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National News

    It’s the day care dilemma central to rebooting American life amid the coronavirus pandemic. With social distancing unlikely among babies and toddlers, parents of young children across the country are debating the health and safety risks inherent in child care centers, and weighing what few alternatives they have to balancing family and work. “The virus is on my mind all the time with my kids,” said Demi Deshazior, a doctor’s assistant at a clinic in Miami, who is agonizing over whether it’s safe to put her newborn and 2-year-old son in day care. “Maybe it will work out and the kids will be healthy and safe but there is always that ’what if?” Many states have issued new health and safety guidelines for licensed providers meant to help minimize infection risks. There are precautions being ordered or suggested for everything from nap time (space kids further apart) and meal times (no communal food sharing), to pick-up and drop-off (curbside). Soft toys that can’t be easily cleaned are out. Plexiglass to partition play areas are in. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also urging child care providers to have caretakers wear masks and other personal protective equipment, clean and sanitize all surfaces more vigilantly, and screen kids and teachers with temperature checks. And though young children have largely been spared of the worst of COVID-19, a rare and serious inflammatory condition in children that’s linked to the coronavirus has reinforced the anxiety many parents have because so much is uncertain about the virus. Dr. Danette Glassy, an American Academy of Pediatrics expert who has helped set the national health and safety standards for child care and early education programs, said parents must take stock of the specific risk factors in their family, such as underlying health conditions like diabetes and exposure to high-risk grandparents, and their personal risk tolerance. For the latter, what’s most important is for parents to be informed about how their day care will adapt to new protocols, and to understand that the relative risk for children to become sick enough to require hospitalization or die are low to negligible. “It’s not without risks,” Glassy said of group child care. “Nothing is except inside your home, but the risk can be very low if they’re following these guidelines.” For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover. Will Gee, 39, an attorney in D.C. who is currently unemployed, said he and his wife decided to send their 3-year-old daughter back to day care. The father was struggling to care for her and an older brother, and he needed time to look for a new job and trusted their child care center to be responsible with new protocols. “I was just really holding on by fingertips and it felt -- once you know there was another option out there -- it didn’t feel sustainable,” Gee said. On the first day, Gee’s daughter, Sloane, was one of the five kids who returned to Petit Scholars in D.C., a child care program that normally cares for 100 children across three campuses, according to owner Lashada Ham-Campbell. With enrollment capacity cut in half to minimize exposure, Ham-Campbell said she’s been on a mad hunt for plexiglass to help further divide her centers’ spaces. “We are a mandated mask-wearing city, so everywhere you go, you’re aware the virus is here,” Ham-Campbell said. Emily Oster, a Brown University economics professor and parenting book author, said each family’s calculus will be different but that the first step to making the decision on day care is to frame their specific choices -- for example: to go back or lose their job, or to go back in two weeks versus two months. “A lot of people were stuck on ‘Should I go back?’ -- which is a question that seems like a question of yes or no, but it was hard for people to conceptualize because there’s an infinite number of things to think about,” Oster said. And for some, it’s not much of a choice, particularly among essential workers, those who aren’t able to work from home and those who can’t afford to take time off. Emma Robinson, a pharmacist at a Seattle hospital, figured her child care center was no more risky than her job as an essential health care worker. The 42-year-old and her husband decided to keep their 2-year-old son, Tristan, in day care. “I think there’s just also the fatigue of trying to do everything perfectly and worrying about everything,” Robinson said. _____ AP writer Alexandra Olson contributed from New York. ______ Follow Sally Ho at https://twitter.com/_sallyho
  • The manned SpaceX docked with the International Space Station on Sunday morning, a day after the rocket lifted off and sent two astronauts into space for the first time from the U.S. in almost a decade. Veteran astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken flew in the first launch of astronauts by a private company, docking at 10:16 a.m. EDT 18 hours, 58 minutes after Saturday’s launch. Before opening the hatch and entering the station, Behnken and Hurley will conduct a series of pressure and leak checks to ensure their safety. Then they will join NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and two Russian cosmonauts aboard the station, The Washington Post reported. The spacecraft made its rendezvous with the space station, which was traveling in an orbit at 17,500 mph, the newspaper reported. The mission went smoothly, ground officials said, after Saturday’s launch was witnessed by a crowd that included President Donald Trump.
  • Nations around the world have watched in horror at the five days of civil unrest in the United States following the death of a black man being detained by police. But they have not been surprised. Racism-tinged events no longer startle even America’s closest allies, though many have watched coverage of the often-violent protests with growing unease. Burning cars and riot police in the U.S. featured on newspaper front pages around the globe Sunday — bumping news of the COVID-19 pandemic to second-tier status in some places. George Floyd died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck. It was the latest in a series of deaths of black men and women at the hands of police in America. Thousands gathered in central London on Sunday to offer support for American demonstrators. Chanting 'No justice! No peace!' and waving placards with the words “How many more?” at Trafalgar Square, the protesters ignored U.K. government rules banning crowds because of the pandemic. Police didn't stop them. Demonstrators then marched to the U.S. Embassy, where a long line of officers surrounded the building. Several hundred milled around in the street and waved placards. Protesters in Denmark also converged on the U.S. Embassy on Sunday. Participants carried placards with messages such as “Stop Killing Black People.” The U.S. Embassy in Berlin was the scene of protests on Saturday under the motto: “Justice for George Floyd.” Several hundred more people took to the streets Sunday in the capital’s Kreuzberg area, carrying signs with slogans like “Silence is Violence,” “Hold Cops Accountable,” and “Who Do You Call When Police Murder?” No incidents were reported. Germany’s top-selling Bild newspaper on Sunday carried the sensational headline “This killer-cop set America ablaze” with an arrow pointing to a photo of now-fired police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with third-degree murder in Floyd’s death, with his knee on Floyd’s neck. The newspaper’s story reported “scenes like out of a civil war.' In Italy, the Corriere della Sera newspaper's senior U.S. correspondent Massimo Gaggi wrote that the reaction to Floyd’s killing was “different” than previous cases of black Americans killed