Trump Administration, Week 175: Friday, 22 May – Thursday, 28 May 2020 (Days 1,218-1,224)


Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.


For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!


Friday, 22 May 2020, Day 1,218:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 22 May 2020: U.K. to Quarantine All Incoming Air Travelers; a Chinese Coronavirus Vaccine Shows Promise, The New York Times, Friday, 22 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 22 May 2020: As Death Toll Nears 100,000, Some in the Trump Administration Question the Math; Experts Disagree. President Trump ordered states to reopen places of worship, but several governors said that decision would be their call. Persistently high case levels in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington have medical experts concerned. The New York Times, Friday, 22 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 22 May 2020: New York Relaxes Rules, Approving All Gatherings of Up to 10 People, The New York Times, Friday, 22 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Continue reading Week 175, Friday, 22 May – Thursday, 28 May 2020 (Days 1,218-1,224)

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 22 May 2020: Hertz, Car Rental Pioneer, Files for Bankruptcy Protection, The New York Times, Friday, 22 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 22 May 2020: Researchers at Imperial College London find coronavirus may still be spreading uncontrolled in 24 states, The Washington Post, Miriam Berger, Brittany Shammas, Mark Berman, John Wagner, Candace Buckner, Michael Brice-Saddler, Colby Itkowitz, and Hannah Knowles, Friday, 22 May 2020: “The coronavirus could be spreading uncontrolled in 24 states in the U.S., particularly in the South and Midwest, according to new research that is yet to be peer-reviewed, which highlights the risk of a second wave of infections in places that reopen too quickly or without sufficient precautions. More than 94,000 people have died from covid-19 in the United States, where the number of confirmed cases is approaching 1.6 million, according to tracking by The Washington Post.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Trump deems houses of worship ‘essential’ amid pandemic, CNN Politics, Maegan Vazquez, Friday, 22 May 2020: “President Donald Trump announced Friday that his administration is issuing guidance deeming places of worship ‘essential’ during the coronavirus pandemic, calling on governors to reopen religious institutions for services. Trump threatened to ‘override’ governors if their states did not follow the new federal recommendations, but it was unclear what authority the President was referring to. The recommendations are voluntary.” See also, Trump Says Places of Worship Are Essential Services, The Wall Street Journal, Gordon Lubold and Catherine Lucey, Friday, 22 May 2020: “President Trump called on governors to reopen the nation’s places of worship as essential services Friday, pointing to new safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and declaring that he would ‘override’ any state leaders who don’t agree. The president said some governors have deemed abortion clinics and liquor stores as essential but hadn’t put churches and other places of worship in that category. Mr. Trump, who since the coronavirus crisis began has asserted that he has authority over state governors only to walk back his position, didn’t say how he would overrule the states, which have set their own rules in the crisis.” See also, Firing a Salvo in the Culture Wars, Trump Pushes for Churches to Reopen, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Friday, 22 May 2020: “President Trump may not consider church essential to his personal life, but it may be to his political future. And so he waded into the culture wars on Friday by demanding that states allow places of worship to reopen ‘right away’ and threatening to overrule any that defy him.” See also, Trump tells states to let houses of worship open, sparking cultural and political fight over pandemic restrictions, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan, Lena H. Sun, Josh Dawsey, and Michelle Boorstein, Friday, 22 May 2020.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that about a third of coronavirus infections are asymptomatic, CNN Health, Arman Azad, Friday, 22 May 2020: “In new guidance for mathematical modelers and public health officials, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is estimating that about a third of coronavirus infections are asymptomatic. The CDC also says its ‘best estimate’ is that 0.4% of people who show symptoms and have Covid-19 will die, and the agency estimates that 40% of coronavirus transmission is occurring before people feel sick. The agency cautions that those numbers are subject to change as more is learned about Covid-19, and it warns that the information is intended for planning purposes. Still, the agency says its estimates are based on real data collected by the agency before April 29.”

A study of 96,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients found that hydroxychloroquine, the antimalarial drug touted by Trump, is linked to increased risk of death in coronavirus patients, The Washington Post, Ariana Eunjung Cha and Laurie McGinley, Friday, 22 May 2020: “A study of 96,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients on six continents found that those who received an antimalarial drug promoted by President Trump as a ‘game changer’ in the fight against the virus had a significantly higher risk of death compared with those who did not. People treated with hydroxychloroquine, or the closely related drug chloroquine, were also more likely to develop a type of irregular heart rhythm, or arrhythmia, that can lead to sudden cardiac death, it concluded. The study, published Friday in the medical journal Lancet is the largest analysis to date of the risks and benefits of treating covid-19 patients with antimalarial drugs. Like earlier smaller studies, it delivered disappointing news to a world eager for promising treatments for the novel coronavirus as the global death toll grows to more than 300,000. While doctors have refined how they treat the disease, they have yet to discover a magic bullet against a pathogen for which humans have no known immunity.” See also, Malaria Drug Hydroxychloroquine Taken by Trump Is Tied to Increased Risk of Heart Problems and Death in New Study, The New York Times, Denise Grady, Friday, 22 May 2020: “The malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine did not help coronavirus patients and may have done harm, according to a new study based on the records of nearly 15,000 patients who received the drugs and 81,000 who did not. Some were also given the antibiotic azithromycin, or a related medicine.”

Trump Suggests the Coronavirus Death Count Is Inflated. Most Public Health Experts Say He Is Wrong and Think the Death Toll Is Probably Far Higher Than What Is Publicly Known. The New York Times, Noah Weiland, Maggie Haberman, and Abby Goodnough, Friday, 22 May 2020: “President Trump, eager to reopen the economy, has begun questioning the official coronavirus death toll, suggesting the numbers, which have hobbled his approval ratings and harmed his re-election prospects, are inflated. In coronavirus task force and other White House meetings, conversations with health officials have returned to similar suspicions: that the data compiled by state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include people who have died with the coronavirus but of other conditions. The numbers, some say, include too many ‘presumed’ cases of Covid-19 and too many Americans who were never tested for the disease. Last Friday, Mr. Trump told reporters that he accepted the current death toll, but that the figures could be ‘lower than’ the official count, which now totals nearly 95,000. Most statisticians and public health experts say he is wrong; the death toll is probably far higher than what is publicly known. People are dying at their houses and nursing homes without ever being tested, and deaths early this year were likely misidentified as influenza or described only as pneumonia.”

Trump Hails ‘Good Bloodlines’ of Henry Ford, Whose Anti-Semitism Inspired Hitler, The Intercept, Robert Mackey, Friday, 22 May 2020: “Donald Trump’s campaign to change the subject from the coronavirus pandemic took a bizarre turn on Thursday, as the president paused during a speech at a Ford Motor Company plant in Michigan to praise the ‘good bloodlines’ of the family descended from the firm’s founder, Henry Ford, a notorious anti-Semite and favorite of Adolf Hitler. In an apparent ad-lib, Trump looked up from his prepared remarks — which praised the firm for teaming up with General Electric to produce ventilators and face shields for medical workers — to observe that Henry Ford’s descendants, like the current chairman, Bill Ford, who had introduced the president, have ‘good blood.'” See also, Trump says he declined to wear a mask on part of his tour of a Ford plant in Michigan because he ‘didn’t want to give the press the pleasure’ of seeing him in a mask, Axios, Ursula Perano, published on Thursday, 21 May 2020: “President Trump on Thursday said he removed his face mask during a tour of a Ford plant in Michigan because he ‘didn’t want to give the press the pleasure’ of seeing him wearing the protective covering. Trump said he kept a mask on during a private portion of the tour, but took it off once in-view of the press. An open letter from Michigan’s attorney general warned that it was ‘the law of this state’ to wear a mask. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that people wear facial coverings when in public to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Michigan currently has one of the highest case counts in the U.S., with 53,512 positive tests and 5,129 deaths.” See also, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel Says She ‘Will Not Remain Silent’ as Trump Risks Public Health, NPR, Alana Wise, Friday, 22 May 2020: “Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Friday said President Trump had directly threatened the health and safety of her state’s residents through his coronavirus response, including his recent refusals to wear a mask in public and defense of those protesting stay-at-home orders. ‘He has risked the health, safety and welfare of everyone who lives in this state, and I will not remain silent and just twiddle my thumbs as I see him do that,’ Nessel told NPR’s All Things Considered. His choice not to wear a mask, she said, ‘sends the worst possible message at the worst possible time.’ Nessel’s remarks are the latest escalation in a feud between the president and Michigan’s state leadership amid the coronavirus pandemic. Trump, who traveled to Michigan Thursday, called Nessel ‘The Wacky Do Nothing Attorney General of Michigan,’ in a tweet after she, on CNN, compared the president to a ‘petulant child’ for not wearing a mask during most of his visit this week to a Ford Motor Co. plant.”

Joe Biden walks back suggestion that black voters who aren’t already supporting him ‘ain’t black,’ The Washington Post, Annie Linskey and Colby Itkowitz, Friday, 22 May 2020: “It was a chance for Joe Biden to connect with a key group of voters who helped him clinch the Democratic presidential nomination and are crucial to his chances in November: an appearance on ‘The Breakfast Club,’ a radio show popular with black audiences. Instead, Biden’s suggestion that African Americans who are considering voting for President Trump ‘ain’t black’ quickly overshadowed the rest of his interview, ricocheting across social media, drawing fire from black Democrats and culminating with the candidate rushing to express regret for his comments. ‘I was much too cavalier. I know that the comments have come off like I was taking the African American vote for granted. But nothing could be further from the truth,’ Biden said later in the day, during a virtual appearance with the U.S. Black Chambers, an organization that advocates for black entrepreneurs. ‘I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy.'” See also, Joe Biden Apologizes for Saying Black Voters ‘Ain’t Black’ if They’re Considering Trump, The New York Times, Astead W. Herndon and Katie Glueck, Friday, 22 May 2020.

Trump Takes Aim at a Watergate Reform: The Independent Inspectors General. The idea after the Watergate scandals was to keep government honest. Trump’s goal seems to be to ensure its loyalty. The New York Times, David E. Sanger and Charlie Savage, Friday, 22 May 2020: “Congress had a clear idea of the role it expected inspectors general to play when it created them in 1978 after the Watergate scandals. They were to be dispersed in the agencies and departments of the federal government not as compliant team members but in-house referees, charged with rooting out corruption, waste, malfeasance and illegality. As their numbers increased in the four decades since, inspectors general have played that role in bureaucracies as vast as the Pentagon and as tiny as the Denali Commission, charged with developing infrastructure in Alaska. It was an inspector general who in 2003 discovered that the C.I.A. was using unauthorized techniques to torture detainees and an inspector general who brought to light billions of dollars wasted in reconstruction projects in Afghanistan. But President Trump has made clear that he has little use for this kind of independent oversight, which he sees as yet another form of resistance from the so-called Deep State. ‘I think we’ve been treated very unfairly by inspector generals,’ he said this week. And now he has launched a full-fledged — and at moments quite innovative — attack on the ability of inspectors general to investigate his administration.”

