluated,” adding, “There’s not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out.”
  188. Shortly after, McConnell’s staffers circulated a news release including his statement under the heading “Stopping Blue State Bailouts,” suggesting he was targeting hard hit states New York, California, and Illinois.
  189. Later Wednesday, GOP Rep. Peter King of New York called McConnell’s remarks “shameful and indefensible,” referring to McConnell as “the Marie Antoinette of the Senate” in a tweet.
  190. On Thursday, Cuomo called McConnell remarks “one of the saddest, really dumb comments of all time,” adding, “OK, let’s have all the states declare bankruptcy — that’s the way to bring the national economy back.”
  191. Cuomo tweeted New York puts $116 billion net into the federal pot, while Kentucky takes out $148 billion, “But we don’t deserve help now because the 15,000 people who died here were predominately democrats?”
  192. On Wednesday, CNN reported that Fauci, who has missed four days of briefings, saying he found them “really draining,” will return Wednesday. He is focusing instead on vaccine development and battling the pandemic.
  193. Birx has attended all the briefings, except one in March when she had a low-grade fever. Unlike Fauci, she has avoided publicly breaking from Trump on issues like testing and treatment.
  194. Trump continued to be fixated on his ratings. Aides say Trump bragged that he, not his underlings or medical professionals, gets the best ratings. He continues to bring a varied cast from the regime each day.
  195. On Wednesday, CNBC reported massive layoffs and pay cuts are coming to state and local governments after getting left out of the fourth relief bill expected to pass this week. Detroit and Los Angeles have made cuts.
  196. On Thursday, the Labor Department reported the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose by 4.4 million, bringing the total number to who have filed in the past five weeks to 26.5 million.
  197. On Thursday, the Treasury Department issued new guidance, telling publicly traded companies who received PPP loans to return the money within two weeks, by May 7.
  198. On Thursday, the CDC released a report finding Smithfield Food’s pork plant in Sioux City offered a “responsibility bonus” of $500 to employees who did not miss work. The first reported positive was on March 24.
  199. On Thursday, a CBS News poll found 63% of Americans are worried about reopening too fast, 37% too slowly. Also, 70% believe the priority should be staying at home and slow the spread, 30% say get back to work.
  200. The poll found, if restrictions were lifted, 29% would go to a restaurant or bar (71% would not), 15% would get on an airplane (85% would not), and 13% would attend a large event (87% would not).
  201. On Thursday, an AP-NORC poll found just 28% of Americans are getting information on the pandemic from Trump, including 47% of Republicans and 7% of Democrats, while 52% from their state or local government.
  202. The poll found 23% have high levels of trust in what Trump is telling the public, and another 21% trust him a moderate amount. Just 17% say Trump is disciplined and 24% say Trump cares about people like them.
  203. On Thursday, NYT reported researchers at Northeastern University found while on March 1 there were 23 confirmed cases, the actual number in five major cities was estimated to be 28,000.
  204. The virus had been spreading since early February. The estimate showed by March 1, New York City had an estimated 10,700 cases, San Francisco 9,300, Chicago 3,300, Seattle 2,300, and Boston 2,300.
  205. On Thursday, Cuomo said a state program that randomly tested customers at supermarkets for antibodies found 21% of 1,300 tested in NYC were positive, and 14% of 3,000 tested statewide were positive.
  206. If those percentages translated into infections, it would mean more than 1.7 million in NYC and 2.4 million statewide have been infected, a number much larger than the 250,000 reported cases based on testing.
  207. On Thursday, the White House said its coronavirus model maintained by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, updated Tuesday, showed no state should open before May 1, and then just Montana.
  208. The model showed on May 10, Alaska, Hawaii, North Carolina, Vermont and West Virginia could start to reopen. South Carolina and Georgia, which were set to reopen, should not open until June 5 and June 19.
  209. The model showed about half the states should remain closed until May 25 or later. IHME director Dr. Christopher Murray warned the timeline for relaxing social distancing measures should be slowed.
  210. On Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced her oldest brother died from coronavirus in Norman, Oklahoma on Tuesday night, about three weeks after testing positive. He was 86.
  211. On Thursday, standing on the House floor, Rep. Maxine Waters said, “I am going to take a moment to dedicate this legislation to my dear sister who is dying in a hospital in St. Louis…right now infected by the Coronavirus.”
  212. On Thursday, the FDNY Hispanic Society announced that Jay-Natalie La Santa, the daughter of an FDNY firefighter and Education Department worker, died of the coronavirus days shy of her 5-month birthday.
  213. On Thursday, the House voted 212-182 along party lines to create a panel to investigate coronavirus spending. The panel will have subpoena power and investigative authority to review federal spending.
  214. The panel will be a special investigatory subcommittee with seven Democrats and five Republicans to probe “efficiency, effectiveness, equity and transparency” of taxpayer funds used to respond to the crisis.