by police and the ensuring violence. “There are exasperated black movements that no longer preach nonviolent resistance,” Gaggi wrote, noting the Minnesota governor’s warning that “anarchist and white supremacy groups are trying to fuel the chaos.'' In countries with authoritarian governments, state-controlled media have been highlighting the chaos and violence of the U.S. demonstrations, in part to undermine American officials’ criticism of their own nations. In China, the protests are being viewed through the prism of U.S. government criticism of China's crackdown on anti-government protests in Hong Kong. Hu Xijin, the editor of the state-owned Global Times newspaper, tweeted that U.S. officials can now see protests out their own windows: “I want to ask Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Pompeo: Should Beijing support protests in the U.S., like you glorified rioters in Hong Kong?” Hua Chunying, a Chinese Foreign ministry spokeswoman, pointed out America's racial unrest by tweeting “I can't breathe,” which Floyd said before his death. In Iran, which has violently put down nationwide demonstrations by killing hundreds, arresting thousands and disrupting internet access to the outside world, state television has repeatedly aired images of the U.S. unrest. One TV anchor discussed “a horrible scene from New York, where police attacked protesters.” Another state TV message accused U.S. police agencies in Washington of “setting fire to cars and attacking protesters,” without offering any evidence. Russia accused the United States of “systemic problems in the human rights sphere.'' “This incident is far from the first in a series of lawless conduct and unjustified violence from U.S. law enforcement,’’ the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “American police commit such high-profile crimes all too often.’’ There also have been expressions of solidarity with the demonstrators. Over the weekend, Lebanese anti-government protesters flooded social media with tweets sympathetic to U.S. protesters, using the hashtag #Americarevolts. That's a play on the slogan for Lebanon’s protest movement — Lebanon revolts — which erupted on Oct. 17 last year. Within 24 hours, the hashtag #Americanrevolts became the No. 1 trending tag in Lebanon. In another expression of solidarity with American protesters, about 150 people marched through central Jerusalem on Saturday to protest the shooting death by Israeli police of an unarmed, autistic Palestinian man earlier in the day. Israeli police mistakenly suspected that the man, Iyad Halak, was carrying a weapon. When he failed to obey orders to stop, officers opened fire. ___ Associated Press Writers David Rising in Berlin, Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Frances D'Emilio in Rome, Zeina Karam in Beirut, Tia Goldenberg in Jerusalem, Ken Moritsugu in Beijing, Jari Tanner in Helsinki, Finland, and Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed to this report. ___ Follow the AP's latest news about racial protests in the U.S. at https://apnews.com/GeorgeFloyd
  • For Jack Greenwood, New Orleans' COVID-19 lockdowns brought sadness, but also a revelation: He was making more acquaintances with fellow residents — people he might not have noticed before tourism dried up in the French Quarter. “I've seen and met more neighbors now than ever before,” said Greenwood, who has lived in the Quarter for more than two years. “When there's a normal amount of tourists in town, people's faces can kind of get lost in the crowd.” The absence of tourists — and the impending reopening of many of the attractions that draw them — have also led French Quarter inhabitants to reflect on the neighborhood's sometimes precarious balance between the interests of businesses and residents. Some feel that prior to the pandemic, that balance had tilted too far in favor of commerce, putting the quarter's unique character at risk. The French Quarter is the 300-year-old historic heart of New Orleans. First settled in the 1700s, ravaged by fire twice, it is 13 blocks long and roughly six blocks wide. It is best known as a tourist spot and commercial district where fine restaurants, antique shops and art galleries coexist alongside tacky T-shirt shops, strip joints and bars blasting live music by cover bands. But it is also a neighborhood. And for residents, the same coronavirus closures that have shut down favorite restaurants and neighborhood bars have also brought a welcome respite from snarled traffic on narrow streets, all-hours music and noisy late-night stragglers from Bourbon Street. Chad Pellerin, a retired attorney and a resident of the quarter for 50 years, sometimes delights in tourists. She said she has invited out-of-town visitors to get a look inside the late 19th century Victorian “double” (side-by-side residences in one building) she inherited from her aunt. But she doesn't appreciate the belligerent drunks who keep her up at night and leave behind garbage — sometimes human waste. “I can't tell you the number of times where I've opened the door and people are having a party on the front steps, at 3 or 4 in the morning,” Pellerin said, sitting in the living room of her home not far from Bourbon Street. And when she asks them to move? “They cuss me out.” Nathan Chapman, another longtime resident, knows the current peace and quiet comes at a cost. “People are genuinely suffering and scared,” Chapman said. “There's a lot of small businesses that are closed.” On the other hand, he said the quarter, quelled by the quarantine, 'feels like an old neighborhood again.” Gone — for now — are the “screaming bachelorettes drunkenly singing as they pass by,” he said, and the all-hours “ghost tours:' guides taking advantage of the after-dark atmospherics to lead enthralled visitors through narrow streets as they recount legends of hauntings. Others want the tourists back. Kari Mote, who lives in the nearby Bywater neighborhood, is a waitress who lost her job at a French Quarter restaurant when the state shut down on-site dining. She acknowledges the mess left behind by drunks in the historic neighborhood but says, “Everybody knows it's the deal if they live in the quarter.” New Orleans recently began easing social distancing restrictions ordered weeks ago to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. Establishments with state health department food permits have begun limited on-premises dining. But bars without food permits remain closed and stretches of Bourbon Street and other entertainment-centric thoroughfares remain largely boarded up. It provides a bittersweet scenario for Chapman, who said he's made it a point to get out and walk the streets in the evening: Bourbon Street (named for a French royal family, not whiskey) and the parallel Decatur Street, near the French Market and the Mississippi River. Both are lined with bars and restaurants. “It was quiet. And there was a beauty in that way,” Chapman said. “But it was also haunting because just so many places were boarded up.” The quiet has been a balm for those who feel the quarter has simply become too commercial over the past 30 years. Pellerin, witness to years of legal and political battles over noise ordinances and other quality of life issues, said she had seen signs of progress before the shutdowns, including a move by the city to crack down on short-term vacation rentals. As the French Quarter slowly reawakens, Pellerin hopes city leaders resist the urge to relax such regulations or loosen noise limits in an effort to increase commerce and tax revenue. She also wants city officials and tourism promoters to convey a message to visitors: “That this is a residential and a commercial area and an entertainment zone. ... There's always been a balance of us getting along with each other.”
