Trump Administration, Week 194: Friday, 2 October – Thursday, 8 October 2020 (Days 1,351-1,357)

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.


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Friday, 2 October 2020, Day 1,351:


Trump Tests Positive for the Coronavirus, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 2 October 2020: “President Trump revealed early Friday morning that he and the first lady, Melania Trump, had tested positive for the coronavirus, throwing the nation’s leadership into uncertainty and escalating the crisis posed by a pandemic that has already killed more than 207,000 Americans and devastated the economy. Mr. Trump, who for months has played down the seriousness of the virus and hours earlier on Thursday night told an audience that ‘the end of the pandemic is in sight,’ will quarantine in the White House for an unspecified period of time, forcing him to withdraw at least temporarily from the campaign trail only 32 days before the election on Nov. 3. The dramatic disclosure came in a Twitter message just before 1 a.m. after a suspenseful evening following reports that Mr. Trump’s close adviser Hope Hicks had tested positive. In her own tweet about 30 minutes later, Mrs. Trump wrote that the first couple were ‘feeling good,’ but the White House did not say whether they were experiencing symptoms. The president’s physician said he could carry out his duties ‘without disruption’ from the Executive Mansion. ‘Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19,’ Mr. Trump tweeted. ‘We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!’ Mr. Trump’s positive test result posed immediate challenges for the future of his campaign against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, with barely a month until Election Day. Even if Mr. Trump, 74, remains asymptomatic, he will lose much of his remaining time on the campaign trail. If he becomes sick, it could raise questions about whether he should remain on the ballot at all…. During late-night conversations, aides to Mr. Trump were discussing whether he should give an address to the nation on Friday from the White House or find some other way for him to reassure the public. But the aides were still in a state of shock as they absorbed the news, and there was no immediate word on how far the infection may have spread among senior White House officials, who generally do not wear masks in deference to the president’s disdain for them.” See also, Invincibility punctured by infection: How the coronavirus spread in Trump’s White House, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey, Ashley Parker, and Robert Costa, Friday, 2 October 2020: “The ceremony in the White House Rose Garden last Saturday was a triumphal flashback to the Before Times — before public health guidelines restricted mass gatherings, before people were urged to wear masks and socially distance. President Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcomed more than 150 guests as the president formally introduced Judge Amy Coney Barrett, his nominee for the Supreme Court. A handful of Republican senators were there, including Mike Lee of Utah, who hugged and mingled with guests. So was Kellyanne Conway, the recently departed senior counselor to the president, as well as the Rev. John I. Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame, who left his Indiana campus where a coronavirus outbreak had recently occurred to celebrate an alumna’s nomination. Spirits were high. Finally, Trump was steering the national discussion away from the coronavirus pandemic — which had already killed more than 200,000 people in the United States and was still raging — to more favorable terrain, a possible conservative realignment of the Supreme Court. Attendees were so confident that the contagion would not invade their seemingly safe space at the White House that, according to Jenkins, after guests tested negative that day they were instructed they no longer needed to cover their faces. The no-mask mantra applied indoors as well. Cabinet members, senators, Barrett family members and others mixed unencumbered at tightly packed, indoor receptions in the White House’s Diplomatic Room and Cabinet Room. Five days later, that feeling of invincibility was cruelly punctured. On Thursday, counselor to the president Hope Hicks, who reported feeling symptoms during a trip with the president to Minnesota on Wednesday, tested positive for the virus. Early Friday morning, Trump announced that he and the first lady also had tested positive and had begun isolating inside the White House residence. On Friday, Lee, Conway and Jenkins announced that they, too, had tested positive, as did Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who was at the ceremony, and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who had recently spent time with the president, including at an indoor fundraiser last week. At least three journalists who had been at White House events in the past week also reported testing positive on Friday. And White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he was bracing for additional infections among administration officials.” See also, Trump goes to Walter Reed hospital for coronavirus treatment, The Washington Post, Josh Dawsey, Ashley Parker, Colby Itkowitz, and Toluse Olorunnipa, published on Saturday, 3 October 2020: “President Trump was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday for a stay that was expected to last several days, a move the White House said was made out of an abundance of caution after he tested positive for the deadly coronavirus and experienced symptoms…. Trump, who is 74, began taking a cocktail of drugs as a ‘precautionary measure,’ according to doctor Sean Conley, who provided only limited information about Trump’s condition or the reasons for his extended stay at Walter Reed. ‘In addition to the polyclonal antibodies, the President has been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin,’ Conley said in a White House memo Friday afternoon, describing Trump as ‘fatigued but in good spirits.’ Conley said Trump received an 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail via ‘infusion without incident.’ A few hours later, Trump walked to Marine One wearing a mask, then was transported to Walter Reed.” See also, Trump Tests Positive for Covid, Roiling Campaign and White House, Bloomberg, Jordan Fabian and Jennifer Jacobs, Friday, 2 October 2020: “U.S. President Donald Trump said early Friday that he has tested positive for coronavirus along with his wife and one of his closest aides, throwing an already volatile campaign into deeper disarray just one month before the election. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, underwent their routine daily Covid-19 check and tested negative, his press secretary Devin O’Malley tweeted early Friday. The election campaign of Democrat Joe Biden has focused heavily on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, which has already killed more than 200,000 Americans and deepened inequalities. Biden and others have criticized Trump’s response as slow and ineffective.” See also, Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump test positive for Covid-19, CNN Politics, Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins, Betsy Klein, Jim Acosta, and Paul LeBlanc, Friday, 2 October 2020: “Donald Trump announced early Friday that he and his wife both tested positive for the coronavirus, an extraordinary development coming months into a global pandemic and in the final stretch of his reelection campaign in which he has flouted experts’ guidance on preventing the disease’s spread.” See also, Trump and first lady Melania test positive for coronavirus, The Guardian, Maanvi Singh and Peter Beaumont, Friday, 2 October 2020: “The US presidential election has been plunged into disarray after Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, tested positive for coronavirus following weeks in which the US president sought to suggest that the worst of the pandemic was over.” See also, Trump Tests Positive for the Coronavirus, and a Nation Anticipates Chaos, The New Yorker, David Remnick, Friday, 2 October 2020:  “Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, have tested positive for the coronavirus, an announcement which is bound to throw the Presidential race into a state of grave uncertainty, if not chaos. The novel coronavirus pandemic has killed more than two hundred thousand Americans and more than a million people worldwide. From the very beginning of the pandemic, Trump has denied or diminished the seriousness of covid-19, from its initial outbreak in China to its spread to Europe and beyond. In interviews with Bob Woodward, for the journalist’s book ‘Rage,’ Trump admitted that he well understood from advisers how lethal and fast-spreading the disease could be, but in public statements he downplayed the danger, saying repeatedly that the virus would disappear with the summer’s warm weather and that there was little to worry about. To the despair of the scientific and medical communities, which have uniformly said that the disease can be best contained if people wear protective masks and maintain a social distance, Trump has repeatedly flouted their advice and touted disreputable treatments. As recently as Tuesday’s Presidential debate, in Cleveland, Trump mocked his opponent, Joe Biden, for wearing masks and practicing social distancing. ” See also, ‘This was avoidable’: Trump had been downplaying the virus from the start. In recent weeks, Trump has put himself and others at risk by holding mass gatherings, some indoors, and shunning mask use while claiming the end of the virus was just around the corner. NBC News, Shannon Pettypiece, Friday, 2 October 2020: “After months of publicly rejecting the advice of his own medical experts, President Donald Trump has fallen victim to his own false narrative around the risks of the coronavirus and how to avoid getting infected. The news early Friday that the president and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for Covid-19 came as a jolt — but medical experts said it shouldn’t have. In recent weeks, Trump, 74, has put his health and the health of his staff at risk by holding mass gatherings, some indoors, and shunning mask use while claiming that the end of the virus was just around the corner. In turn, his staff, his family members and his supporters have followed his lead. He may have been infected by one of his top aides, Hope Hicks, who works in a White House that has disregarded every workplace recommendation for social distancing, with few people wearing masks, no efforts made to spread out desks and staff members’ cramming into meeting rooms. His campaign has routinely packed thousands of supporters into rallies where masks are booed by the crowd. ‘This was avoidable. This did not have to happen if they were practicing the proper procedures and not going to these rallies and having these chaotic events, where, of course, airborne exposure was going to happen despite it being in an outdoor setting,’ said NBC News contributor Dr. Vin Gupta, a lung specialist at the University of Washington. ‘No masking, no distancing — what did they expect was going to happen?'” See also, The Busy Week When Trump Met the Coronavirus. He disparaged masks, encouraged big campaign crowds and employed an often-unreliable test to keep him safe. All the while it turned out the virus was nearby. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Maggie Haberman, and Kenneth P. Vogel, Friday, 2 October 2020.

Trump Kept Regular Schedule After Learning Close Aide Hope Hicks Had Covid-19, Bloomberg, Jennifer Jacobs and Josh Wingrove, Friday, 2 October 2020: “President Donald Trump learned on Thursday morning that his aide Hope Hicks tested positive for coronavirus, yet continued on with a full schedule of events, including a fundraiser at his New Jersey resort that raised $5 million, according to people familiar with the situation. Trump’s movements are being closely scrutinized since he later tested positive for coronavirus, announcing the news shortly before 1 a.m. Friday, Washington time. The White House has not said when Trump first tested positive for the virus, but Trump said late Thursday he was awaiting results. In between learning the news of Hicks’ infection Thursday morning and announcing his own early Friday, Trump stuck to his prepared schedule. That decision would appear to contradict the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on COVID, which reads: ‘Even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should stay home (quarantine) since symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.'”

Joe Biden calls Trump’s positive test a ‘bracing reminder’ of the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, CNN Politics, Eric Bradner, Sarah Mucha, and Kate Sullivan, Friday, 2 October 2020: “Joe Biden said President Donald Trump‘s positive test for coronavirus is a ‘bracing reminder’ of the seriousness of the pandemic. ‘We have to take this virus seriously. It’s not going away automatically,’ the former vice president said Friday in a speech during a pared-back trip to Michigan that followed Biden testing negative for the virus in the morning. ‘We have to do our part to be responsible. It means following the science, listening to the experts, washing our hands, social distancing. It means wearing a mask in public. It means encouraging others to do so as well.’ Wearing a mask and standing in front of an American flag in the parking lot of a union hall in Grand Rapids, the Democratic nominee said he and his wife, Jill Biden, send their ‘prayers for the health and safety’ of Trump and first lady Melania Trump, who also tested positive. He also implored Americans to wear masks — a message he has delivered for months, but with political implications that were difficult to miss after Trump’s entourage had ignored the Cleveland Clinic’s rules requiring masks at Tuesday night’s debate, while Biden’s guests wore masks. ‘Be patriotic,’ Biden said. ‘It’s not about being a tough guy. It’s about doing your part. Wearing a mask is not only going to protect you, but it also protects those around you. Your mom, your dad, your brother, your sister, husband, wife, neighbor, co-worker. Don’t just do it for yourself. Do it for the people you love, the people you work with.'”

Continue reading Week 194, Friday, 2 October – Thursday, 8 October 2020 (Days 1,351-1,357)

Where Trump went (and who he was with) leading up to his coronavirus diagnosis, Politico, Associated Press, Isabel Dobrin, and Rishika Dugyala, Friday, 2 October 2020: “With just a month to go until the election, President Donald Trump had a busy schedule during the week Covid-19 hit home with him. Trump tweeted early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus. Here’s a look at his travels over the last week and the people he’s been in close contact with.” See also, Trump’s Travail: A Virus That Thrives Indoors. The coronavirus can linger in the air in tiny particles. The president has disdained precautions in a variety of indoor settings. The New York Times, Apoorva Mandavilli, Friday, 2 October 2020: “On Saturday, President Trump met with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the nominee to the Supreme Court, and others in the Oval Office. On Tuesday, he debated former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in an indoor hall, neither with a mask, talking at high volume and often without pause. On Wednesday, Mr. Trump traveled to and from Minnesota on Air Force One along with dozens of others. On Thursday, the president appeared indoors before hundreds of supporters at a golf club in Bedminster, N.J. On none of these occasions was the president wearing a mask. Often, neither were many in the room or on the airplane with him. All in all, conditions like these are a recipe for so-called super-spreader events, in which a single infected person transmits the virus to dozens of others, research has shown. ‘The White House has been flouting the basic rules of public health for a very long time,’ said Dr. Ashish K. Jha, dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University in Providence, R.I. Regarding the president’s diagnosis that he was infected with the coronavirus, he added, ‘there are no surprises here.’ The problem is one scientists have been warning about for months: airborne transmission. In addition to the heavy droplets sneezed or coughed out by infected people, research has shown the coronavirus may drift in the air indoors, held aloft in tiny particles called aerosols.” See also, Before testing positive for coronavirus, Trump scoffed at many health guidelines, The Washington Post, Teo Armus, Friday, 2 October 2020: “It is behavior that has gotten college students kicked off their campuses, led business owners to be threatened with hefty fines and landed dozens of people in jail. But before announcing his positive coronavirus test result on Twitter early Friday, it was simply the norm for President Trump. In the seven months since the outbreak first spread across the United States, he has flouted seemingly every basic health guideline put forth by his own government in response. He repeatedly refused to wear a face mask, and held large rallies with hundreds of supporters who did the same, often in violation of local ordinances. He allowed the White House to continue its daily operations with scant social distancing, exposing himself to dozens of people who had taken few protections against the virus. And again and again, he insisted such an approach was fine — because the White House was testing his close contacts every day, or because he was taking an antimalarial drug with no proven effect on healthy people exposed to the virus. Pressed on the issue during Tuesday’s presidential debate in Cleveland, he said, ‘So far, we have had no problem whatsoever.’ Yet as the pandemic has carried on, killing more than 207,000 Americans, many have pointed to that pattern of medically risky behavior to explain Trump’s own infection with the virus.”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 2 October 2020: Trump to Undergo Tests at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, The New York Times, Friday, 2 October 2020:

  • The president has a fever, congestion and a cough, people close to him say, and he will be hospitalized for several days.

  • Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, tests positive for the virus.

  • The next week is the critical phase in Trump’s illness. Here are the risks he faces.

  • Trump received an experimental antibody treatment from Regeneron.

  • Trump recently traveled to and from 3 states with a packed schedule before he learned he tested positive.

  • Biden tests negative for the virus, his doctor says.

  • White House rapid testing product is known to deliver incorrect results.

  • The president of Notre Dame tests positive, less than a week after a White House visit.

  • Azar defends refusal of Trump family members to wear masks at the debate.

  • News that the president contracted the virus leaves the world shaken.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday, 2 October 2020: Trump announces he will isolate after he and the first lady test positive for coronavirus, The Washington Post, Antonia Noori Farzan, Rick Noack, Jennifer Hassan, Derek Hawkins, Adam Taylor, Paulina Villegas, Paulina Firozi, and Hannah Denham, Friday, 2 October 2020: “President Trump announced in a tweet early Friday that he and his wife Melania have both tested positive for the coronavirus. ‘We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately,’ he wrote. ‘We will get through this TOGETHER!’ The news came just hours after it was reported that Hope Hicks, a close adviser to Trump who traveled with him aboard Air Force One several times this week, had tested positive.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article:

What we know about the risk Trump’s coronavirus infection posed to those around him this week, The Washington Post, Philip Bump, Friday, 2 October 2020: “We don’t know when President Trump contracted the coronavirus or from whom. We know that he might have contracted it at any point two weeks to two days before his first positive test or his first sign of symptoms, which occurred Thursday and (apparently) Wednesday, respectively. So that gives us a range of anywhere from first infection on Sept. 16 to first infection on Tuesday. Generally, though, it takes five to seven days for an infection to be detected, which might include several days during which the individual is contagious but not showing symptoms. Given the regularity at which Trump is tested, though, it’s less likely that he was contagious without detection for an extended period of time. But the rapid tests on which the White House relies are imperfect, adding more uncertainty to the question. What we do know is that, over the past week, the president had close contact with people on numerous occasions, during which he might have exposed others to the virus. The risk of spreading the virus depends very much on where people interacted, how many were present and, of course, whether they wore masks. A study from a British research team published in August in the BMJ (originally the British Medical Journal) included a matrix showing how air circulation and even the behavior of those present in a group setting affected the likelihood of spread. It looked something like this.

