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HeadlinesOctober 02, 2020

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President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump Test Positive for Coronavirus

Oct 02, 2020

President Donald Trump has announced he and first lady Melania Trump have COVID-19, joining 7.3 million people across the United States who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the first recorded U.S. case in January. Just before 1 a.m. Friday, Trump tweeted, “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

The stunning announcement rattled world capitals and set off fears that the president of the United States may be at the center of a superspreader event in the halls of power in Washington, D.C. — and at several recent gatherings headlined by Trump. Those include a campaign fundraiser at Trump’s Bedminster golf club on Thursday; a campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota, on Wednesday attended by thousands of Trump supporters; and Tuesday night’s presidential debate with Joe Biden in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Joe Biden to Receive Coronavirus Test After Tuesday’s Debate with President Trump

Oct 02, 2020

CNN reports Joe Biden is being tested for coronavirus this morning over fears that President Trump may have infected him at Tuesday’s debate, where the candidates stood about 10 feet apart not wearing masks. President Trump spoke loudly and incessantly through most of the 90-minute event, interrupting Biden 128 times.

President Donald Trump: “I don’t have — I don’t wear masks like him. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from me, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

Tuesday’s indoor debate was attended by former second lady Jill Biden, who wore a mask throughout the evening. First lady Melania Trump and all four of President Trump’s adult children removed their masks after they were seated. A Bloomberg reporter at the debate says Trump’s family members refused when a doctor with the Cleveland Clinic offered them masks.

Trump Continued Public Events After Adviser Hope Hicks Became Ill and Tested Positive for COVID-19

Oct 02, 2020

Trump’s announcement early Friday that he has COVID-19 came only after Bloomberg News reported that Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s closest advisers, became ill during Trump’s Wednesday night rally in Duluth, Minnesota, and had to be quarantined aboard Air Force One on the return flight to Washington. Hicks went on to test positive for coronavirus early on Thursday, though the White House did not report her illness. A number of reporters who were with Hicks and the president on the flight say no one from the White House reached out to them to perform contact tracing or to inform them of their risk of COVID-19. One HuffPost reporter was visibly shaken after learning of Hicks’s positive test result from news reports.

On Thursday afternoon, President Trump flew to his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, for a campaign fundraiser where he delivered a speech while wearing no mask, coming in close contact with dozens of staffers and campaign supporters. The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman reports aides who would normally travel with the president did not go with him to Bedminster because they already knew about Hope Hicks’s positive test result. Among those aides was White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who made no mention of Hicks’s illness — or her recent close contact with Hicks — as she spoke to reporters for 25 minutes from the White House Press Briefing Room podium while wearing no mask.

Trump, 74, Faces Greater COVID-19 Morbidity Risk Due to High Blood Pressure and Obesity

Oct 02, 2020

Trump’s positive coronavirus test result has raised concerns about the line of presidential succession. Vice President Mike Pence met with Trump at a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on Monday. On Friday morning Pence’s office said the Vice President tested negative for coronavirus, though some people take longer than four days to register a positive result after exposure to an infected person.

President Trump is 74, has elevated blood pressure and is over the threshold for obesity — three factors linked to higher morbidity and mortality among COVID-19 patients. Early in the pandemic, Trump repeatedly downplayed the severity of COVID-19, publicly claiming the virus would go away “like a miracle,” even as he privately told journalist Bob Woodward it was airborne and far deadlier than the flu.

President Donald Trump: “This thing is a killer if it gets you. If you’re the wrong person, you don’t have a chance.”

Bob Woodward: “Yes, yes, exactly.”

President Donald Trump: “So, this rips you apart.”

Bob Woodward: “This is a scourge. And” —

President Donald Trump: “It is the plague.”

Before Testing Positive, Trump Planned Rallies in Wisconsin’s Coronavirus “Red Zones”

Oct 02, 2020

The U.S. recorded another 46,000 cases of coronavirus Thursday, and nearly 850 deaths — raising the official U.S. death toll to 208,000. On Thursday, before the president announced he had tested positive for coronavirus, the Trump campaign said it was moving ahead with two rallies this weekend in Wisconsin, even though the White House Coronavirus Task Force has labeled Wisconsin a “red zone” with a high rate of community spread. Those plans are now in disarray, and Trump’s campaign has canceled plans for tonight’s rally in Orlando, Florida.

In New Hampshire, former South Carolina governor and Trump campaign surrogate Nikki Haley hosted an event Thursday for 99 Republican women running for office. Haley tweeted a photo of herself posing with the women, packed indoors, shoulder to shoulder, none of them wearing masks.