  • The manned SpaceX docked with the International Space Center on Sunday morning, a day after the rocket lifted off and sent two astronauts into space for the first time from the U.S. in almost a decade. Veteran astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken flew in the first launch of astronauts by a private company, docking at 10:16 a.m. EDT 18 hours, 58 minutes after Saturday’s launch. Before opening the hatch and entering the station, Behnken and Hurley will conduct a series of pressure and leak checks to ensure their safety. Then they will join NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and two Russian cosmonauts aboard the station, The Washington Post reported. The spacecraft made its rendezvous with the space station, which was traveling in an orbit at 17,500 mph, the newspaper reported. The mission went smoothly, ground officials said, after Saturday’s launch was witnessed by a crowd that included President Donald Trump.
  • Many states have yet to spend the federal funding they received more than a month ago to help with soaring costs related to the coronavirus crisis, complicating governors' arguments that they need hundreds of billions more from U.S. taxpayers. The Associated Press reviewed plans from governors or lawmakers on how they plan to use the money from the coronavirus relief bill and found that at least a dozen states have started distributing the money. But far more have not. The reasons vary. Some governors want permission to use the federal aid to plug budget holes after business closures and stay-at-home orders eroded the tax revenue that pays for government operations. Others are holding back because they fear a resurgence of the virus could mean another wave of expenses. And in other states, governors and lawmakers are wrestling over who controls the spending decisions “If I knew today that another billion dollars was coming to Rhode Island to help solve our budget deficit, I’d spend the $1.25 billion now,” Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said about the state's portion of the money. Of other states that have started spending the aid, she said: “They’re taking a gamble, and I’m just not ready to do that yet.” Congress approved $150 billion for state and local governments in late March as part of a $2.2 trillion response to the virus outbreak, and the money was distributed within a month. In May, the House approved an additional $3 trillion aid package, with nearly a third of that dedicated to state and local governments. Republicans say it's too much and want to move slowly in the Senate, preferring to see how states spend the first batch of money. “We need to slow down a little bit here, see what works best in the CARES Act, see what mistakes were made, weigh the consequences of having debt this size in terms of the future of our country and then cautiously make a decision about whether there should be another bill,' Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this past week at a news conference in his home state of Kentucky. On a call with governors, Vice President Mike Pence said a majority of states had not yet sent money to cities and counties, some of which had to furlough staff as tax revenue dropped sharply. He encouraged them “with great respect” to get money out the door. The AP survey found that at least 32 states are considering sharing a portion of the federal aid with local governments. Governors say more federal help is important because they need to approve balanced budgets before the start of the fiscal year, which for most is July 1. Several states — including California, the most populous — are projecting deficits equal to about 20% of the budgets they proposed before the virus took hold. They’re warning about deep cuts to K-12 education and other core services, as well as layoffs, furloughs or pay cuts for state workers. Congress intended for the money to primarily address governments’ rising costs to respond to the virus outbreak. U.S. Treasury Department guidance says states must use most of it for that purpose, not to make up for lost tax revenue. The limits were one reason Alabama lawmakers scrapped a proposal to use some of their funding to build a new Capitol building. “The number one priority is to use the money for revenue replacement,” said Tennessee Finance and Administration Commissioner Butch Eley, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Bill Lee. ”But that’s not permitted at this time.” In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey said he’s giving local governments leeway on how they spend their allocations. “I don’t like it when the federal government makes governors stand in line and beg, ‘Mother may I?’” the Republican said during a discussion with mayors this week. “And I don’t want to do that to our local leaders, either.” Some states are using part of their federal aid as reimbursement for the costs of coronavirus testing, contact tracing and other health-related costs of the pandemic. Others have plans to replenish fast-depleting unemployment insurance funds, buy more laptops so government employees can work remotely and help schools cover the costs of holding classes online. Arkansas and North Dakota have considered using the federal money for hazard pay for front-line workers. North Carolina and Wyoming are using it to start grant or loan programs for businesses. Other states, including New Jersey and Colorado, plan to use it for rental, mortgage or utility assistance. In some states, such as Texas and Florida, spending decisions aren't being made quickly because the legislatures are out of session. Idaho is holding on to $800 million, or nearly two-thirds of its $1.2 billion allocation, in case of a future wave of coronavirus cases. Elsewhere, how the money is being spent — or even who gets to decide — has created a rift. The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities blasted Gov. Ned Lamont for using $2 million to pay a consultant for reopening plans while taking longer to send money to cities and counties. Lamont, a Democrat, said help is on the way. Lawmakers and governors in several states are arguing over who controls the money. In New Hampshire, the disagreement led to a lawsuit. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, said he had the authority to spend the $1.2 billion under a 40-year-old state law. Lawmakers, including the GOP leaders, said the state Constitution gives them spending power. They eventually agreed to cooperate. Since then, Reeves signed a bill adopted by lawmakers that will allocate $300 million to small businesses. ___ Associated Press statehouse reporters across the U.S. contributed to this article. ___ Follow Mulvihill at http://www.twitter.com/geoffmulvihill.
