President Trump is headed to Kenosha, Wisconsin, today despite fierce opposition to his visit, including by Wisconsin’s governor, lieutenant governor and Kenosha’s mayor, and as protests over police violence and white supremacy continue. Trump has refused to condemn either the police shooting of Jacob Blake or the white 17-year-old militia member who last week killed two protesters. He instead defended the teen, Kyle Rittenhouse, who has been charged with first-degree homicide.
President Donald Trump: “He was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like. And he fell, and then they very violently attacked him. And it was something that we’re looking at right now, and it’s under investigation. But I guess he was in very big trouble. He would have been — he probably would have been killed.”
The video, in fact, appears to show a group attempting to disarm Rittenhouse after he had already lethally shot the first protester. In a Fox News interview Monday, Trump again defended police officers who kill.
President Donald Trump: “They choke, just like in a golf tournament. They miss a three-foot putt.”
Laura Ingraham: “You’re not comparing it to golf, because, of course, that’s what the media will say.”
President Donald Trump: “No, I’m saying people choke.”
Even Fox News host Laura Ingraham interrupts him as he compares officers who kill to golfers. Rusten Sheskey, a white police officer, shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back at point-blank range as he was walking away from him. Trump is not planning to meet with Jacob Blake’s family in Kenosha. He has not spoken to them on the phone, after refusing to do so with their legal counsel present. Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., said he is not interested in “playing politics” with his son’s life.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden gave a speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Monday, blaming Trump for the recent violence.
Joe Biden: “This president, long ago, forfeited any moral leadership in this country. He can’t stop the violence, because for years he has fomented it. You know, he may believe mouthing the words law and order makes him strong. But his failure to call on his own supporters to stop acting as an armed militia in this country shows how weak he is.”
Joe Biden has also come under attack from some progressives for, in the same speech, condemning what he described as “rioting” and “looting” by anti-police-brutality protesters. Princeton professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor accused Biden of “walking right into Trump’s trap.”
Biden’s remarks came after Trump defended a pro-Trump rally in Portland, Oregon, in which people fired paintball guns from cars and trucks at antiracist protesters. He also tweeted a tribute to the man who was killed over the weekend, Aaron Danielson, who was known by the name Jay Bishop, during clashes in Portland, and who is believed to be associated with the far-right group Patriot Prayer. “Rest in peace, Jay!” Trump tweeted. Trump has repeatedly refused to acknowledge Black and other antiracist victims of violence.
A group of 145 organizations have released a letter calling on Joe Biden to ban fossil fuel interests from his campaign and administration. The letter reads, “Nearly half of Americans now breathe polluted air, the vast majority of which comes from burning fossil fuels. … To advance environmental justice, you must stand up to fossil fuel CEOs, stop the expansion of oil, gas and coal production, and rapidly transition us away from fossil fuels.” During his speech in Pennsylvania Monday, Biden said he will not ban fracking.
In Louisville, Kentucky, prosecutors reportedly offered Breonna Taylor’s ex-boyfriend a plea deal if he named Taylor as a member of an alleged “organized crime syndicate” in return for leniency on drug charges. Jamarcus Glover turned down the plea deal. Prosecutors on Monday denied naming Breonna Taylor as a co-defendant in Glover’s case and argued a document leaked on social media was just a draft as part of early negotiations. An attorney for Taylor’s family who posted the photo on Facebook said it was a “desperate” attempt by prosecutors to justify Taylor’s killing. Protests have been ongoing to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, who was fatally shot by Louisville police in her own home in March. The officers involved in her killing have not been charged.
As U.S. COVID-19 deaths sailed past 183,000 Monday, the newest member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force is reportedly pushing for the U.S. to adopt a “herd immunity” approach to tackling the virus — a strategy which has been widely condemned by health experts both in the U.S. and around the world. Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist with no expertise in infectious diseases, has denied the report. The World Health Organization, meanwhile, reiterated Monday its recommendation for countries to suppress transmissions before further opening up.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “No country can just pretend the pandemic is over. The reality is that this coronavirus spreads easily. It can be fatal to people of all ages, and most people remain susceptible.”
