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Press Secretary Compares Trump Photo Op To Churchill During London Blitz

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany compared Donald Trump's photo-op with a Bible to the actions of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II.

McEnany specifically compared Trump's three-minute appearance outside a church, after protesters were tear-gassed to clear the site for him, to Churchill inspecting sites of bomb damage during the London Blitz that killed tens of thousands of civilians.

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Kellyanne Says Church Photo Op Wasn’t A Photo Op

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway insisted Tuesday that Donald Trump's photo-op in front of St. John's Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square the day before was not actually a photo-op.

On Monday, military police fired tear gas into a crowd of peaceful protesters, including clergy members, to clear a path for Trump to walk from the White House to the nearby church.

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Trump Promoted Faulty Abbott Virus Test At Least Six Times

A report released Wednesday revealed that a COVID-19 test from Abbott Laboratories that Donald Trump has frequently touted has a high failure rate.

The Bloomberg report, which cites a new study out of New York University, states that the research, "which has yet to be confirmed, found that Abbott's ID NOW missed at least one-third of positive cases detected with a rival test and much as 48% when using the currently recommended dry nasal swabs."

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White House Won’t List Recipients Of ’Small Business’ PPP Loans

The New York Times reported that hundreds of businesses trading on the financial markets received billions in loans from the government as part of COVID-19 relief, despite the program being targeted to small business.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked about the problem in an interview with Fox News on Monday.

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Video: Gov. Cuomo Smacks Back At Trump Criticism

On Friday, Donald Trump attacked New York's Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo while Cuomo was giving his daily briefing.

"Governor Cuomo should spend more time 'doing' and less time 'complaining'. Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking!" Trump tweeted.

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Violating His Own Social Distancing Guidelines, Trump Hosts Photo-Ops

Donald Trump on Thursday violated the guidelines his own administration put forward about avoiding close contact with others and eschewing in-person social gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic — to hold a photo-op honoring truck drivers.

The event was intended to celebrate "America's truckers who are answering the call to action to transport supplies across the country," according to a description from the White House.

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GOP Politician: If We Don’t Blame China For Virus, Voters ‘Will Blame Trump’

Recent polling has shown that a majority of Americans disapprove of Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus outbreak. ABC News recently found that 55 percent disapprove of Trump's response, an increase of 12 percentage points since the middle of March.

At the same time, Trump has blamed China for his administration's slow response to the outbreak. He repeatedly referred to it as the "Chinese" virus and released a racist campaign ad with a similar message. He repeatedly refers to it incorrectly as the "Chinese virus" even as experts have warned against it. The World Health Organization says that naming viruses after a geographic location is wrong, as it causes unfair stigmatization of people who have nothing to do with the outbreak and its spread.

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Sen. Graham Wants Senate To Absolve Trump Of Pandemic Failure

Republicans are deflecting criticism from Trump's failure to respond to the coronavirus and focusing blame on China.

From the April 9 edition of Fox News' "Hannity":

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): So the first thing I want to do is get the United States Senate on the record where we — we don't blame Trump, we blame China — the Chinese government's responsible for 16,000 American deaths and 17 million Americans being unemployed. It's the Chinese government and the way they behave that led to this pandemic. This is the third one to come out of China.
I want to make our response to this so overwhelming that China will change its behavior. I want to get the medical supply chain back into the United States, and I want to stop [sic] canceling some debt that we owe to China because they should be paying us, not us paying China. So, I think you're going to see a bipartisan push back against China to punish them so severely to deter them in the future.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

WHO Chief Warns That Politicizing Virus Means ‘Many More Body Bags’

A day after Donald Trump attacked the World Health Organization, the international organization's director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that politicizing the viral outbreak could lead to "many more body bags."

On Tuesday, as part of a campaign to find a scapegoat for his administration's failed response to the coronavirus outbreak, Trump alleged that WHO, the specialized health agency of the United Nations that has been leading the global response to the coronavirus epidemic, appeared "to be very China-centric."

Trump said he wants to "look into" the organization, saying it purportedly "called it wrong." Trump also floated the idea of freezing U.S. funding for the international health organization.