  • SpaceX’s astronaut-riding Dragon capsule approached the International Space Station on Sunday, just hours after a historic liftoff from Florida. NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken reported that the capsule was performing beautifully, as they closed in for the docking. The gleaming white capsule was easily visible from the station, its nose cone open exposing its docking hook, as the two spacecraft zoomed a few miles apart above the Atlantic, then Africa, then Asia. It's the first time a privately built and owned spacecraft is carrying crew to the orbiting lab. Hurley, the Dragon’s commander, prepared to take manual control for a brief test, then shift the capsule into automatic for the linkup, 19 hours after liftoff. In case of a problem, the astronauts slipped back into their pressurized launch suits for the docking. The three space station residents trained cameras on the incoming capsule for flight controllers at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, as well as NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. SpaceX launched the Dragon from Kennedy Space Center on Saturday afternoon, the first astronaut launch to orbit from the U.S. in nearly a decade. Thousands jammed surrounding beaches, bridges and towns to watch as Elon Musk's company ended a nine-year launch drought for NASA in spectacular fashion. SpaceX and NASA officials were holding off on any celebrations until after Sunday's docking — and possibly not until the two astronauts are back on Earth sometime this summer. In a show-and-tell earlier Sunday morning, the astronauts gave a quick tour of the Dragon's sparkling clean insides, quite spacious for a capsule. They said the liftoff was pretty bumpy and dynamic, nothing the simulators could have mimicked. The blue sequined dinosaur accompanying them — their young sons' toy, named Tremor — was also in good shape, Behnken assured viewers. Tremor was going to join Earthy, a plush globe delivered on last year's test flight of a crew-less crew Dragon. Behnken said both toys would return to Earth with them at mission's end. NASA has yet to decide how long Hurley and Behnken will spend at the space station, somewhere between one and four months. While they're there, the Dragon test pilots will join the one U.S. and two Russian space station residents, doing experiments and possibly spacewalks to install fresh station batteries. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • Protests and demonstrations have led to violence in at least 30 cities across the United States in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis. Floyd, 46, died after he was detained for questioning regarding a possible forgery in progress. Video of his death caught by bystanders showed a Minneapolis police officer, identified as Derek Chauvin, holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for more than five minutes as Floyd pleaded for air, sparking outrage. As of Sunday, at least 25 cities across 16 states have imposed curfews. Live updates continue below: Computers in Minnesota attacked, governor says Update 12:23 p.m. EDT May 31: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said state computers were attacked Saturday. “Before our operation kicked off last night, a very sophisticated denial of service attack on all state computers was executed,” Walz said during a news conference.. “That’s not somebody sitting in their basement,” Walz said.. 41 arrested after protests in Tampa Update 12:16 p.m. EDT May 31: Jane Castor, the mayor of Tampa, Florida, and police Chief Brian Dugan went on Facebook Live on Sunday morning to tell peaceful protestors to stay home after 41 people were arrested Saturday night. “It’s a different tone right now,” Dugan said. “As the day went on, you could see the tensions start to rise. You can see the peaceful protesters go home and then start to see people who didn’t have the best intentions.” Castor called the violence 'shameful” and “heartbreaking for our community,” the Tampa Bay Times reported. “It did not reflect our community and the values we share,” Castor said. “What I saw last night happens in other cities, it does not happen in Tampa.” “Make no mistake, there are systematic issues that need to be addressed. We share your anger over the death of George Floyd and the hopes and expectations of tomorrow,” Castor said. “But this behavior solves nothing. Solutions take time.” St. Paul mayor seeks 'peace, not patience’ Update 11:46 a.m. EDT May 31: Melvin Carter, the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, said his city did not need military assistance to restore order in his city, but rather to receive assurances that someone would be held accountable in the death of George Floyd on Monday, The New York Times reported. On CNN’s “State of the Union” program, Carter called for “peace, not patience,' adding that the video of Floyd’s death was “disgusting” and “unacceptable.” “When all of humanity can look at this video and say ‘That’s disgusting, that’s unacceptable,’ and yet somehow we have four officers in the video, three of whom sat there and either helped hold Mr. Floyd down or stood guard over the scene while it happened, that is an incredible insult to humanity,” Flouyd said. Carter, whose father is a retired St. Paul police officer, rejected the theory that Floyd’s death was an isolated incident. “When you have four officers all involved in taking George Floyd’s life, it points to a normalized culture that’s accepted,' Carter said. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Racism is 'like dust in the air’ Update 11:17 a.m. EDT May 31: Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar writing an op-ed piece in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times, said racism in America was “like dust in the air.” “It seems invisible -- even if you’re choking on it -- until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. Abdul-Jabbar said he did not want to see looting and buildings being burned, but added that “African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer.” “What I want to see is not a rush to judgment, but a rush to justice,” he wrote. Minnesota governor apologizes to journalists Update 11:04 a.m. EDT May 31: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz apologized to journalistsafter they were detained Saturday night. “I want to once again extend my deepest apologies, to the journalists who were once again in the middle of this situation were inadvertently, but nevertheless, detained, to them personally and in to the news organizations and to journalists everywhere,” Walz said at a news conference Sunday. “It is unacceptable. I said when it happened the other day when I failed you,' Walz said. “I have to do better, I continue to need to do and send that message. I take full responsibility for that.” United Daughters of Confederacy headquarters set on fire Update 9:33 a.m. EDT May 31: The headquarters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was set on fire in Richmond, Virginia, early Sunday, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Nine fire trucks and a police line three blocks long worked to put out the fire. Graffiti covered much of the building’s facade, with some obscenities sprayed on the walls. the newspaper. The word “abolition” was sprayed on the front steps. NYC protests net more than 340 arrests Update 9:17 a.m. EDT May 31: More than 340 people were arrested in protests held across New York City over the past 24 hours, CNN reported. At least 33 officers were injured during the protest, some of them seriously, a New York Police Department official told the cable network. Nearly 48 police vehicles were damaged or destroyed. Fox News urges Trump to give national address Update 8:39 a.m. EDT May 31: Fox News host Griff Jenkins urged President Donald Trump to address the nation as chaotic protests continued into Sunday morning following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. “I really believe it is time for President Trump to do an Oval Office address,” Jenkins said on “Fox and Friends Sunday.” “Remember George H.W. Bush’s address after the (Los Angeles) riots was one, by many political analysts’ reckoning, one of the most effective of his presidency,” Jenkins said. Bush addressed the nation on May 1, 1992, after Los Angeles Police officers were acquitted in the beating of Rodney King, The Washington Post reported. The acquittal sparked riots in Los Angeles. Target closes down 175 stores nationwide Update 7:18 a.m. EDT May 31: Target has temporarily closed 175 stores across the United States because of the nationwide protests. 'Our focus will remain on our team members’ safety and helping our community heal,' the retailer said in a statement. Target, based in Minneapolis, closed 71 stores In Minnesota, 49 in California, 12 in New York, while others were closed in various locations nationwide. Cars burned, stores looted in Seattle Update 6:36 a.m. EDT May 31: After several hours of peaceful gatherings and marches by thousands of people in Seattle protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Seattle police said the crowd turned violent, throwing bottles and Molotov cocktails, setting fires, breaking windows and looting businesses in the downtown core. The damage stretched several city blocks, KIRO-TV reported Seattle police said multiple officers and citizens were injured when the violence broke out late Saturday afternoon. Seattle police Chief Carmen Best said so far, 27 people were arrested for a variety of offenses including assault, arson, destruction and looting. Ferguson Police Department building damaged Update 1:53 a.m. EDT May 31: The police department in Ferguson, Missouri was damaged and all non-essestial personnel were evacuated, according to a tweet by the St. Louis County Police Department. Multiple shootings in Indianapolis; 1 person killed Update 1:26 a.m. EDT May 31: At least three people were reported shot and one person was killed during protests in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday night, Indianapolis Police Chief Randal Taylor said in a news conference. A police officer also sustained minor injuries tonight, Taylor said. Taylor told residents to go home. “If you’re still down here tonight you are more than likely into something that you shouldn’t be and we want you to go home,” Taylor said. Stores looted, gas station set on fire in Florida Update 12:23 a.m. EDT May 31: Protesters looted stores, blocked roads and set a gas station on fire in Tampa. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said at least three protesters were arrested near University Mall where looters broke into nearby businesses and stole merchandise, WFTS reported. Deputies used tear gas to keep demonstrators from entering the mall. “While we support everyone’s right to assemble, rioting, looting and vandalizing is unacceptable. We will be on the streets as long as needed in order to keep the protesters and those around them safe, however, we are asking that everyone respect their fellow citizens and the property of others. Anything less is unacceptable.” A gas station was also set on fire but firefighters were able to get the blaze under control before it reached the pumps.