A Federal Appeals Court Judge Has Ordered a Trial Judge to Explain His Handling of Flynn Case, and the F.B.I. Announces a Review of the Case, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Friday, 22 May 2020: “A federal appeals court panel has ordered a trial judge to explain why he is hesitating to grant the Justice Department’s request that he dismiss the criminal case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn. The order came as the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, announced on Friday that the bureau would conduct an internal review of the investigation into Mr. Flynn, including to ‘determine whether any current employees engaged in misconduct’ and evaluate whether the bureau should change any procedures.”

As her lawyer quits, Biden accuser Tara Reade’s credibility is challenged by lawyers whose clients she testified against as an expert witness, The Washington Post, Matt Viser and Michael Scherer, Friday, 22 May 2020: “Several California defense attorneys said Friday that they would attempt to overturn criminal convictions that relied upon testimony from Tara Reade, the former Senate aide who accused Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993, because she may have provided false information under oath. During testimony in Monterey County court cases in which she was called as an expert on domestic violence, Reade said that she had received a bachelor’s degree from Antioch University, had never taken the bar exam after graduating from law school and had been a legislative assistant in Biden’s office. Those claims have since been documented as false or been called into doubt in stories published since she made her accusation against Biden.”


Saturday, 23 May 2020, Day 1,219:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 23 May 2020: Pandemic Swells in South America, as the U.S. Nears 100,000 Deaths, The New York Times, Saturday, 23 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 23 May 2020: New York Reports Fewer Than 100 Virus Deaths for First Time Since Late March, The New York Times, Saturday, 23 May 2020:

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, 23 May 2020: Memorial Day weekend draws big crowds as U.S. coronavirus deaths near 100,000, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Katie Mettler, Meryl Kornfield, Miriam Berger, Colby Itkowitz, Candace Buckner, Kareem Copeland, and Hannah Knowles, Saturday, 23 May 2020: “Officials urged social distancing Saturday as Americans looked to open the summer season with a Memorial Day weekend spent outside. Some beaches, boardwalks and other attractions drew thick crowds of people, many without masks, as coronavirus-related deaths in the United States neared 100,000. Amid these attempts to resume normal activities, President Trump went golfing at his privately owned course in Sterling, Va., a day after Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said the District and its suburbs have the highest rate of positive coronavirus tests in the country. It was the first time Trump has golfed at one of his properties since the covid-19 crisis intensified in early March.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

One final viral infusion: Trump’s move to block travel from Europe triggered chaos and a surge of passengers from the outbreak’s center, The Washington Post, Greg Miller, Josh Dawsey, and Aaron C. Davis, Saturday, 23 May 2020: “In the final days before the United States faced a full-blown epidemic, President Trump made a last-ditch attempt to prevent people infected with the coronavirus from reaching the country. ‘To keep new cases from entering our shores,’ Trump said in an Oval Office address on March 11, ‘we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days.’ Across the Atlantic, Jack Siebert, an American college student spending a semester in Spain, was battling raging headaches, shortness of breath and fevers that touched 104 degrees. Concerned about his condition for travel but alarmed by the president’s announcement, his parents scrambled to book a flight home for their son — an impulse shared by thousands of Americans who rushed to get flights out of Europe. Siebert arrived at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago three days later as the new U.S. restrictions — including mandatory medical screenings — went into effect. He encountered crowds of people packed in tight corridors, stood in lines in which he snaked past other travelers for nearly five hours and tried to direct any cough or sneeze into his sleeve. When he finally reached the coronavirus checkpoint near baggage pickup, Siebert reported his prior symptoms and described his exposure in Spain. But the screeners waved him through with a cursory temperature check. He was given instructions to self-isolate that struck him as absurd given the conditions he had just encountered at the airport. ‘I can guarantee you that people were infected’ in that transatlantic gantlet, said Siebert, who tested positive for the virus two days later in Chicago. ‘It was people passing through a pinhole.'”

Federal Scientists Finally Publish Remdesivir Data, The New York Times, Gina Kolata, Saturday, 23 May 2020: “Nearly a month after federal scientists claimed that an experimental drug had helped patients severely ill with the coronavirus, the research has been published. The drug, remdesivir, was quickly authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of coronavirus patients, and hospitals rushed to obtain supplies. But until now, researchers and physicians had not seen the actual data. And remdesivir, made by Gilead Sciences, has a spotty history. It was originally intended to treat hepatitis, but it failed to. It was tested against Ebola, but results were lackluster. So far, remdesivir has not been officially approved for any purpose. The F.D.A.’s emergency use authorization was not a formal approval. The long-awaited study, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on The New England Journal of Medicine website on Friday evening. It confirms the essence of the government’s assertions: Remdesivir shortened recovery time from 15 days to 11 days in hospitalized patients. The study defined recovery as ‘either discharge from the hospital or hospitalization.’ The trial was rigorous, randomly assigning 1,063 seriously ill patients to receive either remdesivir or a placebo. Those who received the drug not only recovered faster but also did not have serious adverse events more often than those who were given the placebo.”

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan hires a high-powered D.C. attorney to defend his actions in Michael Flynn case, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig and Spencer S. Hsu, Saturday, 23 May 2020: “The federal judge who refused a Justice Department request to immediately drop the prosecution of former Trump adviser Michael Flynn has hired a high-profile trial lawyer to argue his reasons for investigating whether dismissing the case is legally or ethically appropriate. In a rare step that adds to this criminal case’s already unusual path, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has retained Beth Wilkinson to represent him in defending his decision to a federal appeals court in Washington, according to a person familiar with the hire who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is now examining the judge’s actions and the larger case against Flynn after lawyers for President Trump’s former national security adviser asked the court to force Sullivan to toss Flynn’s guilty plea.”

New reporting puts focus on Tara Reade’s inconsistencies, The Washington Post, Amber Phillips, Saturday, 23 May 2020: “Reporters at marquee national news outlets have devoted significant time over the last couple of months investigating Tara Reade and her allegation that former vice president Joe Biden, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, sexually assaulted her in 1993. Throughout their reporting on her, a pattern of inconsistencies has emerged in Reade’s accounts, and several stories in the last week in particular have raised questions about credibility in other areas of her life.”


Sunday, 24 May 2020, Day 1,220:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates on Sunday, 24 May 2020: Trump Bans Travel From Brazil, Citing Pandemic, The New York Times, Sunday, 24 May 2020: ”

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates on Sunday, 24 May 2020: New York Prepares for Two More Regions to Open, The New York Times, Sunday, 24 May 2020:

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, 24 May 2020: Trump halts U.S. entry for foreigners who have recently been in Brazil, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Meryl Kornfield, Katie Mettler, Adam Taylor, Steven Goff, Samantha Pell, and Hannah Knowles, Sunday, 24 May 2020: “Citing coronavirus concerns, President Trump on Sunday suspended entry for foreigners who have been in Brazil within 14 days prior to seeking U.S. admittance. The new rules, which will take effect Thursday night, come as Brazil reports more than 300,000 confirmed cases of the virus. ‘The potential for undetected transmission of the virus by infected individuals seeking to enter the United States from the Federative Republic of Brazil threatens the security of our transportation system and infrastructure and the national security,’ the White House said in a statement. Meanwhile, as the death toll in the United States climbed toward 100,000, the warm weather and holiday festivities drew large crowds to some of the country’s outdoor attractions. People flocked to beaches in Maryland and New Jersey, and video of vacationers flouting social distancing guidelines in Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks was shared widely on social media.

Here are some significant developments:

  • White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx said on ‘Fox News Sunday’ she was ‘very concerned’ some people were neglecting to maintain a safe, six-foot distance during the Memorial Day weekend.
  • The governor of Arkansas said over the weekend that his state was facing a ‘second peak’ in infections after a cluster emerged at a high school pool party.
  • Many local health officials told The Washington Post they have been left in the dark as clusters of cases have emerged in supermarkets coast to coast.
  • As the death toll nears 100,000, covid-19 has made a fundamental shift in who it touches and where it reaches in the United States.
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson stood by an influential adviser accused of breaking Britain’s lockdown, despite widespread calls for the senior aide’s removal.
  • Italy’s Catholics, emerging from one of the most rigid lockdowns in the West — one that saw a historic halt to religious ceremonies — returned to Mass on Sunday.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

An Incalculable Loss. They Were Not Simply Names on a List. They Were Us. The New York Times, Sunday, 24 May 2020: The United States “is fast approaching a grim milestone in the coronavirus outbreak — each figure [in this article] represents one of the nearly 100,000 lives lost so far. But a count reveals only so much. Memories, gathered from obituaries across the country, help us to reckon with what was lost.”

The Project Behind a Front Page Full of Names, The New York Times, John Grippe, published on Saturday, 23 May 2020: “Instead of the articles, photographs or graphics that normally appear on the front page of The New York Times, on Sunday, there is just a list: a long, solemn list of people whose lives have been lost to the coronavirus pandemic. As the death toll from Covid-19 in the United States approaches 100,000, a number expected to be reached in the coming days, editors at The Times have been planning how to mark the grim milestone.”

A deadly ‘checkerboard’: Covid-19’s new surge across rural America, The Washington Post, Reis Thebault and Abigail Hauslohner, Sunday, 24 May 2020: “As the death toll nears 100,000, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus has made a fundamental shift in who it touches and where it reaches in America, according to a Washington Post analysis of case data and interviews with public health professionals in several states. The pandemic that first struck in major metropolises is now increasingly finding its front line in the country’s rural areas; counties with acres of farmland, cramped meatpacking plants, out-of-the-way prisons and few hospital beds.”