From an April 8 press briefing:

TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, director-general, World Health Organization: At the end of the day, the people belong to all political parties. The focus of all political parties should be to save their people.
Please don't politicize this virus. It exploits the differences you have at the national level. If you want to be exploited and if you want to have many more body bags, then you do it. If you don't want many more body bags, then you refrain from politicizing it.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Ending Campaign, Sanders Pledges To ‘Stand United’ With Biden

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced on Wednesday he was suspending his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

From an April 8 campaign video:

BERNIE SANDERS: Today, I congratulate Joe Biden, a very decent man, who I will work with to move our progressive ideas forward.
On a practical note, let me also say this: I will stay on the ballot in all remaining states and continue to gather delegates. While Vice President Biden will be the nominee, we must continue working to assemble as many delegates as possible at the Democratic Convention, where we will be able to exert significant influence over the party platform and other functions.
Then together, standing united, we will go forward to defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in modern American history. And we will fight to elect strong progressives at every level of government, from Congress, to the school board.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Biden To Trump: ‘Act Like A Commander-in-Chief’

The administration announced on Thursday that Donald Trump would finally invoke the Defense Production Act to produce more ventilators amid the raging coronavirus outbreak, 15 days after he first said he would.

Biden addressed that decision later that afternoon, calling on Trump to do even more.

From an April 2 video press conference:

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We're in a situation where the president, as I was coming down to this makeshift studio I was told by a staff member that the president says he's going to fully implement the Defense Production Act now. And so, I said, "Great!" And a few minutes later I said, "What'd he say?" And I read the statement.
It's all about ventilators. Which is really important and should have been done four weeks ago. But he should employ that Defense Production Act for all the things needed: gloves, masks, face shields, gowns, etc.
That [should've been] done yesterday, last week, a month ago. Get it done now.
And for example, tests. We're in a situation where we have tests that are not being distributed, number one, because there's no one person, no commander in the White House or in the administration like a military commander determining distribution of what is available and we have to be using the Defense Production Act to get companies who have the capacity to gather all the materials needed for the test, assemble them and move now.
Use your full authority. This is a war. Act like a commander-in-chief. Use it all.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Kellyanne Conway Mocks Biden For Observing Social Distance Guidelines ‘In Bunker’

In response to Vice President Joe Biden's criticism of the Trump administration's slow response to the coronavirus, White House aide Kellyanne Conway told Fox News' Fox & Friends on Wednesday morning that Biden was "in his bunker in Wilmington." She then quickly asserted, "We're not talking about politics here at the White House."

Conway elaborated on her statement later in the day.

From April 1 at the White House:

REPORTER: Kellyanne, you just said that "Why doesn't Vice President Biden call the White House and offer his assistance?" But we heard from President Trump saying that if he thought he had something to learn from past administrations, he'd pick up the phone and have those conversations. So, does this administration want the support of previous leadership —
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Let's talk about President, Vice President Biden, because I was specifically asked about him and his criticism of President Trump and the efforts that we're working on 24/7 around the clock here.
And you're all covering the press conferences, the press briefings, you're talking to our health professionals, our Cabinet members, the president, the vice president, senior staff, as you need to. So I find it to be petty and a tinge of partisanship and completely unhelpful to the American population to have a former vice president who was here for eight years, in his bunker in Wilmington, just lobbing criticisms, reading from prepared notes — and not that well — when we are looking at this decidedly non-politically.
I really have no time to talk about Biden and Bernie when we're talking about ventilators and vaccines, that's our focus now. So, I've seen some of his interviews — if I can get through them — painful to watch, I try to read them instead. But I haven't learned a single thing in those interviews that would help one American that we're not helping. So if he can say that – he's got a big platform, he's got a lot of fans out there who can't get enough of Joe Biden in the bunker in Delaware – so if he would actually say something in response to question or offer an insight we could take that up.
REPORTER: But when you say he's in his bunker, are you suggesting that Vice President Biden should be disregarding federal guidelines and be out there —
CONWAY: No, and you know I'm not. So let's not be silly. Let's not be silly. Let's not be silly about it.
REPORTER: What are you implying —
CONWAY: I'm not implying anything, in fact I'm not implying a single thing. I wonder what you're implying. But I'm not implying a single thing other than, he's out there, daily now, I don't know who gave him that advice, he's out there daily — maybe it's some of those [unintelligible] consultants — and he's saying things that are critical and often inaccurate and false instead of trying to be helpful.
If he wishes to be helpful he could be helpful, and I have to tell you, I'm not implying it I'm stating it pretty clearly: The critics and naysayers, whoever they are, have never seemed so small and so shrill and so irrelevant as they do right now when we have dozens and dozens of companies helping. We have Democratic female leaders on these governor's calls, thanking the president and vice president and saying, "We've had great collaboration and coordination with your task force, with FEMA and with the government, and here's the specific ask that we need now, could you help us?"
We've had person after person coming through, we've had bipartisan, bicameral legislation come to the president's desk several times now that he has signed immediately to give relief to individuals and industries that are in specific distress, which is most of America, if not all of America, and so I think that critics have never seemed so irrelevant and so small.
And if you're a former vice president and you have some type of visibility, you have a great idea, let's hear it. Don't save it for the debates in September and October, if he makes it there, if he's the nominee, as I see he's the front-runner.
But I really have no time for Bernie and Biden when we're talking about ventilators and vaccines here. So I'm not implying anything, he can stay in the bunker all he wants, he can cough into, sneeze into his hands all he wants, he can read from prepared notes all he wants, I'm yet to hear a single idea from Vice President Biden that would be helpful to the American people that was different from what we're doing. If he's got one he can call the switchboard, I'll put him right through.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Cuomo Rebuffs Trump’s Political Baiting As ‘Anti-American’

