👋 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: ~8,560,000; deaths: ~458,000; recoveries: ~4,205,000. (Johns Hopkins University)
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~2,210,000; deaths: ~119,000; recoveries: ~600,000.
1/ Trump threatened the “protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes” planning to gather at his Saturday rally in Tulsa that they “will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis.” Trump, who does not control local law enforcement, did not elaborate on what protesters might face, but promised that “It will be a much different scene!” Trump’s campaign and Tulsa officials expect more than 100,000 of his supporters to be in town for the rally. (Bloomberg / Politico / CNBC / The Hill / Axios / New York Times)
2/ The mayor of Tulsa declared a civil emergency, imposing – but later rescinding – a curfew surrounding the arena where Trump will hold his campaign rally. In his executive order establishing a curfew through the weekend, Mayor G.T. Bynum cited the unrest that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. Trump later tweeted that the curfew would not be in place after speaking with the city’s mayor. Separately, the Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected a legal effort to stop Trump’s rally over health concerns. Residents and businesses filed the lawsuit over concerns that Trump’s campaign rally could worsen the coronavirus outbreak in the city. They demanded that the arena adhere to the CDC social distancing guidelines or that the event be canceled or postponed. (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / USA Today)
3/ The Trump campaign hasn’t distributed a “health and safety” plan for preventing the spread of the coronavirus at Trump’s rally in Tulsa on Saturday. A spokesperson for the 19,000-seat BOK Center said the venue requested that the Trump campaign provide them with “a written plan detailing the steps the event will institute for health and safety, including those related to social distancing” so it can share the plan with local health officials. The campaign has not provided the plan, but did previously commit to supplying rally-goers with masks and hand sanitizer. The campaign, however, will not require attendees to wear masks or keep attendees six feet apart or require social distancing. Attendees, however, are required to sign a waiver absolving the campaign and venue of liability if they contract COVID-19.(Washington Post / Business Insider)
Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx both advised against Trump’s Tulsa rally. Trump and his campaign advisers, however, claim attendees “assume a personal risk” and “that is part of life.” (NBC News)
Pence has overstated the amount of coronavirus-related medical supplies distributed by a Trump administration through Project Airbridge. Pence claimed the program had delivered more than 143 million N95 masks, 598 million surgical and procedural masks, 20 million eye and face shields, 265 million gowns and coveralls and 14 billion gloves. According to FEMA, however, through June 18 the program had delivered 1.5 million N95 masks, 113.4 million surgical masks, 2.5 million face shields, 50.9 million gowns, 1.4 million coveralls and 937 million gloves – or about one-thirteenth—of the numbers cited by Pence. (Wall Street Journal)
4/ The White House insisted that COVID-19 is “absolutely … still a priority” for the administration. The White House coronavirus task force last held a public briefing on the virus on April 27 – 53 days ago. And, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that he hadn’t spoken to Trump in two weeks. (CNBC)
5/ Twitter labeled Trump’s tweet of a manipulated video complaining about “fake news” as fake news. The video fakes a CNN segment that depicts a white toddler running after a black child. The original footage is from a viral 2019 video that showed two toddlers, one black and one white, hugging. In Trump’s version, the video includes ominous background music and a fake CNN chyron that reads: “Terrified toddler runs from racist baby.” A subsequent chyron reads, “Racist baby probably a Trump voter.” Twitter appended a label to the tweet warning of “manipulated media” after finding that it deceptively doctored footage in a way that was “likely to cause harm.” This is the third time Twitter has taken action against one of Trump’s tweets. (Washington Post / NPR / ABC News / The Guardian / Axios / Reuters)
6/ Trump called an increase in mail-in voting the “biggest risk” to his reelection. Despite few documented voter fraud cases in the U.S. — and nothing close to the level that would constitute “rampant” fraud – Trump and his campaign have repeatedly argued that widespread mail-in voting invites fraud and benefits Democrats. The Republican Party is spending tens of millions of dollars on a multi-front legal battle. “If we don’t win those lawsuits,” Trump said, “I think — I think it puts the election at risk.” (Politico / NBC News / Axios)
poll/ 74% of Americans say the country is heading in the wrong direction, including 63% of Republicans. Nearly two-thirds of Americans — including 37% of Republicans — say Trump is making America more divided. 24% of Americans say the country is headed in the right direction, down from 33% a month ago and 42% in March. (Axios / Associated Press)
The Air Force inspector general is investigating whether the U.S. military improperly used a reconnaissance drone to monitor protests in Washington and Minneapolis earlier this month. The investigation was launched after lawmakers raised concerns that the use of the military surveillance aircraft may have violated the civil rights of the protesters demonstrating against police killings of Black men in Minneapolis and across the U.S. A spokesperson for the Air Force confirmed that the secretary of the Air Force is “conducting an investigation into the use of Air National Guard RC-26 aircraft to support civil authorities during recent protest activity in U.S. cities,” but declined to answer any other questions about the probe. (New York Times)
The acting senior director for European and Russian Affairs at the National Security Council is stepping down and will return to his previous position at the Pentagon. Tom Williams was Trump’s fourth Russia director at the NSC in three years. His predecessor, Andrew Peek, was placed on administrative leave pending a security review back in January. The other two, Fiona Hill and Tim Morrison, testified as part of the House impeachment inquiry into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. National security adviser Robert O’Brien says Williams is returning to the Pentagon “after two years of service detailed to the NSC,” which he said is “customary.” (Axios)
Former acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged that Trump “didn’t hire very well.” Mulvaney, who served as the top aide to Trump in an acting capacity until March, said “If there was one criticism that I would level against the president, [it] is that he didn’t hire very well. He did not have experience at running government and didn’t know how to put together a team that could work well with him.” (Politico / Washington Post / CNN)
Become a member.
Help keep WTF Just Happened Today going with a small contribution.