Federal Judge Robert L. Hinkle of the United States District Court in Tallahassee Rules Florida Law Restricting Felon Voting Is Unconstitutional, The New York Times, Patricia Mazzei, Sunday, 24 May 2020: “A Florida law requiring people with serious criminal convictions to pay court fines and fees before they can register to vote is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled on Sunday, declaring that such a requirement would amount to a poll tax and discriminate against felons who cannot afford to pay. Florida did not explicitly impose a poll tax, Judge Robert L. Hinkle of the United States District Court in Tallahassee wrote, but by conditioning felons’ voting rights to fees that fund the routine operations of the criminal justice system, it effectively created ‘a tax by any other name.’ ‘The Twenty-Fourth Amendment precludes Florida from conditioning voting in federal elections on payment of these fees and costs,’ Judge Hinkle wrote, calling the restriction an unconstitutional ‘pay-to-vote system.’ The judge granted a permanent injunction to civil rights groups that challenged the law as discriminatory for the majority of felons, many of whom are indigent. The state is expected to appeal. However, much of Sunday’s ruling is built on a previous ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, which would hear any appeal. ‘This really is a landmark decision for voting rights,’ said Julie Ebenstein, senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, one of the groups that sued. ‘It’s a decision that will likely affect hundreds of thousands of voters — and it’s been a long time coming.'” See also, Federal judge guts Florida law requiring felons to pay fines before they can vote, The Washington Post, Amy Gardner, Sunday, 24 May 2020: “A federal judge has gutted a Florida state law requiring felons to pay all court fines and fees before they can register to vote, clearing the way for thousands of Floridians to register in time for the November presidential election. Republican lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) pushed the measure after Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment in 2018 to expand voting rights to felons who have completed ‘all terms of their sentence including probation and parole.’ The law’s backers said it was necessary to clarify the amendment, while critics said Republicans were trying to limit the effects of what would have been the largest expansion of the state’s electorate since poll taxes and literacy tests were outlawed during the civil rights era. The law, critics said, had made it virtually impossible for most felons to register, either because of an inability to pay or because the state offered no way for them to know what they owed or whether they had already paid. U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle agreed, likening the restrictive legislation to a tax and concluding that the state had not created a system that would allow felons to identify their financial obligations. ‘The Twenty-Fourth Amendment precludes Florida from conditioning voting in federal elections on payment of these fees and costs,’ wrote Hinkle, who was appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton, referring to the constitutional amendment that bans poll taxes. Hinkle did not find, however, that the law intentionally discriminated on the basis of race, as the plaintiffs had argued, because of the disproportionate number of African Americans among the state’s population of felons.”

Trump Promotes Posts From Racist and Sexist Twitter Feed. On a somber Memorial Day weekend, the president did not mention the mounting coronavirus toll and instead retweeted personal attacks on his political rivals. The New York Times, Annie Karni, Sunday, 24 May 2020: “On a weekend when the nation was bracing for the approaching toll of 100,000 lives lost to the coronavirus and honoring the many more people who have died in wars, President Trump amplified a series of demeaning personal attacks from a supporter with a history of racist and sexist online commentary. Mr. Trump reposted eight tweets from John K. Stahl, a conservative former political candidate, including attacks on Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Stacey Abrams, the black former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives who is considered a potential Democratic vice-presidential pick. Mr. Stahl, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in California’s 52nd District in 2012, has a history of derogatory posts, especially against black women. He has referred online to Senator Kamala Harris of California — who is of Indian and Jamaican descent and is another potential running mate for Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee — as ‘Willie’s Ho,’ an apparent reference to Willie Brown, the powerful California State Assembly speaker who was her mentor and onetime boyfriend. Mr. Stahl has called Ms. Abrams ‘Shamu’ and posted racist remarks about Joy Reid, the African-American MSNBC host. ‘When you’re born butt ugly, changing your hairstyle every day is only going to make you look phonier than you nonsense, pathetic show,’ he wrote of Ms. Reid, calling her a ‘skank.'” See also, Trump Tweets and Golfs, but He Makes No Mention of Coronavirus Deaths in the U.S. Approaching a Staggering 100,000, a Number Trump Once Predicted Would Never Be Reached, The New York Times, Peter Baker, Sunday, 24 May 2020. See also, On weekend dedicated to war dead, Trump tweets insults, promotes baseless claims, and plays golf, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan, Sunday, 24 May 2020.

Trump Sows Doubt on Voting. It Keeps Some People Up at Night. The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein, Sunday, 24 May 2020: “In October, President Trump declares a state of emergency in major cities in battleground states, like Milwaukee and Detroit, banning polling places from opening. A week before the election, Attorney General William P. Barr announces a criminal investigation into the Democratic presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr. After Mr. Biden wins a narrow Electoral College victory, Mr. Trump refuses to accept the results, won’t leave the White House and declines to allow the Biden transition team customary access to agencies before the Jan. 20 inauguration. Far-fetched conspiracy theories? Not to a group of worst-case scenario planners — mostly Democrats, but some anti-Trump Republicans as well — who have been gaming out various doomsday options for the 2020 presidential election. Outraged by Mr. Trump and fearful that he might try to disrupt the campaign before, during and after Election Day, they are engaged in a process that began in the realm of science fiction but has nudged closer to reality as Mr. Trump and his administration abandon longstanding political norms. The anxiety has intensified in recent weeks as the president continues to attack the integrity of mail voting and insinuate that the election system is rigged, while his Republican allies ramp up efforts to control who can vote and how. Just last week, Mr. Trump threatened to withhold funding from states that defy his wishes on expanding mail voting, while also amplifying unfounded claims of voter fraud in battleground states.”

As Trump removes federal watchdogs, some loyalists replacing the inspectors general have ‘preposterous’ conflicts, The Washington Post, Lisa Rein and Tom Hamburger, Sunday, 24 May 2020: “The political appointee President Trump installed last week to investigate waste, fraud and abuse at the Transportation Department is the same official in charge of one of the agency’s key divisions. That means Howard ‘Skip’ Elliott is now running an office charged with investigating his own actions. Elliott serves simultaneously as the Transportation Department’s inspector general and head of the department’s pipeline and hazardous materials agency, whose mission includes enforcement of safety regulations on nearly 1 million daily shipments of gas, oil and other dangerous compounds. ‘The idea that an independent IG could simultaneously be part of the political team running an agency they are supposed to oversee is preposterous,’ said Danielle Brian, executive director of the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight. Elliott’s appointment was the fifth in two months in which Trump, chafing from oversight he perceived as criticism, replaced a career investigator with an appointee considered more loyal to the president. In three of the cases, Trump has installed new leadership drawn from the senior ranks of the agencies the inspectors general oversee. For the first time since the system was created in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, inspectors general find themselves under systematic attack from the president, putting independent oversight of federal spending and operations at risk as over $2 trillion in coronavirus relief spending courses through the government.”

Florida family grieves as Trump spreads debunked conspiracy theory to attack MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, The Washington Post, Craig Pittman, Sunday, 24 May 2020: “A little after 8 a.m. on July 20, 2001, a couple arriving for an appointment opened an unlocked front door at an office in the Florida panhandle town of Fort Walton Beach and discovered a woman lying on the floor, dead. Her name was Lori Kaye Klausutis and she was just 28. The police said they found no signs of foul play. The medical examiner concluded her lonely death was an accident. She had fainted, the result of a heart condition, and hit her head on a desk, he said. Now, nearly 20 years later, Klausutis’s death has captured the attention of the country’s most prominent purveyor of conspiracy theories — the president of the United States — who has without evidence speculated that she might have been murdered and that the case should be reopened. The reason for President Trump’s fixation: At the time of her death, Klausutis was working for a Republican congressman from Pensacola named Joe Scarborough — the same Scarborough who today, as host of MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe,’ is a fierce critic of Trump and has in recent weeks decried the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as a failure.”


Monday, 25 May 2020, Day 1,221:


As the U.S. Honors Memorial Day, Trump Threatens to Move the Republican Convention, The New York Times, Monday, 25 May 2020:

Many significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, 25 May 2020: Trump pays tribute at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day as U.S. virus death toll nears 100,000, The Washington Post, Katie Mettler, Kim Bellware, Rick Noack, Antonia Noori Farzan, Seung Min Kim, Anne Gearan, and Meryl Kornfield, Monday, 25 May 2020: “President Trump and first lady Melania Trump paid tribute to fallen soldiers on Memorial Day by participating in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery, which has been closed to the public for months during the coronavirus pandemic. There were no crowds at the cemetery this year, as visitation has been limited to family members visiting a gravesite with a pass and staff, but elsewhere in America over the holiday weekend, inhibitions — and masks — were shed. Crowds flooded newly reopened beaches, and videos emerged from Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks and a pool party in Houston showing revelers ignoring social distancing guidance. White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx said Sunday that she is ‘very concerned’ about people neglecting to maintain a safe, six-foot distance. Even before the busy Memorial Day weekend, some experts were warning of a second wave of cases of the novel coronavirus across the Midwest and South. A new study estimates the virus, which has infected at least 1.6 million people in the United States, may still be spreading at epidemic rates in 24 states. Here are some significant developments:

  • President Trump threatened in a tweet Monday to move the Republican National Convention from North Carolina because the state’s Democratic governor “is still in Shutdown mood” as critical decisions loom ahead of the scheduled event in August. Although Trump denied he is advocating for a Florida venue, the state’s Republicans endorsed the move to their state, which is reopening sooner.
  • Concerns are mounting in Europe over a growing number of coronavirus clusters linked to slaughterhouses, posing risks to food supplies and workers at those plants. Outbreaks have also been reported from meat processing plants in the United States and in a number of European nations, including Ireland, the United KingdomSpain and Germany.
  • The pandemic that first struck the United States in major metropolises is increasingly finding its front line in the country’s rural areas: Counties with acres of farmland, cramped meatpacking plants, out-of-the-way prisons and few hospital beds.
  • The Trump administration’s ban on U.S. entry for foreigners who have been in Brazil anytime during the previous 14 days will take effect Wednesday. The South American nation has reported more than 300,000 coronavirus cases and is still struggling to enact social distancing measures.
  • As Spain prepares for the summer travel season, government officials announced Monday that beginning on July 1, the nation will no longer require international tourists to quarantine upon arrival.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

As Meatpacking Plants Reopen, Data About Worker Illness Remains Elusive, The New York Times, Michael Corkery, David Yaffe-Bellany and Derek Kravitz, Monday, 25 May 2020: “The Smithfield Foods plant in Tar Heel, N.C., is one of the world’s largest pork processing facilities, employing about 4,500 people and slaughtering roughly 30,000 pigs a day at its peak. And like more than 100 other meat plants across the United States, the facility has seen a substantial number of coronavirus cases. But the exact number of workers in Tar Heel who have tested positive is anyone’s guess. Smithfield would not provide any data when asked about the number of illnesses at the plant. Neither would state or local health officials.” See also, The meat industry is trying to get back to normal. But workers are still getting sick, and shortages may get worse. The Washington Post, Taylor Telford, Monday, 25 May 2020: “Tyson Foods, the largest meat processor in the United States, has transformed its facilities across the country since legions of its workers started getting sick from the novel coronavirus. It has set up on-site medical clinics, screened employees for fevers at the beginning of their shifts, required the use of face coverings, installed plastic dividers between stations and taken a host of other steps to slow the spread. Despite those efforts, the number of Tyson employees with the coronavirus has exploded from less than 1,600 a month ago to more than 7,000 today, according to a Washington Post analysis of news reports and public records.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) temporarily suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns, Axios, Monday, 25 May 2020: “The World Health Organization is temporarily pausing tests of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment in order to review safety concerns, the agency’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday. The decision comes after a retrospective review published in The Lancet found that coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death, compared to those who did nothing.”