On Monday, Donald Trump was asked by the hosts of Fox & Friends about possibly running in the presidential election against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is not a candidate.

“I wouldn’t mind running against Andrew. I’ve known Andrew for a long time. I wouldn’t mind that, but I’ll be honest, I think he’d be a better candidate than sleepy Joe,” he told the network, using his frequent epithet for former Vice President Joe Biden.

In his daily briefing on the coronavirus, Cuomo pushed back against the notion that he is focused on politics in his current efforts in governing New York.

From a March 30 press briefing:

ANDREW CUOMO: As far as the president’s comment about having a political contest with me, I am not engaging the president in politics. My only goal is to engage the president in partnership. This is no time for politics. And, you know, lead by example.

I’m not going to get into a political dispute with the president, I’m not going to rise to the bait of a political challenge. I’m not running for president, I was never running for president, I said from day one I wasn’t running for president, I’m not running for president now. I’m not playing politics. I just want partnership to deal with this.

And I said to the president quite clearly: Look, when you do good things for my state and you’re a good partner, I will be the first one to say you’re a good partner. And I have. I went to the ship Comfort today, I said, “Thank you, Mr. President.”

We opened up this Javits Center, I said thank you to the Army, they did a great job here, the Army Corps of Engineers. When you help my state, I’ll say thank you.

If I believe that New York is not being served – the federal legislation that they passed – I will say that too.

You know, sometimes it’s simple. Just tell the truth, right? And that’s where we are. Tell the truth. If you’re doing the right thing by New York, I’ll say it. If he’s doing the wrong thing by New York or the rest of the country, I’ll say it.

But I’m not going to engage in politics. Not because I’m unwilling to tangle but because I think it’s inappropriate and I think it’s counterproductive and I think it’s anti-American.

Forget the politics. Forget the politics, we have a national crisis. We are at war. There is no politics. There is no red and blue. It’s red, white, and blue. So let’s get over it and, again, lead by example.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

As Virus Toll Soars, Trump Says ‘A Lot Of Good Things Are Happening’

On Thursday, the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus went over 1,000 and the number of people who have tested positive reached 81,578.

On that same day, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that 3.28 million people filed for unemployment insurance — by far, the most who have ever done so in a single week in American history.

Despite those grim figures and the ongoing spread of the virus, coupled with the declining economic outlook, Donald Trump told reporters at his daily briefing that “a lot of good things are happening.”

Trump’s statement echoed the outlook from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who earlier in the day said the massive job losses were “not relevant.”

REPORTER: Do you think that the economic uncertainty has passed?

DONALD TRUMP: No, not yet. It hasn’t passed but it’s come a long way. I think they think we’re doing a really good job in terms of running this whole situation having to do with the virus.

I think they feel that — I think they feel the administration, myself and the administration, they’re doing a good job. We’re keeping — very important — the people informed. Because it was a great fear.

And, a lot of good things are happening. The mortality rate is at a — in my opinion — you have to speak to Deborah [Birx], Tony [Fauci], all of the others — but in my opinion it’s way, way down and that takes a lot of fear out. You know, it’s one thing to have it, it’s another thing to die.

You know, when I first got involved, I was being told numbers that were much, much higher than the number that seems to be. And remember that people that have it — many people have it — I just spoke to two people they had it, they never went to a doctor but they had it, absolutely had it but they never went to a doctor, they never went to anything — they didn’t report it.

You have thousands and hundreds of thousands of cases like that. So you have to add that to the caseload also. And the people that actually die, that percentage is a much lower percentage than I ever thought.

That’s one of the reasons I say, “Look, we’re going to beat this and we’re going to get back to work.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

McConnell Now Backs Same Stimulus He Opposed Under Obama

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday defended a potential trillion dollar stimulus amid the raging COVID-19 outbreak, stating that “these are not ordinary times.”