  • Target temporarily closed down 175 of its stores as a result of the protests nationwide over the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd. As protests have sparked anger, looting and clashes between demonstrators and police, the retail giant announced the closures in a news release Saturday night. “We are heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain it is causing communities across the country,” the Minneapolis-based company said. “Our focus will remain on our team members’ safety and helping our community heal.' Target announced that 71 of the stores closing will be in Minnesota, which has been the epicenter of protests. An additional 49 were closed in California, 12 were shuttered in New York, and the remainder were closed in various locations. The store said employees impacted by store closures will be paid for up to 14 days of scheduled hours during the closures. That includes coronavirus premium pay, Target said in its statement. Read the full list of closures here.
  • More Republican women than ever are seeking House seats this year thanks to a reenergized recruitment effort after their limited ranks in Congress diminished even further in the 2018 election. But any gains in November could be modest. Many of these roughly 200 candidates are running in safe Democratic districts. In friendlier Republican territory, some have struggled to win primaries and are facing long-standing challenges, including fundraising, that the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated. That's left some of these women questioning their party's commitment to the effort and warning about longer-term effects. “If you don’t have a Republican woman running in a winnable seat, it doesn’t really matter,” said Julie Conway, a Republican consultant who leads the Value In Empowering Women PAC, which supports GOP women for federal office. Some Republicans fear that failing to elect more women will hurt the party as female voters increasingly are supporting Democrats. That shift, particularly in suburban areas, helped Democrats pick up enough seats to win control of the House in 2018, and will be a critical factor as Republicans try to win back the chamber this fall. National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Michael McAdams noted that more than half of the party’s 21 “Young Guns” — candidates running in the most competitive districts — are women. They include Genevieve Collins, a Dallas businesswoman who defeated four men in the GOP primary to face Democratic Rep. Colin Allred. The next test comes Tuesday in states such as Indiana, where Republican Rep. Susan Brooks — one of 13 Republican women in the House — is retiring. With more than a dozen candidates vying for the GOP nomination, there’s no guarantee a woman will win or be able to hold the seat if she does. Democrats have been eyeing the district, which includes parts of Indianapolis and its fast-growing suburbs, as a potential pickup, due largely to the suburban women who have turned against President Donald Trump and the GOP. The likely Democratic nominee is Christina Hale, a former state lawmaker. Republican women have always had a tougher time winning office. The party has eschewed identity politics, operating more as a meritocracy that believes the best candidate will rise to the top, said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University. Voters often perceive women as less conservative than men, and particularly in the South, voters may have more socially conservative views about gender roles, in which politics is more of a man's job, Walsh said. There's also a significant difference between the two parties in financial support for female candidates. Groups that back GOP women have nowhere near the resources of organizations such as EMILY’s List, which has existed much longer and has been a game changer for Democratic women. The three main PACs focused on electing GOP women have raised about $1.7 million combined for this election cycle as of April 30, compared with more than $48 million by EMILY’s List. Money has been critical since the coronavirus outbreak, which has made traditional grassroots campaigning such as door knocking nearly impossible and benefited candidates who can afford to run TV and digital advertising. In Indiana, that's helped elevate Republican state Sen. Victoria Spartz, who has loaned her congressional campaign roughly $700,000. But her lack of campaign experience — she won her seat after a caucus vote to fill the vacancy — and far-right record has some in the party worried that Republicans will lose if she is the nominee. The Value In Empowering Women PAC is backing state Treasurer Kelly Mitchell for Brooks' seat. Mitchell was the first woman elected county commissioner in her county more than two decades ago, when people questioned whether the then-20-something mother really wanted to spend her days focused on drainage and highway issues. She completed a leadership program for Republican women, and she credits other women in the program with leading her campaign for treasurer. But Mitchell said she doesn't talk about gender with voters, focusing instead on her experience and education, and she cites what she says is her record of overcoming adversity. “When they send me to D.C., they will send a fighter,' Mitchell said. 'I talk about that often.” Republican Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama is also leaving Congress, and she will be replaced by a man. Businessman Jeff Coleman and former state lawmaker Barry Moore were the top finishers in a March primary and face a runoff. Businesswoman Jessica Taylor narrowly missed qualifying for the runoff. Republican women appear to have gained one seat in central Illinois, where Mary Miller won the nomination for a safe GOP district where Rep. John Shimkus is retiring. In Iowa, Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks are in good positions to win GOP primaries, though they would face tough general elections. Hinson is running in the district represented by Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer, who is seeking a second term, and Miller-Meeks is seeking a seat vacated by Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack. Among difficult losses for GOP women, Illinois state Sen. Sue Rezin lost a tight congressional primary in a Chicago-area district that Republicans held for decades before Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood flipped it in 2018. Rezin has won four elections — three of them top-tier state races — and was the opponent Democrats feared most in a general election. But she struggled to compete in fundraising and lost to state Sen. Jim Oberweis, who loaned his campaign $1 million. Rezin said the pandemic was a factor. She modeled her campaign on turnout of around 80,000 but only about 35,000 voted in the March 17 primary. In the weeks leading up to the election, people were scared to even open their doors for fear of spread of the coronavirus, her team said. But the overriding issue, Rezin said, is that for all the GOP chatter about supporting women, the party hasn't gotten serious about committing to helping women win. “The days of checking the box are over,' she said. 'If our party continues to just check the box for women, we lose and Democrats win.”