‘This Is Not the Hunger Games’: National Testing Strategy Draws Concerns, The New York Times, Apoorva Mandavilli and Catie Edmondson, Monday, 25 May 2020: “The Trump administration’s new testing strategy, released Sunday to Congress, holds individual states responsible for planning and carrying out all coronavirus testing, while planning to provide some supplies needed for the tests. The proposal also says existing testing capacity, if properly targeted, is sufficient to contain the outbreak. But epidemiologists say that amount of testing is orders of magnitude lower than many of them believe the country needs. The report cements a stance that has frustrated governors in both parties, following the administration’s announcement last month that the federal government should be considered ‘the supplier of last resort’ and that states should develop their own testing plans.”

Trump threatens to pull the Republican convention out of North Carolina, Politico, Alex Isenstadt and David Cohen, Monday, 25 May 2020: “President Donald Trump on Monday morning threatened to move August’s Republican National Convention out of North Carolina unless there are guarantees the state will let everyone attend. ‘I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed … ..full attendance in the Arena,’ he began in a string of four tweets. Trump added: ‘In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space.’ In case voters in the swing state might take offense, Trump twice indicated his ‘love’ for the state and its people. Recent polls have shown Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in a tight battle for North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes. The convention is scheduled to be held in Charlotte on Aug. 24-27, less than a week after Democrats are set to wrap up their rescheduled convention in Milwaukee.” See also, Trump Threatens to Pull Republican Convention From North Carolina, The Wall Street Journal, Andrew Restuccia, Monday, 25 May 2020: “President Trump threatened to move the Republican National Convention out of North Carolina if the state’s governor can’t guarantee that the event will take place at full capacity. In a series of Monday tweets, Mr. Trump called on North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, to reassure Republican officials that the event can continue without coronavirus-related restrictions on the number of attendees. The Republican National Convention is scheduled to take place in late August at an arena in Charlotte that can hold as many as 20,000 people.” See also, In Audacious Move, Georgia and Florida Governors Offer to Host the Republican Convention, The New York Times, Maggie Astor, published on Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “The governors of Georgia and Florida, seizing on a tweet from President Trump, made an audacious move on Tuesday, offering their states’ hosting services for the Republican National Convention, which the party is contractually obligated to hold in Charlotte, N.C. That contract was signed nearly two years ago, and moving a 50,000-person, multimillion-dollar event less than three months before it happens would be extraordinary. But Mr. Trump — in contrast to the host committee that is coordinating the event — threatened on Monday to move the convention unless Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina provided a ‘guarantee’ that there would be no coronavirus-related restrictions on the size of the event. And Mr. Cooper, a Democrat, refused to do so. ‘I will say that it’s OK for political conventions to be political, but pandemic response cannot be,’ Mr. Cooper said at a news conference on Tuesday. ‘We’re talking about something that’s going to happen three months from now, and we don’t know what our situation is going to be.'”


Tuesday, 26 May 2020, Day 1,222:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 26 May 2020: 2 Weeks, 6.5 Million Coronavirus Tests as Wuhan Nears Goal, The New York Times, Tuesday, 26 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 26 May 2020: Emergency Child Hunger Program Is Far Behind on Rollout, The New York Times, Tuesday, 26 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 26 May 2020: Long Island Is on the Verge of Reopening, The New York Times, Tuesday, 26 May 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 26 May 2020: Stocks Rise on Hopes for Economic Recovery, The New York Times, Tuesday, 26 May 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, 26 May 2020: Surge in anxiety and depression show coronavirus toll on mental health in the US, The Washington Post, Miriam Berger, Kim Bellware, Felicia Sonmez, Meryl Kornfield, Candace Buckner, Samantha Pell, Colby Itkowitz, Antonia Noori Farzan, John Wagner, and Katie Shepherd, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “A third of Americans are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression, the most definitive and alarming sign yet of the psychological toll exacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The troubling statistics, which suggest a huge jump from before the pandemic, were released last week in a tranche of data from the Census Bureau. The agency launched an emergency weekly survey of U.S. households at the end of April to measure the pandemic’s effects on employment, housing, finances, education and health.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

‘I Can’t Breathe’: 4 Minneapolis Police Officers Are Fired After a Black Man, George Floyd, Was Handcuffed and Pinned to the Ground by an Officer’s Knee. ‘Being black in America should not be a death sentence,’ the city’s mayor said as video of the arrest was widely shared. The New York Times, Christine Hauser, Derrick Bryson Taylor, and Neil Vigdor, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “The F.B.I. and Minnesota law enforcement authorities are investigating the arrest of a black man who died after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by an officer’s knee, in an episode that was recorded on video by a bystander and that sparked large protests in Minneapolis on Tuesday. After the graphic video circulated widely on social media, the mayor denounced the actions of the four officers who were involved and said on Tuesday afternoon that they had been fired. He identified the victim as George Floyd. Mr. Floyd, 46, a resident of St. Louis Park, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb, was pronounced dead at 9:25 p.m. Monday at Hennepin County Medical Center, according to the medical examiner. Mr. Floyd’s family members told CNN on Tuesday night that the officers should be charged with murder.” See also, Four Minneapolis police officers are fired after video shows one kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a black man who later died, The Washington Post, Brittany Shammas, Timothy Bella, Katie Mettler, and Dalton Bennett, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “Four Minneapolis police officers were fired Tuesday, authorities said, amid protests and outrage after a viral video showed one of them kneeling on the neck of a handcuffed black man who cried that he could not breathe and later died. A bystander’s video of the incident on the city’s south side captured George Floyd telling the officers ‘I cannot breathe’ as he is pinned to the ground, and as an increasingly distraught crowd of onlookers pleads with the officer to move his knee. The officers involved in the incident have not been identified, but Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) announced Tuesday afternoon that they had been terminated. ‘It is the right decision for our city, the right decision for our community. It is the right decision for the Minneapolis Police Department,’ Frey said at a news conference with Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. ‘We’ve stated our values, and ultimately we need to live by them.'” See also, Biden calls for federal civil rights investigation into death of George Floyd, The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan, published on Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday condemned the death of an African American man after he was taken into police custody in Minnesota, referring to the incident as a ‘horrific killing’ that required a civil rights investigation by federal authorities. ‘Watching his life be taken in the same manner, echoing nearly the same words of Eric Garner more than five years ago — “I can’t breathe” — is a tragic reminder that this was not an isolated incident but a part of an ingrained systemic cycle of injustice that still exists in this country,’ Biden said. Viral video emerged this week showing a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, an unarmed man who cried that he could not breathe and later died. Garner, who also was African American, died in New York after a struggle with police in 2014.”

Pandemic Lockdowns Loosen as U.S. Deaths Near 100,000, The Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Calfas and Andrew Restuccia, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “Reopenings accelerated in the U.S. and across the world as falling numbers of coronavirus cases and slowing death rates in some regions fueled hopes that the worst of the pandemic was over. The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus is poised to top 100,000, with 98,875 reported deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, including 655 new deaths between 8 p.m. Monday and the same time Tuesday, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of the data. The U.S. has more than 1.6 million confirmed cases, according to the data. Globally, nearly 350,000 people have died, and total infections exceed 5.5 million.”

Antibody tests for Covid-19 are wrong up to half the time, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, CNN Health, Maggie Fox, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “Antibody tests used to determine if people have been infected in the past with Covid-19 might be wrong up to half the time, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in new guidance posted on its website. Antibody tests, often called serologic tests, look for evidence of an immune response to infection. ‘Antibodies in some persons can be detected within the first week of illness onset,’ the CDC says. They are not accurate enough to use to make important policy decisions, the CDC said. ‘Serologic test results should not be used to make decisions about grouping persons residing in or being admitted to congregate settings, such as schools, dormitories, or correctional facilities,’ the CDC says. ‘Serologic test results should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace.'”

Hunger Program’s Slow Start Leaves Millions of Children Waiting. Child hunger is soaring, but two months after Congress approved billions to replace school meals, only 15 percent of eligible children had received benefits. The New York Times, Jason DeParle, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “As child hunger soars to levels without modern precedent, an emergency program Congress created two months ago has reached only a small fraction of the 30 million children it was intended to help. The program, Pandemic-EBT, aims to compensate for the declining reach of school meals by placing their value on electronic cards that families can use in grocery stores. But collecting lunch lists from thousands of school districts, transferring them to often-outdated state computers and issuing specialized cards has proved much harder than envisioned, leaving millions of needy families waiting to buy food.”

Joe Biden Calls Trump a ‘Fool’ for Not Wearing a Mask During the Coronavirus Crisis, The New York Times, Sydney Ember, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “Joseph R. Biden Jr. laced into President Trump on Tuesday, calling him an “absolute fool” for refusing to wear a mask in public on Memorial Day and for appearing to scoff at the former vice president for wearing one. ‘He’s a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way,’ Mr. Biden said in an interview with Dana Bash of CNN, his first in-person interview since the coronavirus crisis took him off the campaign trail. Castigating Mr. Trump for ‘this macho stuff,’ Mr. Biden accused him of ‘stoking deaths’ and aggravating cultural divisions over mask-wearing.” See also, Trump calls mask wearing ‘politically correct,’ and Biden calls him a ‘fool,’ The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “President Trump dismissed a mask-wearing reporter as being ‘politically correct’ on Tuesday, while the presumptive Democratic candidateJoe Biden, called him a ‘fool’ for mocking their use. The president’s refusal to wear a face mask in public, defying recommendations from public health experts, has become a symbol for his supporters resisting stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus crisis. To wear one then is seen by some as being anti-Trump.”

Supreme Court Refuses to Stop Order to Move Inmates From Virus-Ravaged Prison. The court’s action left in place a court order requiring prison officials to move more than 800 older or medically vulnerable prisoners from a facility that has seen nine deaths from Covid-19. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused a request from the Trump administration to block a trial judge’s ruling that had ordered federal prison officials to take steps to protect more than 800 older or medically vulnerable inmates at Elkton Federal Correctional Institution in Ohio, where nine prisoners have died from the coronavirus. The Supreme Court’s brief, unsigned order turned in part on a procedural issue, and the majority said it might revisit the issue ‘if circumstances warrant.’ Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch said they would have granted the administration’s request for a stay.” See also, Supreme Court won’t stop Ohio order for prisoners to be moved or released because of coronavirus, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to shelve a judge’s order that hundreds of at-risk inmates at a federal prison in Ohio be expeditiously moved because of an outbreak of coronavirus. The court left open the door for the Trump administration to try again ‘if circumstances warrant.’ It said a new filing could be appropriate later, after the case proceeded through lower courts.”

