What Now?! – July 2, 2020

“Federal Reserve officials raised concerns about additional waves of coronavirus infections disrupting an economic recovery and triggering a new spike in unemployment and a worse economic downturn,” the Washington Post reports.

“Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell has repeatedly said that the path out of this recession will depend on containing the virus and giving Americans the confidence to resume normal work and spending habits. But the notes from the two-day meeting reveal how interconnected Fed officials view a prolonged economic recession with the pandemic’s continued spread — and why Powell often asserts that lawmakers will need to do more to carry millions of Americans out of this crisis.”

“I think we’re going to be very good with the coronavirus. I think at some point that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope… I do, I do. Yeah sure, at some point. And I think we’re going to have a vaccine very soon too.” — President Trump, in an interview with Fox News.

New York Times: “After weeks of a pandemic-induced contraction, the economy had begun rebounding faster than many economists expected from mid-April into June, as infection rates stabilized or fell across much of the country and the federal government injected trillions of dollars in the economy. States began to reopen, shoppers increased their spending and employers started to hire back furloughed workers.”

“But there were signs in late May and early June that the pace of recovery was beginning to slow, even before another wave of infections swept through states that had moved quickly to ease limits on public gatherings. In recent weeks, as that wave intensified, real-time economic data began to show the economy moving backward as rising infection fears spooked consumers.”

President Trump said painting “Black Lives Matter” on New York’s Fifth Avenue would be “a symbol of hate” and wind up “denigrating” the street outside of Trump Tower, the Washington Post reports.

“Trump’s comments, in morning tweets, were his latest volley directed at New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who last week ordered that the tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement be painted in large yellow letters in a move designed in part to antagonize the president.”

On February 27, the day the President’s Daily Brief reportedly included a mention of Russia paying bounties to kill coalition troops in Afghanistan, President Trump spent 45 minutes with the producers of a play dramatizing the text messages between Pete Strzok and Lisa Page, the Daily Beast reports.

President Trump claimed that reports about suspected Russian bounties on coalition forces in Afghanistan were a “hoax” meant to damage him politically.

Said Trump: “The Russia Bounty story is just another made up by Fake News tale that is told only to damage me and the Republican Party. The secret source probably does not even exist, just like the story itself. If the discredited New York Times has a source, reveal it. Just another HOAX!”

Associated Press: “They didn’t like it when then-candidate Donald Trump criticized John McCain for being captured in combat. They were angrier when Trump, as commander in chief, abandoned Kurdish allies in the Middle East. And they were upset again last month when he threatened to deploy troops against American protesters.”

“Trump’s relationship with the nation’s military community has been frequently strained. But just four months before the November election, reports that he either ignored, or was unaware of, a Russian plot to kill U.S. troops could intensify the tension and create new political risks.”

President Trump said that he’s “all for masks,” but doesn’t think the U.S. needs a national mandate for people to wear them during the coronavirus pandemic,  CNBC reports. Said Trump: “I don’t know if you need mandatory… But I’m all for masks, I think masks are good.”

Former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told CNBC that President Trump “probably should” urge Americana to wear masks to prevent spread of the coronovirus.

Said Mulvaney: “It would not hurt him… politically and it certainly wouldn’t hurt us economically.”

“Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the immediate removal of all Confederate statues on city land, saying he was using his emergency powers to speed up the healing process for the former capital of the Confederacy amid weeks of protests over police brutality and racial injustice,” the AP reports.

“The number of confirmed U.S. deaths due to the coronavirus is substantially lower than the true tally,” CNBC reports.

“The 781,000 total deaths in the United States in the three months through May 30 were about 122,300, or nearly 19% higher, than what would normally be expected, according to the researchers. Of the 122,300 excess deaths, 95,235 were attributed to Covid-19… Most of the rest of the excess deaths, researchers said, were likely related to or directly caused by the coronavirus.”

Playbook: “Well, here we are again. The question hanging over Washington is whether President Trump will veto the National Defense Authorization Act — the Pentagon policy bill that has been signed into law for 59 consecutive years.”

“At issue is whether the United States should consider stripping military bases of their Confederate namesakes. Trump says no. Congress looks like it will say yes, America should no longer honor these men. If it ends up in the bill — which it will — the president says he’ll veto it.”

“In other words, the president says he will side with deceased former Confederate generals over expected bipartisan majorities in the Congress.”

President Trump has told people in recent days that he regrets following Jared Kushner’s “political advice — including supporting criminal justice reform — and will stick closer to his own instincts,” Axios reports.

“One person who spoke with the president interpreted his thinking this way: ‘No more of Jared’s woke shit.’ Another said Trump has indicated that following Kushner’s advice has harmed him politically.”

“The sources said the president has resolved to stick to his instincts and jettison any policies that go against them, including ambitious police reform.”

Washington Post: “Nationwide, federal and local officials are reporting alarming spikes in drug overdoses — a hidden epidemic within the coronavirus pandemic. Emerging evidence suggests that the continued isolation, economic devastation and disruptions to the drug trade in recent months are fueling the surge.”

“The U.S. has bought up virtually all the stocks for the next three months of one of the two drugs proven to work against Covid-19, leaving none for the UK, Europe or most of the rest of the world,” the Guardian reports.

“Experts and campaigners are alarmed both by the U.S. unilateral action on remdesivir and the wider implications, for instance in the event of a vaccine becoming available. The Trump administration has already shown that it is prepared to outbid and outmaneuver all other countries to secure the medical supplies it needs for the U.S.”

“America is now home to almost 800 billionaires, a record high that accounts for more than a quarter of the world’s megarich,” Recode reports.

President Trump threatened to veto the defense authorization bill—unless a requirement in it to rename U.S. military bases that honor Confederate leaders is dropped, CNN reports.

The legislation funds the Pentagon and is often one of the few pieces of legislation that Congress can be counted on to pass each year in order to fund the country’s military operations.

Politico: “Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, senior adviser Jared Kushner, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and counselor to the president Hope Hicks are among the aides arguing against these regular sessions because they want to keep the White House focused on the path forward and the nascent economic recovery — without scaring too much of the country about a virus resurgence when infections are rising at different paces in different regions.”

“Other senior aides, as well as Vice President Mike Pence and his team, believe keeping Americans up-to-date about the nature of the outbreak is critical as the death toll rises. More than 126,000 people have perished in the U.S. due to the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the government’s own experts are warning of serious trouble ahead.”

Politico: “Criticizing Trump is not new for Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican. But she has increasingly called out Trump over his foreign policy decisions and leadership during the coronavirus crisis — a risky move in today’s GOP, where any break with Trump can fuel a primary challenge or nasty Twitter tirade from the president.”

“But Cheney’s found a balancing act that few Republicans have been able to achieve. And as the prospect of a post-Trump GOP begins to come into view, her relative independence from the president could position her for another rapid rise in party leadership.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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