  • Hundreds have gathered Saturday to call for justice and reform in light of police violence happening throughout the country in Tulsa’s Brookside neighborhood. One protester was struck by a car after a march moved North to I-44 and spilled onto the highway. I-44 was shut down westbound towards Riverside for several hours as the scene was cleared. Police said that person received non-life threatening injuries.  All lanes of I-44 are back open. Peaceful protesters led by Reverend Robert Turner and Tiffany Crutcher marched along Peoria from 41st to 34th in response to the recent killing of George Floyd. Tiffany Crutcher is Terence Crutcher’s sister.  You may recall he was shot and killed by Tulsa police back in 2016. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd. Tulsa protesters are asking the city for four things: they want a police oversight committee, several lawsuits settled including one involving the shooting of Terence Crutcher, greater investment in mental health training for the Tulsa Police Department, and the immediate end of the city’s contract with “Live PD”.
  • A divided U.S. Supreme Court late Friday upheld Coronavirus restrictions placed on church gatherings by the state of California, as Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the four more liberal justices in backing the power of states to enforce measures for public health. 'Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,' the Chief Justice wrote in an unusual late night ruling. 'The notion that it is “indisputably clear” that the Government’s limitations are unconstitutional seems quite improbable,' Roberts added in a three page 5-4 opinion. The ruling came on a request from a California church to dispense with limits on church gatherings imposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Golden State. The decision came just over a week after President Trump had very publicly pressured states to drop Coronavirus restrictions on houses of worship. The South Bay United Pentecostal Church in San Diego argued the health requirements put in place by the Governor were far too restrictive, and violated their constitutional rights. 'Although curbing the pandemic is a laudable goal, those orders arbitrarily discriminate against places of worship in violation of their right to the Free Exercise of Religion under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,' lawyers for the church argued. That agreement resonated with the High Court's four more conservative justices. 'I would grant the Church’s requested temporary injunction because California’s latest safety guidelines discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses,' wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh in his dissent. 'Such discrimination violates the First Amendment.' The decision quickly struck a nerve with more conservative Republicans and supporters of the President, many of whom have long harbored doubts about Roberts, who was put on the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. 'Chief Justice Roberts sides with the Left again,' said Fox News host Laura Ingraham, as the head of the Conservative Political Action Committee called for Roberts to be impeached. In Congress, there was anger as well. 'SHAMEFUL failure by SCOTUS to defend 1st & 5th amendments,' tweeted Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH).
  • In a brazen, aggravating crime, a man who lives at a home near 31st and Memorial says someone burglarized his pickup truck in broad daylight in his own driveway around noon on Friday. Ed Douglass says he was taking some things from his pickup truck, and only left the truck unattended for about five minutes, when he came back outside and saw the doors on the truck were open. He discovered that someone had grabbed his cellphone and some other stuff. Luckily, some alert neighbors saw the suspect going into his backyard. “They saw her and they apprehended her and then the police showed up and the police arrested her,” Douglass said. The woman told police that she had tossed the phone somewhere, but they eventually got it back and returned it to Douglass.
  • Governor Kevin Stitt confirmed Friday that Oklahoma will proceed to Phase Three of the Open Up and Recover Safely (OURS) plan on June 1st, as scheduled. By early Friday afternoon, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Bruce Dart had also announced that while the number of new infections, and hospitalizations, continues to grow in our area, hospital capacity remains more than adequate. “The daily number of patients in hospitals have been steadily increasing since May 11th, with a marked increase since May 15th,” Dart said Friday. “But the bottom line as at this time, those levels remain manageable.” And that is the key point, Mayor Bynum emphasized. “Throughout Phase Three... the most important thing for me is monitoring that healthcare system capacity,” Bynum said. Phase Three includes relaxing restrictions on special events - e.g., concerts, sports, festivals, and so forth. Employers can bring their entire workforce back in, if they choose. Hospitals can relax their restrictions somewhat on visitation. Both men encouraged efforts to maintain social distancing, the wearing of masks, and hygiene. “Unfortunately, the pandemic is not over,” Dart said. “So remember that, remain vigilant, wear your mask, wash your hands, social distance, and continue to do this until we see actually see signs of this virus going away.” Here's the city's full statement on Phase Three: To date, the Tulsa Health Department (THD) has confirmed 983 positive COVID-19 cases in Tulsa County. 774 residents have recovered and 51 have died. Test results are updated daily at www.tulsa-health.org/COVID19. For the most up-to-date news, information and business resources in Tulsa, visit www.cityoftulsa.org/COVID-19.  New Civil Emergency Order | Phase 3 Guidance  Starting June 1, events (no size limit) may resume in Tulsa. Special event permits will be issued pursuant to the State’s Reopening Plan on June 1.  During Phase 3, employers can resume unrestricted worksite staffing and visits to hospitals and senior living facilities may resume subject to certain guidelines as outlined by the state and each individual facility. Additionally, businesses who have been taking customers by appointment only can start taking walk-ins.  The updated civil emergency order can be found at www.cityoftulsa.org/COVID-19. For additional guidance and information, visit: www.okcommerce.gov/ours-plan/.  