However, back in 2009, when he was minority leader, McConnell repeatedly voiced opposition to the Recovery Act, which was proposed by President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders to help Americans suffering from the Great Recession.

During a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday, a reporter asked McConnell how “Republicans became okay with spending perhaps a good trillion dollars” to boost the economy.

McConnell noted several other “great crises” like the 2008 financial crisis and the 2012 fiscal cliff and said, “When they occur, we are able to rise above our normal partisanship and many times our normal positions.”

“Because these are not ordinary times,” McConnell added. “This is not an ordinary situation and so it requires extraordinary measures.”

When the Recovery Act was proposed in 2009, the American economy was in the midst of the Great Recession. In January that year, the U.S. economy lost nearly 800,000 jobs, preceded by multiple months of hundreds of thousands of additional job losses.

Despite the dire situation, McConnell was one of 38 Republican who voted against the Recovery Act, which provided relief programs for those impacted the most by the recession and injected additional funds into various federal health, infrastructure, energy, and educations programs.

The measure eventually passed the Senate by a vote of 60-38 with all Democrats and only three Republicans in support. The bill passed 246-183 in the House without a single Republican vote.

At the time, McConnell attacked the legislation, in multiple statements on the Senate floor.

“Americans can’t afford a trillion dollar mistake, however well-meaning the intent,” he said on Feb. 6, 2009. Four days later, McConnell called the proposed spending “an enormous amount of money” and said taxpayers “want to know how we’re going to pay for all this.”

“I think Americans would like to know how the administration plans to pay for all these things in the context of all the normal annual spending,” McConnell said on Feb. 11, describing it as a “partisan bill that spends a trillion dollars” in a statement released the same day.

After the bill passed, the economy began to recover. Instead of losing jobs, the country began adding jobs in February of 2010 in a streak that has continued to the present day.

From that point on, and until the end of Obama’s tenure there were 15.8 million jobs added to the economy.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Trump Sending Tactical Units Into Cities To Round Up Immigrants

The Trump is administration is deploying tactical units into multiple sanctuary cities as part of an effort to assist U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in its campaign to detain migrants.

The units are being deployed “in order to enhance the integrity of the immigration system, protect public safety, and strengthen our national security,” Customs and Border Protection spokesman Lawrence Payne told the New York Times.

According to an email sent to CBP personnel, the deployment of the tactical teams will run from February through May.

The elite units, described by the Times as the “SWAT team of the border patrol,” will have gear such as stun grenades and have gone through training like that of the Special Forces. According to the outlet, “the officers typically conduct high-risk operations targeting individuals who are known to be violent, many of them with extensive criminal records.”

The planned deployment will affect cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit, and Newark, New Jersey.

ICE already operates in those cities and the deployment will add an increased degree of militarism to its immigration operations.

Donald Trump has often attacked and criticized sanctuary cities as part of his anti-immigrant rhetoric.

“The state of California passed an outrageous law declaring their whole state to be a sanctuary for criminal illegal immigrants — a very terrible sanctuary — with catastrophic results,” Trump said in his recent State of the Union address.

At a campaign rally in New Hampshire, Trump complained about “left-wing politicians” who “support sanctuary cities that release criminal aliens directly into the American community.”

Under Trump, immigrant communities have expressed fears about agencies like ICE coming into communities and separating families from each other. In some instances, ICE has even apprehended and detained American citizens, despite claims that they only target migrants.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump said that he would use a “deportation force” to remove 11 million immigrants from the United States.

“You’re going to have a deportation force, and you’re going to do it humanely,” he claimed at the time.

Multiple studies have shown that migrants are statistically far less likely to commit crimes than natural-born U.S. citizens.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Former FBI Deputy Director Blasts Trump’s ‘Political Prosecutions’

The Department of Justice decided on Friday against pursuing a criminal prosecution of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Donald Trump has repeatedly publicly attacked McCabe, accusing him of being part of a “coup” and engaging in “treason” because the FBI investigated the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the 2016 election. McCabe hit back on CNN’s Right Now with Brianna Keilar:

ANDREW MCCABE: We said from the very first day – the very first day that we were notified by the Department of Justice that news of what should have been a confidential investigation was leaked to the public — that if they followed the law and they followed the facts that I would have nothing to worry about.

But as the president’s interest in pursuing his perceived political enemies continued over the last two years, we were getting more and more concerned about where this would end up, because quite frankly we are seeing things happen every day in this country that many of us never ever thought we’d see here.

The pursuit of political enemies and the use of the criminal justice system and criminal investigations to exact some sort of revenge on those political enemies is not something that should be happening in the United States of America.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.