Image without a caption

Election 2020 Updates: Positive Coronavirus Tests for Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Senator Mike Lee of Utah Raise Questions About the Timing of Amy Coney Barrett’s Confirmation Hearings, The New York Times, Friday, 2 October 2020:

  • Two senators on the Judiciary Committee test positive, raising questions about the timing of Barrett’s confirmation hearings.

  • Trump suspends campaign events, upending the presidential race.

  • Biden campaigns in Michigan, offering prayers for Trump and urging Americans ‘to take this virus seriously.’

  • Obama offers prayers for Trump, while the president’s campaign insults Obama in a fund-raising letter.

  • Trump, who ‘weaponized’ Hillary Clinton’s bout of pneumonia in 2016, faces a more uncertain health crisis.

  • Trump tested positive, but the White House is still not requiring people to wear masks.

  • Chris Wallace says Trump’s entourage did not wear masks before Tuesday’s debate.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Election 2020: Kellyanne Conway and two senators, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, test positive for coronavirus as Trump goes to Walter Reed hospital, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Colby Itkowitz, Josh Dawsey, Matt Viser, Amy B Wang, Reis Thebault, and Meryl Kornfield, Friday, 2 October 2020: “President Trump was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday evening after announcing he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Trump is struggling with a low-grade fever, a cough and nasal congestion, among other symptoms, said two officials familiar with his condition who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the president’s health. Multiple people who were at Trump’s Saturday announcement of Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee have tested positive for the coronavirus, including first lady Melania Trump, former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, Notre Dame President John I. Jenkins and a journalist.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article:

Justice Department and FBI are planning for the possibility of Election Day violence and voting disruptions, The Washington Post, Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett, Friday, 2 October 2020: “Bracing for possible civil unrest on Election Day, the Justice Department is planning to station officials in a command center at FBI headquarters to coordinate the federal response to any disturbances or other problems with voting that may arise across the country, officials familiar with the matter said. Though the Justice Department monitors elections every year to ensure voters can cast their ballots, officials’ concerns are more acute this year that toxic politics, combined with the potential uncertainty surrounding vote tallies, could lead to violent demonstrations or clashes between opposing factions, those familiar with the matter said. Preparations have been underway in recent weeks to deal with a wide range of possible problems, the officials said. Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions.”

Report by the State Department’s Inspector General Finds Sexual Harassment Is Underreported at the Department, The New York Times, Pranshu Verma, Friday, 2 October 2020: “Sexual harassment at the State Department most likely goes underreported because employees lack confidence in the agency’s responsiveness to the issue and because the department has failed to handle complaints properly, an internal review concluded Friday. The report by the department’s inspector general found that even though accounts of harassment at the agency increased by 63 percent from 2014 to 2017, some employees said such episodes were still ‘significantly underreported.’ Interviews and documents reviewed by investigators revealed 47 percent of department employees surveyed who experienced or observed harassment failed to tell the State Department’s internal bureaus that handle misconduct complaints. Employees cited numerous factors for not doing so, including a ‘lack of confidence in the department’s ability to resolve complaints, fear of retaliation and reluctance to discuss the harassment with others,’ the report said.”

Biotech Industry Pushes Trump Administration to Release New Vaccine Guidelines. The BIO trade group, whose members include most of the vaccine makers, asked the health secretary to make the new vaccine guidelines public. The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 2 October 2020: “President Trump’s recent suggestion that the White House may not approve stricter criteria for the emergency authorization of any coronavirus vaccine is causing growing angst within the biotech industry, whose trade organization is calling on the Department of Health and Human Services to quickly publish the guidelines and make them available to the public. The new guidelines, which have been drafted by experts at the Food and Drug Administration and are subject to White House approval, would set forth specific criteria for clinical trial and safety data, add another layer of caution to the vaccine vetting process. The F.D.A. appeared poised to release them last week, but the process seems stalled since Mr. Trump said last Wednesday that the White House ‘may or may not” approve the new stricter criteria. Now industry officials are worried that the guidelines, which they believe will restore confidence in the vaccine approval process, may never be released.”


Saturday, 3 October 2020, Day 1,325:


Trump’s Symptoms Are Described as ‘Very Concerning’ by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows Even as Doctors Offer Rosier Picture, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Saturday, 3 October 2020: “The White House offered a barrage of conflicting messages and contradictory accounts about President Trump’s health on Saturday as he remained hospitalized with the coronavirus for a second night and the outbreak spread to a wider swath of his aides and allies. Just minutes after the president’s doctors painted a rosy picture of his condition on television, Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, gave reporters outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center a far more sober assessment off camera, calling Mr. Trump’s vital signs worrisome and warning that the next two days would be pivotal to the outcome of the illness. ‘The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning, and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care,’ Mr. Meadows told the reporters, asking not to be identified by name. ‘We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.’ In keeping with the ground rules he had set, Mr. Meadows’s remarks were attributed, in a pool report sent to White House journalists, to a person familiar with the president’s health. But a video posted online captured Mr. Meadows approaching the pool reporters outside Walter Reed after the doctors’ televised briefing and asking to speak off the record, making it clear who the unnamed source was. The comments infuriated the president, according to people close to the situation, and he intervened directly to counter the perception that he was sicker than the White House had admitted. Within hours, he posted a message on Twitter saying, ‘I am feeling well!’ and called his friend and personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani to have him convey a message to the outside world. ‘I’m going to beat this,’ Mr. Trump told him. By evening, the president released a four-minute video meant to reassure the nation, showing him sitting at a conference table at the hospital and wearing a suit jacket but no tie. He looked wan and sounded less energetic than usual in a rambling message that included campaign talk and boasts about his record. He acknowledged that he ‘wasn’t feeling so well’ but said that he felt ‘much better now’ and that he expected to return to work shortly. ‘I think I’ll be back soon, and I look forward to finishing up the campaign the way we started,’ he said, although he acknowledged, like Mr. Meadows, that the next few days would be ‘the real test.’ At one point, he offered a muddled explanation for his behavior. It was not entirely clear whether he was referring to his decision to go to the hospital or to keep campaigning in recent months despite the pandemic. ‘I had no choice,’ he said. ‘I just didn’t want to stay in the White House.’ He added: ‘I can’t be locked up in a room upstairs and totally safe and just say, hey, whatever happens, happens. I can’t do that. We have to confront problems.'” See also, Tracing Trump’s Contacts Before He Tested Positive for Coronavirus, The New York Times, Larry Buchanan, Lazaro Gamio, Lauren Leatherby, John Keefe, Christoph Koettl, and Amy Schoenfeld Walker, updated on Saturday, 3 October 2020. See also, White House gives confusing and incomplete answers about Trump’s health as Trump says he is ‘feeling well,’ The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim, Josh Dawsey, and Colby Itkowitz, Saturday, 3 October 2020: “The White House on Saturday created a startling amount of confusion on the status of President Trump’s health and precisely when he contracted covid-19 — issuing conflicting statements and injecting uncertainty into the nation’s understanding of the president’s well-being and whom he and his associates may have exposed to the novel coronavirus. At a news conference at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda on Saturday morning, Trump’s medical team suggested that the president tested positive for the virus earlier than initially disclosed by the president. Trump’s physician, Sean P. Conley, later issued a ‘clarification’ through the White House on that timeline, as well as the time frame in which the president was administered Regeneron, an antibody cocktail that is part of the complement of drugs Trump has taken to fend off the virus. Conley also declined to answer specific questions about the president’s health, including how high his fever rose in recent days, when he last tested negative for the virus and whether he was ever administered supplemental oxygen since being diagnosed. A senior administration official later confirmed that Trump was given supplemental oxygen at the White House on Friday before going to Walter Reed. The questions raised by the news conferences and subsequent comments from White House aides further fueled a credibility problem that has plagued the administration from the start, as the statements only raised more questions about the president’s medical condition.” See also, Visual timeline of Trump’s movements before his positive coronavirus test, The Washington Post, updated on Sunday, 4 October 2020.

A White House Long in Denial Confronts Reality. The infections were a byproduct, former aides said, of the recklessness and top-down culture of fear that Trump created at the White House and throughout his administration. The New York Times, Annie Karni and Maggie Haberman, Saturday, 3 October 2020: “As America locked down this spring during the worst pandemic in a century, inside the Trump White House there was the usual defiance. The tight quarters of the West Wing were packed and busy. Almost no one wore masks. The rare officials who did, like Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, were ridiculed by colleagues as alarmist. President Trump at times told staff wearing masks in meetings to ‘get that thing off,’ an administration official said. Everyone knew that Mr. Trump viewed masks as a sign of weakness, officials said, and that his message was clear. ‘You were looked down upon when you would walk by with a mask,’ said Olivia Troye, a top aide on the coronavirus task force who resigned in August and has endorsed former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. In public, some of the president’s favorite targets were mask-wearing White House correspondents. ‘Would you take it off, I can hardly hear you,’ Mr. Trump told Jeff Mason of Reuters in May, then mocked Mr. Mason for wanting ‘to be politically correct’ when he refused. This past week, a White House long in denial confronted reality after Mr. Trump and the first lady both tested positive for the virus, along with Hope Hicks, a top White House aide, and Bill Stepien, the Trump campaign manager, among others. The outcome appeared shocking but also inevitable in a West Wing that assumed that rapid virus tests for everyone who entered each morning were substitutes for other safety measures, like social distancing and wearing masks. But the outcome was also a byproduct, former aides said, of the recklessness and top-down culture of fear that Mr. Trump created at the White House and throughout his administration. If you wanted to make the boss happy, they said, you left the mask at home.”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 3 October 2020: Trump Says He Is Better After His Chief of Staff Expresses Concern. The president is ‘improving,’ his doctor said in an optimistic assessment that raised questions about when the virus was diagnosed. But Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said his symptoms were ‘very concerning,’ and the president, in a video, acknowledged that the next few days would reveal the severity of his case. The New York Times, Saturday, 3 October 2020:

  • Trump says he feels better, but his chief of staff says he is ‘still not on a clear path to a full recovery.’

  • Trump’s treatments are aimed at preventing severe illness.

  • Reality intrudes on a White House in denial.

  • Speculation is mounting about Trump’s Rose Garden appearance.

  • Patriots-Chiefs game is postponed after positive coronavirus tests on both teams.

  • Chris Christie checks into hospital after testing positive.

  • India’s death toll passes 100,000, and other news from around the world.

  • The U.S. and Europe lag on implementing an essential weapon against the virus: contact tracing.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

The Coronavirus and the Threat Within the White House, The New Yorker, David Remnick, Saturday, 3 October 2020: “From the start of his Presidency, Donald Trump has threatened the health and the security of the United States. It has now been made clear that Trump’s incompetence, cynicism, and recklessness have threatened his own welfare. Even the best security system and the most solicitous medical officers in the world could not protect him from a danger that he insisted on belittling and ignoring. On Friday, at 12:54 a.m., Trump announced by Twitter that he and the First Lady had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. By the end of the evening, ‘out of an abundance of caution,’ the President had gone to Walter Reed hospital to spend ‘the next few days.’ The Trumps join the more than seven million other Americans who have contracted the virus…. Because of his ineptitude and his deceit, because he has encouraged a culture of heedlessness about the wearing of masks and a lethal disrespect for scientific fact, he bears a grave responsibility for what has happened in this country. It will never be known precisely how many preventable deaths can be ascribed to his irresponsibility, but modest estimates run into the tens of thousands. Yet Trump’s insistence that Americans pay the virus little mind never ends. ”

Election 2020 Updates: Republicans Plan to Press Ahead to Confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court as 3rd Senator Tests Positive for Coronavirus, The New York Times, Saturday, 3 October 2020:

  • In post-debate Times/Siena polls, Biden is ahead by seven points in Pennsylvania and five points in Florida.

  • Attorney General Barr will not self-quarantine, despite possible exposure to the coronavirus.

  • Capping a day of confusion, Trump says that he feels better but that the next few days will be ‘the real test.’

  • With Trump sidelined, his campaign promises MAGA as usual.

  • Trump’s Twitter account has been uncharacteristically quiet.

  • Chris Christie, who helped Trump prepare for the debate, says he has tested positive for the virus.

  • In his lone campaign appearance of the day, Biden repeats a call for masks.

  • Bernie Sanders returns to the campaign trail to stump for Biden.

  • These are the public officials and members of Trump’s circle who have recently tested positive or negative.

  • Democratic challenger in North Carolina’s Senate race apologizes for romantic texts to a woman who is not his wife.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Election 2020: White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows says the next 48 hours are ‘critical’ as Trump says he’s doing well, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Derek Hawkins, Seung Min Kim, and Hannah Knowles, Saturday, 3 October 2020: “President Trump said in a video posted Saturday evening that he is doing well and expects to ‘be back soon’ after going to a hospital with covid-19. Saturday night, a letter from his physician released by the White House press secretary said the president has made ‘substantial progress’ since his coronavirus diagnosis and will be closely monitored Sunday in between doses of an experimental drug. The statements of optimism came after the White House created a startling amount of confusion about Trump’s health status and coronavirus diagnosis through conflicting statements, injecting an extraordinary degree of uncertainty into the nation’s understanding of the president’s condition and who may have been exposed. Earlier Saturday, members of Trump’s medical team said the president was making good progress but refused to answer key questions about when he was first diagnosed and first symptomatic, and whether he had received supplemental oxygen. A senior administration official confirmed reports Trump was given oxygen at the White House on Friday before going to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, while Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, said Trump went through a ‘very concerning’ period over the last day. ‘The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning, and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care,’ Meadows said Saturday afternoon. ‘We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.’ Meadows echoed Saturday evening in a Fox News interview that the next two days could be ‘tough’ but underscored the president’s improvement since Friday.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Trump’s medical team suggested the president knew he tested positive for the coronavirus earlier than had been reported. Sean P. Conley, Trump’s physician, said we are ’72 hours into the diagnosis,’ meaning the president could have tested positive as early as Wednesday. The White House later issued a statement saying Conley misspoke.
  • Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who helped Trump prepare for last week’s debate, said Saturday that he has gone to a hospital as a ‘precautionary measure’ after testing positive for the virus.
  • At least seven people who were at a Rose Garden event announcing Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court have confirmed infections, including Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), former senior adviser to Trump, Kellyanne Conway and University of Notre Dame President John I. Jenkins.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), both said Saturday that the committee’s confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett will move ahead starting Oct. 12, despite some members having the coronavirus.
  • Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and top White House aide Hope Hicks have also tested positive.