Water Moratorium Updates  Starting in June, utility bill collections will resume through a phased approach. For customers who have already setup a payment arrangement due to COVID-19, the City will start calling those customers in early June to ensure payments are being made and/or to come to terms on a new arrangement to avoid service interruptions. Bills mailed in June will include a cut-off date and special notice. Payments or arrangements must be made by the cut-off date to avoid service interruptions for these bills starting June 15. Late fees will resume for customers not paying bills on June 19. City Hall Updates June 1 Starting June 1, City Hall visitors will be asked to wear cloth face coverings and have their temperature checked by Security before entering the building. This measure is for visitors’ safety and the safety of City employees. Tulsa Parks Updates As of June 1, the following plan and policies will be in place and enforced until further notice: Parks & Trails - Parks and trails are all open, so long as patrons practice social distancing. Outdoor shelter rentals and park event permits will start being accepted again, with an initial limit of up to 100 people. Park Amenities – After conferring with local health authorities, park amenities including playgrounds, outdoor exercise equipment, basketball courts, and outdoor bathrooms will be reopened with social distancing guidelines and other restrictions in place. Other than bathrooms, equipment will NOT be sanitized, and users should wash hands before and after use and use hand sanitizer regularly while using the equipment. It is still important to keep social distancing and to wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer before and after using any equipment. Basketball courts will be limited four people per hoop and participants should maintain distance or use masks. Sports complexes, as well as individual use fields will reopen, and games and large group practices may resume with safety protocols in place. Water faucets at dog parks are turned on for dog use, but water fountains will remain shut off.  Aquatics & Pools Water playgrounds and splash pads will be reopened with safety and social distancing policies. Tulsa Parks pools will remain closed for the 2020 season. Community Centers & Programs Community and specialty centers (including Oxley Nature Center and WaterWorks Art Center) will reopen June 1. Residents can see specific center hours and programs by visiting www.tulsaparks.org. Community centers will not offer summer kids day camps, nor will they offer youth or adult summer sports leagues.  Masks will be required to enter each building and may be removed only during participation in exercise and physical activities (such as working out, dance, martial arts, etc.), where the staff or instructor has allowed the removal of masks. Everyone will be asked to sign/scan in upon entering the building, and temperatures will be checked.  Centers who offer open gym/studio will do so in a limited capacity for specific activities varying by site, some may require reservations. Indoor basketball will be limited to one-man drills, shooting practice. Fitness rooms will open but may will close throughout the day for 30-minute disinfectant breaks, smaller fitness rooms may limit the number and time allowed, residents should call their facility for details. CVS Testing Sites Added  Several new testing sites have been added across the Tulsa metro at select CVS locations. Testing sites are by appointment only. Users should bring evidence of insurance or know their social security number. To schedule an appointment, visit https://www.cvs.com/minuteclinic.  SNAP Assistance Available For residents who need food assistance, SNAP is an important resource that can be used. If residents have been impacted by furloughs, layoffs or cut hours, they might be eligible for SNAP. Right now, qualifying families of four could get up to $649/month for help with groceries. To inquire, call 1 (877) 760-0114. To learn more, visit www.hungerfreeok.org/groceries.  Tulsa County Update The Tulsa County Review Committee for CARES Act funding received further clarification from the Oklahoma Attorney General regarding the legality of sharing these funds with municipalities, small businesses, nonprofits and other entities. As of yesterday, the Review Committee received approximately 50 applications.  On June 1, the Family Safety Center will reopen for normal business hours, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. for victims of intimate partner and domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and elder abuse to begin filing for Emergency Protective Orders. There will be new access procedures including that only victims may enter—no accompanying supporters or children will not be allowed inside. Masks, temperature readings, and participation in a COVID-19 exposure survey will be required to enter (masks will be provided to those who do not have one).  Phase 2 of the Tulsa County District Courts reopening plan is expected to begin on Monday. The BOCC expects continued commitments on behalf of the courts to reduce the population of Courthouse visitors. Visitors should not visit the Courthouse if they are sick or think they may be sick.
  • Attorney General Mike Hunter urges Oklahomans to not assume unmarked envelopes are junk mail.  The debit cards arrive in plain envelopes, leading to confusion. Some people are mistaking it for junk mail or fraudulent activity. The Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced last week the agencies had begun the process of sending nearly 4 million Visa debit cards loaded with the $1,200 stimulus payments to Americans.  Attorney General Hunter is encouraging Oklahomans to open the envelopes.

Washington Insider

  • A divided U.S. Supreme Court late Friday upheld Coronavirus restrictions placed on church gatherings by the state of California, as Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the four more liberal justices in backing the power of states to enforce measures for public health. 'Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment,' the Chief Justice wrote in an unusual late night ruling. 'The notion that it is “indisputably clear” that the Government’s limitations are unconstitutional seems quite improbable,' Roberts added in a three page 5-4 opinion. The ruling came on a request from a California church to dispense with limits on church gatherings imposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Golden State. The decision came just over a week after President Trump had very publicly pressured states to drop Coronavirus restrictions on houses of worship. The South Bay United Pentecostal Church in San Diego argued the health requirements put in place by the Governor were far too restrictive, and violated their constitutional rights. 'Although curbing the pandemic is a laudable goal, those orders arbitrarily discriminate against places of worship in violation of their right to the Free Exercise of Religion under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,' lawyers for the church argued. That agreement resonated with the High Court's four more conservative justices. 'I would grant the Church’s requested temporary injunction because California’s latest safety guidelines discriminate against places of worship and in favor of comparable secular businesses,' wrote Justice Brett Kavanaugh in his dissent. 'Such discrimination violates the First Amendment.' The decision quickly struck a nerve with more conservative Republicans and supporters of the President, many of whom have long harbored doubts about Roberts, who was put on the Supreme Court by President George W. Bush. 'Chief Justice Roberts sides with the Left again,' said Fox News host Laura Ingraham, as the head of the Conservative Political Action Committee called for Roberts to be impeached. In Congress, there was anger as well. 'SHAMEFUL failure by SCOTUS to defend 1st & 5th amendments,' tweeted Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH).
