The Republican National Convention opened in Charlotte, North Carolina, with dire warnings from President Trump and his backers that a Joe Biden presidency could destroy the country. Trump began the convention claiming without any evidence that Democrats were trying to steal the election.
President Donald Trump: “The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election. We’re going to win this election.”
Little attention was paid on the opening day of the Republican National Convention to the over 177,000 Americans who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic or the tens of millions of workers who have lost their jobs. While Trump was repeatedly praised by the speakers during the convention, dissent is growing within the Republican Party. On Monday, former Senator Jeff Flake joined with over two dozen other former Republican members of Congress to launch a new group: Republicans for Biden.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers called in the National Guard Monday as protests continued in Kenosha for a second night following the police shooting on Sunday of Jacob Blake, an unarmed 29-year-old Black man. An officer shot Blake seven times in the back as he was getting into a car. His three children — ages 3, 5 and 8 — witnessed the shooting. Blake was reportedly trying to break up a fight between two women before the shooting, but the police have not explained why they went after him. He remained hospitalized in serious but stable condition Monday. Protesters defied a curfew Monday night as police used tear gas on crowds. Protests also took place across the country, including here in New York City.
Governor Tony Evers and Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes called state lawmakers into a special session to take up legislation on police brutality that was introduced earlier in the year. This is Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes.
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes: “This was not an accident. This wasn’t bad police work. This felt like some sort of vendetta being taken out on a member of our community. The officer’s daily actions attempted to take a person’s life in broad daylight. And like many of you, the video is etched into my mind, like so many other past videos that are just like it. It was a video that I would have rather not had to have watched. But the irony isn’t lost on me. That is, Jacob Blake was actually trying to deescalate a situation in his community, but the responding officer didn’t feel the need to do the same.”
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn admitted Monday he overstated the positive results of using blood plasma from recovered patients as a treatment for COVID-19. Hahn denied that politics played a role in the FDA’s emergency-use authorization of the treatment, which was touted by President Trump Sunday.
In education news, a Florida judge blocked a state order requiring schools to offer in-person teaching, saying that it failed to take safety concerns into account. Florida has appealed the ruling. Ohio State University has suspended 228 students from campus for breaking rules around parties and gatherings. Meanwhile, the University of North Carolina reported a 31% COVID-19 positivity rate for last week, up from 13% in the first week of class.
In environmental news related to the coronavirus, the Associated Press found that thousands of oil and gas projects and government facilities have been permitted to stop monitoring for hazardous emissions and bypass other environmental and health rules during the outbreak.
In international news, scientists in Hong Kong say they have identified their first case of “reinfection” after a recovered COVID-19 patient contracted the virus again four-and-a-half months after his first infection.
Meanwhile, in Xinjiang, China, reports have emerged of people being handcuffed to buildings and being ordered to stay inside for weeks on end as part of the repressive measures taken to contain the coronavirus — despite official numbers going down. China has been accused of “demographic genocide” in Xinjiang for its mass imprisonment and repression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.
Gaza has gone into lockdown after it reported its first COVID-19 cases outside a quarantined area. The four cases were from the same family in a refugee camp.
Doctors in eastern Libya are warning that overburdened and poorly equipped hospitals will not be able to handle the rising number of coronavirus patients. Protesters have taken to the streets of Tripoli and Misrata in recent days to demand an end to corruption, and proper care for those affected by the pandemic.
In California, the death toll has risen to at least seven as climate change-fueled wildfires continue raging across the state. Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday close to 300 lightning strikes overnight had sparked 10 new fires, bringing the number of active fires to 625. Over 1.4 million acres have burned across California. Authorities say some progress has been made over the past day, though, and the biggest group of fires around Napa in Northern California is now 25% contained. Among the tens of thousands of firefighters that have been enlisted to fight the blazes are around 1,300 incarcerated people. Later in the broadcast, we’ll hear from a formerly incarcerated firefighter in California.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy was grilled by Democrats Monday as he testified before the House Oversight Committee about recent changes at the U.S. Postal Service. DeJoy struggled to answer basic questions, including about mail-in voting during the 2016 elections and the cost of mail. He also refused to provide justification for recent changes at the Postal Service, which has led to a slowing down of delivery times and has prompted fears Trump is deliberately trying to sabotage the USPS in the run-up to the elections.