Twitter Must Cleanse the Trump Stain, The New York Times, Kara Swisher, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “‘Please delete those tweets,’ the widower begged in a letter last week to Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey. ‘My wife deserves better.’ Yes, Twitter, Lori Klausutis certainly does deserve better, nearly two decades after she died in a tragic accident that has morphed into a macabre and continuing nightmare for her husband, Timothy Klausutis. The boogeyman plunging him and the family of his late wife into the very worst of memory holes is a conspiracy-theory-loving, twitchy-fingered and often shameless tweeter who also happens to be the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump. ‘President Trump on Tuesday tweeted to his nearly 80 million followers alluding to the repeatedly debunked falsehood that my wife was murdered by her boss, former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough. The son of the president followed and more directly attacked my wife by tweeting to his followers as the means of spreading this vicious lie,’ wrote Mr. Klausutis, in a letter sent to Mr. Dorsey on Thursday that I obtained over the weekend. ‘I’m asking you to intervene in this instance because the president of the United States has taken something that does not belong to him — the memory of my dead wife — and perverted it for perceived political gain.’ (You can read the letter in full here.)” See also, Trump Pushes a Conspiracy Theory That Falsely Accuses a TV Host of Murder. On Twitter and at a news conference, the president said Joe Scarborough was responsible for the death of Lori Klausutis, who worked for him when he was a congressman. But Twitter refused her husband’s request to have the false tweets removed. The New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Astor, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “President Trump smeared a prominent television host on Tuesday from the lectern in the Rose Garden with an unfounded allegation of murder, taking the politics of rage and conspiracy theory to a new level even as much of the political world barely took notice. In an attack that once would have been unthinkable for a sitting president, Mr. Trump all but accused Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman who now hosts the MSNBC show ‘Morning Joe,’ of killing a staff member in 2001 even though he was 800 miles away at the time and the police ruled her death an accident. The president’s charge amplified a series of Twitter messages in recent days that have drawn almost no rebukes from fellow Republicans eager to look the other way but have anguished the family of Lori Klausutis, who died when she suffered a heart condition that caused her to fall and hit her head on a desk. Mr. Trump doubled down on the false accusation even after Timothy Klausutis pleaded unsuccessfully with Twitter to take down the posts about his late wife because they were causing her family such deep pain.” See also, Widower asks Twitter to delete Trump’s ‘horrifying’ lies about his wife’s death. Twitter says it won’t delete tweets in which Trump spreads the lie that Joe Scarborough was involved in Lori Klausutis’s death. The Guardian, Tom McCarthy, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “The husband of a woman whose 2001 death Donald Trump has repeatedly used for a political smear has demanded that Twitter take down tweets in which the president spreads the ‘horrifying’ lie that the woman was murdered. In a letter to the Twitter chief executive, Jack Dorsey, published on Tuesday by the New York Times, Timothy Klausutis made a heartfelt plea: ‘Please delete those tweets … My wife deserves better.’ Twitter said it would not delete the tweets. Trump has spread the pernicious lie about the death of Lori Klausutis as a means of attacking a television host, Joe Scarborough of MSNBC. With his wife, Mika Brzezinski, Scarborough frequently criticizes Trump on the Morning Joe program. The president has also attacked Brzezinski in brutally personal terms.” See also, Trump doubles down on conspiracy theory about woman’s death, ignoring grieving widower’s plea for peace, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Elizabeth Dwoskin, and John Wagner, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “President Trump and the White House on Tuesday continued to promote a baseless conspiracy theory about a woman’s 2001 death, ignoring her grieving widower’s plea for peace and putting renewed pressure on social media companies about the president’s toxic use of their platforms. Twitter issued a public apology to the family of Lori Klausutis, whose death Trump has repeatedly weaponized to attack ­MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. But the social media company rejected a request from her widower, Timothy J. Klausutis, to delete Trump’s conspiracy-laden tweets accusing Scarborough of a debunked murder plot, saying his wife ‘deserves better.'”

Twitter Adds Fact-Check Notices to Trump Tweets on Mail-In Ballots, The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Ballhaus and Georgia Wells, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “Twitter Inc. on Tuesday for the first time applied a fact-checking notice to a tweet from President Trump, hours after the social-media company denied a widower’s request to delete the president’s posts circulating conspiracy theories about his wife’s death. The twin decisions are likely to stir partisans on both sides of the political debate, with one arguing Silicon Valley should play a more active role in policing Mr. Trump’s social-media activity, while the other considers such moves akin to censorship. Twitter applied the fact-checking notices late Tuesday to two tweets from the president about the potential for fraud involving mail-in ballots. With a small label—’Get the facts about mail-in ballots’—and a link to more information, Twitter alerted its users that those claims were unsubstantiated. The tweets ‘contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots,’ a Twitter spokesman said. Twitter’s move was based on a policy announced earlier this month to apply fact-checking labels about the coronavirus and other disputed issues subject to misinformation, including the election. This marked the first time Twitter has applied the fact-checking label to a message about non-Covid news.” See also, Twitter Refutes Inaccuracies in Trump’s Tweets About Mail-In Voting. Twitter added a link to two of President Trump’s tweets in which he had made false claims about mail-in ballots, urging people to ‘get the facts.’ The New York Times, Kate Conger and Davey Alba, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “Twitter added information to refute the inaccuracies in President Trump’s tweets for the first time on Tuesday, after years of pressure over its inaction on his false and threatening posts. The social media company added links late Tuesday to two of Mr. Trump’s tweets in which he had posted about mail-in ballots and falsely claimed that they would cause the November presidential election to be ‘rigged.’ The links — which were in blue lettering at the bottom of the posts and punctuated by an exclamation mark — urged people to ‘get the facts’ about voting by mail. Clicking on the links led to a CNN story that said Mr. Trump’s claims were unsubstantiated and to a list of bullet points that Twitter had compiled rebutting the inaccuracies.” See also, Twitter labels Trump’s tweets with a fact check for the first time. The action comes after years of criticism that social media companies have allowed Trump to push misinformation unchecked. The Washington Post, Elizabeth Dwoskin, published on Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “Twitter on Tuesday slapped a fact-check label on President Trump’s tweets for the first time, a response to long-standing criticism that the company is too hands-off when it comes to policing misinformation and falsehoods from world leaders. The move, which escalates tensions between Washington and Silicon Valley in an election year, was made in response to two Trump tweets over the past 24 hours. The tweets falsely claimed that mail-in ballots are fraudulent. Twitter’s label says, ‘Get the facts about mail-in ballots,’ and redirects users to news articles about Trump’s unsubstantiated claim.” See also, Fact check: Trump falsely claims California is sending mail-in ballots to undocumented immigrants, CNN Politics, Holmes Lybrand and Daniel Dale, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “Twice on Tuesday, President Donald Trump attacked California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and his executive order expanding vote-by-mail in the state. Specifically, Trump claimed that Newsom’s order would send ballots to everyone in California, including nonresidents and undocumented immigrants. ‘But in California, the governor sent, I hear, or is sending millions of ballots all over the state,’ Trump said in a news conference. ‘Millions. To anybody. To anybody. People that aren’t citizens, illegals, anybody that walks in California is gonna get a ballot.’ Facts first: Trump is completely wrong. Newsom’s order provides ballots only to people who are registered to vote. Noncitizens, including undocumented immigrants, are explicitly not permitted to register to vote in federal elections.

Republicans Sue House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Block House Proxy Voting During Pandemic, The New York Times, Nicholas Fandos and Michael S. Schmidt, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “Republican leaders sued Speaker Nancy Pelosi and top congressional officials on Tuesday to block the House of Representatives from using a proxy voting system set up by Democrats to allow for remote legislating during the coronavirus pandemic, calling it unconstitutional. In a lawsuit that also names the House clerk and sergeant-at-arms as defendants, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, and roughly 20 other Republicans argued that new rules allowing lawmakers to vote from afar during the coronavirus outbreak would be the end of Congress as it was envisioned by the nation’s founders. Democrats pushed through the changes this month over unanimous Republican opposition. The Republicans asked a federal judge in Washington to strike down the practice immediately — leaving uncertain the fate of legislation the House plans to take up this week using the new procedures — and to invalidate it permanently. The suit will face an uphill battle in the courts, where judges have been reluctant to second-guess Congress’s ability to set its own rules. But it fits into a broader push by Republicans, led by President Trump, to put a cloud of suspicion over Democratic efforts to find alternative ways to vote during the pandemic — both in the House and in elections across the country — portraying them as fraudulent attempts to gain political advantage.”

Longtime Pentagon Watchdog Glenn Fine Is Stepping Down From Post, The New York Times, Eric Schmitt, Charlie Savage, and Noah Weiland, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “Glenn A. Fine, ousted by President Trump last month as head of a watchdog panel assigned to oversee how his administration spends trillions of taxpayer dollars in coronavirus pandemic relief, announced Monday he was resigning from his Pentagon job. His departure came as Christi A. Grimm — the acting inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, whom Mr. Trump attacked after she released a report about shortages of hospital equipment in the pandemic — issued a strong defense of the system of independent watchdogs. ‘We are impartial in what we do,’ Ms. Grimm said in an appearance Tuesday before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, where lawmakers questioned her about the survey, which was published in April. ‘Really anything that is done that could impair independence I think compromises the effectiveness of oversight of programs that are there to serve the American public.’ Mr. Fine is a longtime leader among government watchdogs. He was the Justice Department’s inspector general for years, uncovering problems with F.B.I. surveillance and other issues after the Sept. 11 attacks, and since 2016 had led the Pentagon inspector general’s office.” See also, Pentagon deputy inspector general Glenn Fine resigns and becomes the latest watchdog to exit the Trump administration, CNN Politics, Zachary Cohen and Barbara Starr, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “A top internal watchdog at the Pentagon, Glenn Fine, submitted his resignation Tuesday, more than a month after President Donald Trump effectively removed him as chairman of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, a group of independent watchdogs tasked with overseeing $2 trillion in emergency coronavirus funding. One Pentagon official told CNN that Glenn Fine, the Defense Department’s principal deputy inspector general, was not told to resign and did so on his own accord. Still, Trump replaced Fine as the Pentagon’s acting inspector general last month rather than allowing him to remain in the job until a nominee for the permanent role was confirmed, a move that was viewed as an effort to thwart his leadership of the coronavirus accountability review.”

The Justice Department Is Closing Insider-Trading Investigations Into Three U.S. Senators, The Wall Street Journal, Aruna Viswanatha, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “The Justice Department is closing investigations into three U.S. senators for stocks trades made shortly before the coronavirus market turmoil, but is continuing a related investigation into GOP Sen. Richard Burr, according to people familiar with the matter. Prosecutors on Tuesday alerted defense attorneys for Republicans Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and James Inhofe of Oklahoma as well as Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California that they are closing investigations into their trading, the people said.” See also, Justice Department Ends Inquiries Into 3 Senators’ Stock Trades, The New York Times, Katie Benner and Nicholas Fandos, Tuesday, 26 May 2020.

