• 😷 Dept. of We Have It Totally Under Control.

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~6,446,000; deaths: ~383,000; recoveries: ~2,771,000. (Johns Hopkins University)

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~1,848,000; deaths: ~107,000; recoveries: ~464,000

  • Hydroxychloroquine failed to prevent healthy people exposed to COVID-19 from getting the disease caused by the coronavirus in the first scientifically rigorous study of its potential. Trump has repeatedly promoted the antimalarial drug as a “game changer” and recently said he took it for several days. (Washington Post / Bloomberg)

  • 👑 Portrait of a president.

  • An oral history of 6:30 to 7:18 p.m. on June 1, 2020. Over the course of 48 minutes, Donald Trump put on a show that may have changed America, yet again. It involved an overture to the nation, a physical attack on Americans, and a Bible. It began suddenly, in the Rose Garden, with a statement about “law and order” and “dangerous thugs.” The president promised justice for the family of George Floyd, whose death in the custody of Minneapolis police last week triggered nationwide protests, looting and violence, and a roiling debate about who we are and what we hope to become. (Washington Post)

  • How Trump’s idea for a photo op led to havoc in a park. When the history of the Trump presidency is written, the clash with protesters that preceded Trump’s walk across Lafayette Square may be remembered as one of its defining moments. (New York Times)

  • 60 minutes of mayhem: How aggressive politics and policing turned a peaceful protest into a violent confrontation. (CNN)


1/ Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he doesn’t support sending active duty troops into cities to quell protests triggered by the murder of George Floyd, adding that the use of active duty military forces to perform law enforcement responsibilities within the U.S. is “a matter of last resort” and that the National Guard is better-suited for the job. “I don’t think they need to be used […] only in the most urgent and dire situations,” Esper said. “We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.” On Monday, Trump raised the possibility of invoking the 1807 law in a Rose Garden as federal officers used force to clear peaceful protesters from outside the White House. Esper’s statement comes two days after Trump threatened to send U.S. military forces to cities and states that don’t stop the protests. White House officials are reportedly unhappy with Esper’s comments and when asked whether Trump retains confidence in Esper, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said: “As of right now, Secretary Esper is still Secretary Esper, and should the president lose faith, we will all learn about that in the future.” (NBC News / Politico / CNBC / Axios / Bloomberg / ABC News / CNN / Washington Post)

  • Minnesota officials charged three more former police officers in the death of George Floyd, and upgraded charges against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck. (Star Tribune)

  • At least twice in the past week, senior Trump administration officials in the Defense Department directed service chiefs to keep quiet about the killing of George Floyd. (Washington Post)

  • The U.S. Air Force’s top enlistee said he’s “outraged” by the death of George Floyd, vowed to do more to fix the racial inequality among ranks and encouraged his fellow airmen to fight for justice and equality, and understanding. (CNN)

  • U.S. Air Force commander called George Floyd’s death “a national tragedy” and voiced support for the service’s top enlistee, Chief Master Sgt. Kaleth Wright (CNN)

  • The FBI found “no intelligence indicating antifa involvement/presence” in the violence in D.C. during the George Floyd protests on May 31. The internal FBI situation report was circulated on the same day Trump announced on Twitter that his administration would designate the group of anti-fascist activists as a terrorist organization, even though the U.S. government does not have the authority to apply that designation to a domestic group. Attorney General William Barr also blamed “Antifa and other similar groups” for the violence and declared that “the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly,” despite the assessment to the contrary from his own agents. (The Nation)

2/ Esper claimed he had “no idea” what Trump was planning when he led administration officials from the White House to St. John’s Episcopal Church. “I thought I was going to do two things: to see some damage and to talk to the troops,” Esper said. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley, was also surprised when Trump led the group to the church for a photo op while holding a Bible. “Their understanding is they were going into Lafayette Park to review the efforts of the troops,” said one defense official. Esper said he was unaware of Trump’s plan to forcefully clear out the crowd of peaceful protesters in the park moments before the group walked through it. (NBC News / Axios)

  • 📌 Day 1230: As he spoke from the Rose Garden, police cleared peaceful protesters outside the White House with tear gas and flash grenades so Trump could pose by a church for photographs to dispel the notion that he was “weak” for hiding in a bunker over the weekend. Following his remarks in the Rose Garden, Trump left the White House and walked through Lafayette Square, where riot police and military police had cleared protesters moments before. Once Trump reached the far side of the square, he raised a bible in front of the church for a photo. Trump’s decision to speak to the nation from the Rose Garden and to then visit the church came together because he was reportedly upset about the news coverage of him retreating to the White House bunker amid the protests. Just before Trump spoke, Attorney General William Barr personally ordered law enforcement officials to clear protesters from Lafayette Square. (New York Times / CNN / ABC News / Vox / Washington Post / YouTube / Religious News Service)

