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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}


Maine, where Republican Sen. Susan Collins is struggling to win reelection, is one of the states President Donald Trump will face a tough political battle in 2020 -- and the president promoted himself in Maine on June 5 when he visited a facility that manufactures medical swabs used for coronavirus testing. Trump has claimed that he is increasing the amount of testing for COVID-19 in the U.S., but according to USA Today reporters John Fritze and Michael Collins, that company is now throwing out an abundance of testing swabs.

Fritze and Collins report, "The swabs manufactured in the background during his visit will ultimately be thrown in the trash…. Puritan Medical Products said it will have to discard the swabs…. It is not clear why the swabs will be scrapped, or how many.

When Trump visited Puritan's facility on June 5, Virginia Templet (Puritan's marketing manager), told USA Today, "The running of the factory machines is very limited today and will only occur when the president is touring the facility floor. Swabs produced during that time will be discarded."

In March and April, Trump was widely criticized for insufficient coronavirus testing in the United States — and a shortage of swabs was a big part of the problem. The Trump Administration used the Defense Production Act to increase the production of testing swabs, and Puritan has received millions of dollars to increase production. But medical experts have stressed that even so, the U.S. is still way behind where it needs to be in terms of testing.

Puritan, Fritze and Collins note, is only one of two companies in the U.S. that manufactures the type of swabs need for coronavirus testing.

The coronavirus pandemic, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has killed more than 116,900 people in the U.S. (as of early Monday morning, June 8) and over 409,800 people worldwide. Medical experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have warned that a new wave or coronavirus infections could strike in the fall.

The coronavirus pandemic, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has killed more than 116,900 people in the U.S. (as of early Monday morning, June 8) and over 409,800 people worldwide. Medical experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have warned that a new wave or coronavirus infections could strike in the fall.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) declared on Sunday morning that she will oppose any Republican attempt to move ahead with a Supreme Court nomination to fill the seat left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.

"For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election," said Murkowski in a statement released by her office. "Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed."

The Alaska Republican joined Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in opposing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's announced determination to replace Ginsburg with a Trump appointee. If McConnell loses two more Republican votes, he will be unable to move a nomination before Election Day.