Coronavirus Diagnosis and Secret Texts Upend a Critical Senate Race in North Carolina in a Single Night, The New York Times, Catie Edmondson, Saturday, 3 October 2020: “Even for an election cycle defined by a relentless string of crises and chaos, the amount of time it took for the Senate race in North Carolina, which could determine which party controls the Senate, to fall into utter mayhem was something of a record. Late Friday night, Cal Cunningham, the former Democratic state senator and Iraq war veteran who has been leading in his bid to oust Senator Thom Tillis, one of the Republican Party’s most vulnerable incumbents, admitted to exchanging flirtatious texts with a woman who is not his wife. That news came nearly three hours after Mr. Tillis announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and would close his campaign headquarters, in a devastating blow to his already lagging re-election campaign.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moves to delay Senate return after 3 Senators test positive for COVID-19, The Hill, Tal Axelrod, Saturday, 3 October 2020: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will move to delay the Senate’s return for two weeks after three lawmakers tested positive for COVID-19.  McConnell said the Senate will not return until Oct. 19 and will only meet in pro forma sessions for the next two weeks, allowing a smaller number of lawmakers to be on Capitol Hill. Previously-scheduled floor activity will take place after Oct. 19.  McConnell said in a statement he ‘[intends] to obtain a consent agreement’ to have the chamber go on hiatus until Oct. 19, meaning Democrats can object to the move. The announcement comes after Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) all announced they have tested positive for the coronavirus. Lee and Tillis are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and were at the White House last Saturday for President Trump’s announcement that he was picking Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee.”

Alumni at Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s undergrad school sign letter of concern, Associated Press, Adrian Sainz, Saturday, 3 October 2020: “U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett graduated in 1994 with honors from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. But more than 1,500 alumni of the small liberal arts school have made it known they are not proud of their ties to the conservative lawyer and judge. Barrett graduated magna cum laude with an undergraduate degree in English. She was a member of the Honor Council and named to the Student Hall of Fame. After her next stop at Notre Dame’s law school, Barrett built a career of ‘professional distinction and achievement,’ said Rhodes president Marjorie Hass, in a statement issued after President Donald Trump nominated Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The statement was dated Sept. 22. Soon after, Rhodes alumni Rob Marus and Katherine Morgan Breslin wrote a letter criticizing Barrett’s stances on abortion law, the LBGTQ community and the Affordable Care Act. Signed by 1,513 alumni and posted online, the letter says the alumni are ‘firmly and passionately opposed to her nomination,’ declaring Barrett fails to represent their views and values. ‘We are likewise firmly and passionately opposed to Rhodes administrators’ attempts to embrace Amy Coney Barrett as an alumna of our beloved alma mater,’ the letter said. ‘We oppose this embrace because we believe both her record and the process that has produced her nomination are diametrically opposed to the values of truth, loyalty, and service that we learned at Rhodes.'”


Sunday, 4 October 2020, Day 1,353:


As Trump Seeks to Project Strength, Doctors Disclose Alarming Episodes, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Sunday, 4 October 2020: “President Trump sought to dispel any perception of weakness on Sunday with a surprise and seemingly risky outing from his hospital bed to greet supporters even as his doctors once again rewrote the official narrative of his illness by acknowledging two alarming episodes they had previously not disclosed. The doctors said that Mr. Trump’s blood oxygen level dropped twice in the two days after he was diagnosed with the coronavirus, requiring medical intervention, and that he had been put on steroids, suggesting his condition might be more serious than initially described. But they insisted that his situation had improved enough since then that he could be released from the hospital as early as Monday. The acknowledgment of the episodes raised new questions about the credibility of the information provided about the commander in chief of a superpower as he is hospitalized with a disease that has killed more than 209,000 people in the United States. With the president determined not to concede weakness and facing an election in just 30 days, officials acknowledged providing rosy assessments to satisfy their prickly patient. Determined to reassert himself on the political stage on his third day in the hospital, Mr. Trump made an unannounced exit from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the early evening, climbing into his armored Chevrolet Suburban to ride past supporters holding Trump flags gathered outside the building. Wearing a suit jacket and face mask but no tie, Mr. Trump waved at the crowd through a closed window as his motorcade slowly cruised by before returning him to the hospital. ‘It’s been a very interesting journey,’ Mr. Trump said in a one-minute video posted on Twitter, looking stronger and sounding more energetic than he had the last couple of days. ‘I learned a lot about Covid. I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school. This isn’t the let’s-read-the-books school. And I get it. And I understand it. And it’s a very interesting thing and I’m going to be letting you know about it.’… [S]ome medical experts said Mr. Trump’s trip out of the hospital was reckless, unnecessarily putting both hospital staff members and Secret Service agents at risk for a stunt. Others questioned the president’s statement in his video that he had met soldiers while at Walter Reed. ‘Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential “drive-by” just now has to be quarantined for 14 days,’ Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed, wrote on Twitter. ‘They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.'” See also, Experts Say Use of Dexamethasone to Treat Trump Suggests Severe Covid-19, The New York Times, Katie Thomas and Roni Caryn Rabin, Sunday, 4 October 2020: “Trump’s doctors offered rosy assessments of his condition on Sunday, but the few medical details they disclosed — including his fluctuating oxygen levels and a decision to begin treatment with a steroid drug — suggested to many infectious disease experts that he is suffering a more severe case of Covid-19 than the physicians acknowledged. In photos and videos released by the White House, there is hardly any sign that Mr. Trump is sick. But at a news conference at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Mr. Trump’s doctors said his oxygen levels had dropped to a level that can indicate that a patient’s lungs are compromised. The symptom is seen in many patients with severe Covid-19. The president’s medical team also said that he had been prescribed dexamethasone on Saturday. The drug is a steroid used to head off an immune system overreaction that kills many Covid-19 patients. The drug is reserved for those with severe illness, because it has not been shown to benefit those with milder forms of the disease and may even be risky. Because of the incomplete picture offered by the president’s doctors, it was not clear whether they had given him dexamethasone too quickly, or whether the president was far sicker than has been publicly acknowledged, experts in infectious disease and emergency medicine said on Sunday.” See also, Instead of Reassurance, Trump’s Doctor Delivers Confusion, Experts Say. Dr. Sean P. Conley, who admitted that he had misled the public about the president’s treatment, has lost credibility with some colleagues. The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Sunday, 4 October 2020: “When Dr. Sean P. Conley confessed that he had misled the public on Saturday about President Trump’s treatment for Covid-19 to reflect the ‘upbeat attitude’ of the White House, he lost credibility with many colleagues in the medical world. ‘Yesterday’s briefing was a spin doctor, not a medical doctor,’ Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious disease expert at Emory University in Atlanta, said in an interview Sunday.”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 4 October 2020: Trump’s Physician Says the President’s Oxygen Levels Dropped, and He Took Steroid Treatment, The New York Times, Sunday, 4 October 2020:

  • Trump’s oxygen levels dropped and he was given dexamethasone, potentially signaling a ‘severe’ case of Covid-19.

  • With Trump hospitalized, Covid-19 continues its onslaught in the U.S.

  • Trump’s doctor delivers confusion instead of reassurance, experts say.

  • Mike Pence tested negative again on Sunday and will keep campaigning, despite C.D.C. guidelines.

  • The C.D.C. is not involved in contact tracing from the Rose Garden ceremony.

  • N.Y.C. mayor seeks permission for shutdowns in nine ZIP codes.

  • A timeline of statements reveals conflicting reports on Trump’s infection and condition.

  • Kenzo Takada, a designer who helped break the Paris fashion barrier, dies at 81.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, 4 October 2020: Doctors say Trump’s blood oxygen levels dropped twice in recent days, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Felicia Sonmez, Seung Min Kim, and Hannah Knowles, Sunday, 4 October 2020: “President Trump’s condition has ‘improved,’ according to White House physician Sean Conley, but the president experienced significant oxygen drops on Friday and Saturday and was given dexamethasone — a steroid that is typically reserved only for severely ill coronavirus patients. Trump’s doctors said he has had no fever since Friday morning, however, and could be discharged as early as Monday. Conley declined to answer questions about the president’s lungs, including whether there is scarring or whether Trump has pneumonia. Aides and doctors have sowed confusion in recent days about Trump’s health status and the timeline of his treatment and diagnosis. The White House on Sunday falsely suggested that doctors did not previously disclose Trump’s use of supplemental oxygen because they lacked the information. Later Sunday, Trump made a surprise visit to supporters, waving to them from inside an SUV that slowly drove past the crowds gathered outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The outing alarmed Secret Service agents and medical professionals. [Physician James Phillips tweeted: ‘Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential “drive-by” just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.’]

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Joe Biden tested negative for the third time since he was potentially exposed at Tuesday’s presidential debate, his campaign said Sunday night. The Democratic nominee is not yet in the clear, however, because most people incubate the virus for two to 14 days before testing positive or showing symptoms.
  • Conley is drawing mounting scrutiny for his rosy assessments of Trump’s health.
  • The president says he had no choice but to risk his own health. A large majority of Americans disagree.
  • The White House gave more than 200 names to officials tracing attendees at a campaign fundraiser held at Trump’s New Jersey golf club hours before the president’s diagnosis became public, state authorities said Sunday.
  • Trump’s illness halted his campaign just when it needed an October boost.
  • The prospect of Trump’s early hospital discharge has mystified doctors.

White House identifies 206 people possibly exposed to COVID at a fundraiser attended by Trump in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Thursday, Axios, Sunday, 4 October 2020: “The White House has given New Jersey health officials a list of at least 206 people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus at a fundraiser event attended by President Trump in Bedminster last week, the state’s department of health tweeted Sunday. Trump has come under criticism for choosing to attend the event at the Trump National Golf Club on Thursday even after close aide Hope Hicks tested positive for the coronavirus.”

Election 2020 Updates: Trump Drives By Well-Wishers, Raising Concerns About Health of Secret Service Agents in His Car, The  New York Times, Sunday, 4 October 2020:

  • Trump leaves the hospital to greet supporters and says in a video he has ‘learned a lot’ about Covid.

  • Trump campaign officials say his illness shows the futility of precautions, many of which he did not take.

  • Using familiar tactics, Trump tries to paint the picture of health on TV.

  • Biden tests negative again for the coronavirus.

  • Trump’s doctors said they downplayed the seriousness of his illness in earlier briefings.

  • Pence, despite exposure to several people who tested positive, keeps campaigning, ignoring guidelines.

  • Biden aides say he will travel to Florida on Monday, despite his potential exposure to the virus.

  • The Trump campaign held a prayer vigil with evangelicals for the president and first lady.

  • Russians ‘have committed’ to not interfering in elections, the national security adviser insists.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Walter Reed attending physician James Phillips swipes at Trump for motorcade visit to supporters, The Hill, Brooke Seipel, Sunday, 4 October 2020: “An attending physician at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday swiped at President Trump for leaving his hospital room and waving to supporters gathered outside from his motorcade, saying it puts those in the vehicle at risk. ‘That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack. The risk of COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play,’ tweeted James Phillips, who is also the chief of disaster medicine at the George Washington University Department of Emergency Medicine. ‘Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential “drive-by” just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity,’ he continued.”

National Security Adviser Robert C. O’Brien Insists Russians ‘Have Committed’ to Not interfering in Elections. O’Brien said he warned his Russian counterpart there would be ‘no tolerance’ for interference, but didn’t mention evidence of Moscow’s influence operations. New York Times, David E. Sanger, Sunday, 4 October 2020: “President Trump’s national security adviser said on Sunday that he had warned his Russian counterpart last week that ‘there would be absolutely no tolerance for any interference’ in the November election, but did not mention that American intelligence officials and a range of private firms had said they already saw evidence of Russian influence operations.”


Monday, 5 October 2020, Day 1,354:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 5 October 2020: Trump Returns Home After Downplaying His Covid-19 Disease, but His Doctor Says He Isn’t ‘Out of the Woods.’ Just before entering the White House, Trump removed his mask on live TV. The New York Times, Monday, 5 October 2020:

  • Trump has returned to the White House. His doctor says he isn’t ‘out of the woods.’

  • ‘Don’t be afraid of Covid,’ Trump says, undermining public health messages.

  • The White House blocks new coronavirus vaccine guidelines.

  • The White House outbreak grows as Kayleigh McEnany, the press secretary, tests positive for the virus.

  • Contact tracing efforts are restricted to the two days before Trump’s diagnosis.

  • The C.D.C. cites new evidence that the virus can spread beyond six feet indoors.

  • Cuomo won’t approve closing businesses in 9 N.Y.C. hot spots, but will close schools in those areas on Tuesday.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic for Monday, 5 October 2020: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms coronavirus can be transmitted through the air, The Washington Post, Teo Armus, Rick Noack, Siobhán O’Grady, Brittany Shammas, Lateshia Beachum, Hannah Denham, and Darren Sands, Monday, 5 October 2020: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged Monday that people can sometimes be infected with the coronavirus through airborne transmission, especially in enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation. The update to the agency Web page explaining how the virus spreads represents an official acknowledgment of growing evidence that under certain conditions, people farther than six feet apart can become infected by tiny droplets and particles that float in the air for minutes and hours.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Trump returned to the White House on Monday night after spending the past three days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, where he has been receiving treatment for covid-19.
  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement that she has tested positive.
  • Concern for White House and residence staff members has started to rise as their workplace has become a virus hot spot.
  • More attendees at a Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony — which is now drawing scrutiny as a possible superspreader event — tested positive over the weekend.
  • The $4 trillion bailout relief packages distributed money to those with little need for it while allowing the illness, which is now more widespread than when the bills passed, to outstrip the aid.
  • Several states in the once hard-hit Northeast were among those posting their largest new-case counts in months. But many of the sharpest increases per capita came in the Midwest and Mountain West, including Wisconsin, Iowa, Utah and the Dakotas.
  • At least 209,000 people in the United States have died of the coronavirus, according to data tracked by The Washington Post, while more than 7.3 million cases have been reported.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) Acknowledges the Coronavirus May Be Adrift in Indoor Air and Can Spread Beyond Six Feet Indoors, The New York Times, Apoorva Mandavilli, Monday, 5 October 2020: Two weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took down a statement about airborne transmission of the coronavirus, the agency on Monday replaced it with language citing new evidence that the virus can spread beyond six feet indoors…. The incident was only the latest in a series of slow and often puzzling scientific judgments by the C.D.C. and by the World Health Organization since the start of the pandemic. Despite evidence that use of face coverings can help cut down on viral spread, for example, the C.D.C. did not endorse their use by the public until April, and the W.H.O. did not do so till June. Regarding aerosols — tiny airborne particles — the C.D.C. lagged behind even the W.H.O. In July, 239 experts who study aerosols called on the W.H.O. to acknowledge that the coronavirus can be transmitted by air in any indoor setting and not just after certain medical procedures, as the organization had claimed. Notably, the C.D.C.’s new guidance softens a previous statement referring to the coronavirus as ‘an airborne virus,’ a term that may have required hospitals to treat infected patients in specialized rooms and health care workers to wear N95 masks anywhere in a hospital. The new advice instead says the virus can ‘sometimes be spread by airborne transmission’ and can be spread by both larger droplets and smaller aerosols released when people ‘cough, sneeze, sing, talk, or breathe.'” See also, CDC says airborne transmission plays a role in coronavirus spread in a long-awaited update after a website error last month, The Washington Post, Lena H. Sun and Ben Guarino, Monday, 5 October 2020: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged Monday that people can sometimes become infected with the novel coronavirus through airborne transmission, especially in enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation. The long-awaited update to the agency Web page explaining how the virus spreads represents an official acknowledgment of growing evidence that under certain conditions, people farther than six feet apart can become infected by tiny droplets and particles that float in the air for minutes and hours, and that they play a role in the pandemic. The update follows an embarrassing incident last month when the agency removed a draft that had not gone through proper review and was posted in error. The draft’s wording included a reference to aerosols — tiny droplets that can stay in the air, potentially traveling a significant distance. ” See also, CDC says coronavirus is airborne, but weakens language from earlier warning, The Washington Post, Brianna Ehley, Monday, 5 October 2020: “The CDC on Monday confirmed that the coronavirus is airborne and may be able to infect people who are more than six feet apart, especially indoors with poor ventilation. The agency first said last month that the virus spreads mainly through ‘aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes.’ CDC pulled that language days later, saying it had been posted in error and required further review. The update posted Monday to the CDC website tempers that earlier warning. It acknowledges that airborne transmission is possible, but says the virus is more commonly spread when people are in close contact with someone who is infected. The agency defines close contact as within six feet of a sick person for at least 15 minutes.”

