The extra weekly $600 payments to the unemployed during the Covid-19 pandemic expired on Friday night, causing fears that many will be plunged into poverty as a result. Democrats and Republicans have yet to reach a new deal on the matter.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was on CBS’s Face the Nation and admitted a deal is some way off. He, along with treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, met with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to discuss the deal on Saturday.
“Yesterday was a step in the right direction. Our staffs are actually working today. We’ll be meeting again tomorrow. But I’m not optimistic that there will be a solution in the very near term,” he said during his appearance on CBS.
He also denied that Donald Trump had looked into delaying the November election, despite the fact that the president floated the possibility of doing so earlier this week, to widespread criticism from Democrats and Republicans.
“He has not looked at delaying any- any election,” said Meadows. “What we will do is if we try to transform this and start mailing in ballots all across the country, all 50 states, what we will see is a delay because they’re just not equipped to handle it.”
There is no substantial evidence mail-in voting is subject to fraud, as Trump suggested when he spoke about delaying the election. You can read more about it here:
Giroir says US needs to move on from hydroxychloroquine
Hydroxychloroquine has been back in the news recently, thanks to Dr Stella Immanuel.
The Houston-based doctor and pastor said the drug can “stop Covid in its tracks in 30 days” but then again she also believes some women’s medical problems are caused by sex with “spirit husbands”. Donald Trump, who has touted hydroxychloroquine himself in the past, called Immanuel “impressive” earlier this week.
During an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Trump’s coronavirus testing tsar, Brett Giroir, said there is no evidence hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment for Covid-19.
“I think most physicians and prescribers are evidence-based and they’re not influenced by whatever’s on Twitter or anything else and the evidence just doesn’t show that hydroxychloroquine is effective right now,” he said. “I think we need to move on from that and talk about what is effective.”
US congresswoman Karen Bass has emerged as a frontrunner to be Joe Biden’s running mate in November, and she confirmed she is willing to take the job if offered.
“I think anybody that is willing to become vice president, if they’re invited, should be ready and I think that I am,” Bass said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.
Bass is seen by some in the Biden camp as being less likely to clash with their man than another strong candidate, Kamala Harris. However, Bass and Biden differ on healthcare with the congresswoman in favour of “Medicare for all”. Biden believes private healthcare still has a big part to play in the US system.
“No, I don’t think that the vice president is wrong at all,” Bass said when asked about the difference in their policies. “What I do believe in is that health care should be a right. I think that we should be like the rest of the industrial nations and provide health care. But what I believe specifically is that we need to repair the damage that was done and has been done over the last ten years to the Affordable Care Act. We need to repair the damage, we need to expand that, and then over time we need to figure as a nation, how do we make health care as a right for everyone.”
Bass also said she had reconsidered a statement she made when Fidel Castro died in 2016, At the time, she described his death as a “great loss” for Cuba.
“I absolutely would have not put that statement out [now] and I will tell you that, after talking to my colleagues who represent the state of Florida [and] raised those concerns with me, lesson learned. [I] would not do that again for sure,” she said.
Illinois senator Tammy Duckworth, a potential running mate for Joe Biden in November, has appeared on Fox News Sunday. She was asked if she was ready to step up and become president if needed.
“I think any one of the women whose names have been mentioned being considered are fabulous women and well prepared to step up and do the job of vice president or step up and take over as president if needed,” she said.
She also said that Trump has “failed to respond to this pandemic” as deaths from Covid-19 reach more than 155,000 in the US. Duckworth has criticized Trump’s decision to send federal agents to some US cities in response to anti-racism protests. She said the president should be concentrating on gun control rather than protesters if he wants to alleviate violence in US cities.
“If President Trump truly wants to go after violence in our country, he should call Mitch McConnell right now and ask for a sensible vote on uniform background checks,” she said. “That is, let’s get rid of those gun show loopholes.”
Republican governor says Trump should accept election result
Arkansas’ Republican governor Asa Hutchinson has seen a rise in cases in his state over the last few weeks, but has denied that shutting down bars and restaurants will help curb that trend.
“So far we have not seen any correlation between an increase in cases and lifting of restrictions,” he told CNN on Sunday morning. He added that wearing masks in public is vital “of course the most important about that is that people comply with it.”
He was also asked about Donald Trump’s suggestion earlier this week that he may delay the November election over (unfounded) fears of mail-in voting fraud.
“As everyone has indicated, there shouldn’t be any change in the date of the election … It is constitutional. It is required,” said Hutchinson. “The president should accept the results just like presidents in the past have accepted the results.”