  • The feud between Twitter and President Donald Trump escalated on Friday after the President used the social media platform to threaten the use of force against rioters in Minneapolis, as Twitter slapped a warning label on the President's tweet, saying Mr. Trump had violated rules on 'glorifying violence.' 'These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,' the President wrote, referring to the black man who was suffocated to death when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his head and neck for an extended period of time earlier this week. The President then spoke of sending in National Guard troops to restore order, warning that 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts.' That was evidently too much for Twitter, which placed a warning on the President's tweet. In the President's mind, the warning label from Twitter was the latest indignity against him by the social media giant, as Mr. Trump tore into Twitter early on Friday morning. 'Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party,' the President tweeted soon after 7 am. 'They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States.' Earlier this week, Twitter added a link to a couple of the President's tweets about mail-in voting, giving a link for more information about the issue. The President was incensed, leading to his executive order on Thursday, and a direct threat to close down the company, which experts said he had no power to do. On Capitol Hill, the two parties saw the developing events on Twitter much differently. 'Twitter is censoring the President of the United States,' said Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). Democrats in Congress said the President was overreacting, and acting like an authoritarian. “Trump’s behavior is growing increasingly unhinged, authoritarian, and outright violent and is designed to inflame and divide America further,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ). “This is vile behavior,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ).  “The President should not be encouraging violence.” “(T)he President’s executive order is a shameless attempt to use the power of his office to silence his critics and intimidate his perceived enemies,” said Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA).
  • With a series of studies raising questions about the side effects and the efficacy of a drug pushed by President Donald Trump for use against the Coronavirus, the VA has curtailed its use of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroqine in Veterans Affairs medical facilities. 'Last week, we only used it three times,' VA Secretary Robert Wilkie told a House Appropriations Committee hearing, a very small number compared to the over 1,300 vets who have received the drug for Coronavirus treatment. 'We started ratcheting it down as we went more to remdesivir and we went more to the convalescent plasma,' Wilkie said, as he took fire from Democrats over using the drug in the first place. 'It's very disappointing to me that the VA was using that drug,' said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), the chair of the panel, as she slammed the President's embrace of hydroxychloroquine as 'wishful thinking' by someone who is not a medical expert. 'What is astounding to me is the VA is still insisting on providing this drug to veterans,' said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). “We have ratcheted down as we've brought more treatments online,” Wilkie said at another point.  “And I expect that to continue.” Wilkie said he spoken this week with the government's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who told reporters in recent days that hydroxychloroquine should no longer be used by doctors. The VA chief though couched Fauci's advice as one which would leave the door open to possible use of the malaria drug as more evidence comes in. 'The rest of the world is all over the map,' Wilkie said of the use of hydroxychloroquine against the Coronavirus. 'France banned it, and then the government of India said it absolutely essential for them.' The message from the White House continued to be much more upbeat than Dr. Fauci. “It's important to note that this drug has been safely used by millions of people for a long time,” said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday.
  • A day after the United States topped 100,000 deaths from the Coronavirus outbreak, President Donald Trump joined the expression of grief for the families of those who have died in the pandemic which has swept around the globe. 'We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000,' the President wrote on Twitter, as he expressed his 'heartfelt sympathy' to family and friends of the dead.  As the numbers hit 100,000 on Wednesday, the President made no statement about death toll, as leading Democrats took on that role instead. 'God Bless each and every one of you and the blessed memory of the one you lost,' former Vice President Biden said in a video message from his home in Delaware. 'One hundred thousand,' said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL). Those we have lost can’t just be a number. A statistic. A line in a history book. They were our friends, our loved ones, our children and grandparents.' While calling the 100,000 deaths 'tragic,' Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said all sides need to be paying more attention to the large number of deaths in nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the nation. 'Seniors in these settings should be a top focus of our prevention efforts,' Rubio said on Thursday. In some states, the nursing home deaths represent an overwhelming share of Coronavirus losses, over 80 percent in Minnesota, 70 percent in Ohio, and near 50 percent in Florida and Georgia. Democrats continued to blame the President and his administration for not being better prepared, as an old tweet from October 2019 by Joe Biden became a focal point on Twitter. 'We are not prepared for a pandemic,' Biden said that day. 'Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores.
  • As the nation marked the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths from the Coronavirus in just over three months, President Donald Trump spent Wednesday talking about almost any other subject, attacking Twitter, jabbing at the news media, questioning the Russia investigation, denouncing expanded mail-in voting, and again pressing a conspiracy theory that an ex-GOP Congressman was involved in the death of a female aide almost 19 years ago. 'He is arguably the greatest president in our history,' the President quoted Fox Business host Lou Dobbs saying about him. President Trump's only official comment related to the virus outbreak came in a single tweet early on Wednesday morning, in which he highlighted the growing number of virus tests nationwide. 'We pass 15,000,000 Tests Today, by far the most in the World,' Mr. Trump tweeted, adding, 'Open Safely!'  But there was no mention by the President, no tweet, no written statement in his name honoring those who have died, or who remain hospitalized by the Coronavirus. Democrats moved to fill the void. 'Would you have ever thought that we would be observing 100,000 people?' asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a Capitol Hill news conference. From his home in Delaware, former Vice President Joe Biden took aim at the President as well. 'I'm so sorry for your loss,' Biden said, marking the 100,000 death toll. 'They were not numbers. They were our neighbors. Our friends. Our family,' said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). The President met with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Oval Office on Wednesday morning, and then flew to Florida, only to have the launch of a SpaceX crew vehicle scrubbed by bad weather. Over 1,400 deaths were reported in the U.S. on Wednesday, with over 300 combined from Illinois and New Jersey, two states which continue to struggle with virus cases. 'This is a tragic day. My heart aches for those we have lost,' said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). 'The day the United States hit 100,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic Trump shares a messages calling himself “the greatest President in our history,' said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). 'His vanity is nauseating.' On Capitol Hill, Democrats pressed for more money to conduct virus testing and tracing, but Senate Republicans have refused to bring up a House-passed bill with $75 billion more in funding. 'Are we going to do what we need to do to prevent the next 100,000 deaths?' asked former CDC Chief Dr. Tom Frieden.