  215. On Thursday, WAPO reported the Treasury Department is considering taking unprecedented control over the U.S. Post Office by imposing tough terms on a proposed $10 billion relief loan.
  216. The move would fulfill Trump’s longtime goal of changing the way USPS does business. Trump has claimed USPS is exploited by e-commerce sites such as Amazon, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, who also owns WAPO.
  217. On Thursday, Fauci said in an interview that he is “not overly confident right now at all,” when it comes to coronavirus testing,” saying, “we’re getting better and better at it,” but not “where we want to be.”
  218. On Thursday, Politico reported Bright will soon file a whistleblower complaint. Bright will reportedly say Trump pushed for use of hydroxychloroquine “with limited physician oversight.”
  219. Bright argued the move was dangerous and pushed for more clinical trials, but under pressure from his superiors agreed to sign off on an emergency use authorization allowing the regime to acquire tens of millions of doses.
  220. On Thursday, House Energy and Commerce subcommittee Chair Anna Eshoo said she plans to hold hearings on Bright’s removal. Eshoo helped create BARDA, which Bright oversaw.
  221. Eshoo plans to call Sec. Azar and Bright’s boss, assistant secretary HHS Dr. Robert Kadlec. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone Jr. requested the HHS inspector general look into Bright’s removal.
  222. On Thursday, CNBC host Jim Cramer said Trump’s daily briefings are “unwatchable,” referring to them as “press conferences or shows,” adding, “you can’t tell whether things are great or things are catastrophic.”
  223. On Thursday, the Miami Herald reported the federal government took one million N95 masks bound for Miami-Dade County Emergency Management needed by first responders and front-line workers.
  224. The county said in a statement the masks “were in the process of being secured when the vendor notified MDFR that the product was no longer available.” The vendor said the federal government needed masks.
  225. On Friday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said at a press conference that the city’s order for PPE had been confiscated by FEMA and diverted to other U.S. cities and foreign countries like France.
  226. On Saturday, WAPO reported VA hospital workers said they had inadequate protective gear. VA health chief Richard Stone said he had “5 million masks incoming that disappeared.”
  227. Stone said FEMA directed vendors to send the supplies to the national stockpile, citing Trump invoking the Defense Productive Act to replenish supplies. Stone said some hospitals are operating at “austerity levels.”
  228. On Thursday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a preliminary injunction blocking Alabama’s Covid-19 abortion ban, saying abortion providers can perform abortions through the pandemic.
  229. On Friday, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision to block Tennessee’s attempt to restrict abortion access during the pandemic.
  230. On Thursday, Trump nominated Anthony Tata, a retired Army brigadier and frequent commentator on Fox News, as undersecretary of Defense for policy, replacing John Rood who was dismissed in February.
  231. On Thursday, CNN reported that Michael Caputo, the new spokesman for HHS appointed by Trump last week, made several racist comments about Chinese people in 1,300 deleted tweets from February through April.
  232. Caputo tweeted, “millions of Chinese suck the blood out of rabid bats as an appetizer and eat the ass out of anteaters,” and followed up with users, saying, “Don’t you have a bat to eat?” and “You’re very convincing, Wang.”
  233. Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported Caputo also sent anti-Semitic tweets, accusing George Soros and the Rothschild family of seeking to exploit the pandemic for control and to advance their agenda in several tweets.
  234. On Thursday, Politico reported a DHS memo warns of an increase in violent extremists mobilizing due to the pandemic, adding the threat could become more severe until the virus is contained and life resumes.
  235. The memo cites recent arrests of individuals threatening government facilities and elected officials over stay-at-home measures, which included an “anti-government extremist” who targeted New Mexico’s governor.
  236. On Thursday, at the daily briefing, Bill Bryan, head of DHS’ science and technology division, said research found Covid-19 does not live as long in warmer and more humid temperatures and “dies quickest in sunlight.”
  237. Trump mused to Bryan, “Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just a very powerful light, and I think you said that hasn’t been checked but you’re going to test it.”
  238. Trump added, “I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute…is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside…it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs.”
  239. Trump did not specify which kind of disinfectant, and Bryan said this is not the kind of work he does in his lab. Trump jumped in and added, “Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn’t work” — as he said about hydroxychloroquine.
  240. Trump then turned to Birx, and asked if she had ever heard about heat’s killing the virus. Birx said she had not heard of it “as a treatment.” Trump added to Birx, “I think it’s a great thing to look at.”
  241. Pressed by a WAPO reporter Philip Rucker on his statements, saying people turn to these briefings “to get information and guidance…not looking for rumors,” Trump responded, “I’m the president and you’re fake news.”