Joe Biden wins AFL-CIO endorsement as organized labor targets working-class voters, The Washington Post, Sean Sullivan, Tuesday, 26 May 2020: “The AFL-CIO, the country’s largest coalition of labor unions, endorsed Joe Biden for president Tuesday, with the organization’s top official vowing to wage an aggressive effort to help him defeat President Trump by reaching out to working-class voters. Union officials cemented their support for the former vice president in a vote of the organization’s general board, joining a long roster of influential labor groups backing the presumptive Democratic nominee. In an interview with The Washington Post, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said his group will be ‘playing hard’ in about a dozen battleground states where it plans to urge members to support his candidacy.”


Wednesday, 27 May 2020, Day 1,223:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 27 May 2020: France Bans Malaria Drug Hydroxychloroquine for Coronavirus Treatments, The New York Times, Wednesday, 27 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates on Wednesday, 27 May 2020: The Tally of Coronavirus Deaths in the U.S. Has Surpassed 100,000, The New York Times, Wednesday, 27 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates on Wednesday, 27 May 2020: New York Mayor Andrew Cuomo Meets With Trump at White House, The New York Times, Wednesday, 27 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates on Wednesday, 27 May 2020: Reopening Optimism Helps Wall Street, The New York Times, Wednesday, 27 May 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, 27 May 2020: Experts in epidemiology, disaster planning, and vaccine development say coronavirus might never go away as U.S. death toll reaches 100,000, The Washington Post, Marisa Iati, Steven Goff, Derek Hawkins, Michael Brice-Saddler, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, Katie Shepherd, John Wagner, Teo Armus, and Miriam Berger, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “As the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus reached 100,000, some experts are saying there’s a good chance the virus will never go away, even after a vaccine is discovered and deployed. Experts in epidemiology, disaster planning and vaccine development say embracing that reality is crucial to the next phase of America’s pandemic response.

Here are some significant developments:
  • Vermont reported zero covid-19 hospitalizations for first time since mid-March.
  • New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) delivered a fiery defense of federal funding to states that have been hit hard by the coronavirus. ‘Stop abusing New York. Stop abusing New Jersey,’ Cuomo said at a briefing at the National Press Club after meeting with President Trump at the White House.
  • House lawmakers cast the first-ever remote congressional floor votes Wednesday, albeit under a legal cloud after Republican leaders filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the arrangement.
  • New research suggests the coronavirus outbreak began in the United States in mid-February — a conclusion that could change our understanding of how the virus spread here and how it has been fought.
  • Small community hospitals in Southern California, some of the poorest in the state, have been flooded with Americans who have fallen ill and crossed the border from Mexico.
  • Millennials are the unluckiest generation in U.S. history, according to a Post analysis. After accounting for pandemic, the average millennial has experienced slower economic growth since entering the workforce than any other generation, and they will bear that burden for the rest of their lives.
  • Disney revealed plans to reopen its four theme parks in Florida in July with masks, temperature checks, smaller crowds and social distancing — and without the parades, fireworks shows or character meet-and-greets.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

The U.S. coronavirus death toll has reached 100,000, The Washington Post, Marc Fisher, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “One hundred thousand Americans dead in less than four months…. These 100,000 are not nameless numbers, nor are they mostly famous people. They are, overwhelmingly, elderly — in some states, nearly two-thirds of the dead were 80 or older. They are disproportionately poor and black and Latino. Among the younger victims, many did work that allowed others to stay at home, out of the virus’s reach. For the most part, they have died alone, leaving parents and siblings and lovers and friends with final memories not of hugs and whispered devotion, but of miniature images on a computer screen, tinny voices on the phone, hands pressed against a window. The dead are not equally dispersed across the land. They perish mostly in pockets — in huge, frightening outbreaks such as the one in New York City, and in smaller ones, flares of disaster around meatpacking plants, in immigrant neighborhoods and at facilities for the elderly.” See also, For a numbers-obsessed Trump, there’s one he has tried to ignore: 100,000 dead, The Washington Post, Ashley Parker, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “President Trump has spent his life in thrall to numbers — his wealth, his ratings, his polls. Even during the deadly coronavirus pandemic, he has remained fixated on certain metrics — peppering aides about infection statistics, favoring rosy projections and obsessing over the gyrating stock market. But as the nation reached a bleak milestone this week — 100,000 Americans dead from the novel coronavirus — Trump has been uncharacteristically silent. His public schedule this week contains no special commemoration, no moment of silence, no collective sharing of grief.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci says hydroxychloroquine is not effective against coronavirus, Politico, Zachary Brennan, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci on Wednesday became the first Trump administration official to say definitively that hydroxychloroquine is not an effective treatment for the coronavirus, based on the available data. ‘The scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy,’ Fauci — the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert — said on CNN. But he stopped short of calling for an outright ban of the drug, which President Trump said he was taking last week as a preventative measure after a top White House aide was diagnosed with the coronavirus. Fauci’s comments come days after the Lancet published a 96,000-patient observational study that concluded that hydroxychloroquine had no effect on Covid-19 and may have even caused some harm.”

From George Floyd to Chris cooper: Ibram X. Kendi on ‘Racist Terror’ Facing Black People in the U.S., Democracy Now!, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “‘I can’t breathe’ — that’s what George Floyd, an unarmed African American man, repeatedly told a white Minneapolis police officer who pinned him to the ground Monday with a knee to his neck. Video of the police attack went viral. Now four officers have been fired. This comes as another video went viral of a white woman calling the cops on a Black man in New York City’s Central Park and falsely accusing him of ‘threatening her life’ after he asked her to leash her dog. We discuss these developments and more with Ibram X. Kendi, founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University and National Book Award–winning author of ‘Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America’ and ‘How to Be an Antiracist.'”

Trump threatens to shutter social media companies over alleged election interference, Politico, Quint Forgey, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “U.S. President Donald Trump threatened Wednesday to wield the powers of the federal government to shut down major social media platforms ahead of November’s general election — comparing what he said is their malign influence over the 2020 campaign to his baseless claims of large-scale mail-in voter fraud. ‘Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen,’ Trump wrote on Twitter…. Trump’s warning, which represented an escalation of his previous rhetoric targeting the tech giants over purported bias against conservative expression, came after Twitter flagged two of his posts on Tuesday with fact-check warnings. Those posts falsely asserted absentee ballots are likely to be ‘substantially fraudulent.’ The president later in the day lashed out against the company for the first-of-its-kind intervention on his social media feed, declaring online that Twitter ‘is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election’ and ‘completely stifling FREE SPEECH.'” See also, Trump threatens to shut down social-media platforms after Twitter put a fact-check warning on his false tweets, Business Insider, Tom Porter, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “President Donald Trump has threatened to close down social-media platforms that he argues censor conservative voices after Twitter on Tuesday tagged some of his messages with a fact-check warning…. Twitter had long been criticized for allowing the president to spread conspiracy theories and smears against opponents despite its policies against the promotion of disinformation. It recently came under increasing calls for it to take action against Trump after he spent weeks promoting a baseless conspiracy theory alleging that the MSNBC cohost Joe Scarborough was involved in the death of a staffer, Lori Klausutis, while he was serving as a US congressman.”

States Sue to Block Trump From Weakening Fuel Economy Rules, The New York Times, Hiroko Tabuchi, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “Led by California, nearly two dozen states sued the Trump administration on Wednesday over its reversal of fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks, arguing that the move is based on erroneous science, and endangers public health. The lawsuit escalates a standoff between President Trump, who has moved to undo a long list of environmental regulations since taking office, and a coalition of Democratic states, which have gone to court to stop him. President Trump’s attempt to weaken future fuel economy standards — undoing what would have been the single biggest effort by the United States to fight the climate crisis — has been especially contentious and messy.”

Revealed: conservative group fighting to restrict voting tied to powerful dark money network, The Guardian, Sam Levine and Anna Massoglia, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “A powerful new conservative organization fighting to restrict voting in the 2020 presidential election is really just a rebranded group that is part of a dark money network already helping Donald Trump’s unprecedented effort to remake the US federal judiciary, the Guardian and OpenSecrets reveal. The organization, which calls itself the Honest Elections Project, seemed to emerge out of nowhere a few months ago and started stoking fears about voter fraud. Backed by a dark money group funded by rightwing stalwarts like the Koch brothers and Betsy DeVos’ family, the Honest Elections Project is part of the network that pushed the US supreme court picks Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, and is quickly becoming a juggernaut in the escalating fight over voting rights.”

Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has voted by mail 11 times in 10 years. The Tampa, Florida, native says it shouldn’t be available to everyone. Tampa Bay Times, Steve Contorno, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “For a week, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has defended President Donald Trump’s assault on vote-by-mail, insisting, like her boss, that it invites election fraud. But, also like her boss, McEnany has taken advantage of its convenience time and time again. In fact, the Tampa native has voted by mail in every Florida election she has participated in since 2010, according to a Tampa Bay Times review of her voting history. Most recently, she voted by mail in the state’s March 2020 presidential primary, just as Trump did after he made Florida his new permanent home.”

Trump wants to know ‘within a week’ whether North Carolina can hold August convention amid pandemic, The Washington Post, Annie Linskey, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “President Trump said Tuesday that he needs a guarantee from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper ‘within a week’ that the state can hold a large in-person convention amid the coronavirus pandemic or he will move the gathering elsewhere. Trump ramped up his ultimatum to the Democratic governor and threatened to break the Republican National Committee’s contract with Charlotte as two Republican governors seized on Trump’s moves to offer their states as alternative venues. ‘We have a governor that doesn’t want to open up the state and we have a date of . . . the end of August,’ Trump told reporters at the White House, a day after tweeting his threat to pull the convention. ‘And we have to know before we spend millions and millions of dollars on an arena to make it magnificent for the convention. . . . If the governor can’t tell us very soon, unfortunately, we’ll have no choice.’ Cooper, who has followed federal health guidelines in a phased reopening of his state, had told reporters earlier in the day that the health and safety of his citizens were paramount as North Carolina plans for the Aug. 24-27 event.” See also, The Republican National Committee pressures North Carolina officials to confirm August convention by Wednesday, June 3, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey and Annie Linskey, published on Thursday, 28 May 2020: “The Republican National Committee set a June 3 deadline for North Carolina officials to approve their planned in-person political convention in August, despite continuing uncertainty over the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has upended the presidential campaign. In a letter sent Thursday evening to Gov. Roy Cooper, the RNC outlined a number of safety protocols it said it would invoke during the convention in Charlotte, an apparent response to the Democratic governor’s request for a safety plan. The deadline was roughly the same set by President Trump in remarks Tuesday. The letter did not address some basic safety concerns, omitting, for example, whether attendees would be required to wear masks or take a coronavirus test before entering the Spectrum Arena where the convention would be held. Federal health authorities have strongly recommended the use of masks for any gatherings in which attendees cannot properly distance themselves — which would be the case in a convention drawing thousands of delegates and others. Trump has been determined, Republicans in contact with him say, to hold a large-scale convention without an audience filled with masked people.” See also, Fight Over Republican Convention Escalates in North Carolina, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “Republicans planning their party’s convention on Thursday gave North Carolina’s governor a deadline of June 3 to approve safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus during the event, planned for Charlotte in August. The move came as President Trump pressures Democratic leaders in the state to allow him to hold the kind of convention he wants, and as they cite public health concerns and say it is too soon to make a determination.”

