👋 Away Message: Hi there! Matt is currently out on parental leave. He'll return August 30th-ish. More details can be found here. In the meantime, Joe (the voice of the newscast/podcast) will be publishing an abridged version of WTF Just Happened Today? every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can expect 5-7 news items covering a slightly wider range of political news in about two sentences each. We'll return to our regularly scheduled WTFJHT programming when Matt returns in late August.
Send your thoughts, suggestions, or complaints to:
😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~8,283,000; deaths: ~447,000; recoveries: ~4,027,000. (Johns Hopkins University)
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~2,158,000; deaths: ~118,000; recoveries: ~584,000.
At least 10 states reported either new single-day highs or set a record for seven-day new case averages of the coronavirus. 21 states are seeing upward trends in newly reported cases from one week to the next, eight states are seeing steady numbers of newly reported cases, and 21 states are seeing a downward trend. (CNN / Washington Post)
Trump’s focus in meetings over the past several weeks has been on economic figures and developing a vaccine – not the increase in coronavirus cases. As one administration official close to the coronavirus task force said: “They just don’t want to deal with the reality of it. They’re in denial.” (CNN)
Pence incorrectly argued that the spike in coronavirus cases is a function of more testing, while dismissing the idea that there’s an emerging second wave of cases in the United States, saying the “panic is overblown.” In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Pence also argued that the effort to eliminate the disease before a vaccine is ready is not the goal anymore. Rather, the White House measures its success in “fewer than 750 [COVID-19 deaths) a day, a dramatic decline from 2,500 a day a few weeks ago.” [Editor’s note: Pence is correct: We aren’t seeing a second wave (yet); we’re still dealing with the first one.] (Washington Post / Politico)
Dr. Anthony Fauci: “People keep talking about a second wave. We’re still in a first wave.” The top infectious disease expert warned that the rise in coronavirus infections coupled with a relaxed approach to social distancing and mask wearing pose significant hurdles to state and federal efforts to contain the spread. (Wall Street Journal)
Chinese officials raised the country’s emergency warning to its second-highest level in response to a new outbreak of coronavirus in Beijing. More than 60% of the flights into the city have been canceled. Chinese officials described the situation in Beijing as “extremely grave” and said the new outbreak “has truly rung an alarm bell for us.” A party official said Beijing expects to have tested at least 700,000 people by the end of the day, roughly half of whom are workers at Beijing’s food markets, residents, and close contacts. (Associated Press)
Global greenhouse gas emissions are rebounding sharply as countries and states reopen. In early April, fossil fuel emissions worldwide were roughly 17% lower than they were in 2019. As countries ease their lockdowns, emissions habe ticked back up to 5% below the 2019 average. (New York Times)
1/ John Bolton claimed that Trump personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him win the 2020 presidential election, according to an excerpt of his book, “The Room Where It Happened.” Bolton alleges that Trump “stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome,” explicitly asking President Xi to increase purchases “to help with the crucial farm-state vote” and “ensure he’d win” the election. The former national security adviser also described several others incidents where Trump expressed willingness to halt criminal investigations “to, in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked,” and that “the pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn’t accept.” Bolton also writes that he reported his concerns to Attorney General William Barr. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
2/ Trump is considering suing his niece, Mary Trump, to prevent her from publishing her tell-all book about him. After being briefed about the contents of the book, Trump told people close to him that he has his lawyers looking into his options when it comes to legal retribution. It is unclear what kind of response Trump and his legal team will ultimately take, if any. (Daily Beast)
3/ Officials in Tulsa have asked the Trump campaign to cancel his campaign rally on Saturday, calling it “the perfect storm of potential over-the-top disease transmission. It’s a perfect storm that we can’t afford to have.” The 20,000-person indoor event will likely worsen the current spike in coronavirus infections, which its one-day high in new cases on Monday. Officials warn that it could become a “super spreader.” The White House, meanwhile, said supporters “assume a personal risk” when they attend Trump’s rallies. (New York Times / Politico)
- A Tulsa judge rejected a request from local residents and business owners to prevent Trump from holding his campaign rally due to fears that it would exacerbate the spread of coronavirus in Oklahoma. The lawsuit filed in the Tulsa County district court sought a temporary injunction against the company that manages the venue in order to “protect against a substantial, imminent, and deadly risk to the community” if the event was to go forward. Judge Rebecca Nightingale denied the request. Tulsa’s Republican mayor also said he would not use his emergency powers to prevent Trump from holding the rally, despite his own reservations about the event. (Washington Post)
poll/ 68% of voters say discrimination against black people in the United States is a serious problem, while 27% say it is not. 57% of voters have a favorable opinion of the Black Lives Matter movement, while 30% have an unfavorable one. (Quinnipiac)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.