What Now?! – July 15, 2020

“The public spat unfolding this week between the White House and the nation’s respected top infectious disease specialist has vexed some allies of President Trump, whose visions for a highly focused reelection season have instead been replaced with unpopular fights and obscure fixations,” CNN reports.

“After outcry, the White House appeared to be recalibrating its approach to Dr. Anthony Fauci, who sat for a lengthy meeting with chief of staff Mark Meadows on Monday after White House officials questioned his record in a statement to reporters.”

“But with a little more than 100 days until November 3, the fight with Fauci illustrated what, to many supporters of Trump, has been a disturbing pattern: ill-timed battles with little evident public support that do nothing to define the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, articulate a rationale for another term in office or contain a pandemic that is both crippling the nation and dooming his reelection chances.”

A new White House-backed ad campaign aims to encourage people who are unemployed or unhappy in their jobs or careers to go out and “find something new,” the AP reports.

The campaign is being led by noted trust fund baby and future tenant of Leavenworth, Ivanka Trump.

CDC director Robert Redfield said that if everyone in the U.S. wore a mask, the coronavirus pandemic could be “under control” within four-to-eight weeks, Axios reports.

Said Redfield: “If we could get everybody to wear a mask right now I think in four, six, eight weeks we could bring this epidemic under control.”

“I do think the fall and the winter of 2020 and 2021 are going to be the probably one of the most difficult times that we experienced in American public health.” — CDC director Robert Redfield, quoted by CNN.

“The U.S. backed down from a high-profile confrontation with Harvard and MIT over visas for foreign students who take online-only classes, ending a tense standoff that could have sent thousands of students back to their home countries and left colleges scrambling to plan for the fall,” Bloomberg reports.

“The coronavirus pandemic stripped an estimated 5.4 million Americans of their health insurance between February and May, a stretch in which more adults became uninsured because of job losses than have ever lost coverage in a single year,” the New York Times reports.

“The Trump administration has ordered hospitals to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and, beginning on Wednesday, send all coronavirus patient information to a central database in Washington — a move that has alarmed public health experts who fear the data will be distorted for political gain,” the New York Times reports.

“From now on, HHS, and not the CDC, will collect daily reports about the patients that each hospital is treating, how many beds and ventilators are available, and other information vital to tracking the pandemic.”

“Retired Gen. Joseph Dunford, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, has withdrawn from consideration to lead a congressional commission tasked with overseeing the Trump administration’s implementation of a $500 billion coronavirus relief fund,” Politico reports.

It’s now gone four months without a permanent chair.

President Trump told CBS News the killing of George Floyd was “terrible” but appeared to bristle when asked why Black Americans are “still dying at the hands of law enforcement in this country.”

Said Trump: “So are White people. So are White people. What a terrible question to ask. So are White people. More White people, by the way. More White people.”

He also said the Confederate flag was a freedom of speech issue: “All I say is freedom of speech. It’s very simple. My attitude is freedom of speech. Very strong views on the Confederate flag. With me, it’s freedom of speech. Very simple. Like it, don’t like it, it’s freedom of speech.”

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) straight up told people to “kiss my ass” if they continue to oppose reopening schools for political reasons, Mediaitereports.

Said Kennedy: “Maybe they just hate America. Maybe they just enjoy watching the world burn. I think some are liking the chaos because they think it gives them a political advantage.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced he is expanding the list of states on a travel advisory, telling travelers from 22 states that they must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

The states are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

Delaware has been removed from the quarantine lists of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York.

“The House is planning to quickly revisit its effort to obtain President Trump’s personal financial records, urging the Supreme Court on Monday night to take its final formal steps on the matter so lawmakers can reignite the issue in the lower courts,” Politico reports.

“In a filing late Monday, the House’s top lawyer, Douglas Letter, urged the justices to immediately effectuate their July 9 ruling on the House’s subpoena for Trump’s records. Once the ruling is in force, the House can return to the U.S. District Court judge who initially heard the case and ask for renewed consideration.”

New York Times: “The resurgence of the virus, especially in states such as Texas, Florida and California that had begun to reopen, has introduced a far darker reality for many small businesses: Their temporary closures might become permanent.”

“Nearly 66,000 businesses have folded since March 1, according to data from Yelp, which provides a platform for local businesses to advertise their services and has been tracking announcements of closings posted on its site. From June 15 to June 29, the most recent period for which data is available, businesses were closing permanently at a higher rate than in the previous three months, Yelp found. During the same period, permanent closures increased by 3 percent overall, accounting for roughly 14 percent of total closures since March.”

“Researchers at Harvard believe the rates of business closures are likely to be even higher. They estimated that nearly 110,000 small businesses across the country had decided to shut down permanently between early March and early May, based on data collected in weekly surveys by Alignable, a social media network for small-business owners.”

Four former CDC directors write in the Washington Post:

“One of the many contributions the CDC provides our country is sound public health guidance that states and communities can adapt to their local context — expertise even more essential during a pandemic, when uncertainty is the norm. The four of us led the CDC over a period of more than 15 years, spanning Republican and Democratic administrations alike. We cannot recall over our collective tenure a single time when political pressure led to a change in the interpretation of scientific evidence.”

Carol Leonnig: “From Thursday to today, Trump apparently preferred to spend his time on other things.”

“He wiped away the prison sentence of his convicted political adviser Roger Stone and golfed two days in a row at his Trump National Golf Club on the banks of the Potomac River. The president sent out dozens of tweets, including some that threatened 10-year prison sentences for protesters who defile federal monuments and statues, defended his border wall, and congratulated his Fox News booster Sean Hannity for a ‘big night’ of viewer ratings on Thursday night, when Trump was his guest.”

“That behavior fits a pattern in Trump’s presidency in which the president seemingly has no interest in or patience for what he considers the boring work of governing, several of his former senior advisers say, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He was not fully engaged for the hard work of defusing the pandemic, including listening to panels of experts, sifting through scientific models and making hard choices to craft a whole-of-government response, an option not seriously considered.”

“Senior Trump administration officials have begun signaling their willingness to approve a narrow extension of the enhanced unemployment benefits helping tens of millions of jobless Americans hurt by the coronavirus pandemic,” the Washington Post reports.

“In less than two weeks, the federal program that provides a $600-per-week increase to unemployment benefits will expire. Many economists warn the disappearance of this enormous federal stimulus, created in March, could hinder the economic recovery and deprive millions of Americans of a vital financial lifeline.”

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

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