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Demands Public Schools Share Pandemic Aid With Private Institutions, The New York Times, Erica L. Green, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, defiant amid criticism that she is using the coronavirus to pursue a long-sought agenda, said she would force public school districts to spend a large portion of federal rescue funding on private school students, regardless of income. Ms. DeVos announced the measure in a letter to the Council of Chief State School Officers, which represents state education chiefs, defending her position on how education funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, should be spent.”

This Anti-Trump Ad Is Just the Beginning of a Narrative Free-for-All, The New York Times, Jason Zengerle, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “It doesn’t take much to send Donald Trump into a rage. For one super PAC, all it required was $5,000 and a minute’s worth of spare footage of Covid-19 misery. On a Monday night in May, the Lincoln Project — run by a necessarily small group of current and former Republican apparatchiks who have refused to accommodate themselves to the reality of President Trump as the leader of the free world and their party — aired a 60-second ad titled ‘Mourning in America’ during Tucker Carlson’s Fox News Channel show. Over dystopian scenes of people being wheeled on gurneys, filling out unemployment-insurance forms and standing in long lines while wearing surgical masks, lachrymose string music plays. ‘Under the leadership of Donald Trump, our country is weaker and sicker and poorer,’ a narrator intones. We see abandoned warehouses and an upside-down flag flapping listlessly outside a ramshackle home. ‘And now,’ the narrator continues, ‘Americans are asking: If we have another four years like this, will there even be an America?'” See also, Former Romney strategist Stuart Stevens joins Lincoln Project, The Washington Post, Robert Costa and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “Stuart Stevens, the former chief strategist for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, said Thursday that he has joined the Lincoln Project, a super PAC launched by a group of veteran Republican operatives seeking to defeat President Trump. Stevens said in an interview with The Washington Post that the group will likely be his sole political endeavor for the remainder of the year and that he will advise its team on anti-Trump advertising and strategy.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Says Hong Kong Has Lost Autonomy, Opening the Door to U.S. Action to End Some or All of the U.S. Government’s Special Trade and Economic Relations With the Territory in Southern China, The New York Times, Edward Wong, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday that the State Department no longer considered Hong Kong to have significant autonomy under Chinese rule, a move that indicated the Trump administration was likely to end some or all of the United States government’s special trade and economic relations with the territory in southern China. Mr. Pompeo’s action came just hours before China was expected to pass a national security law that would allow Chinese security agencies to take broad actions limiting the liberties of Hong Kong residents, many of whom have protested the proposed law and clashed with police officers. The United States and China appear to be on a collision course over the future of Hong Kong, a center of global capitalism and symbol of resistance to the Chinese Communist Party. Relations between the two nations are at their worst in decades, and disputes have flared over trade, national security and the origins of the coronavirus.” See also, U.S. Officially Declares That Hong Kong Is No Longer Autonomous, The Wall Street Journal, Jessica Donati, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “The State Department determined that Hong Kong no longer has a high degree of autonomy from China, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday in a statement likely to unsettle the global financial center and certain to aggravate Beijing. The determination, required under federal law, amounted to a U.S. condemnation of China’s announcement of plans to impose greater control over Hong Kong, a move which triggered renewed protests against Beijing. Mr. Pompeo’s decision also comes at a time of growing strains between Washington and Beijing over the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, technology and a widening rivalry for global influence.” See also, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declares Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China, The Washington Post, Carol Morello, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “Rancorous relations between the United States and China grew more tense Wednesday when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified Congress that Hong Kong no longer should be considered autonomous, a declaration that could have far-reaching ramifications in its trading relationship with the United States. It will be up to President Trump to decide the next steps, which could include sanctions on Chinese officials, higher tariffs and visa restrictions.”

Trump administration to end Iran deal waivers in a blow to Obama-era pact, The Washington Post, John Hudson, Wednesday, 27 May 2020: “The Trump administration is ending sanctions waivers that allow Russian, Chinese and European companies to work on sensitive Iranian nuclear sites, dealing another major blow to the Iran nuclear deal and raising the prospect of covert advances in Tehran’s nuclear program, according to U.S. officials and documents obtained by The Washington Post. Nonproliferation experts say the waivers, which are supported by U.S. allies in Europe, reduce Iran’s incentive to enrich uranium at higher levels and provide a window into the country’s atomic program. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a group of lawmakers led by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) pushed to exert more pressure on Tehran and eliminate the vestiges of the Obama administration’s signature foreign policy objective.”


Thursday, 28 May 2020, Day 1,224:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 28 May 2020: Coronavirus Spread Speeds Up, Even as Nations Reopen, The New York Times, Thursday, 28 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some U.S. Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 28 May 2020: AS Hot Spots Shift, Pandemic Enters a New Phase, The New York Times, Thursday, 28 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some New York Region Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 28 May 2020: New York City Council Pushes Plan for Outdoor Dining, The New York Times, Thursday, 28 May 2020:

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 28 May 2020: U.S. Jobless Claims Pass 40 Million, The New York Times, Thursday, 28 May 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, 28 May 2020: New York City, once the U.S. epicenter of coronavirus, eyes June reopening, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Adam Taylor, Brittany Shammas, Felicia Sonmez, Abigail Hauslohner, Kareem Copeland, Candace Burkner, and Michael Brice-Saddler, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “Officials in New York City, which was once the U.S. epicenter of the coronavirus, are making plans to lift restrictions as the number of new cases there levels off. Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined a possible phased approach, which he expects to begin in the first half of June, with ‘anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000’ people returning to work in the first phase. Four months after the first novel coronavirus infection was confirmed in the United States, the virus has claimed more than 100,000 lives here. It has killed people in every state. It has found victims in dense cities and rural towns. Some of the victims were well-known; many were unsung.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

The Death of George Floyd, in Context, The New Yorker, Jelani Cobb, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “Two incidents separated by twelve hours and twelve hundred miles have taken on the appearance of the control and the variable in a grotesque experiment about race in America. On Monday morning, in New York City’s Central Park, a white woman named Amy Cooper called 911 and told the dispatcher that an African-American man was threatening her. The man she was talking about, Christian Cooper, who is no relation, filmed the call on his phone. They were in the Ramble, a part of the park favored by bird-watchers, including Christian Cooper, and he had simply requested that she leash her dog—something that is required in the area. In the video, before making the call, Ms. Cooper warns Mr. Cooper that she is ‘going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life.’ Her needless inclusion of the race of the man she fears serves only to summon the ancient impulse to protect white womanhood from the threats posed by black men. For anyone with a long enough memory or a recent enough viewing of the series ‘When They See Us,’ the locale of this altercation becomes part of the story: we know what happened to five young black and brown men who were falsely accused of attacking a white woman in Central Park. On Monday evening, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a forty-six-year-old black man named George Floyd died in a way that highlighted the implications that calls such as the one Amy Cooper placed can have; George Floyd is who Christian Cooper might have been. (The police made no arrests and filed no summons in Central Park. Amy Cooper has apologized for her actions; she was also fired from her job.) Police responding to a call from a shopkeeper, about someone trying to pass a potentially counterfeit bill, arrested Floyd. Surveillance video shows a compliant man being led away in handcuffs. But cellphone video later shows a white police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for seven minutes, despite protests from onlookers that his life is in jeopardy. In an echo of the police killing of Eric Garner, in 2014, Floyd repeatedly says, ‘I can’t breathe,’ and then, ‘I’m about to die.’ When the officer eventually removes his knee, Floyd’s body is limp and unresponsive. A person nearby can be heard saying, ‘They just killed him.’ Floyd was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A police statement said that Floyd appeared to be in ‘medical distress,’ but made no mention of his being pinned to the ground with the weight of a police officer compressing his airway.”

Americans have filed more than 40 million jobless claims in the past 10 weeks, as another 2.1 million filed for benefits last week, The Washington Post, Tony Romm, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “Americans have filed more than 40 million claims for jobless benefits in the past 10 weeks, according to new Labor Department data, laying bare a tremendous and sudden disruption in the U.S. economy that is already changing the types of jobs desperate workers are looking to fill. About 2.1 million of those new unemployment claims were filed just last week, the federal data show, marking a slight decrease from prior weeks while still reflecting the historic toll wrought by a pandemic that has temporarily — and in some cases permanently — shuttered businesses nationwide.”

Breaking precedent, White House won’t release formal economic projections this summer that would forecast the extent of the downturn, The Washington Post, Jeff Stein and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “White House officials have decided not to release updated economic projections this summer, opting against publishing forecasts that would almost certainly codify an administration assessment that the coronavirus pandemic has led to a severe economic downturn, according to three people with knowledge of the decision. The White House is supposed to unveil a federal budget proposal every February and then typically provides a ‘mid-session review’ in July or August with updated projections on economic trends such as unemployment, inflation and economic growth. Budget experts said they were not aware of any previous White House opting against providing forecasts in this ‘mid-session review’ document in any other year since at least the 1970s.”

Exclusive: U.S. taxpayers’ virus relief went to firms that avoided U.S. taxes, Reuters, Tom Bergin and Lawrence Delevingne, Thursday, 28 May 2020: The U.S. government Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is “a linchpin of President Donald Trump’s economic rescue package, meant to save small firms convulsed by the pandemic and help them to keep workers on the payroll…. [The PPP] is giving millions of dollars in American taxpayer money to a number of firms that have avoided paying U.S. tax, a Reuters examination found. In all, Reuters’ analysis of public data found around 110 publicly traded companies have each received $4 million or more in emergency aid from the program. Of those subject to taxes, 12 of the companies recently used offshore havens to cut their tax bills, the analysis found. All together, these 12 received more than $104 million in loans from U.S. taxpayers. Seven of them paid no U.S. tax at all for the past year.”

Trump extends National Guard’s coronavirus deployment following outcry. An earlier cutoff could have blocked federal benefits for thousands of Guard troops aiding relief efforts. Politico, Alice Miranda Ollstein, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “The Trump administration is extending the federal deployment of more than 40,000 National Guard troops aiding coronavirus relief efforts in nearly every state and federal territory, reversing plans for an earlier cutoff following bipartisan backlash and pressure from top defense officials. The federal government will now keep funding National Guard troops across the country through mid-August, President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday. The administration was previously planning to terminate the deployment on June 24 — one day before thousands of Guard members would have qualified for key retirement and education benefits…. Trump emergency management officials were aware that the earlier termination would have deprived many Guard members the opportunity for the retirement and education benefits, POLITICO first reported last week. On a May 12 interagency call, a recording of which was obtained by POLITICO, they also acknowledged that cutting off federal support would be a blow to the states that currently depend on the Guard to help contain new virus hotspots as their economies reopen. Guard troops have been assisting understaffed and underfunded public health agencies with testing, contact tracing and other health services.”