Coronavirus Outbreak Shutters Queens School on First Full Day of In-Person Classes in NYC

Oct 02, 2020

Here in New York, the John F. Kennedy Jr. School in Queens sent students home for two weeks after staff members tested positive for coronavirus. This came on the first day of in-person classes at all of New York City’s schools, where an estimated 500,000 students attended classes even as 10 ZIP codes in Brooklyn and Queens reported alarming spikes in coronavirus cases.

Amazon on Thursday released data showing nearly 20,000 of its employees have tested positive or were presumed to have COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

And in sports news, the Tennessee Titans canceled Sunday’s game with the Pittsburgh Steelers after the team’s total number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 11.

Texas Republican Governor Orders Closure of Absentee Ballot Drop-Off Sites

Oct 02, 2020

In Texas, Republican Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation Thursday limiting absentee ballot drop-off locations to just one per county, in the latest effort by Texas Republicans to make it harder for people to vote — especially in urban areas home to a greater proportion of Democrats. Abbott’s proclamation leaves 4.5 million residents of Harris County with just a single location to drop off their completed ballots. This is Myrna Pérez, director of the Brennan Center’s voting rights program.

Myrna Pérez: “We’re obviously concerned that any additional barrier to the ballot box are going to hurt those members of our community that have been traditionally disenfranchised: poor folks, people of color, students — folks who traditionally have had a harder time overcoming the kind of barriers that have been placed in front of them systematically.”

Far-Right Activists Charged over Robocalls Targeting Black Voters in Michigan

Oct 02, 2020

In Michigan, conservative hoaxers and conspiracy theorists Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman face four felony charges over robocalls targeting Black voters in Detroit and other cities. The recorded messages falsely claimed that voting by mail could subject voters to arrest, debt collection and forced vaccination.

Pennsylvania “Election Integrity” Commission Would Give GOP Power to Disrupt Nov. 3 Election

Oct 02, 2020

In Pennsylvania, Republican lawmakers have advanced a state resolution that would create a so-called select committee on election integrity that Democrats warn could be used to disrupt the November 3 election by giving Republicans the power to subpoena elections officials — even before all the votes are counted. On Wednesday, Democratic state Representative Malcolm Kenyatta blasted Republican plans at a committee meeting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta: “This, I guess we’re calling it, committee on election integrity has no integrity, has none. And what it would do — and you can laugh, Representative — but what it would do is allow people, allow the folks on this committee, that are actively up for reelection, to subpoena ballots, to subpoena elections officials, during an election of which they are participants. Nothing about that screams of integrity.”

Last week, The Atlantic magazine revealed Republican Party officials are looking at ways to subvert the election process to ensure Trump stays in power — including a plan to have Republican-led state legislatures claim the results of the election to be fraudulent, then choose a slate of Republican electors to vote in the Electoral College regardless of the outcome of the actual vote. 

President Trump Disavows White Supremacists After Telling Proud Boys to “Stand By”

Oct 02, 2020

President Trump on Thursday said he disavowed the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacy in an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity.

President Donald Trump: “I condemn the KKK. I condemn all white supremacists. I condemn the Proud Boys. I don’t know much about the Proud Boys, almost nothing, but I condemn that.”

Trump’s comment came two days after Tuesday’s debate, where he told the far-right Proud Boys organization — which is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group — to “stand by.”

President Donald Trump: “What do you want to call them? Give me a name. Give me a name.”

Chris Wallace: “White supremacists and right-wing” —

Joe Biden: “White supremacists.”

President Donald Trump: “Go ahead. Who would you like me to condemn?”

Joe Biden: “Proud Boys.”

Chris Wallace: “White supremacists and right-wing militia.”

Joe Biden: “The Proud Boys.”

President Donald Trump: “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.”

The Proud Boys are now selling T-shirts with the president’s words: “stand back and stand by.” On Thursday, a Proud Boys leader told CNN he’s also the leader of the grassroots group Latinos for Trump.

Federal Officials Ordered to Defend 17-Year-Old Charged with Murdering Protesters 

Oct 02, 2020

The Trump administration has ordered federal law enforcement officials to publicly defend Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old charged with fatally shooting two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during Black Lives Matter protests in August. That’s according to internal Department of Homeland Security talking points obtained by NBC News. The documents instruct federal agents to say Rittenhouse took a gun to Kenosha to “help defend small business owners.” Last week, Rittenhouse’s mother — who drove her son across state lines with an AR-15 assault rifle to the Kenosha protests — received a standing ovation at a Republican Party event in Wisconsin. If convicted of first-degree murder charges, Rittenhouse faces up to life in prison. 

