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

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Donald Trump attacked his predecessor and confirmed that he was risking American lives for Middle Eastern oil.

The president delivered a rambling speech Monday morning to the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago, where he basked in applause for the successful military raid that killed Islamic State leader Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria.

“They have been looking for him for a long time,” Trump said, as the police officers applauded. “They’ve been looking for him for many years. He was a sick and depraved man and now he is dead. He is dead, he is dead as a doornail.”

“And he didn’t die bravely, either, I will tell you that,” the president added. “He should have been killed years ago. Another president should have gotten him. But to me it was a very important — I would say all the time, they would walk into my office, sir, we called this leader at a low level. I said I never heard of him. I want al-Baghdadi. That’s the only one I know now. I want al-Baghdadi, get him. And they got him.”

Trump then defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, but promised to leave enough forces behind to secure the oil in the region.

“We met some great generals,” he said. “I learned a lot about generals. I met some good ones and I saw some bad ones. Some that didn’t have what it takes, and others that had more than anyone would have thought.”

The president claimed that ISIS had been 100 percent destroyed under his leadership.

“It was supposed to take a year, maybe two years,” Trump said. “I said to one of them how long will it take? ‘I think we can do it in one week, sir.’ He was a little more like you. But we have now tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners under tight supervision, and now we want the countries in the region to police their own borders. We don’t want to be a policeman in this case of two countries that haven’t gotten along for centuries.”

“We’re keeping the oil,” he added. “Remember that, I’ve always said that — keep the oil. We want to keep the oil, $45 million a month, keep the oil. We’ve secured the oil.”

Poll: Most Parents Oppose Rapid School Reopening

Numerous local school systems around the country are plowing ahead with plans to resume in-person instruction despite growing evidence that children are just as capable of spreading the coronavirus as adults.

Classes were set to begin on Monday in Baker County, Florida. Masks for students will be optional, not required. "It looks like it's back to normal this morning, honestly," a local television reporter observed as parents dropped their kids off in the morning. Many students wore no face coverings.

The Trump administration and the GOP have pushed for full reopening of schools for months."Schools in our country should be opened ASAP," Donald Trump tweeted in May. "Much very good information now available."

"SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" he reiterated on July 6.

"The science and data is clear: children can be safe in schools this fall, and they must be in school this fall," demanded Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Aug. 1.

"I believe our schools can, and should rise to the occasion of re-opening for in-person education this fall," agreed Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) two days later.

"The CDC and Academy of Pediatrics agree: We can safely get students back in classrooms," tweeted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) last Tuesday.

But while Scalise, Mike Pence, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have all cited the American Academy of Pediatrics in their arguments for reopening, a new study by the group and the Children's Hospital Association raises red flags about how safe that will be.

Their report found 338,982 reported coronavirus cases in children as of July 30 in the United States. Between July 16 and July 30, the nation saw a 40% increase — 97,078 new infected children.

Last week, a high school student in an Atlanta suburb posted a photo online showing few students wearing masks in a crowded school hallway. Since that time, at least six students and three adult employees in the school have reportedly contracted the coronavirus, and the school temporarily has switched to online classes.

Another Georgia school district has already seen at least 13 students and staff members test positive since reopening a week ago.

A recent study in South Korea found that children aged ten and older spread the coronavirus at the same rates adults do. A separate study in Chicago suggested young kids might also be effective spreaders.

These contradict the false claims made by Trump and his administration that kids have an "amazing" near immunity to COVID-19.

"If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease, so few. They've got stronger, hard to believe, and I don't know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this," Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

"You got to open the schools. They have a stronger immune system even than you have or I have," he told Barstool Sports on July 23. "It's amazing. You look at the percentage, it's a tiny percentage of one percent. And in that one case, I mean, I looked at a couple of cases. If you have diabetes, if you have, you know, problems with something, but the kids are in great shape." Children have made up nearly nine percent of all cases, even with schools mostly closed.

And DeVos incorrectly said in a July 16 interview, "More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don't get it and transmit it themselves."

In early July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for how schools could operate more safely during the pandemic.

Trump publicly ridiculed the guidelines, dismissing them as "very tough & expensive" and "very impractical."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.