Biden’s Testing Strategy Sets Up a Clear Contrast With Trump on the Coronavirus, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “Joseph R. Biden Jr. has proposed harnessing the broad powers of the federal government to step up coronavirus testing, with a public-private board overseeing test manufacturing and distribution, federal safety regulators enforcing testing at work and at least 100,000 contact tracers tracking down people exposed to the virus. The presumptive Democratic nominee’s plan, laid out in a little-noticed Medium post, stands in stark contrast to President Trump’s leave-it-to-the-states strategy, detailed in an 81-page document released over the weekend. And it presents voters in November with a classic philosophical choice over the role they want Washington to play during the worst public health crisis in a century. With more than 100,000 Americans already dead from the coronavirus and at least 1.7 million infected, testing has emerged as a major campaign issue. Polls show that most people want better access to testing and believe that it is the job of the federal government. Like Mr. Biden, Democrats running for Congress have seized on testing as a prime example of what they view as Mr. Trump’s incompetent response to the crisis.”

Administration initially dispensed scarce covid-19 drug remdesivir to some hospitals that didn’t need it, The Washington Post, Yasmeen Abutaleb, Josh Dawsey, Lena H. Sun, and Laurie McGinley, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “The Trump administration mishandled the initial distribution of the only approved coronavirus medication, delaying treatment to some critically ill patients with covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, according to nine current and former senior administration officials. The first tranche of 607,000 vials of the antiviral medication remdesivir, donated to the government by drugmaker Gilead Sciences, was distributed in early May — in some cases to the wrong hospitals, to hospitals with no intensive care units and therefore no eligible patients, and to facilities without the needed refrigeration to store it, meaning some had to be returned to the government, said the officials familiar with the distribution effort.”

White House and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) remove coronavirus warnings about choirs in faith guidance, The Washington Post, Lena H. Sun and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “The Trump administration with no advance notice removed warnings contained in guidance for the reopening of houses of worship that singing in choirs can spread the coronavirus. Last Friday, the administration released pandemic guidance for faith communities after weeks of debate flared between the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those guidelines posted on the CDC website included recommendations that religious communities ‘consider suspending or at least decreasing use of choir/musical ensembles and congregant singing, chanting, or reciting during services or other programming, if appropriate within the faith tradition.’ It added: ‘The act of singing may contribute to transmission of Covid-19, possibly through emission of aerosols.’ By Saturday, that version was replaced by updated guidance that no longer includes any reference to choirs or congregant singing and the risk for spreading virus. The altered guidance also deleted a reference to ‘shared cups’ among items, including hymnals and worship rugs, that should not be shared. The updated guidelines also added language that said the guidance ‘is not intended to infringe on rights protected by the First Amendment.'”

Trump Signs Executive Order Directing Federal Regulators to Crack Down on Social Media Companies Like Twitter, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Kate Conger, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “Denouncing what he said was the power of social media ‘to shape the interpretation of public events,’ President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday directing federal regulators to crack down on companies like Twitter and to consider taking away the legal protections that shield them from liability for what gets posted on their platforms. Mr. Trump and his allies have often accused Twitter and Facebook of bias against conservative voices, and the president has been urged for years to take a harder line against them. He had resisted until this week, when Twitter fact-checked his own false statements in two posts. That move by Twitter prompted an outcry from conservatives, who said that the platform should not be able to selectively choose whose statements it was fact-checking. But while the order sought to impose new regulatory pressure on social media companies, legal experts said it would be difficult to enforce.” See also, Trump signs order that could punish social media companies for how they police content, drawing criticism and doubts of legality, The Washington Post, Tony Romm and Elizabeth Dwoskin, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order that could open the door for the U.S. government to assume oversight of political speech on the Internet, a broadside against Silicon Valley that a wide array of critics derided as a threat to free speech. The new directive seeks to change a federal law that has spared tech companies from being sued or held liable for most posts, photos and videos shared by users on their sites. Tech giants herald these protections, known as Section 230, as the bedrock of the Internet. But Trump repeatedly has argued they allow Facebook, Google and Twitter to censor conservatives with impunity — charges these companies deny.” See also, Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Social Media. The measure seeks to limit the broad legal protection that federal law provides online platforms. The Wall Street Journal, John D. McKinnon and Rebecca Ballhaus, published on Friday, 29 May 2020: “President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday seeking to limit the broad legal protection that federal law currently provides to social-media and other online platforms, a move that is expected to draw immediate court challenges. The order seeks to make it easier for federal regulators to hold companies such as Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. liable if they are deemed to be unfairly curbing users’ speech by, for example, suspending their accounts or deleting their posts. Mr. Trump signed the order after Twitter on Tuesday moved for the first time to apply a fact-checking notice to tweets by the president on the subject of voter fraud. Twitter early Friday attached a public-interest notice to a tweet from Mr. Trump about the violent protests in Minneapolis in response to the death of George Floyd while in police custody. The social-media company said the tweet violated its rules about glorifying violence but allowed users to access it via a link.” See also, Trump signs executive order targeting social media companies, CNN Politics, Brian Fung, Ryan Nobles, and Kevin Liptak, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “President Donald Trump signed an executive order targeting social media companies on Thursday, days after Twitter called two of his tweets ‘potentially misleading.’… The executive order tests the boundaries of the White House’s authority. In a long-shot legal bid, it seeks to curtail the power of large social media platforms by reinterpreting a critical 1996 law that shields websites and tech companies from lawsuits. But legal experts on both the right and the left have raised serious concerns about the proposal. They say it may be unconstitutional because it risks infringing on the First Amendment rights of private companies and because it attempts to circumvent the two other branches of government.” See also, Defying Trump, Twitter Doubles Down on Labeling Tweets, The New York Times, Kate Conger and Micke Isaac, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “Twitter continued to add new fact-checking labels to hundreds of tweets, even as the Trump administration issued an executive order to curtail the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for the content posted on their platforms. Twitter’s move escalated the confrontation between the company and President Trump, who has fulminated this week over actions taken by his favorite social media service. Twitter on Tuesday had appended fact-checking labels for the first time to two of Mr. Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots, rebutting their accuracy. In response, Mr. Trump accused Twitter of stifling speech and declared that he would put a stop to the interference.” See also, Trump’s Order Targeting Social Media Sites, Explained, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday targeting legal protections that keep people from suing social media websites. The move follows his anger at Twitter over its decision this week to append fact-check labels to several of his tweets about mail-in voting, along with links to accurate information on the topic. Much of the president’s order consists of complaints about social media companies and their efforts to flag or remove content deemed inappropriate. Here is an explanation of the legal issues surrounding the components of the order that would — or might — do something.” See also, Trump’s ‘big action’ on social media rests on limited legal powers. His administration cannot rewrite the law that protects tech companies from many lawsuits. But a noisy fight with Silicon Valley could rally his base. Politico, Cristiano Lima, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “Donald Trump is finally delivering on his long-threatened campaign to launch a counterstrike against social media companies that have fact-checked, downgraded or booted some of his most vocal online supporters — and in one new high-profile instance, himself. But his efforts also reveal how little legal recourse he may have to target Silicon Valley giants protected by the First Amendment, gridlock in Congress and reluctance from within his own party. The strategy relies mostly on a newly signed executive order that seeks to limit the scope of a 1996 law that shields tech companies from many lawsuits. Trump also pledged to pursue still-undefined legislation to pare those protections. Even if Trump’s moves won’t change much overnight on Twitter, Facebook or other platforms, they will satisfy his political desires to threaten big tech companies and rally conservatives who think social media has inherent bias against them. And he may be setting the stage for a protracted effort to use executive agencies and his allies in Congress to pressure tech companies to change their ways.” See also, Trump’s Order on Social Media Could Harm One Person in Particular: Donald Trump, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Daisuke Wakabayashi, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “President Trump, who built his political career on the power of a flame-throwing Twitter account, has now gone to war with Twitter, angered that it would presume to fact-check his messages. But the punishment he is threatening could force social media companies to crack down even more on customers just like Mr. Trump. The executive order that Mr. Trump signed on Thursday seeks to strip liability protection in certain cases for companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook for the content on their sites, meaning they could face legal jeopardy if they allowed false and defamatory posts. Without a liability shield, they presumably would have to be more aggressive about policing messages that press the boundaries — like the president’s.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (Republican, South Carolina) urges senior judges to step aside before November election so Republicans can fill vacancies, The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday urged federal judges who are in their mid-to-late 60s to step aside so that Republicans, increasingly nervous about holding the Senate majority in the November election as they eye President Trump’s poll numbers, can fill the vacancies now. Graham made the comments in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. ‘This is an historic opportunity,’ Graham said. ‘We’ve put over 200 federal judges on the bench. . . . If you can get four more years, I mean, it would change the judiciary for several generations. So if you’re a circuit judge in your mid-60s, late 60s, you can take senior status, now would be a good time to do that, if you want to make sure the judiciary is right of center.'”

Trump Administration Finalizes Rule That Could Protect Foreign Dark Money in Elections, Sludge, Donald Shaw, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “Starting today, the Internal Revenue Service will cease to collect information from political nonprofits that is needed for the government to discover and investigate possible campaign finance violations, such as the illegal funneling of foreign money into U.S. elections. Under a regulation from the IRS and the Treasury Department that was published in the Federal Register today, nonprofit organizations, including 501(c)(4)s and 501(c)(6)s that are allowed to spend money on elections without revealing their donors, will no longer be required to report the names and addresses of their donors to the IRS. For decades, the organizations had been required to report the identities of their donors giving $5,000 or more to the agency on Schedule B of 990 forms, though donors’ names and addresses were redacted before the forms were made available to the public.”

U.S. Accuses Russian Military Hackers of Attack on Email Servers, The New York Times, Julian E. Barnes and David E. Sanger, Thursday, 28 May 2020: “The National Security Agency publicly accused Russian government hackers of targeting email servers around the world in an unusual announcement on Thursday, showing that the agency is becoming more aggressive in calling out Moscow’s action as the presidential election approaches. While the Trump administration has publicly attributed cyberattacks to Russia before — including for its 2016 election hack and for paralyzing Ukraine in 2017, which damaged the operations of the shippers Maersk and FedEx — this allegation was unusually specific. It singled out Russia’s military intelligence unit, widely known as the G.R.U., demonstrating intelligence agencies’ concern that Russia intends to interfere in the election only a little more than five months away.”