Texas Police Authorized Use of Deadly Force at George Floyd Burial

Oct 02, 2020

Vice News reports police in Pearland, Texas, requested the presence of Border Patrol snipers at George Floyd’s burial on June 9 and gave them permission to use deadly force as members of the militarized tactical unit known as BORTAC surveilled funeral attendees. Records obtained by Vice also reveal an FBI surveillance aircraft was flown over the burial to monitor for so-called violent agitators. That day, at least six sniper teams were in place on rooftops and authorized to open fire. 

Secretive Religious Group Deletes All References of Amy Coney Barrett from Website

Oct 02, 2020

A secretive religious group has scrubbed its website of all references to President Trump’s nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Amy Coney Barrett is a longtime member of the Catholic group People of Praise, whose members pledge a lifelong loyalty oath assigning each member a personal adviser, known as “heads” for men and, until recently, “handmaids” for women. People of Praise has a strictly patriarchal structure in which men are the heads of household with power over their wives and families.

Senate Republicans have promised a swift confirmation process for Amy Coney Barrett. On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was pressed by reporters after she falsely claimed Barrett was a recipient of a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship from Oxford University.

Justin Sink: “You said Judge Barrett was a Rhodes scholar. I’m not sure that that’s true.”

Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany: “Um, I — that’s what I have written here, but” —

Justin Sink: “She attended Rhodes College. She attended Rhodes College.”

Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany: “Attended Rhodes College. So, my bad.”

House Democrats Pass $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Stimulus Bill, Face Republican Opposition

Oct 02, 2020

House Democrats on Thursday passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, sending the slimmed-down aid package to the Senate more than four months after they passed the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act. Senate Republicans refused to vote on the previous bill, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled he won’t schedule a vote on the revised HEROES Act, either.

This comes as the Census Bureau reported 10% of U.S. households sometimes or often did not have enough to eat within the past seven days — with nearly one in five Black and Latino households affected. Meanwhile, anti-hunger activists around the U.S. are denouncing a letter, written in English and Spanish and signed by President Trump, placed in food assistance boxes doled out to food banks nationwide. They’re denouncing the letter as a violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from using government property for partisan political gain. 

Dozens of NY Housing Activists Arrested Demanding Halt to Looming Evictions

Oct 02, 2020

In New York, over a dozen housing activists were arrested Thursday as hundreds of protesters took to the streets demanding local lawmakers take action on a full eviction moratorium and tenant protection during the pandemic. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has failed to extend a pandemic eviction ban, which expired yesterday as rent came due. 

Thousands Flee Extreme Poverty & Violence in Honduras as Caravan Hopes to Reach U.S.

Oct 02, 2020

In immigration news, over 3,000 people fled Honduras yesterday in a caravan with the hopes of reaching the United States. This comes just days after the region reopened its borders after months of a strict coronavirus lockdown that left thousands without jobs sinking further into poverty. The caravan made it to Guatemala yesterday afternoon, where they headed north to the border with Mexico. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei announced he had ordered the immediate apprehension of caravan members. Meanwhile, the Mexican government threatened asylum seekers with prison time if they enter Mexico without following proper health protocols, citing alleged concerns due to the pandemic. 

Melania Trump Recorded Dismissing Criticism of Family Separation at Southern Border

Oct 02, 2020

CNN has released audio recordings of first lady Melania Trump in 2018 dismissing the harm of separating asylum-seeking families at the U.S.-Mexico border. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff recorded the comments while working on her book “Melania and Me,” about her relationship with the first lady.

Melania Trump: “You know, who gives a [bleep] about Christmas stuff and decoration? But I need to do it, right?”

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff: “Yeah, but” —

Melania Trump: “Correct?”

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff: “A hundred percent. You have no choice.”

Melania Trump: “And, OK — and then I do it, and I say that I’m working on Christmas, planning for the Christmas. And they said, 'Oh, what about the children, that they were separated?' Give me a [bleep] break. Where they were saying anything when Obama did that?”

Renowned Colombian Historian Campo Elías Galindo Assassinated in His Apartment 

Oct 02, 2020

In Colombia, renowned historian and leftist political leader Campo Elías Galindo was found shot to death in his apartment in the city of Medellín. Galindo long advocated for social justice and peace in Colombia. He was 69 years old.

Fox News Paid Kimberly Guilfoyle’s Former Assistant $4M After Sexual Harassment Complaints

Oct 02, 2020

The New Yorker reports Fox News paid up to $4 million to settle sexual harassment claims made by a staffer to former anchor Kimberly Guilfoyle. The former assistant claims Guilfoyle showed her lewd images of men’s genitals and forced her to work at Guilfoyle’s apartment, where Guilfoyle would sometimes be naked. In July 2018, Guilfoyle abruptly left her position as co-host of Fox News’s “The Five.” She now serves as President Trump’s campaign finance chair and is the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr.

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