Politico is reporting the Department of Health and Human Services is bidding out a contract worth over $250 million to a PR firm in an effort to “defeat despair and inspire hope” about the pandemic in the run-up to the elections.
In immigration news related to the pandemic, BuzzFeed News is reporting a 50-year-old Honduran man has died of COVID-19 after being jailed at the Joe Corley Processing Center in Conroe, Texas. More than 50 immigrants have tested positive at the jail since the pandemic began, and over 5,300 have tested positive across all ICE, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, jails.
Meanwhile, in California, Governor Gavin Newsom has handed over two people — a domestic violence survivor from Belize and a Vietnamese refugee — to ICE, even as scores of immigration advocates, public health experts and state legislators have repeatedly urged Newsom to stop the transfer of Californians to the federal agency amid the heightened risks posed by the pandemic.
In Gaza, Hamas says it has reached a deal to end the latest conflict with Israel. The Israeli army has been bombing Gaza since early August, which it says is in response to “fire balloons,” an airborne incendiary device, launched from the Gaza Strip. Israel has also banned Palestinian fishermen from accessing the sea, even as people in Gaza are suffering the dual threats posed by mounting coronavirus cases and the ongoing Israeli blockade.
The Kurdish-Turkish human rights lawyer Ebru Timtik has died after holding a seven-month hunger strike from behind bars in Turkey demanding a fair trial for herself and 17 other colleagues. Timtik was sentenced to over 13 years in prison on a terrorism conviction last year and accused of links to the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front. She and a colleague started a hunger strike in February protesting unfair trial proceedings. Her case was under review by an appeals court.
In environmental news, the Trump administration has rolled back Obama-era regulations that protect waterways near coal-fired power plants from being flooded with toxic coal ash. Earthjustice said in a statement Monday, “The Trump administration is once again jeopardizing people’s health to give coal power industry lobbyists what they want. The Trump administration’s rollback will be responsible for hundreds of thousands of pounds of pollutants contaminating sources of drinking water, lakes, rivers and streams every year.”
Primaries are taking place in Massachusetts today. In the Senate, incumbent Ed Markey is hoping to stave off a challenge by Congressmember Joe Kennedy III. Markey enjoys the support of high-profile progressive Democrats, including Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, with whom he introduced the Green New Deal resolution last year.
Meanwhile, insurgent progressive candidate Alex Morse is looking to pull off an upset against Richard Neal, 16-term incumbent and chair of the Ways and Means Committee. Morse, the openly gay mayor of Holyoke, supports Medicare for All and a Green New Deal.
The House Oversight Committee says it will subpoena Postmaster General Louis DeJoy — a major Trump donor — this week for withholding documents from Congress. Democrats are seeking answers as to why recent changes were made to the Postal Service that have caused widespread delays in the run-up to the November election as a record number of people prepare to vote by mail.
A federal appeals court denied the Justice Department’s effort to end former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s case Monday. Attorney General William Barr has been pushing to drop charges against Flynn, even though he twice pleaded guilty to lying under oath to the FBI.
A federal appeals court ruled the House Judiciary Committee does not have the authority to sue Trump’s former White House counsel Don McGahn for refusing to testify. House Democrats were hoping to compel McGahn to testify about possible obstruction of justice in the Mueller investigation.
In sports news, tennis champion Naomi Osaka walked onto the court of her first-round match at the U.S. Open Monday wearing a face mask bearing the name of Breonna Taylor. Osaka, whose father is Haitian, recently withdrew from her matches at the Western & Southern Open to protest racism. The Breonna Taylor mask is one of seven face coverings, each one honoring a different person, that Osaka brought with her to the U.S. Open; it takes seven wins to claim victory at the tournament. Osaka said, “It’s quite sad that seven masks isn’t enough for the amount of names, so hopefully I’ll get to the finals so you can see all of them.”