Trump Administration Blocks New Coronavirus Vaccine Guidelines. The F.D.A. proposed stricter guidelines for emergency approval of a coronavirus vaccine, but the White House chief of staff objected to provisions that would push approval past Election Day. The New York Times, Sharon LaFraniere and Noah Weiland, Monday, 5 October 2020: “Top White House officials are blocking strict new federal guidelines for the emergency release of a coronavirus vaccine, objecting to a provision that would almost certainly guarantee that no vaccine could be authorized before the election on Nov. 3, according to people familiar with the approval process. Facing a White House blockade, the Food and Drug Administration is seeking other avenues to ensure that vaccines meet the guidelines. That includes sharing the standards — perhaps as soon as this week — with an outside advisory committee of experts that is supposed to meet publicly before any vaccine is authorized for emergency use. The hope is that the committee will enforce the guidelines, regardless of the White House’s reaction. The struggle over the guidelines is part of a monthslong tug of war between the White House and federal agencies on the front lines of the pandemic response. White House officials have repeatedly intervened to shape decisions and public announcements in ways that paint the administration’s response to the pandemic in a positive light. That pattern has dismayed a growing number of career officials and political appointees involved in the administration’s fight against a virus that has claimed more than 209,000 lives in the United States. The vaccine guidelines carry special significance: By refusing to allow the Food and Drug Administration to release them, the White House is undercutting the government’s effort to reassure the public that any vaccine will be safe and effective, health experts fear.”

Trump Leaves Hospital, Minimizing Virus and Urging Americans ‘Not to Let It Dominate Your Life,’ The New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Monday, 5 October 2020: “President Trump returned to the White House on Monday night, staging a defiant, made-for-television moment in which he ripped off his face mask and then urged the nation to put aside the risks of the deadly coronavirus that has swept through his own staff and sent him to the hospital for three days. Just hours after his press secretary and two more aides tested positive, making the White House the leading coronavirus hot spot in the nation’s capital, Mr. Trump again dismissed the pandemic that has killed 210,000 people in the United States, telling Americans ‘don’t be afraid of it’ and saying that he felt ‘better than 20 years ago.’ The words and visuals were only the latest ways Mr. Trump has undermined public health experts trying to persuade Americans to take the pandemic seriously. Even afflicted by the disease himself, the president who has wrongly predicted that it would simply disappear appeared unchastened as he pressed America to reopen and made no effort to promote precautions…. Mr. Trump emerged from Walter Reed around 6:30 p.m. wearing a dark suit, a blue tie and a white face mask and boarded Marine One for the short flight back to the White House. After landing on the South Lawn, the president climbed the steps to the balcony over the Diplomatic Entrance, where four American flags had been placed, took off his mask, flashed two thumbs up and saluted twice for the benefit of television cameras on the ground below. He then entered the building without immediately putting his mask back on even though staff members were nearby and he could still be contagious, according to medical studies of the virus timeline.” See also, ‘Don’t Be Afraid of Covid,’ Trump Says, Undermining Public Health Messages. Experts were outraged by the president’s comments about a disease that has killed more than 210,000 people in the United States. The New York Times, Gina Kolata and Roni Caryn Rabin, Monday, 5 October 2020: “Public health experts had hoped that President Trump, chastened by his own infection with the coronavirus and the cases that have erupted among his staff, would act decisively to persuade his supporters that wearing masks and social distancing were essential to protecting themselves and their loved ones. But instead, tweeting on Monday from the military hospital where he has been receiving state-of-the-art treatment for Covid-19, the president yet again downplayed the deadly threat of the virus…. Scientists, ethicists and doctors were outraged by the president’s comments about a disease that has killed more than 210,000 people in the United States. ‘I am struggling for words — this is crazy,’ said Harald Schmidt, assistant professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania. ‘It is just utterly irresponsible.'” See also, Trump returns to White House despite mysteries around his health. Before being discharged from the hospital, Trump tweeted, ‘Don’t be afraid of Covid’–about a virus that has infected more than 7.4 million Americans and killed nearly 210,000 in the US. Politico, Caitlin Oprysko and Quint Forgey, Monday, 5 October 2020: “President Donald Trump left the hospital and returned to the White House on Monday evening to continue his coronavirus treatment there, despite mysteries surrounding his health and the president‘s doctor warning that he may not be ‘out of the woods yet.’… Trump left Walter Reed Medical Center by helicopter on Monday evening, with Marine One touching down on the White House South Lawn about 15 minutes later. He walked out of Walter Reed under his own power, but did not take questions from reporters gathered outside. Upon his return, Trump walked up the stairs to the White House wearing a white mask before taking it off on the balcony, standing for a few moments for a photo op before walking in without wearing the mask. Experts say that someone in Trump‘s progression of the virus is still likely contagious, and multiple people could be seen waiting for him on the other side of the entrance.” See also, Trump returns to White House from Walter Reed Hospital and removes his mask despite having Covid-19, CNN Politics, Kevin Liptak and Maeve Reston, Monday, 5 October 2020: “Trump staged a reckless departure from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday, telling his followers the virus that dangerously deprived him of oxygen and hospitalized him for 72 hours was nothing to fear before posing for a mask-less photo-op on the White House balcony. It was a remarkable attempt to convert his still-ongoing disease into a show of strength, even as it underscored his longstanding practice of denying the pandemic’s severity and downplaying its risks despite the more than 200,000 Americans dead. ‘Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life,’ Trump wrote several hours before walking carefully out of the hospital’s gold front doors, even as his doctors warned he wasn’t yet ‘out of the woods.’ Wearing a white cloth mask and a navy blue suit, Trump gave several thumbs up and a fist bump as he walked down the hospital’s front steps toward his waiting helicopter. He would not answer when asked how many of his staffers had tested positive.”

For the Secret Service, a New Question: Who Will Protect Them From Trump? Central to the job is a willingness to say yes to the president no matter what he asks. Now, that means subjecting an agent’s health to the whims of a contagious president. The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Michael S. Schmidt, Monday, 5 October 2020: “For more than a century, Secret Service agents have lived by a straightforward ethos: They will take the president where he wants to go, even if it means putting their bodies in front of a bullet. But that guiding principle has been tested in recent days by President Trump’s desire to get back to work, play or campaigning, despite an active coronavirus infection that could pose a serious threat to those around him. The problem came into focus on Sunday, when a masked Mr. Trump climbed into a hermetically sealed, armored Chevy Suburban with at least two Secret Service agents — covered head to toe in the same personal protective equipment used by doctors — so the president could wave to a group of supporters outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Medical experts said the move recklessly put agents at risk. Secret Service personnel have privately questioned whether additional precautions will be put in place to protect the detail from the man they have pledged to protect.”

The Nomination Ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett on 26 September in the Rose Garden Is Now Under Covid-19 Scrutiny, The New York Times, Larry Buchanan, Lazaro Gamio, Lauren Leatherby, Robin Stein, and Christiaan Tribert, Monday, 5 October 2020: “At least 11 people who attended a White House event on Sept. 26 have since tested positive for the coronavirus. Eight of them, including the first lady, sat in the first several rows of a nomination ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the White House Rose Garden. Those diagnosed include the president himself. Few people at the outdoor ceremony wore masks or kept their social distance. But experts say the more risky time spent that day was at a reception inside the White House, where President Trump met with a smaller group of guests. There, Mr. Trump mingled with Judge Barrett, her family and prominent Republicans in the Oval Office and in the Diplomatic Room. Research has shown that transmission of the virus tends to happen indoors, and gatherings where guests are maskless and in tight quarters can be a recipe for ‘super spreader’ events.” See also, The Trump Administration Is Not Contact Tracing ‘Super-Spreader’ Rose Garden Event, The New York Times, Apoorva Mandavilli and Tracey Tully, Monday, 5 October 2020.  See also, As Coronavirus Invades West Wing, White House Reporters Face Heightened Risks, The New York Times, Michael M. Grynbaum, Monday, 5 October 2020: “Visitors to the White House will notice a makeshift sign taped to the door of the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, entry point for the reportorial corps that regularly covers President Trump and his administration. ‘Masks Required Beyond This Point,’ it reads. ‘Please wear masks over both your nose and mouth at all times.’ The sign was not put up by the White House. The correspondents had to do it themselves. Throughout a pandemic that has now landed squarely in the West Wing, Trump officials — who routinely shunned masks — declined to institute thorough safety protocols to protect the White House press corps, according to interviews with reporters who now face the prospect of a rapidly escalating outbreak in their daily work space. ‘The only place on the White House grounds where a mask has been required is the White House press area, and the only people who have routinely violated that rule have been White House staff,’ Jonathan Karl, ABC’s chief White House correspondent, said in an interview.”

Covid-19 Is Making a Dangerous Comeback in Most Parts of the U.S., Bloomberg, Jonathan Levin and Kristen V Brown, Monday, 5 October 2020: “Covid-19 is spreading again across most of the U.S., hammering rural America and smaller cities and raising anxiety in New York, as experts warn that school reopenings and colder weather may cause the situation to rapidly deteriorate. In 34 states, the seven-day average of new cases is higher now than it was a month ago. Although the virus has waned in populous states including California and Florida, it is wreaking unprecedented havoc in the Midwest and making an incipient return in parts of the Northeast.”

338,000 Missing Deaths: Tracking the True Toll of the Coronavirus Outbreak, The New York Times, Jin Wu, Allison McCann, Josh Katz, Elian Peltier, and Karan Deep Singh, Monday, 5 October 2020: “At least 338,000 more people have died during the coronavirus pandemic than the official Covid-19 death counts report, a review of mortality data in 32 countries shows — providing a clearer, if still incomplete, picture of the toll of the crisis. Over the last several months, far more people have died in most of these countries than in previous years, The New York Times found. The totals include deaths from Covid-19 as well as those from other causes, likely including people who could not be treated as hospitals became overwhelmed. These numbers undermine the notion that many people who have died from the virus may soon have died anyway.”

Election 2020 Updates: Biden Suggests Trump Should Shoulder Responsibility for Contracting the Virus, The New York Times, Monday, 5 October 2020:

  • When asked about Trump, Biden says those who don’t take Covid precautions seriously are ‘responsible for what happens to them.’

  • In a campaign-style video, Trump says contracting Covid-19 was a risk he had to take as ‘your leader.’

  • Trump’s ‘Don’t be afraid of Covid’ exhortation is denounced by Democrats and disease experts.

  • Plexiglass dividers will separate Harris and Pence at the vice-presidential debate.

  • Campaigning in Florida, Biden urges mask mandates and warns Covid crisis ‘is far, far from over.’

  • Trump leaves the hospital and returns to the White House, as more people in his orbit test positive.

  • Wednesday’s vice-presidential debate looms larger with the president sidelined.

  • McConnell recesses the Senate for two weeks but says hearings on Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination will go ahead.

  • A Bernie Sanders speech offers clues about how Democrats might talk about Trump’s illness.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Election 2020: Trump returns to White House from hospital; doctor says he may not be ‘out of the woods,’ The Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, Reis Thebault, Marisa Iati, Josh Dawsey, and Amy B Wang, Monday, 5 October 2020: “President Trump on Monday returned to the White House after being discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where he was sent on Friday after being diagnosed with covid-19 and experiencing a fever and was given supplemental oxygen treatments. Earlier on Monday, the president played down the threat of the virus, which has killed 209,000 people in the United States, tweeting: ‘Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.’ Sean Conley, his physician, told reporters that the president will be monitored closely at the White House and that he ‘may not be entirely out of the woods yet.’ White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement Monday that she has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Meanwhile, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was in the key battleground state of Florida for several events, including a nationally televised town hall.

Here are some of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Trump’s doctor also said it was unclear when the president would no longer be able to infect others.
  • After arriving back at the White House, Trump removed his mask as he reached a balcony facing the South Lawn, and, standing maskless for over two minutes, gave a double thumbs-up and saluted the soldiers down below.
  • The Supreme Court agreed with South Carolina Republicans and reinstated a requirement that mail-in ballots have a witness’s signature. See our guide on how to vote in your state.
  • Even inside Trump’s orbit, allies worried about his Sunday evening appearance outside Walter Reed, which risked infecting two Secret Service agents who were in the armored vehicle.
  • Candidates and debate organizers are pushing ahead with in-person events despite public health concerns. The vice-presidential candidates are still scheduled to convene in Salt Lake City for their debate Wednesday, where they will be separated by plexiglass barriers.
  • Biden leads Trump by nine percentage points nationally, 51 percent to 42 percent, according to a Washington Post average of polls. Biden’s margin is smaller in key states: seven in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan; five in Arizona; and one in Florida.

Justices Thomas and Alito Question Same-Sex Marriage Precedent, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 5 October 2020: “Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., who dissented from the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision establishing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, appeared to urge the court on Monday to reconsider the ruling, which they said had invented a right with no basis in the text of the Constitution. ‘By choosing to privilege a novel constitutional right over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendment, and by doing so undemocratically, the court has created a problem that only it can fix,’ Justice Thomas wrote, in an opinion joined by Justice Alito. The justices issued their opinion in a case concerning Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk who had been sued for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court turned down her appeal, and the two justices concurred in that decision, saying the case did not cleanly present questions warranting the court’s review. But they used the occasion to issue a four-page statement denouncing the harm they said the 2015 decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, had done to religious freedom.” See also, Justices Thomas and Alito lash out at the decision that cleared the way for same-sex marriage, CNN Politics, Ariane de Vogue and Chandelis Duster, Monday, 5 October 2020: “Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Samuel Alito, lashed out on Monday at the religious liberty implications of the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that cleared the way for same-sex marriage nationwide. Thomas wrote that the decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, ‘enables courts and governments to brand religious adherents who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman as bigots, making their religious liberty concerns that much easier to dismiss.’ Thomas’ strong opinion came down on the first day of the court’s new term, and reflects the fact that critics of the landmark opinion from five years ago that was penned by now retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, are still infuriated by its reasoning. They believe the court should have left the decision to the political arena and have long said that it will infringe upon the rights of those who have religious objections to same-sex marriage. Supporters of LGBTQ rights are fearful that the court is poised to continue a trend from last term, ruling in favor of religious conservatives in key cases.”

