The op-ed from Mick Mulvaney is also noteworthy because of how the former acting White House chief of staff previously dismissed reporting on coronavirus.
Mulvaney said in late Feburary, when he was still working at the White House, that reporters were only paying attention to the virus because “they think this is going to be what brings down the president.”
At the time, Mulvaney noted many reporters had been focused on the president’s impeachment trial in January, as the virus spread through China’s Wuhan region.
“The press was covering their hoax of the day because they thought it would bring down the president,” Mulvaney said. “The reason you’re seeing so much attention to [coronavirus] today is that they think this is going to be what brings down the president. That’s what this is all about.”
Trump’s former acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, has written a CNBC op-ed about the next coronavirus relief bill.
In the op-ed, Mulvaney argued any new aid had to be focused on addressing the public health concerns of the pandemic, which will in turn improve the economy.
“Put another way, the fact that people aren’t going on vacation probably has more to do with fear of getting sick than it does with their economic condition,” Mulvaney writes.
“Giving people a check, or some financial incentive to travel, won’t solve their problem. Make people feel safe to go back on an airplane or cruise ship, and they will of their own accord.
“Any stimulus should be directed at the root cause of our recession: dealing with Covid.”
Mulvaney goes on to specify some of the country’s current weaknesses in fighting the virus, including testing capacity. He noted his son and daughter both faced issues in trying to get tested and get results back quickly.
Mulvaney’s op-ed is notable considering it comes as his former boss has sought to downplay the current surge in new cases of coronavirus.
Trump has also recently pushed for schools to reopen this fall, even though his administration has sent mixed signals about how schools can safely reopen and many officials fear the spread of the virus in the classroom.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has announced she will hold a press briefing at 1 pm ET today.
The press secretary will almost certainly face a barrage of questions about the president’s decision to commute the sentence of his former associate, Roger Stone.
McEnany will also likely be pressed on the White House’s recent efforts to undercut the credibility of Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert.
This is Joan Greve in Washington, taking over for Martin Belam.
The White House is defending Trump’s highly controversial decision to commute the sentence of Roger Stone, the president’s former associate who had been convincted of obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller wrote an op-ed about the commutation over the weekend, defending his officie’s work in the case and saying Stone “remains a convicted felon, and rightly so”.
Asked about Mueller’s op-ed, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, “He had to come up with process crimes, which is exactly what was done in the case of Roger Stone.”
Trump’s decision to commute Stone’s sentences has attracted widespread criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.
Washington NFL team confirm name change
As expected, the Washington NFL franchise have formally announced that they will be retiring their racist nickname following a review.
More than a dozen Native American leaders and organisations wrote to the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, last week demanding an immediate end to Washington’s use of the name. The announcement says that they will be developing a new name and logo in due course.
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He is the US scientist who became the figurehead of attempts to combat the country’s coronavirus epidemic, described in some quarters as “America’s doctor”.
Now Dr Anthony Fauci appears sidelined by Donald Trump’s White House after repeatedly contradicting the president’s view about the effectiveness of the government response.
Described as driven and a workaholic, Fauci had found himself in the uncomfortable position of gently correcting Trump’s false or misleading statements for months.
My colleague Peter Beaumont has put together this profile of Fauci and what is going on with his relationship with the White House: Fauci sidelined as Trump’s White House steps up briefing campaign
It isn’t just at home that US coronavirus cases have been rising. Reuters are reporting that a high number of incidences of Covid-19 occurring at US bases in Japan is causing consternation for the locals.
A top Japanese official said on Monday that of the 62 individuals Okinawa prefecture confirmed had tested positive from Tuesday to Sunday, 39 were at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, 22 at Camp Hansen and one at Camp Kinser. Later on, TV Asahi said 32 more cases were confirmed at Futenma.
“We will cooperate appropriately on this matter,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news briefing. “Japan and the United States are sharing information about the activity history of the infected military individuals.”
Okinawa hosts the bulk of US military forces in Japan, whose alliance with Washington is central to its security. But many Okinawans associate the bases with problems from crime to accidents – and now coronavirus.
At the weekend, Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki said it was “extremely regrettable” that a large number of infections had occurred in a short time, adding that Okinawans were “shocked” by the news.
“I can’t help but have strong doubts about the US. military’s measures to prevent infections,” he said, adding that there were reports of personnel leaving bases for beach parties and visits to night life districts around Independence Day on 4 July.
On its Facebook page for Pacific bases, the Marine Corps said it was prohibiting off-base activity for all installations across Okinawa, except essential needs such as medical appointments approved by a commanding officer.
“We are trying to limit as much contact (with local people) as we can, as we look to contact tracing of infected personnel,” a US military spokesman said.
Excluding the bases, Okinawa’s infections stand at 148, with seven deaths.
One of the battles around reopening during the coronavirus pandemic has been over whether schools can go back in fall. Donald Trump and his White House administration are strongly urging them to open. Others are very much not sure that it is practical or safe.