  242. When pressed by Rucker on why he stopped promoting hydroxychloroquine, Trump said, “I haven’t at all.” This is false: in the past three weeks he mentioned it more than a dozen time, this week only once.
  243. Shortly after, Trump’s disinfectant and UV radiation suggestions were widely condemned by experts, calling it “irresponsible,” and “dangerous,” and part of a pattern of pushing unproven medical treatments.
  244. On Thursday, NYT reported since the pandemic and lockdown, Trump arrives to the Oval Office as late as noon, usually in a sour mood from watching a marathon of Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC and tweeting.
  245. Trump wakes up as early as 5 a.m., and makes calls with the television on in the background. He is angry at how he is portrayed even on Fox News. He watches Cuomo daily to monitor for a compliment or snipe.
  246. The economy, which was viewed as his ticket to re-election, is imploding, Democrats have condemned his lack of empathy and incompetence, and Republicans view his daily briefings as long-winded and unproductive.
  247. Aides say Trump is obsessed with how his performance is portrayed in the media, and whether history will blame him. Trump looks forward to the daily briefings as a prime-time substitute for his campaign rallies.
  248. Trump is more sensitive to criticism than at any time while at office, and surrounds himself with handful of longtime aides including Hope Hicks, Johnny McEntee, Dan Scavino, and his new chief of staff Mark Meadows.
  249. Trump rarely attends task force briefings before the daily briefings. He plows through aides’ talking points then moves on to bully reporters. After, Trump watches television with aides over dinner to reassess his briefings.
  250. On Friday, the U.S. death toll surpassed 50,000. By late morning, nearly 51,000 were dead. In one month, more than 50,000 had died since 704 died March 24, which was also the first day more than one hundred died.
  251. On Friday, Reckitt Benckiser, the owner of Lysol, warned in a statement, “under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route).”
  252. On Friday, Reuters reported the FDA cautioned against the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in Covid-19 patients outside of hospitals and clinical trials, citing risks of serious heart rhythm problems.
  253. The FDA’s warning came the day after the European Union’s drug regulator came out with a similar warning, and urged medical professionals to closely monitor patients taking the drug.
  254. On Friday, the Twitter account for Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned Americans to “always talk to your health provider first before administering any treatment/medication to yourself or a loved one.”
  255. On Friday, the White House issued a statement saying Trump’s comments had been mischaracterized, saying he “has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment.”
  256.  White House press secretary McEnany added in the statement: “Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines.”
  257. On Friday, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency issued a warning to residents not to use disinfectant products to treat Covid-19 after receiving more than 100 calls to its hotline after Trump’s comments.
  258. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “Our Country wants to move safely forward. There is a tremendous pent up demand. We will open big!” It was unclear what he meant by “open big.”
  259. He also tweeted, “Getting VERY good reviews of the job the Federal Government is doing on CoronaVirus. Ventilators, building hospitals, beds and yes, Testing.” It was unclear who was giving reviews, but clearly this is false.
  260. Trump also sent a series of tweets, saying he had conversations with leaders and would send ventilators to Indonesia, El Salvador, Honduras, and Ecuador. It was unclear where the ventilators came from, or of the U.S. need.
  261. Trump also attacked AT&T’s CEO, who announced he was retiring, tweeting, “Great News! Randall Stephenson, the CEO of heavily indebted AT&T, which owns and presides over Fake News @CNN, is leaving.”
  262. Trump added, of Stephenson, “or was forced out. Anyone who lets a garbage “network” do and say the things that CNN does, should leave ASAP,” adding, “Hopefully replacement will be much better!”
  263. On Friday, Congress passed a $480 billion package to help small businesses and hospitals. Speaker Pelosi promised more relief for Americans, saying, “There will be a bill, and it will be expensive.”
  264. On Friday, when pressed by reporters at a ceremony to sign the fourth coronavirus aid package, Trump falsely claimed he was, “asking a question sarcastically to reporters” about disinfectant.
  265. He added, “I was asking a sarcastic and a very sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside. But it does kill it and it would kill it on the hands, and it would make things much better.”
  266. When asked if he took any responsibility for the 50,000 deaths so far, Trump said, “I think we’ve done a great job. As you know, minimal numbers were — minimal numbers — were going to 100,000 people.”
  267. Trump also said he would not support a $10 billion loan to the USPS, saying, “The Postal Service is a joke because they’re handing out packages for Amazon…every time they bring a package, they lose money on it.”
  268. Trump added it will be a “whole new ballgame” at the Postal Service. Trump said to Mnuchin, “If they don’t raise the price of the service… I’m not signing anything and I’m not authorizing you to do anything.”
  269. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “I will never let our Post Office fail,” adding, “It has been mismanaged for years, especially since the advent of the internet and modern-day technology” — pointing to online sellers.