US Supreme Court allows South Carolina vote-by-mail restriction to proceed, CNN Politics, Ariane de Vogue, Monday, 5 October 2020: “The Supreme Court on Monday granted a request from South Carolina Republicans to reinstate the state’s witness-signature requirement on absentee ballots pending appeal. The court’s order on the first day of its new term is a loss for the Democratic National Committee. There were no noted dissents. The court said, however, that any ballots cast before it had acted, and received within two days of the order, cannot be rejected for failing to comply with the witness requirement. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch indicated they would not have counted those ballots.” See also, Supreme Court sides with Republicans in South Carolina dispute over mail-in ballots, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 5 October 2020: “The Supreme Court on Monday night agreed with South Carolina Republicans and said mail-in ballots must contain a witness’s signature, something federal courts had said should be waived because of the coronavirus pandemic. The high court made one concession, saying ballots already sent in without a witness should be counted. Tens of thousands of ballots have been sent to voters across the state.” See also, Supreme Court Revives Witness Requirement for South Carolina Absentee Ballots. The majority, overturning lower courts’ rulings that the requirement burdened the right to vote during a pandemic, made an exception for ballots cast before it acted and received within two days. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 5 October 2020.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Grants Oklahoma Control Over Tribal Lands. Agency decision reverses tribal sovereignty that was recognized in landmark Supreme Court Ruling. The Young Turks, Ti-Hua Chang, Monday, 5 October 2020: “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted the state of Oklahoma regulatory control over environmental issues on nearly all tribal lands there, TYT has learned. This strips from 38 tribes in Oklahoma their sovereignty over environmental issues. It also establishes a legal and administrative pathway to potential environmental abuses on tribal land, including dumping hazardous chemicals like carcinogenic PCBs and petroleum spills, with no legal recourse by the tribes, according to a former high-level official of the EPA. This also includes hazardous chemicals that are byproducts of petroleum procurement and refining. In 2019, Oklahoma had the fourth largest petroleum industry in the US. TYT has obtained a copy of the letter EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent to Gov. J. Kevin Stitt (R-OK) on October 1. The end of the opening paragraph states simply, ‘EPA hereby approves Oklahoma’s request.'”

Eric Trump is questioned under oath by the New York attorney general’s office about whether the Trump Organization falsely reported property values to get loans or tax benefits, Bloomberg, Erik Larson, Monday, 5 October 2020: “U.S. President Donald Trump’s son Eric was questioned under oath by the New York attorney general’s office, which is probing whether the family’s real-estate company falsely reported property values to get loans or tax benefits, according to a person familiar with the matter. Eric Trump, an executive vice president at the Trump Organization, was deposed by state investigators on Monday via video-conference, said the person, who declined to be identified discussing the matter. Trump had initially refused to provide testimony, then unsuccessfully tried to postpone the questioning until after the November election. The probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James is focusing on an obscure property called Seven Springs on 212 acres outside New York City, as well as transactions involving the Trump-owned 40 Wall Street building in lower Manhattan, a Los Angeles golf club and the Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago. The company has denied wrongdoing.”


Tuesday, 6 October 2020, Day 1,355:


In May 2018 Then Attorney General Jeff Sessions Told Prosecutors ‘We Need to Take Away Children’ from Their Parents, No Matter How Young. Top Justice Department officials were ‘a driving force’ behind Trump’s child separation policy, a draft investigation report said. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Katie Benner, and Michael S. Schmidt, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “The five U.S. attorneys along the border with Mexico, including three appointed by President Trump, recoiled in May 2018 against an order to prosecute all illegal immigrants even if it meant separating children from their parents. They told top Justice Department officials they were ‘deeply concerned’ about the children’s welfare. But the attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, made it clear what Mr. Trump wanted on a conference call later that afternoon, according to a two-year inquiry by the Justice Department’s inspector general into Mr. Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ family separation policy. ‘We need to take away children,’ Mr. Sessions told the prosecutors, according to participants’ notes. One added in shorthand: ‘If care about kids, don’t bring them in. Won’t give amnesty to people with kids.’ Rod J. Rosenstein, then the deputy attorney general, went even further in a second call about a week later, telling the five prosecutors that it did not matter how young the children were. He said that government lawyers should not have refused to prosecute two cases simply because the children were barely more than infants.”

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 6 October 2020: Trump Returns to a Capital in Chaos as Covid-19 Outbreak Spreads. Trump abruptly ended talks on a stimulus bill intended to shore up the nation’s pandemic-stricken economy. The New York Times, Tuesday, 6 October 2020:

  • As the virus consumes the U.S. government’s elite, Trump presides over a capital in chaos.

  • ‘Yellow gown. Surgical mask. Gloves.’ White House memo warns staff how to handle being around the infected president.

  • Trump says he is pulling the plug on stimulus talks.

  • The F.D.A. releases stricter guidelines for vaccine developers after a holdup at the White House.

  • New York will temporarily close nonessential businesses in parts of Queens, Brooklyn and the city’s northern suburbs.

  • Piecing together clues, medical experts suggest Trump could be entering a pivotal phase in his fight against Covid-19.

  • Stephen Miller, a top Trump aide, tests positive for the virus.

  • Wisconsin orders new restrictions on indoor gatherings, but not political rallies.

  • Negligent homicide charges filed after fatal confrontation over mask-wearing.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, 6 October 2020: Rick Bright, a top federal government vaccine official who filed complaint against the Trump administration, resigns from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), The Washington Post, Teo Armus, Jennifer Hassan, Adam Taylor, Lateshia Beachum, Paulina Villegas, Hannah Denham, and Reis Thebault, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “One of the federal government’s top vaccine officials resigned from his role at the National Institutes of Health on Tuesday after accusing his superiors of politically motivated retaliation in response to his criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Rick Bright, who formerly directed the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, was removed from his post in April and reassigned to a narrower role at NIH, where, he said in a whistleblower complaint, his work was ‘thwarted by political considerations that continue to harm public health and safety.’ The complaint accuses Department of Health and Human Services leaders of giving Bright a less prestigious job because he pushed back against President Trump’s lofty claims about hydroxychloroquine’s potential as a covid-19 treatment.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior policy adviser, tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the latest in a string of White House officials to be infected.
  • The White House on Tuesday approved tough new standards for coronavirus vaccines after weeks of delay, but only after the Food and Drug Administration unilaterally published the guidelines on its website.
  • Trump said Tuesday that the coronavirus relief talks were over until after the election, abruptly ordering Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to stop negotiating with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  • The stock market plummeted in the last hour of Tuesday’s trading, as investors reacted to Trump’s announcement.
  • Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are in isolation after the Coast Guard’s No. 2 officer tested positive for the coronavirus, the Pentagon said Tuesday in a statement.
  • Vice President Pence requested that no plexiglass dividers be placed on his side of the stage at Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate, but the Commission on Presidential Debates built a stage Tuesday with barriers for both candidates, apparently overruling his objections.
  • At least 210,000 people in the United States have died of the coronavirus, according to data tracked by The Washington Post, while more than 7.4 million cases have been reported.

In Reversal, White House Approves Stricter Guidelines for Vaccine Makers, The New York Times, Carl Zimmer and Noah Weiland, Tuesday, 6 September 2020: “The Food and Drug Administration released new guidelines on Tuesday for coronavirus vaccine developers — a step that had been held up for two weeks by top White House officials. The guidelines make it highly unlikely that a vaccine could be authorized by Election Day. The move, which was cleared by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, appeared to be an abrupt reversal a day after The New York Times reported that White House officials, including Mark Meadows, the chief of staff, were blocking the guidelines. Top F.D.A. officials were caught by surprise when they learned midafternoon that the new guidelines had been cleared. The new recommendations, which do not carry the force of law, call for gathering comprehensivesafety data in the final stage of clinical trials before an emergency authorization can be granted. On Tuesday evening, President Trump showed his displeasure at the action of his own White House, and charged that the new guidelines were a conspiracy against his re-election prospects.”

Whistle-Blowing Scientist Rick Bright Quits Government With Final Broadside, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “Rick Bright, a senior vaccine scientist who said he was demoted this spring for complaining about ‘cronyism’ and political interference in science, resigned his final government post on Tuesday, saying he had been sidelined and left with nothing to do. In a new addendum to the whistle-blower complaint he filed in May, Dr. Bright’s lawyers say officials at the National Institutes of Health, where he worked after his demotion, rejected his idea for a national coronavirus testing strategy ‘because of political considerations.’ He also accused them of ignoring his request to join the $10 billion effort to fast-track a coronavirus vaccine, known as Operation Warp Speed.”

Facebook and Twitter Take Action After Trump Falsely Claims Flu Is Deadlier Than COVID-19, NPR, Merrit Kennedy and Scott Hensley, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “Facebook and Twitter took measures to screen against misinformation after President Trump put posts on both sites that falsely claimed COVID-19 is less deadly than the flu in ‘most populations.’ Facebook took down Trump’s post, saying that users are not allowed to make false claims about the severity of the pandemic. The social network says the post broke its rules against harmful misinformation. Twitter allowed the president’s tweet to stay up with a warning label. The company said it is in violation of Twitter’s ‘rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.’ But it added that the company ‘has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.'”

Trump Sends Mixed Messages Over Covid-19 Stimulus, The Wall Street Journal, Kristina Peterson, Andrew Duehren, and Nick Timiraos, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “President Trump pulled the plug on ongoing bipartisan coronavirus relief talks in an abrupt move that jolted Wall Street and surprised lawmakers of both parties, but hours later called on Congress to approve a bill providing another direct check to many Americans. ‘I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill,’ Mr. Trump wrote Tuesday on Twitter. Mr. Trump’s tweets appeared to end the long-running effort between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to negotiate an agreement on another trillion-dollar-plus coronavirus relief deal. But late Tuesday Mr. Trump appeared to backtrack, calling on Congress to approve some additional assistance for airlines and a small-business aid program. He also tweeted that Congress should pass a bill providing another direct check to many Americans.” See also, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warns of economic tragedy if the US can’t control the coronavirus, CNN Business, Anneken Tappe, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “America is on the long road to economic recovery from the pandemic recession, but dark clouds remain on the horizon. The recovery is far from complete, and the US economy remains in danger of shifting into reverse once again. One major risk factor: A rise in Covid-19 infections, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Tuesday at the National Association for Business Economics annual meeting. A second wave of coronavirus could ‘more significantly limit economic activity, not to mention the tragic effects on lives and well-being,’ Powell said. ‘Managing this risk as the expansion continues will require following medical experts’ guidance, including using masks and social-distancing measures.’ In addition to gaining control of the pandemic, Powell reiterated his calls for more fiscal stimulus aimed at supporting America’s most vulnerable. But just hours after Powell’s appeal, President Donald Trump halted negotiations for a new stimulus package. ‘I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,’ he said on Twitter.”

White House Coronavirus Outbreak: Stephen Miller Tests Positive as White House Outbreak Grows, The New York Times, Tuesday, 6 October 2020:

  • Stephen Miller, a top Trump aide, tests positive for the virus.

  • Piecing together clues, medical experts suggest Trump could be entering a pivotal phase in his fight against Covid-19.

  • Trump intends to debate Biden next week. Biden says if Trump ‘still has Covid, we shouldn’t have a debate.’

  • Pentagon leaders are quarantining after being exposed to the virus.

  • Trump calls off negotiations on a stimulus package.

  • Facebook removes Trump post that compared the pandemic to the flu, saying it spread coronavirus misinformation.

  • Mr. Trump has tweeted dozens of times since falling ill. One topic he has avoided: the 210,000 Americans who have died from the virus.

  • Contact tracing efforts are restricted to the two days before Trump’s diagnosis.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

‘It is a slaughter’: William Foege, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and infectious disease titan, asks current CDC director Robert Redfield to expose the Trump administration’s failed response to the coronavirus pandemic and to orchestrate his own firing, USA Today, Brett Murphy and Letitia Stein, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “A former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health titan who led the eradication of smallpox asked the embattled, current CDC leader to expose the failed U.S. response to the new coronavirus, calling on him to orchestrate his own firing to protest White House interference. Dr. William Foege, a renowned epidemiologist who served under Democratic and Republican presidents, detailed in a private letter he sent last month to CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield his alarm over how the agency has fallen in stature while the pandemic raged across America. Foege, who has not previously been a vocal critic of the agency’s handling of the novel coronavirus, called on Redfield to openly address the White House’s meddling in the agency’s efforts to manage the COVID-19 crisis and then accept the political sacrifice that would follow. He recommended that Redfield commit to writing down the administration’s failures — and his own — so there was a record that could not be dismissed. ‘You could upfront, acknowledge the tragedy of responding poorly, apologize for what has happened and your role in acquiescing,’ Foege wrote to Redfield. He added that simply resigning without coming clean would be insufficient. ‘Don’t shy away from the fact this has been an unacceptable toll on our country. It is a slaughter and not just a political dispute.'”

Pentagon leaders are quarantining after being exposed to the coronavirus, The New York Times, Helene Cooper, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and several of the Pentagon’s most senior uniformed leaders are quarantining after being exposed to the coronavirus, a Defense Department official said on Tuesday. The official said almost the entirety of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including Gen. James C. McConville, the Army chief of staff, are quarantining after Adm. Charles Ray, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard, tested positive for coronavirus.” See also, Joint Chiefs of Staff in Quarantine After Admiral Tests Positive for Covid-19, The Wall Street Journal, Nancy A. Youssef and Gordon Lubold, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “Several of the nation’s top uniformed military officers went into quarantine Monday night after attending meetings at the Pentagon with a Coast Guard admiral who tested positive this week for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, a body that consists of the top commanders from each of the armed services, held meetings that included Coast Guard Adm. Charles Ray, the vice commandant, who then tested positive on Monday after exhibiting symptoms over the weekend, the Coast Guard said. Adm. Ray has since been quarantining at home.”

Tracking the White House Coronavirus Outbreak, The New York Times, Larry Buchanan, Lazaro Gamio, Lauren Leatherby, John Keefe, Christoph Koetti, and Amy Schoenfeld Walker, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “President Trump’s announcement Friday that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus sent government officials scrambling to determine who else might have been exposed. By Tuesday evening, more than 20 people who had been in contact with the president or attended White House or campaign events last week had said they had tested positive.”

Election 2020 Updates: Biden Questions Idea of Debating Trump Next Week, The New York Times, Tuesday, 6 October 2020:

  • Biden says if Trump ‘still has Covid, we shouldn’t have a debate.’

  • After resistance, Mike Pence accepts use of plexiglass barriers at debate with Harris.

  • New York Times editorial board endorses Joe Biden for president.

  • A St. Louis couple who pointed guns at protesters and appeared at the Republican convention are indicted by a grand jury.

  • Biden calls for national unity in a speech at Gettysburg and says what ‘we’re experiencing today is not good or normal.’

  • With Biden touting masks and science while Trump downplays risks, the president’s illness redefines the campaign.

  • Michelle Obama expresses empathy for White House staff ‘touched by this virus’ and urges Americans to vote.

  • After Trump’s call for poll watchers, officials in three states pledge to prosecute any who try to intimidate voters.

  • Biden expands his lead to double digits in Pennsylvania, a Monmouth poll finds.

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Election 2020: Stephen Miller, senior White House aide, tests positive for coronavirus, officials say, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, Josh Dawsey, Brittany Shammas, and Amy B Wang, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “Stephen Miller, senior policy adviser to President Trump, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to two senior administration officials. Miller is the latest among those in Trump’s orbit to contract the virus. The list of infected includes senior adviser Hope Hicks, campaign manager Bill Stepien, former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Trump’s inner circle helped him prepare for last week’s debate, where members gathered maskless in a room together. Miller’s wife, Katie, an aide to Vice President Pence, contracted the virus in May.