3/ Trump’s reelection campaign demanded that news organizations issue a correction that the U.S. Park Police had used tear gas to disperse demonstrators outside the White House so that Trump could cross the street to pose for photos at a church. The U.S. Park Police released a statement saying they used “pepper balls” and “smoke canisters,” but asserted that “no tear gas was used” in the Lafayette Square incident. According to the CDC, however, “Riot control agents (sometimes referred to as “tear gas”) are chemical compounds that temporarily make people unable to function by causing irritation to the eyes, mouth, throat, lungs, and skin.” And, “several different compounds” fall under this definition, which are all typically referred to as “tear gas” because their most prominent effect is to bring on tears. (Washington Post / Vox)

  • Mitch McConnell blocked a resolution in the Senate condemning the use of tear gas and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters in order to allow Trump to walk over to St. John’s Church. The resolution was introduced by Chuck Schumer and affirmed that the First Amendment rights of Americans “must be respected,” and that “violence and looting are unlawful, unacceptable and contrary to the purpose of peaceful protests.” McConnell said the resolution doesn’t deal with the issues Americans want addressed, and instead “indulges in the myopic obsession with President Trump that has come to define the Democratic side of the aisle.” McConnell then proposed his own resolution condemning racial injustice and rioting, which Schumer blocked. (Axios)

  • Police Target Journalists as Trump Blames ‘Lamestream Media’ for Protests. “I’ve really never seen anything like this”: Reporters and news photographers describe being roughed up, arrested and shot with projectiles while covering demonstrations across the country. (New York Times)

4/ Trump denied, then admitted, that he retreated to an underground bunker beneath the White House amid protests outside the executive mansion. Trump claimed that he went to the bunker for an “inspection” – not his own safety – because the Secret Service “said it would be a good time to go down, take a look, because maybe some time you’re going to need it.” Trump added: “I was there for a tiny, short little period of time.” According to arrest records and people familiar with the incident, Trump was rushed to the secure bunker by Secret Service after a group of protesters hopped over a temporary barricade set up near the Treasury Department. Trump also said he’s previously visited the bunker “two and a half times.” (CNN / Politico / The Guardian / New York Times / Washington Post)

  • 📌 Day 1229: On Friday, Trump took shelter inside an underground bunker for nearly an hour as protests continued outside the White House and across Washington, D.C. Trump was abruptly taken by Secret Service agents inside the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, an underground bunker that is used to shelter presidents during threatening situations, like terrorist attacks. Trump and his family have reportedly been “shaken” by the experience and the size of the protests. (Associated Press / New York Times / CBS News)

poll/ 64% of Americans say they are “sympathetic to people who are out protesting right now.” 27% said they weren’t sympathetic, and 9% were unsure. More than 55% of Americans said they disapproved of Trump’s handling of the protests, including 40% who “strongly” disapproved, while one-third said they approved - lower than his overall job approval of 39%. (Reuters)


Notables.

  1. Trump and the Republican National Committee will no longer hold their August convention in Charlotte, N.C. Trump accused Gov. Roy Cooper of forcing the RNC to “seek another State to host the 2020 Republican National Convention” after Cooper rejected the GOP’s request to hold a full-scale convention without proper health protocols in place. (Politico)

  2. Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defended his decision to appoint special counsel Robert Mueller after Trump fired FBI director James Comey. Rosenstein is testifying before the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee, which is investigating the origins of the Russia investigation amid allegations of misconduct by law enforcement. He defended and explained his decision to appoint Mueller in 2017, and blamed high-level FBI leadership for the “significant errors” that appeared in applications to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser — even though he signed off on one of them. (Axios / Politico / NBC News / ABC News)

  3. The Trump administration threatened to block flights by Chinese airlines from flying to and from the U.S. starting June 16. The Transportation Department said China hasn’t approved requests by U.S. airlines to resume flights after they were suspended amid the pandemic, accusing China of violating an agreement that governs air travel between the two countries. (Wall Street Journal)

  4. The White House released the results of Trump’s annual physical, which says the “president remains healthy.” Trump made an unannounced visit to Walter Reed in November to “begin portions of his routine annual physical exam” that included a “quick exam and labs.” Medical staff at Walter Reed did not get a staff-wide notice about a presidential visit. (ABC News / CNN)

  5. Trump tried to register to vote in Florida using his out-of-state address. Trump’s September 2019 registration application listed his legal residence as 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, the location of the White House. Florida law, however, requires voters to be legal residents of the state. A month later, Trump resubmitted his application to use a Florida address and in March he voted by mail in Florida’s Republican primary. (Washington Post)


Become a member.

Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.
Learn more