In related tech news, Twitter flagged a Trump tweet that claimed mailboxes are a “voter security disaster” and “not Covid sanitized.” Twitter said the tweet made “misleading health claims that could potentially dissuade people from participation in voting.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reassured Israel Monday the U.S. will ensure it retains its military advantage in the Middle East under any future arms deals with the United Arab Emirates. The remarks come as questions swirl over possible U.S. plans to sell F-35 jets to the UAE following the normalization agreement it reached with Israel earlier this month. On Sunday, White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner said the deal “should increase the probability” of such a sale. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under fire over reports last week that the sale of F-35s was part of the deal with the UAE and that he gave Trump the green light for the sale. Netanyahu has denied the reports. The UAE reportedly canceled a planned meeting with the U.S. and Israel over his denial. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that currently has the F-35.
Mike Pompeo will deliver a speech tonight at the RNC — a move which critics say is a violation of the Hatch Act since he is a diplomat. The speech was recorded Monday in Israel, which is continuing its bombing assault on Gaza.
In Bangladesh, at least 160 people have been killed, and millions forced to flee their homes, as residents grapple with ongoing flooding after weeks of torrential rains. At least one-third of the country has been submerged by floods. This comes as the country’s COVID-19 cases near 300,000 and local officials warn of the joint devastating impact of the pandemic and the floods. This is a resident affected by the floods.
Mohammad Jalil: “We are suffering a lot from the floods that have been going on for two months. We can’t move. We can’t go anywhere to buy food. There is no school for the children.”
In Britain, refugee rights activists are sounding the alarm over the ongoing detention of unaccompanied children, who arrive on boats through the English Channel. The children are reportedly being held at a facility that for months warned the British government it did not have the resources to safely house the rising number of young asylum seekers. Activists say British immigration officials are breaking the law, which prohibits the government from detaining unaccompanied children for longer than 24 hours. Last week, the body of a young man from Sudan washed up on a beach after he drowned while attempting to cross from France to England through the English Channel. Activists say anti-refugee policies have denied asylum seekers safe and legal routes to Britain.
In North Carolina, a federal appeals court has ruled the rights of Ronnie Long, a Black man who has been in prison for over 40 years, were violated during his trial. Long was convicted for the rape of a white woman in 1976 by an all-white jury, but he has maintained for decades that he was wrongfully convicted. Three of the appeals court judges said Monday they, too, believe Long is innocent, citing what they called “extreme and continuous police misconduct” in his case. The appeals court is now urging a lower court to close the case. Long was 20 years old at the time of his arrest. He’s now 64.
The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating the Trump Organization and President Trump over the possible inflating of his assets in order to secure loans and other benefits. James is requesting President Trump’s son Eric be compelled to testify, after he abruptly canceled a planned deposition last month. In 2019, Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen told Congress Trump had inflated his assets in financial statements to obtain loans, while deflating the value of other assets to reduce real estate taxes.
TikTok is suing President Trump over his executive order banning the popular video-sharing app. TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, said Trump’s order was part of a “broader campaign of anti-China rhetoric.” Trump also banned the Chinese social media app WeChat earlier this month. TikTok has around 92 million monthly users in the U.S.
Jerry Falwell Jr. has reportedly resigned as president of the evangelical Christian Liberty University in Virginia amid the growing fallout over claims about his personal life. He was put on leave earlier this month after he posted a photo on Instagram in which he is posing with his arm around a woman, holding a drink and with his pants unzipped. On Monday, Giancarlo Granda, a former hotel pool attendant who then became a business partner, said he had an affair with Becki Falwell, Jerry Falwell Jr.’s wife. Granda says Falwell Jr. would watch while they had sex. Jerry Falwell Jr. is a prominent supporter of President Trump.