Siva Vaidhyanathan has written for us this morning on how the country is not adequately prepared for reopening, even if there are groups who desperately need it to be done.
This is a crisis of conflicting needs. Parents need their children in school so they can do their jobs or care for sick or elderly relatives. Children need a decent education, access to nurses, nutritious meals, safety, friendship and mentorship. And teachers deserve to be able to do their jobs to the best of their ability, know that they are making a difference, and trust they are not endangering themselves or their loved ones.
Read it here: Siva Vaidhyanathan – America is not prepared for schools opening this fall. This will be bad
Former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has reacted to Donald Trump’s decision to retweet a claim that the CDC and doctors are lying about Covid-19. He put it quite simply: “Paranoia kills”
Trump earlier retweeted a message from from game show host Chuck Woolery claiming that among others, the CDC and “most” doctors were lying about the coronavirus in order to damage the economy and Trump’s election campaign.
It adds to a growing sense that faced with soaring coronavirus cases, and with increased rates of daily new cases in over 40 states, the president is retreating back to a view that the virus is a hoax intended to damage him, and that the medical advice being given is unsound.
Prof Peter Hotez, who had written earlier during the pandemic about the likelihood of politicians “turning on scientists as a deflection mechanism”, sees the attacks on Dr Anthony Fauci and the accusations of lying as being in line with Trump’s previous attitude towards China and the World Health Organization over the outbreak.
Yesterday an anonymous White House aide was briefing about concern that Fauci, one of the nation’s leading health experts, had made “mistakes”. Sources told Katherine Faulders and John Santucci at ABC News that “Fauci has at times been referred to among aides to president Donald Trump as ‘Dr. Gloom and Doom.’”
There’s yet more legal activity regarding Mary Trump’s book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.
There’s currently a temporary restraining order in place on the author, Trump’s niece, which is preventing her from promoting or giving interviews about the book at the moment – or in fact at all discussing her relationship with Robert S. Trump, Donald Trump, or Maryanne Trump Barry in public.
There was supposed to be a hearing about it all on Friday, but that was pushed back to today. We’re expecting a decision out of the New York State Supreme Court at some point today. In the meantime, she’s gagged.
Whatever happens in the court case, you should still be able to get your hands on the book tomorrow when Simon & Schuster now intend to publish, bringing it forward due to, they say, “high demand and extraordinary interest”. There’s some 600,000 copies printed.
You can, of course, read our review in advance. As Lloyd Green puts it: “It is score-settling time, Trump-style. Go big or go home. Few are spared.”
If Tamir was alive, he’d probably be doing something with sports. That little boy was so athletic at an early age. I’m not sure what kind of athlete he would have been. We didn’t really have a chance to have a lot of those conversations. He would be 18 and have graduated high school by now.
Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother, has spoken to ABC news about her life since her son was killed. Tamir Rice was 12 when he was shot dead by a white police officer in2014 while playing with a pellet gun outside a recreation center in Cleveland, Ohio.
Tamir is in high demand and I’m his voice, so that keeps me really busy in wanting to give back to the community with his foundation, and things that I’m doing with the platform that I have – the platform that America has provided me. They provided it for me because they murdered my son. I’m still being a mom, a grandmother and I’m always going to be fighting for police reform, dismantling the whole system.
You can read the full transcript of Rice’s words here: My 12-year-old son, Tamir Rice, was killed by police. I’m not allowed to be normal
Chris McGreal has been in Milwaukee for looking at one of the battleground states for November’s election – Wisconsin. Donald Trump won the state by just 23,000 votes in 2016, and his team opened an office in Milwaukee on Martin Luther King drive.
But the Trump campaign’s best laid plans to appeal to Black voters in the state have been disrupted by two huge changes to American life in the last couple of months. As McGreal puts it:
Covid-19 has shattered the illusion that Trump could take significant numbers of African American votes following his hostility to the Black Lives Matters movement in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic – which has had a disproportionate impact on communities of colour – has also been a factor.
In the piece, McGreal has been on the ground talking to local residents and politicians of both parties. It’s a good read about a state with a significant role to play in November.
Read it here: ‘He’s in trouble here’: can Trump win swing state Wisconsin again?
Reuters are reporting that two experimental coronavirus vaccines, jointly developed by German biotech firm BioNTech and US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer have received ‘fast track’ designation from the Food and Drug Administration.
The candidates, BNT162b1 and BNT162b2, are the most advanced of at least four vaccines being assessed by the companies in ongoing trials in the United States and Germany.
Earlier this month, the companies said BNT162b1 showed potential against the virus and was found to be well tolerated in early-stage human trials. Early data from the German trial of BNT162b1 are expected to be released in July, the companies said.