More from Deborah Birx’s appearance on CNN. Covid-19 is seen by many as an urban disease that spreads in cities where people are crammed together, particularly after cities such as New York and Detroit were hit hard in the early stages of the pandemic. But Birx warned people in rural areas that Covid-19 is a danger for them too.
“To everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus,” Birx said. “If you’re in multi-generational households, and there’s an outbreak in your rural area or in your city, you need to really consider wearing a mask at home, assuming that you’re positive, if you have individuals in your households with comorbidities … [the pandemic] is both rural and urban.”
She was also asked if schools should practice remote learning in areas where there is a 5% positivity rate.
“If you have high case load and active community spread, just like we are asking people not to go to bars, not to have household parties, not to create large spreading events, we are asking people to distance learn at this moment so we can get this epidemic under control,” Birx said.
Trump campaign adviser says election will not be delayed
Donald Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller is on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.
He is asked about Trump trailing in the polls to Joe Biden.
“We think we’re in a great shape,” he says as polls show Trump trailing to his presumptive opponent in several key battleground states. Miller says Trump is leading “or within the margin of error” in states he needs to win in November. He adds that Trump was down to Clinton in 2016 at a similar stage, and says public polling is “lagging behind” private polls conducted by the Trump campaign.
He is then asked by Wallace if he will guarantee the Trump campaign will not accept information about Biden or his family from foreign officials or governments.
He says that Wallace has asked a “silly question … we’re going to beat Biden fair and square.” Wallace then asks Miller to give him a flat yes or no in regards to whether he would accept foreign information. “There is no foreign assistance in this campaign,” says Miller, not quite denying Wallace’s question. He also says Wallace should ask the same question to the Biden campaign.
The interview ends with Wallace asking Miller about Trump’s suggestion earlier this week that he could delay November’s election.
“The election is going to be on 3 November,” says Miller. He says it is actually Democrat governors who want the election delayed by introducing mail-in voting, where ballots can arrive after 3 November.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi turned her attention to Deborah Birx on ABC’s This Week, and didn’t exactly give her a ringing endorsement.
“I think the president has been spreading disinformation about the virus and [Birx] is his appointee so, I don’t have confidence there, no,” said Pelosi when asked if she had confidence in Birx.
Birx, , meanwhile, was asked about Pelosi’s comments when she appeared on CNN on Sunday morning. Birx said she believed Pelosi was referring to an article in the New York Times that depicted her as being too optimistic about the fight against the virus.
“This was not a pollyannish view. I’ve never been called pollyannish, or non-scientific, or non-data driven,” Birx said. “I will stake my 40-year career on those fundamental principles of using data to implement better programs and save lives.”
Reports earlier this week said Pelosi criticized Birx in a meeting with treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
“Deborah Birx is the worst. Wow, what horrible hands you’re in,” Pelosi said according to Politico.
Pelosi is also to said to have described infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci, who has been sidelined by the White House, as a “hero”.
Dr Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, has appeared on CNN’s State of the Union. She said that Covid-19 has taken a hold over large parts of the US, and is no longer restricted to large cities as was the trend in the early stages of the pandemic.
“What we are seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It’s into the rural as equal urban areas,” Birx said.
She also warned people who have been to areas hit hard by the disease, such as Florida, to “assume you’re infected.”
Birx said she had been to 14 states in the last three weeks as part of her job, and had witnessed how Americans are continuing to travel across the country, potentially spreading the virus. “I can tell you across America right now, people are on the move,” she said.
More than 150,000 people have died in America due to Covid-19. According to Yahoo News, the Centers for Disease Control forecast earlier this week that the death toll could rise as high as 182,000 by 22 August.
Good morning. The main news is that Republicans have decided the press will be barred when Donald Trump is formally declared the party’s nominee for president later this month.
“Given the health restrictions and limitations in place within the state of North Carolina, we are planning for the Charlotte activities to be closed [to] press Friday, August 21–Monday, August 24,” a convention spokeswoman said.
“We are happy to let you know if this changes, but we are working within the parameters set before us by state and local guidelines regarding the number of people who can attend events.”
The Associated Press’s White House correspondent, Zeke Miller, has called the decision “ill-advised”, while veteran CNN host Wolf Blitzer called the decision to bar the press from a major part of the country’s democratic process “unthinkable”.
In a sign that the backlash may have got to the GOP, Miller later reported that “the decision is not final and that they are still working through press coverage options. Hopefully they’ll give the American people the access they deserve.”