Here are a few of the other developments included in this article.

  • In a sweeping speech aimed equally at Democrats and Republicans, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden stood on the fields of Gettysburg, Pa., on Tuesday afternoon and pleaded for the end of the political division that threatens to tear the country apart.
  • Trump, who returned to the White House from the hospital on Monday, reported experiencing no symptoms and is doing ‘extremely well,’ his physician said in a memo released Tuesday by the White House. The president also signaled in a tweet that he plans to participate in the next debate against Biden, scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami.
  • Economic relief talks screeched to a halt Tuesday as Trump ordered Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to stop negotiating with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi until after the election.
  • The Commission on Presidential Debates built a stage Tuesday for the vice-presidential debate in Salt Lake City with plexiglass barriers for both candidates, apparently overruling the objections of Vice President Pence.
  • Biden tested negative for the virus on Tuesday, his campaign said. The former vice president said Tuesday evening that if the president still has the coronavirus next week they shouldn’t go forward with the debate.
  • Biden leads Trump by 10 percentage points nationally, 52 percent to 42 percent, according to a Washington Post average of polls. Biden’s margin is smaller in key states: seven in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan; three in Arizona; and one in Florida.

Delayed Homeland Security Report Warns That Violent White Supremacy Is the ‘Most Persistent and Lethal Threat’ in the U.S., The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “The Department of Homeland Security warned on Tuesday that violent white supremacy was the ‘most persistent and lethal threat in the homeland’ in an annual assessment that a former intelligence chief had accused the agency of withholding in deference to President Trump. The intelligence chief-turned-whistle-blower last month accused the department of blocking the report and directing analysts to play down the threat of violent white racism as well as Russian election interference to align the agency’s message with the president’s. But the final report appeared to do no such thing. The threat assessment highlighted white supremacists as the most deadly among domestic terrorists in recent years and Russia as the primary threat to spreading disinformation.”

Exxon Mobil and Other Oil Giants Shield Their Carbon-Dioxide Emissions Forecasts From Investors, Bloomberg, Akshat Rathi and Kevin Crowley, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “A giant oil company like Exxon Mobil Corp. will publicly disclose forward-looking numbers on production forecasts, earnings potential and capital expenditures. But the biggest fossil-fuel producers don’t provide short-term guidance to investors on the metric that’s become existentially important: carbon-dioxide emissions. There’s evidence oil majors do assess the climate consequences of their future plans. Exxon had internal projections, never made public, that showed a 17% rise in carbon-dioxide emissions over the next five years, according to company documents reviewed by Bloomberg. In a statement, Exxon said those projections were ‘a preliminary, internal assessment of estimated cumulative emission growth through 2025’ and that its projections had since changed…. Exxon has never made a commitment to lower either its oil and gas production or eliminate greenhouse gases, so perhaps it’s not surprising that the company doesn’t publicize expectations around emissions. But even oil giants with bold targets to neutralize emissions by mid-century, such as BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, don’t allow investors to scrutinize their emissions forecasts for next year.”

Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett served as a ‘handmaid’ in Christian group People of Praise, The Washington Post, Emma Brown, Jon Swaine, and Michelle Boorstein, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “While Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has faced questions about how her Catholic faith might influence her jurisprudence, she has not spoken publicly about her involvement in People of Praise, a small Christian group founded in the 1970s and based in South Bend, Ind. Barretta federal appellate judge, has disclosed serving on the board of a network of private Christian schools affiliated with the group. The organization, however, has declined to confirm that she is a member. In recent years, it removed from its website editions of a People of Praise magazine — first those that included her name and photograph and then all archives of the magazine itself. Barrett has had an active role in the organization, as have her parents, according to documents and interviews that help fill out a picture of her involvement with a group that keeps its teachings and gatherings private. A 2010 People of Praise directory states that she held the title of ‘handmaid,’ a leadership position for women in the community, according to a directory excerpt obtained by The Washington Post. Also, while in law school, Barrett lived at the South Bend home of People of Praise’s influential co-founder Kevin Ranaghan and his wife, Dorothy, who together helped establish the group’s male-dominated hierarchy and view of gender roles.” See also, Inside the People of Praise, the Tight-Knit Faith Community of Amy Coney Barrett, The New York Times, Ruth Graham and Sharon LaFraniere, published on Thursday, 8 October 2020.

Trump Took $70,000 in Tax Deductions for Hair Care. Experts Say That’s Illegal. It’s a small but telling detail in The Times’s exposé on Trump’s taxes. New York Times, James B. Stewart, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “There were many bombshells in The New York Times’s exposé last week about President Trump’s taxes. He has paid basically zero federal income tax for years. His much-ballyhooed businesses are on the ropes. And that was just the headline. But it was a juicy and seemingly less significant matter that jumped out at me: Mr. Trump spent more than $70,000 on hairstyling during several years of his run on ‘The Apprentice,’ his reality-TV show. That, of course, is quite a lot for any one person to spend on having his hair cut, blow-dried or colored. But what is really remarkable about the revelation is that Mr. Trump’s production company deducted his hairstyling expenses from its taxable income, reducing its tax bill. Tax experts told me that deducting what is ordinarily considered a personal expense is prohibited under almost any circumstances. And they said such a deduction could potentially constitute criminal tax fraud if the cost of the hairstyling was reimbursed by someone else. Three former NBC executives involved in ‘The Apprentice’ told me that, while they didn’t recall the exact terms of Mr. Trump’s contract, they were very familiar with the way such contracts are typically written. The cost of hair and makeup for a star of Mr. Trump’s stature would generally be covered by the show, and Mr. Trump would have been reimbursed for any of the costs he incurred.”

Patricia and Mark McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who pointed guns at protesters, are indicted on firearms and tampering with evidence charges, CNN US, Konstantin Toropin and Nicole Chavez, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “Patricia and Mark McCloskey, the St. Louis homeowners who pointed guns at protesters, have been indicted on weapons and tampering with evidence charges, their attorney said. Attorney Joel Schwartz told CNN that his clients’ indictments are suppressed and won’t be unsealed until next Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Kim Gardner, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney, did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment…. The McCloskeys drew national attention in late June after they were seen in a viral video brandishing guns outside their mansion at protesters walking on a private street en route to demonstrate outside the St. Louis mayor’s residence.” See also, A St. Louis Couple Who Pointed Guns at Protesters and Appeared at the Republican Convention Are Indicted by a Grand Jury, The New York Times, Neil Vigdor, Tuesday, 6 October 2020: “A grand jury in St. Louis returned an indictment on Tuesday against a white couple who brandished guns at Black protesters as they marched past their home in June in a menacing display caught on video that earned them a spotlight at the Republican National Convention and the admiration of President Trump. Mark and Patricia McCloskey were charged with unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering, both felonies, the McCloskeys’ lawyer, Joel J. Schwartz, said in an interview.”


Wednesday, 7 October 2020, Day 1,356:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 7 October 2020: Nursing Homes in Nevada Told to Stop Using Rapid Coronavirus Tests, The New York Times, Wednesday, 7 October 2020:

  • Nevada halts use of rapid coronavirus tests in nursing homes, citing inaccuracies.

  • Trump touts an unproven treatment as ‘a cure’ in his latest video.

  • Kamala Harris calls Trump’s virus response the ‘greatest failure of any presidential administration.’

  • Boston delays its next step in reopening schools as cases rise.

  • Paris hospitals are feeling the strain from a new influx of patients.

  • The U.S. economic outlook is bleak as Election Day approaches.

  • Protests broke out in Orthodox Jewish areas over rules starting Thursday in Queens and Brooklyn.

  • San Diego schools remove a Trump letter from food aid boxes, calling it misleading.

  • As cases rise in Texas, its governor says bars can reopen.

  • How do you lose an ‘S.N.L.’ gig? Ask Morgan Wallen.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, 7 October 2020: As election nears, hospitalization rates surge in Midwest battleground states and the South, The Washington Post, Jennifer Hassan, Kim Bellware, Miriam Berger, Paulina Firozi, Brittany Shammas, Hannah Denham, Reis Thebault, and Meryl Kornfield, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “Less than a month before Election Day, the rate of hospitalizations from covid-19 are on the rise in key battleground states throughout the Midwest, while states where President Trump has been leading are seeing a surge in new infections. The increases come as the distinctly different leadership styles and approaches of Trump and his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, to addressing the pandemic emerge as key themes of the presidential race.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • At least 7,500,000 coronavirus cases and 211,000 fatalities have been reported in the United States since February, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.
  • President Trump returned to the Oval Office for the first time since being released from the hospital on Monday, as the White House again refused to say when the president last tested negative for the coronavirus.
  • A letter sent by the top public health official attesting to Vice President Pence’s health and proclaiming him safe to debate Wednesday night is sparking outcry from public health experts.
  • Less than a month before Election Day the rate of hospitalizations from covid-19 are on the rise in key battleground states throughout the Midwest, while states where President Trump has been leading are seeing a surge in new infections.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tried to make a deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to rescue the airline industry, just a day after President Trump abruptly cut off talks on a broader stimulus bill.
  • Country music star Morgan Wallen was dropped by ‘Saturday Night Live’ as this week’s upcoming musical guest after videos emerged of him partying without a mask.

White House Coronavirus Outbreak: Trump Hails Unproven Drug as ‘a Cure’ and Calls Contracting the Coronavirus ‘a Blessing From God,’ The New York Times, Wednesday, 7 October 2020:

  • ‘I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it,’ Trump says of the virus in a new video.

  • The president has returned to the Oval Office.

  • The head of the White House security office is critically ill with Covid-19.

  • Trump is described as symptom-free, but experts question the significance of his antibody test results.

  • Rejecting rest and recuperation, Trump aims to show he’s in charge.

  • Trump blew up negotiations on a virus relief bill. He is having second thoughts.

  • ‘Yellow gown,’ ‘surgical mask,’ ‘gloves’: A memo instructs White House staff how to navigate an infected president.

  • Trump’s best-case political scenario? It might be Obama’s rebound in 2012 — but it’s a long shot.

  • Trump benefits from access to treatments and care unavailable to most other Covid-19 patients.

Trump Says Contracting the coronavirus was ‘a blessing from God’ and hails an unproven drug as ‘a cure,’ The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Katie Thomas, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “President Trump on Wednesday released a direct-to-camera video address to the nation in which he called getting the coronavirus ‘a blessing from God,’ calling the unapproved drug a ‘cure’ and saying he would provide hundreds of thousands of doses of unapproved drugs to Americans free of charge.”

Trump’s antibody treatment was tested using cells originally derived from an abortion. The Trump administration has looked to curtail research with fetal cells, But when it was life or death for Trump, no one objected. MIT Technology Review, Antonio Regaldo, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “This week, President Donald Trump extolled the cutting-edge coronavirus treatments he received as ‘miracles coming down from God.’ If that’s true, then God employs cell lines derived from human fetal tissue. The emergency antibody that Trump received last week was developed with the use of a cell line originally derived from abortion tissue, according to Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, the company that developed the experimental drug. The Trump administration has taken an increasingly firm line against medical research using fetal tissue from abortions.” See also, Trump’s Covid Treatments Were Tested in Cells Derived From Fetal Tissue, The New York Times, Apoorva Mandavilli and Nathalia Holt, published on Thursday, 8 October 2020: “When the Trump administration suspended federal funding in 2019 for most new scientific research projects involving fetal tissue derived from abortions, officials argued that whatever the scientific benefits, there was a pressing moral imperative to find alternative research methods. ‘Promoting the dignity of human life from conception to natural death is one of the very top priorities of President Trump’s administration,’ the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement released at the time. Yet the treatment for Covid-19 received by Mr. Trump — a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies he described as a ‘cure’ in a celebratory video posted on Twitter — was developed using human cells derived from a fetus aborted decades ago. Remdesivir, an antiviral drug that the president received late last week, was also developed with those cell lines. At least two companies racing to create a vaccine against the coronavirus, Moderna and AstraZeneca, are also relying on the cells. Johnson & Johnson is testing its vaccine in another so-called cell line originally produced from fetal tissue. As participants in the White House’s Operation Warp Speed, all three vaccine-makers have received federal funding. M.I.T. Technology Review first reported that cells originally derived from an aborted fetus were used to develop Regeneron’s antibody cocktail.”

How Much Would Trump’s Coronavirus Treatment Cost Most Americans? The New York Times, Sarah Kliff, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “President Trump spent three days in the hospital. He arrived and left by helicopter. And he received multiple coronavirus tests, oxygen, steroids and an experimental antibody treatment. For someone who isn’t president, that would cost more than $100,000 in the American health system. Patients could face significant surprise bills and medical debt even after health insurance paid its share…. Across the country, patients have struggled with both the long-term health and financial effects of contracting coronavirus. Nearly half a million have been hospitalized. Routine tests can result in thousands of dollars in uncovered charges; hospitalized patients have received bills upward of $400,000. Mr. Trump did not have to worry about the costs of his care, which are covered by the federal government. Most Americans, including many who carry health coverage, do worry about receiving medical care they cannot afford.”

On 2 October the White House Quietly Told a Veterans Group It Might Have Exposed Them to COVID, The Daily Beast, Spencer Ackerman, Asawin Suebsaeng, Erin Banco, and Sam Stein, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “On the same day President Donald Trump acknowledged contracting the coronavirus, the White House quietly informed a veterans group that there was a COVID-19 risk stemming from a Sept. 27 event honoring the families of fallen U.S. service members, the head of that charitable organization told The Daily Beast. The White House warning, which came on Oct. 2, is the earliest known outreach to visitors of the complex that there was a risk of coronavirus emerging from the grounds where the president, the first lady, and at least 17 of his aides, according to Politico, have now tested positive for the virus. The Sept. 27 event to honor Gold Star families came the day after the White House hosted a celebration for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett that appears to have been an early source of the White House outbreak, though West Wing officials have quietly disputed that linkage. It is unclear to the head of the veterans charity—the Greatest Generations Foundation—which participant’s potential positive coronavirus test sparked the warning.”

Prestigious medical journal, the New England Journal of Medicine, condemns the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and calls for the current leadership to be voted out of office for its failure, CNN Health, Jacqueline Howard, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “In an unprecedented move, the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday published an editorial written by its editors condemning the Trump administration for its response to the Covid-19 pandemic — and calling for the current leadership in the United States to be voted out of office. ‘We rarely publish editorials signed by all the editors,’ said Dr. Eric Rubin, editor-in-chief of the medical journal and an author of the new editorial. The editorial, which Rubin said was drafted in August, details how the United States leads the world in Covid-19 cases and deaths. So far, more than 7.5 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and more than 200,000 people have died of the disease. ‘This crisis has produced a test of leadership. With no good options to combat a novel pathogen, countries were forced to make hard choices about how to respond. Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy,’ the editorial says.” See also, Dying in a Leadership Vacuum, New England Journal of Medicine, The Editors, Wednesday, 7 October 2020. See also, Rebuking Trump, The New England Journal of Medicine calls for ousting the nation’s ‘dangerously incompetent’ leaders, The New York Times, Gina Kolata, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “Throughout its 208-year history, The New England Journal of Medicine has remained staunchly nonpartisan. The world’s most prestigious medical journal has never supported or condemned a political candidate. Until now. In an editorial published on Wednesday, the journal said the Trump administration had responded so poorly to the coronavirus pandemic that it had ‘taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.’ The journal did not explicitly endorse former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, but that was the only possible inference, other scientists noted. The N.E.J.M.’s editors join those of another influential journal, Scientific American, who last month endorsed Mr. Biden. The political leadership has failed Americans in many ways that contrast vividly with responses from leaders in other countries, the editorial said. In the United States, it said, there was too little testing for the virus, especially early on. There was too little protective equipment, and a lack of national leadership on important measures like mask wearing, social distancing, quarantine and isolation. There were attempts to politicize and undermine the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the journal noted. As a result, the United States has had tens of thousands of ‘excess’ deaths — those caused both directly and indirectly by the pandemic — as well as immense economic pain and an increase in social inequality as the virus hit disadvantaged communities hardest. The editorial castigated the Trump administration’s rejection of science. ‘Instead of relying on expertise, the administration has turned to uninformed “opinion leaders” and charlatans who obscure the truth and facilitate the promulgation of outright lies.'”