If the ongoing studies are successful, and the vaccine candidate receives regulatory approval, the companies said they expect to make up to 100 million doses by the end of this year and potentially more than 1.2 billion doses by 2021-end.
The companies said they expect to begin a large trial with up to 30,000 participants as soon as later this month, if they receive regulatory approval.
The fast track status by the FDA is granted to speed up the review of new drugs and vaccines that show the potential to address unmet medical needs.
Trump retweets claim that CDC and doctors are “lying” about coronavirus
Donald Trump has retweeted a claim that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the media, the Democratic party, and “most” doctors are “lying” about Covid-19.
The tweet from game show host Chuck Woolery was posted last night, and claims that the CDC and doctors are lying about coronavirus, alongside the media and Trump’s politicial opponents, in order to keep the economy from coming back and to damage the president’s re-election chances.
As a reminder, at the moment the US has more than 3.2 million total confirmed coronavirus cases, and 135,066 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracker.
My colleague Mario Koran has been reporting for us on the coronavirus situation in Imperial county, California. Over the last 14 days, the county’s infection rate was more than 588 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people – by far the highest in the state.
Not only has coronavirus infected a disproportionately high number of residents, Imperial county is also the state’s poorest. In 2018, 30% of its children lived in poverty, soaring above state and national averages. It comes in dead last on a ranking of county health indicators, which include rates of obesity, access to healthcare, and environmental pollution. Luis Olmedo, executive director of Comite Civico del Valle, said that taken together these factors make the county a Petri dish for disease.
You can read more here: ‘This is a war’: the coronavirus disaster in California’s hardest-hit – and poorest – county
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Police to investigate viral video of officer using knee-on-neck hold in Pennsylvania
Police in Allentown, Pennsylvania have issued a statement saying they are to investigate an incident which was filmed on Saturday by a passer-by and which went viral on social media.
The video shot on Saturday night from a passerby’s vehicle shows Allentown officers restraining a man on the ground outside the emergency room of the Sacred Heart Campus of St. Luke’s Hospital.
An officer has his elbow on the man’s neck before switching to a knee to hold him down, while other officers restrained his arms. The man does not appear to be resisting during the video.
The local Black Lives Matter group has demanded the force suspend the officers involved.
According to the police statement, officers were outside the hospital for an unrelated matter when they saw a man staggering in the street, vomiting and stopping in the driveway of the ER.
The officers and hospital staff interacted with the man, who began to yell and spit at them, police said. The statement said the man was “noncompliant which required officers to restrain” him. It’s unclear from the video how long the officer had his knee of the man’s neck.
The man was treated at the hospital and later released.
Allentown Mayor Ray O’Connell described the incident as “disturbing”, and protesters are planning another march to City Hall on Monday evening with community leaders slated as speakers.
China to impose sanctions on Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio among others
Reuters are reporting that China has announced “corresponding sanctions” against the US after the Trump administration penalised senior Chinese officials over the treatment of minority Uighur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang.
The sanctions target Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Rep. Chris Smith, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, and the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
Rubio and Cruz have both sponsored legislation that would punish China’s actions in Xinjiang. Smith has also been a vocal critic of China on issues ranging from Xinjiang to Hong Kong and the coronavirus.
China’s move comes as relations between the world’s two biggest economic powerhouses have slumped over disagreements on issues including the coronavirus pandemic, trade, Huawei and a sweeping national security law imposed on Hong Kong.
“The US actions seriously interfere in China’s internal affairs, seriously violate the basic norms of international relations and seriously damage Sino-US relations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.
“China will make further responses based on how the situation develops.”
Hua did not elaborate.
UN experts and activists say at least a million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centres in Xinjiang. China denies this, and describes them as training centres helping to stamp out terrorism and extremism and give people new skills.
Several news outlets are reporting the political attack on Dr Anthony Fauci, saying that a White House official released a statement saying that “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.”
The statement then went on to list a number of things that Fauci said early on in the coronavirus outbreak that were either proved not to be true by further scientific discovery, or which Fauci has changed his position on. It resembled the kind of opposition research you would more usually do on a political opponent, rather than one of your chief medical experts.
Donald Trump himself directly criticised Fauci on television last week, saying “Dr. Fauci is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes”
A couple of days ago Fauci revealed that he had not briefed the president in two months. Trump is unable to directly fire Fauci.
The anonymous White House aide criticised Fauci for suggesting that people with no symptoms were unlikely to play a significant role in spreading the virus, and his public statement in February as the US was experiencing its earliest cases that “at this moment, there is no need to change anything that you’re doing on a day-by-day basis.”
According to the Washington Post, Fauci was supposed to make several media appearances towards the end of last week which were cancelled by the White House.
Good morning, welcome to our live coverage of US politics and the coronavirus crisis. Here’s a quick run-through of the key points from yesterday and overnight, and a little bit of what we can expect today.
I’m Martin Belam, I’ll be with you for the next few hours. You can send me tips and suggestions and get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org