  270. On Friday, NBC News reported that Trump’s disinfectant comments left aides shocked. He was supposed to say that disinfectants should be used on surfaces, but took it a step further and “totally ad-libbed.”
  271. Later Friday, the CDC issued a warning, tweeting, “Household cleaners and disinfectants can cause health problems when not used properly. Follow the instructions on the product label to ensure safe and effective use.”
  272. Later Friday, in a clip that will air Saturday on Fox News, Birx seemed to defend Trump, saying, “When he gets new information, he likes to talk that through out loud,” adding, “he was still digesting the information.”
  273. On Friday, Mnuchin said the Treasury Department is considering taking equity stakes in U.S. energy companies to help the nation’s oil and gas sector. Trump also urged Mnuchin to buy oil for later use.
  274. On Friday, Speaker Pelosi told MSNBC that the November elections “must” go on as scheduled, saying she hoped Republicans too would not support Trump attempting to delay them. Joe Biden expressed similar concerns.
  275. On Friday, thousands of protestors flooded Wisconsin’s capitol to protest its stay-at-home order, organized by business owners and right-wing groups. Some protestors stood close together, defying social distancing measures.
  276. On Friday, protestors in D.C. showed their disapproval over Trump’s handling of the pandemic by leaving body bags at the foot of Trump Hotel DC, representing the more than 50,000 already dead.
  277. On Friday, WAPO reported that Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller told White House supporters in a private call that Trump’s 60 day immigration order is part of a long-term vision to restrict immigration.
  278. On Friday, NYT reported the Navy recommended Capt. Brett Crozier be restored to command of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. There have been 856 positives cases on board. Defense Sec. Mark Esper will now decide.
  279. On Friday, at the daily briefing, Trump claimed, I’ve spoken to numerous leaders of countries over the last 48 hours, and they are saying we are leading the way. We are really leading the way in so many different ways.”
  280. Neither Fauci nor Birx attended — Birx for only the second time. Trump touted his successes with controlling the virus in the 21 minutes briefing, the shortest so far, then left without taking questions from reporters.
  281. Shortly after, Axios reported Trump plans to cut his daily briefings shorter. Trump’s trusted advisers have warned him he is overexposed, and the marathon appearances are part of the reason Biden is polling better.
  282. A decision has not yet been finalized. Aides say there is not enough material to talk about for long appearance, and the result is debacles like Trump going off script to talk about disinfectant.
  283. Later Friday, the NY Daily News reported NYC’s Poison Control Center managed a total of 30 cases of possible exposure to disinfectants between 9 p.m. Thursday and 3 p.m. Friday, shortly after Trump’s remarks.
  284. On Friday, NYT reported West Point will bring 1,000 cadets who had been sent home back to campus so Trump can deliver a commencement address in June. The move, given the campus’ proximity to NYC, is risky.
  285. Trump got the idea from Pence speaking at the Air Force Academy in Colorado last week. The Air Force sent home underclassmen, but locked down seniors on campus. The Naval Academy did a virtual graduation.
  286. On Saturday, NYT reported Republicans are nervous Trump, who is sinking in the polls with his erratic briefings and inadequate Covid-19 response, will cause the GOP to lose control of the Senate in November.
  287. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Just spoke to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia. His Country needs Ventilators, and the U.S. is in good position to help him. We will!” Again, it was unclear where Trump got these from.
  288. Trump added, “It is a wonderful feeling to know that our States are loaded up with Ventilators, many brand new….that we are able to help other countries,” and claiming, “Every person needing a Ventilator got one!”
  289. Trump also falsely claimed, “We have now Tested more than 5 Million People. That is more than any other country in the World.” More than 30 countries have tested a higher per capita rate than the U.S.
  290. Trump also tweeted, “The Do Nothing Democrats are spending much of their money on Fake Ads. I never said that the CoronaVirus is a “Hoax.”” He did call it the Democrats’ “new hoax” at a February 28 campaign rally.
  291. Trump added, “Also, it did start with “one person from China”, and then grew, & will be a “Miracle” end!” It was unclear what he meant by miracle.
  292. On Saturday, WSJ reported Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an unusual joint statement intended to commemorate the 75th anniversary of a meeting between American and Soviet troops in 1945.
  293. The broader intent was to underscore how the two nations could put their differences aside for a larger purpose. The statement stirred debate among the regime and sparked concern by some lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
  294. As the week came to a close, there were 2,858,489 worldwide cases and 200,698 dead from the coronavirus. The U.S. had 919,066 cases (32.1%), 52,100 deaths (26.0%), and a mortality rate of 5.7%.

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Copyright Amy Siskind, April 25, 2020

Cars line up for food at the Utah Food Bank’s mobile food pantry at the Maverik Center, Friday, April 24, 2020, in West Valley City, Utah. As coronavirus concerns continue, the need for assistance has increased, particularly at the Utah Food Bank