White House Security Official Contracted Covid-19 in September, Bloomberg, Jennifer Jacobs, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “A top White House security official, Crede Bailey, is gravely ill with Covid-19 and has been hospitalized since September, according to four people familiar with his condition. The White House has not publicly disclosed Bailey’s illness. He became sick before the Sept. 26 Rose Garden event President Donald Trump held to announce his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett that has been connected to more than a dozen cases of the disease. A White House spokesman declined to comment on Bailey. He is in charge of the White House security office, which handles credentialing for access to the White House and works closely with the U.S. Secret Service on security measures throughout the compound.” See also, The head of the White House security office is critically ill with Covid-19, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Helene Cooper, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “The person in charge of the White House security office contracted a severe case of the coronavirus last month and has been hospitalized ever since, according to an administration official with knowledge of the situation. The security office head, Crede Bailey, whose office handles a number of duties, including approving certain security clearances, coordinating with the Secret Service and handling credentials for people to be able to come onto the White House grounds, was taken to the hospital in late September, the administration official said. Bloomberg News previously reported on the situation. Mr. Bailey’s case is not seen as connected to an outbreak that officials believe stemmed from the Sept. 26 events at the White House honoring Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Still, the case, and another positive test involving the No. 2 official in the Marine Corps that was revealed on Wednesday, is an additional reminder of how pervasive the virus has become at the most famous, and protected, address in the country over the past several weeks.”

  • Mike Pence changed the subject nearly every time he was asked a tough question.

  • Kamala Harris faced a double standard on the debate stage.

  • Pence, like Trump last week, evades a question on a peaceful transfer of power if Biden wins.

  • An exchange about Breonna Taylor and George Floyd crystallizes the candidates’ opposing views on racial justice.

  • Pence accuses Harris of wanting to pack the Supreme Court. She says the next president should fill the vacancy.

  • A fly sat atop Mike Pence’s head for two minutes during the V.P. debate.

  • Pence claims not to know how Barrett would rule on abortion and misrepresents Harris’s position on Roe v. Wade.

  • ‘They are coming for you,’ Harris says of Trump-Pence attacks on the Affordable Care Act.

  • Karen Pence flouted the debate rules by not wearing a mask.

  • ‘I’m speaking’ becomes a viral moment for Harris, and a new catchphrase for merchandise.

  • Harris attacks Trump for lack of transparency, both on his health and his taxes.

  • Trump tries to make Pence’s night a little more about Trump.

  • Harris calls Trump’s virus response the ‘greatest failure of any presidential administration.’

Election 2020: Vice presidential debate: Highlights and fact-checks, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Anne Gearan, Matt Viser, Felicia Sonmez, and John Wagner, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “Vice President Pence and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) faced off in the only vice-presidential debate, moderated by USA Today’s Susan Page in front of a small audience of people wearing face masks. The first topic of the debate was the novel coronavirus and the U.S. response and death toll, coming less than a week after President Trump announced that he tested positive. The candidates also exchanged criticisms over the economy, jobs, taxes and foreign policy, as well as race and the justice system, with Pence sometimes returning to previous topics instead of answering the question in front of him.

Texas’s Supreme Court upholds extension of early voting but strikes down Houston’s plan to expand mail-in balloting, The New York Times, Dave Montgomery, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “The Texas Supreme Court intervened on two closely watched voting issues on Wednesday, blocking Houston election officials from sending out mail-in ballot applications to more than 2 million voters and upholding Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to extend the timetable for early voting because of the pandemic. The rulings by the all-Republican court delivered a split decision for political parties: Democrats had supported efforts to send out ballot applications, and Republicans had sought to quash the expansion of early voting. Governor Abbott, a Republican, had added six days to Texas early voting, which is now set to begin on Oct. 13. The chairman of the Republican Party of Texas and other conservatives challenged the governor’s order, arguing that he did not have the power to impose it. The court’s other decision overturned the Harris County clerk’s plans to send mail-in ballot applications to all 2.4 million registered voters in heavily Democratic Harris County, home to Houston. State officials said the move defied the state’s restrictive absentee voting law, which permits mail-in balloting only for voters 65 or older, those with disabilities, voters who plan to be out of their home county and eligible voters confined in jail. But the clerk, Chris Hollins, said he wanted all voters to have clear guidance on their options during the pandemic.”

Justice Department Eases Election Fraud Inquiry Constraints as Trump Promotes False Narrative of Widespread Voter Fraud, The New York Times, Michael S. Schmidt and Katie Benner, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “For decades, federal prosecutors have been told not to mount election fraud investigations in the final months before an election for fear they could depress voter turnout or erode confidence in the results. Now, the Justice Department has lifted that prohibition weeks before the presidential election. The move comes as President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr have promoted a false narrative that voter fraud is rampant, potentially undermining Americans’ faith in the election. A Justice Department lawyer in Washington said in a memo to prosecutors on Friday that they could investigate suspicions of election fraud before votes are tabulated. That reversed a decades-long policy that largely forbade aggressively conducting such inquiries during campaigns to keep their existence from becoming public and possibly ‘chilling legitimate voting and campaign activities’ or ‘interjecting the investigation itself as an issue’ for voters.”

Appeals court says Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance can enforce subpoena for Trump’s tax returns, The Washington Post, Shayna Jacobs, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that Manhattan’s district attorney can enforce his subpoena for President Trump’s tax returns, rejecting a bid by Trump’s lawyers to kill the request on grounds it’s a malicious political ploy and potentially setting up another high-stakes showdown at the Supreme Court. Though the district attorney has agreed not to enforce his subpoena immediately while Trump seeks a stay from the Supreme Court, Wednesday’s ruling marks another blow for the president, who has fought for more than a year to shield his financial records from investigators, and follows separate, jarring revelations about the enormity of his debt. The unanimous ruling was issued by a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which concluded, ‘We have considered all of the President’s remaining contentions on appeal and have found in them no basis for reversal.’ District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. is seeking eight years of the president’s tax returns and related documents as part of his investigation into alleged hush-money payments made ahead of the 2016 election to two women who said they had affairs with Trump years prior. Trump denies the claims. Investigators want to determine whether efforts were made to conceal the payments on tax documents by labeling them legal expenses.” See also, Subpoena for Trump tax returns heading back to Supreme Court after Trump dealt another setback, CNN Politics, Kara Scannell, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “The Manhattan district attorney can obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns a federal appeals court ruled, dealing the president another setback in his effort to shield his tax returns from prosecutors but the case is heading to the Supreme Court in a further delay of the investigation. In a 35-page opinion, the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals broadly rejected the President’s arguments that the state grand jury subpoena to his long-time accounting firm for his financial and tax records was overly broad and issued in bad faith. ‘There is nothing to suggest that these are anything but run-of-the-mill documents typically relevant to a grand jury investigation into possible financial or corporate misconduct,’ the judges ruled. ‘We have considered all of the President’s remaining contentions on appeal and have found in them no basis for reversal,’ the ruling said. The panel of three judges dismissed the president’s lawsuit with prejudice, which means he cannot revive it on these grounds.” See also, Judge Rules Manhattan District Attorney Can Obtain Trump’s Tax Returns. The dispute will now probably head to the Supreme Court for a second time. The New York Times, Benjamin Weiser and William K. Rashbaum, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “The Manhattan district attorney can enforce a subpoena seeking President Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, a federal appeals panel ruled on Wednesday, dealing yet another blow to the president’s yearlong battle to keep his financial records out of the hands of state prosecutors. The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel in New York rejected the president’s arguments that the subpoena should be blocked because it was too broad and amounted to political harassment from the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Democrat. ‘Grand juries must necessarily paint with a broad brush,’ the judges wrote. They concluded that the president did not show that Mr. Vance had been driven by politics. ‘None of the president’s allegations, taken together or separately, are sufficient to raise a plausible inference that the subpoena was issued out of malice or an intent to harass,’ they wrote. Mr. Trump is expected to try to appeal the decision in the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Vance has said that his office will not enforce the subpoena for 12 days in exchange for the president’s lawyers’ agreeing to move quickly.”

An appeals court has rejected another attempt by the Trump administration to end the census early, The New York Times, Michael Wines, Wednesday, 7 October 2020: “A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a lower-court ruling that barred the Trump administration from ending the head-counting part of the 2020 census a month early, handing a victory to state and local governments that said more time was needed for an accurate count. But a second part of the court’s ruling could render much of that victory toothless — and add a huge dose of uncertainty to the use of this year’s census figures to reapportion the House of Representatives next year. A unanimous three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said that the Commerce Department had to scrap an order that would have ended the head count on Sept. 30, and that the tally should continue until Oct. 31, the previous end date. But at the same time, it said the lower court erred when it told the department to ignore a Dec. 31 deadline for delivering population totals to the White House, and to instead hew to the previous deadline of April 2021.”


Thursday, 8 October 2020, Day 1,357:


Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 8 October 2020: As New York City’s Covid-19 Lockdown Nears, Confusion and Anger Reign, The New York Times, Thursday, 8 October 2020:

  • New York City rushes to enact a new targeted lockdown, sowing chaos.

  • McConnell says he has avoided the White House for months because of the lack of virus precautions.

  • The treatment that Trump touted as a ‘cure’ for Covid-19 was developed using cells derived from fetal tissue.

  • China says it will join a global effort to distribute a vaccine.

  • ‘Silence becomes complicity’: former C.D.C. chief calls on Redfield to stand up to Trump.

  • Trump releases video message to seniors, ‘my favorite people in the world.’

  • As virus cases spike in rural India, the country may soon outpace the U.S.

  • El Paso officials report a single-day record of new cases, and caution against ‘virus fatigue.’

  • The French Open will probably finish, but not in normal fashion.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, 8 October 2020: Trump could return to public engagements by Saturday, doctor says, as campaign pushes on debate, The Washington Post, Marisa Iati, Paulina Villegas, Siobhán O’Grady, Kim Bellware, Hannah Denham, Darren Sands, Colby Itkowitz, and Lena H. Sun, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “White House physician Sean Conley predicted that the president will be able to resume ‘public engagements’ by Saturday, the 10th day since Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis was announced. The announcement came as Trump’s campaign called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to reverse its decision to hold the next contest between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden virtually, claiming there is no public health threat to doing it in person. A week after a cluster of coronavirus cases emerged following a White House event, the Trump administration is working on a limited basis with the federal government’s elite cadre of   detectives to control further spread.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article:

Trump Suggests Gold Star Military Families May Be to Blame for His Coronavirus Infection. The president, who is counting on support from military members and their families, suggested for the second time in a week that they might have spread the coronavirus at the White House. The New York Times, Jennifer Steinhauer, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “Even as he scrambles to shore up support from his base, President Trump on Thursday again suggested that veterans and their families had spread the coronavirus at the White House, floating the idea that a meeting with the loved ones of fallen military members might have been the source of his own infection. In an interview on Fox Business, Mr. Trump described an event at the White House on Sept. 27 with a group of Gold Star families — those whose relatives have died in military conflicts — and said he had ‘figured there would be a chance’ he would become infected there, because the family members ‘come within an inch of my face sometimes. They want to hug me and they want to kiss me,’ he added. ‘And they do.'” See also, Trump appears to blame Gold Star families for his coronavirus infection, CNN Politics, Betsy Klein, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “Trump appeared to place blame on Gold Star families for infecting him with Covid-19, Thursday, going a step further than previous comments speculating where he contracted the virus. The White House held an event honoring Gold Star families indoors, in the East Room, with no social distancing and few masks on the evening of Sunday, September 27. That gathering came one day after a Supreme Court event in the Rose Garden, where multiple attendees have subsequently tested positive. And it came after months of blatant disregard for basic public health guidance inside the White House, ultimately putting West Wing and residence staff and the President himself in direct risk of catching the virus…. Timothy Davis, the president and CEO of the Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation, said in a statement that all Gold Star Family attendees were tested by the White House ahead of the event, and, like the Supreme Court event, all tested negative for coronavirus. The rapid antigen tests administered by the White House are known to deliver a high rate of false negatives. ‘Considering it has been 12-days since the event, All Gold Star family are all doing well and exhibit no symptoms of Covid-19,’ Davis said in the statement, adding that the group is providing a ‘daily update’ to the White House Office of Public Liaison. Though the White House has claimed all contact tracing is complete, New York Times White House correspondent and CNN contributor Michael Shear, who tested positive for the virus following direct interaction with White House officials, told CNN late Tuesday that there’s been no outreach by the White House to do contact tracing or to follow up on his condition. And at least one other White House official told CNN that they’ve also alerted officials that they have had direct contact with positive White House personnel, and received no guidance on how to proceed. That Trump would place blame on Gold Star families says much about his general attitude toward the solemn club of military families who have lost a son, daughter, brother, sister, husband, wife, father or mother. During the 2016 election, Trump went after Khizr Khan, whose son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, died in Iraq in 2004, after Khan spoke out against Trump at the Democratic National Convention.”

Senator Mitch McConnell says he has avoided the White House for months because of Covid concerns, NBC News, Dareh Gregorian, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he hasn’t gone to the White House since August because their approach to safety during the coronavirus pandemic ‘is different than mine.’ Speaking at an event in Erlanger, Kentucky, McConnell, the most powerful Republican in Congress, suggested he didn’t think the Trump administration had been doing enough to keep the White House safe from Covid-19. ‘I haven’t actually been to the White House since August the 6th, because my impression was their approach to how to handle this is different from mine and what I insisted that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing,’ McConnell said.”

Under Vice President Mike Pence, Politics Regularly Seeped Into the Coronavirus Task Force. In taking a leading role in managing the White House’s response to the pandemic, the vice president and his team had an agenda that extended beyond public health. The New York Times, Mark Mazzetti, Noah Weiland, and Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “Aboard Air Force Two en route to the Mayo Clinic on April 28, White House aides walked down the aisle distributing masks to members of Vice President Mike Pence’s entourage, a requirement for everyone entering the renowned hospital in Minnesota as the coronavirus spread. But Marc Short, the vice president’s powerful chief of staff, said Mr. Pence, the leader of the White House’s coronavirus task force, would not be wearing one. Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, tried to intervene, saying it would be a bad message to the public if the vice president were to flout hospital rules. But according to a person who witnessed the discussion and a senior administration official familiar with the episode, Mr. Short responded that photographs of Mr. Pence in a mask could be used by Democrats as campaign ammunition against President Trump, who had consistently refused to wear one as he downplayed the severity of the crisis. Mr. Pence’s decision to walk the halls of the Mayo Clinic without a mask turned into a public relations mess — the hospital said on Twitter during the visit that the vice president’s staff had been informed about the mask policy — and Mr. Pence would later say his choice was wrong. But it was only one example of how, over nearly eight months since the vice president was given a leading role in managing the nation’s pandemic response, political considerations seeped into decisions by Mr. Pence and his staff about how to combat a disease that has now killed more than 210,000 Americans.”

  • Trump’s doctor says he’s completed his Covid-19 treatments and can return to ‘public engagements’ on Saturday.

  • President Trump, on Sean Hannity’s show, projects optimism about resuming rallies this weekend.

  • A wild day of sparring, as the Trump and Biden campaigns battle over the next debates.

  • Trump and Biden spar over a foiled plot to abduct Michigan’s governor.

  • In an erratic television interview, Trump calls for prosecuting his political enemies.

  • With Trump ill, Democrats will propose a commission to determine whether a president should be removed.

  • Trump calls Harris a ‘monster.’ Biden says the president has difficulty with ‘strong women.’

  • Biden continues to dismiss question on whether he would pack the Supreme Court.

  • Friends of Amy Dorris, who accused Trump of sexual assault, recall hearing her claims in 1997.

  • The Pence-Harris debate is second most-watched vice-presidential debate.

  • Arizona draws Biden, Harris and Pence, all with their eyes on the potential prize.

Election 2020: Campaigns spar over debate timing after Trump rejects virtual event, The Washington Post, Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner, Amy B Wang, and Chelsea Janes, Thursday, 8 October 2020: The campaigns of President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden traded recriminations and proposals Thursday over the timing of a second presidential debate after Trump rejected a decision by a nonpartisan panel to hold a town-hall-style event on Oct. 15 virtually instead of in person. Meanwhile, both campaigns are focusing on Western battleground states. Biden joined his running mate, Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), for events in Arizona. Vice President Pence touched down in the state after an appearance in Nevada. Trump was in D.C. as he continued to recover from the coronavirus, working from the Oval Office in the afternoon. Trump’s physician said he expected Trump to return to “public engagements” by Saturday.

Here are a few of the significant developments included in this article.

  • Vulnerable Republicans are beginning to distance themselves from Trump’s response to the coronavirus and his termination of negotiations with Democrats over federal economic relief.
  • Down in the polls and yearning for an October surprise, Trump lashed out at his loyal allies in a television interview.
  • Biden and Pence tested negative for the coronavirus Thursday, aides said.
  • The vice-presidential nominees clashed Wednesday over Trump’s leadership and Biden’s policy plans in a debate held under extraordinary circumstances.
  • Biden leads Trump by 11 percentage points nationally, 53 percent to 42 percent, according to an average of national polls since Sept. 16. Biden’s margin is smaller in key states: eight points in Pennsylvania, seven in Wisconsin and Michigan, and three in Arizona and Florida.

Trump’s rejection of virtual format puts future of debates in question, CNN Politics, Dan Merica, Kevin Bohn, and Chandelis Duster, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “Donald Trump’s decision to walk away from the next presidential debate because it was set to be held virtually has thrown the future of all debates between the President and Democratic nominee Joe Biden into question, putting even more focus on how Trump’s positive coronavirus diagnosis is altering his reelection bid. After the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the debate on October 15 would be held virtually due to coronavirus concerns, Trump told Fox Business that he was ‘not going to waste my time on a virtual debate.'” See also, Trump pulled out of the next presidential debate after organizers said it would be virtual because of coronavirus. Then his campaign demanded it go on as planned. The Washington Post, Chelsea Janes and Josh Dawsey, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “A miffed President Trump pulled out of next week’s second presidential debate on Thursday after organizers said it would be held virtually ‘to protect the health and safety of all involved’ given his coronavirus diagnosis — only to have his campaign demand hours later that the event go on as originally planned. The gyrating series of demands started with a decision by the nonpartisan debate organizing commission to try to protect the participants, moderator and guests who would have attended the Oct. 15 event. In response, Trump promptly announced he was ‘not going to waste my time in a virtual debate.'”

Facebook Takes Down Network Tied to Conservative Group, Citing Fake Accounts, The Wall Street Journal, Dustin Volz, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “Facebook said it removed a network of accounts with links to a U.S. conservative political youth group for posing as fake users to praise President Trump and criticize his Democratic rival, Joe Biden. The social-media giant’s move is among a number of steps it has taken in recent weeks to curb misinformation on the platform and one of its most high-profile actions against a domestic political operator. It reflects growing concern, with Americans already casting ballots in the coming election, about the potential reach of political disinformation that emanates from domestic sources, rather than foreign ones. The company said Thursday it had removed 200 Facebook accounts, 55 Facebook pages and 76 Instagram accounts that were run by Rally Forge, a U.S. marketing firm, for violating rules against ‘coordinated inauthentic behavior.’ Rally Forge, which Facebook said is now banned permanently, was working on behalf of two clients, including Turning Point USA, a Phoenix-based conservative youth organization. Turning Point USA was founded by Charlie Kirk, a prominent conservative activist and staunch Trump supporter who spoke at the Republican National Convention in August.” See also, Facebook bans marketing firm running ‘troll farm’ for pro-Trump youth group, The Washington Post, Isaac Stanley-Becker, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “Facebook said Thursday that it will permanently ban from its platform an Arizona-based marketing firm running what experts described as a domestic ‘troll farm’ following an investigation of the deceptive behavior prompted by a Washington Post article last month. The firm, Rally Forge, was ‘working on behalf’ of Turning Point Action, an affiliate of Turning Point USA, the prominent conservative youth organization based in Phoenix, Facebook concluded. The inquiry led to the removal of 200 accounts and 55 pages on Facebook, as well as 76 Instagram accounts — many of them operated by teenagers in the Phoenix area.”

Trump calls in to Fox Business for a rambling and ugly post-hospital interview, CNN Politics, Kevin Liptak, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “Dialing in for his first interview since being hospitalized, President Donald Trump went on an hour-long ramble that devolved into vicious and sexist attacks on the Democrats running against him, desperate claims against old enemies and dangerous boasts about his own apparent recovery from coronavirus…. [Trump] lobbed accusations against Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee, that edged into the realm of Joseph McCarthy. ‘She’s a communist. She’s not a socialist, she’s well beyond a socialist,’ he said, going on to make false, fear-mongering claims that Harris wants to ‘open up the borders to allow killers and murderers and rapists to pour into our country.’ He twice called Harris, the first woman of color on a major party ticket, a ‘monster.'” See also, Trump Calls Kamala Harris a ‘Monster,’ Reviving a Pattern of Attacking Women of Color, NPR, Juana Summers, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “President Trump referred to California Sen. Kamala Harris as ‘this monster’ in an interview on Thursday, a continuation of his pattern of attacking Black women with demeaning insults. The president has previously reserved the term ‘monster’ for terrorists, murders and major natural disasters. Trump’s verbal onslaught came the morning after Harris and Vice President Pence met for the vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City. It drew outsized attention as Trump continues to recover from COVID-19. In a telephone interview on Thursday morning on the Fox Business Channel, Trump referred to Harris as ‘this monster that was onstage with Mike Pence, who destroyed her last night, by the way. I thought that wasn’t even a contest last night. She was terrible. I don’t think you could get worse,’ he added. ‘And totally unlikeable. And she is.'” See also, Trump Lashes Out at His Cabinet With Calls to Indict His Political Rivals, The New York Times, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “President Trump berated his own cabinet officers on Thursday for not prosecuting or implicating his political enemies, lashing out even as he announced that he hoped to return to the campaign trail on Saturday just nine days after he tested positive for the coronavirus. In his first extended public comments since learning he had the virus last week, Mr. Trump went on the offensive not only against his challenger, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., but the Democratic running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, whom he called ‘a monster’ and a ‘communist.’ He balked at participating in his debate next Thursday with Mr. Biden if held remotely as the organizers decided to do out of health concerns…. [Trump] again dismissed the virus, saying, ‘when you catch it, you get better,’ ignoring the more than 212,000 people in the United States who did not get better and died from it…. [Trump] castigated his own team, declaring that Attorney General William P. Barr would go down in history ‘as a very sad, sad situation’ if he did not indict Democrats like Mr. Biden and former President Barack Obama. He complained that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had not released Hillary Clinton’s emails, saying, ‘I’m not happy about him for that reason.’ And he targeted Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director. ‘He’s been disappointing,’ Mr. Trump said. ‘Unless Bill Barr indicts these people for crimes, the greatest political crime in the history of our country, then we’re going to get little satisfaction unless I win and we’ll just have to go, because I won’t forget it,’ Mr. Trump said, referring to the investigation into his 2016 campaign ties with Russia.” See also, Kamala Harris and the ‘Double Bind’ of Racism and Sexism, The New York Times, Maggie Astor, published on Friday, 9 October 2020: “The morning after Senator Kamala Harris became the first woman of color to take a debate stage as a member of a major party’s ticket, President Trump disparaged her as ‘totally unlikable’ and a ‘communist.’ Then, twice, he called her ‘this monster.’ His dehumanizing language, extraordinary even by Mr. Trump’s own standards, was an unusually explicit example of the biased attitudes — about how women should behave, how people of color should behave, and especially how women of color should behave — that have pervaded commentary regarding Ms. Harris. There was the ‘condescending’ label, too, that undecided voters applied to Ms. Harris’s facial expressions as they assessed the debate in a focus group run by a Republican pollster, Frank Luntz. There was the member of the Trump campaign’s advisory board who called her an ‘insufferable lying bitch.'”

‘Staggeringly High’: U.S. Jobless Claims Remained Elevated Last Week. More than 800,000 Americans filed new applications for state unemployment benefits. The New York Times, Ben Casselman, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “Applications for jobless benefits remained high last week, even as the collapse of stimulus talks in Washington raised fears of a new wave of layoffs. Unemployment filings have fallen swiftly from their peak of more than six million last spring. But that progress has recently stalled at a level far higher than the worst weeks of past recessions. That pattern continued last week, the Labor Department said Thursday: More than 800,000 Americans filed new applications for state benefits, before adjusting for seasonal variations, roughly in line with where the total has been since early August.”

F.B.I. Says Michigan Anti-Government Group Plotted to Kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Authorities charged 13 men, some of whom were accused of plotting to storm the State Capitol building and planning to start a civil war. The New York Times, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Shaila Dewan, and Kathleen Gray, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “Storming the State Capitol. Instigating a civil war. Abducting a sitting governor ahead of the presidential election. Those were among the plots described by federal and state officials in Michigan on Thursday as they announced terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges against 13 men. At least six of them, officials said, had hatched a detailed plan to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat who has become a focal point of anti-government views and anger over coronavirus control measures. The group that planned the kidnapping met repeatedly over the summer for firearms training and combat drills and practiced building explosives, the F.B.I. said; members also gathered several times to discuss the mission, including in the basement of a shop that was accessible only through a ‘trap door’ under a rug. The men spied on Ms. Whitmer’s vacation home in August and September, even looking under a highway bridge for places they could place and detonate a bomb to distract the authorities, the F.B.I. said. They indicated that they wanted to take Ms. Whitmer hostage before the election in November, and one man said they should take her to a ‘secure location’ in Wisconsin for a ‘trial,’ Richard J. Trask II, an F.B.I. special agent, said in the criminal complaint.” See also, F.B.I. thwarts a plot to violently overthrow the government and to kidnap and harm Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, The Detroit News, Robert Snell and Melissa Nann Burke, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “Federal agents said Thursday they thwarted a plot to violently overthrow the government as well as kidnap and harm Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — a conspiracy that included visits to her home in northern Michigan and training with firearms and explosive devices. The alleged plot mainly involved six conspirators unhappy in part about Whitmer’s coronavirus restrictions, calling her a ‘tyrant.’ They wanted to create a ‘self-sufficient’ society free from what they called unconstitutional state governments and discussed plans to storm the Capitol and take hostages, according to FBI documents filed in court. Organizers allegedly met starting in June, including at a Second Amendment rally in Lansing and in a Grand Rapids shop basement accessed through a secret door hidden under a rug. The plot also included at least seven members of a Michigan militia known as the Wolverine Watchmen accused by state officials on Thursday of targeting police, making threats to ‘instigate civil war’ and helping to plan Whitmer’s kidnapping, according to state and federal officials.” See also, Several of the men charged with a conspiracy to kidnap Michigan’s governor Gretchen Whitmer have histories with the ‘boogaloo’ movement, according to their online profiles, NBC News, Ben Collins, Brandy Zadrozny, Tom Winter, and Corky Siemaszko, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “Several of the six men charged in federal court Thursday with a conspiracy to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have histories of anti-government organizing, as well as interest in countering what they saw as an ‘uprising’ against President Donald Trump, according to their online profiles and comments. In addition, several of the seven men facing separate state terrorism charges for their activity with a group called the Wolverine Watchmen also posted pro-Trump and anti-government content. The men have not yet appeared in court or entered pleas. A senior federal law enforcement official said federal agents found that the group of seven tied to the Wolverine Watchmen believes in the ‘boogaloo’ movement, which is largely dedicated to eradicating the government and killing law enforcement officers. Their social media profiles showed connections to a wide variety of known anti-government groups. Around the country, self-described members of the boogaloo movement have committed acts of violence and killed police officers in recent months, often in attempts to ignite what they believe will be a second civil war.”

The FBI Team Sent to ‘Exploit’ Protesters’ Phones in Portland, The New York Review of Books, Mattathias Schwartz, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “The FBI’s Washington, D.C., headquarters sent agents from its ‘Fly Team,’ an elite counterterrorism unit, to Portland this summer during the second weekend in July. Their task was to interview arrested protesters and carry out the ‘initial exploitation of phones, or other communication devices,’ according to FBI emails obtained through a public records request. It is unclear whether the Fly Team operation extended either past that weekend or beyond Portland, but the emails suggest that the FBI has been using counterterrorism tools and powers to map left-wing protest networks just months before an election whose result is likely to be delayed, if not challenged.”

Lawsuit Says Trump Appointee Michael Pack Is Turning Voice of America Into Partisan Outlet, The New York Times, Pranshu Verma, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “Five officials suspended from the government’s global media agency sued its chief executive and top aides on Thursday, claiming they broke the law in repeatedly seeking to turn a news service under its purview into a mouthpiece for pro-Trump propaganda. The 84-page lawsuit asserts that Michael Pack, the chief executive of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, or his aides have interrogated journalists at the Voice of America who have censured Mr. Pack or written articles top officials believed were critical of President Trump, instilling fear across the agency.”

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows hosted lavish Atlanta wedding in May despite coronavirus restrictions, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Patricia Murphy and Greg Bluestein, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “White House chief of staff Mark Meadows hosted a lavish wedding for his daughter in Atlanta this May, despite a statewide order and city of Atlanta guidelines that banned gatherings of more than 10 people to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The wedding took place May 31 at the Biltmore Ballrooms in Midtown Atlanta. The 70 or so guests, including U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, donned tuxedos and ball gowns for the indoor affair, but no masks, as Meadows walked his daughter, Haley, down the aisle through a path of soft white flower petals.”

Elliott Broidy, a Top Trump Fund-Raiser, Charged in Foreign Influence Case, The New York Times, Kenneth P. Vogel, Thursday, 8 October 2020: “Elliott Broidy already had a record when he became a major fund-raiser for the Trump campaign in 2016. Now he has become the latest Trump ally to face criminal charges, this time accused of evading foreign lobbying laws while trying to make money off his access to the administration. Mr. Broidy was charged with a single count of conspiring to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act as part of an influence operation that prosecutors say sought to use his political ties to help Malaysian and Chinese interests, according to federal court filings that became public on Thursday.”