1/ Trump used the Fourth of July weekend to sow division during a global pandemic that has killed over 130,000 Americans, shirked his responsibility to contain the coronavirus, and promoted an updated version of his “American carnage” vision for the country. In a pair of remarks – at Mount Rushmore on Friday and from the White House on Saturday – Trump depicted the recent protests against racism and police brutality as an “angry mob” looking to “unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities” by “tear[ing] down our statues” in order to “erase our history” and “end America.” Trump, making no mention of the victims of police violence, warned of a “growing danger” to the values of the nation through a “merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values, and indoctrinate our children.” “Make no mistake,” Trump told several thousand people mostly without masks, “this left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution.” Trump also claimed that media outlets “slander” him and “falsely and consistently label their opponents as racists.” Trump provided no evidence to support any of his claims. (New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / NPR / CNN / ABC News / Los Angeles Times / New York Times / Axios / Associated Press)

  • Trump demanded that NASCAR’s only full-time Black driver apologize for an investigation into an noose found in the driver’s garage. In the same tweet, Trump also suggested that NASCAR had made a mistake banning the Confederate flag from all raceways. The FBI found that the noose had been in the garage since last year and Bubba Wallace was therefore not a victim of a hate crime. The White House press secretary, meanwhile, refused to denounce the Confederate flag after Trump’s complaint. (New York Times / CNN / ABC News / Axios)

2/ Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the country was still “knee-deep in the first wave” of the pandemic, saying that the more than 50,000 new cases a day recorded several times in the past week were “a serious situation that we have to address immediately.” The nation’s top infectious disease expert noted that Europe managed to drive infections down, but the U.S. “never came down to baseline and now are surging back up.” Over the first five days of July, the United States reported its three largest daily case totals with 14 states recording single-day highs as the death toll from the pandemic passed 130,000. Fauci added: “the current state is really not good.” (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / ABC News)

  • The seven-day average for new coronavirus cases in the U.S. hit a record high for the 28th day in a row. 13 states reported new highs in their seven-day case averages. Montana, Delaware, and Alaska saw their biggest percentage changes from their previous records. West Virginia also set a record number of daily cases. South Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and California all reported record numbers of hospitalizations from the virus. (Washington Post / Texas Tribune)

  • 239 scientists from 32 countries warned that airborne transmission is a significant factor in the coronavirus pandemic. In an open letter to the World Health Organization, the group of scientists outlined the evidence that the virus can spread indoors through aerosols that linger in the air and can be infectious in smaller quantities than previously thought. The WHO, however, has maintained that the coronavirus is spread primarily by large respiratory droplets that fall quickly to the floor. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC)

3/ The White House’s new message to Americans is that they need to learn to “live with the virus being a threat.” Trump campaign officials and advisers have suggested that the goal is to convince Americans to accept the escalating death toll and tens of thousands of new cases a day while pushing for schools to reopen and professional sports to return. For nearly six months the administration have offered a series of predictions, from Trump promising that “the problem goes away in April” to predicting “packed churches all over our country” on Easter Sunday to Pence’s claim that “by Memorial Day weekend we will have this coronavirus epidemic behind us” to Jared Kushner’s promise that the country would be “really rocking again” by July, all while highlighting a potential vaccine and an economic recovery. Among the pronouncements that never came to fruition was the White House’s initial message in January that the virus wasn’t a threat at all.[Editor’s note: Let’s not forget Trump’s suggestion that the lungs could be cleaned of coronavirus with disinfectants.] (Washington Post / NBC News)

  • Chuck Grassley will skip the Republican National Convention, citing coronavirus. (Des Moines Register)

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau turned down a White House invitation to celebrate the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, citing the coronavirus pandemic. (Associated Press)

4/ Trump falsely claimed that 99% of coronavirus cases are “totally harmless.” Trump made the false claim during his Independence Day speech in South Dakota. The number appears to be based on the estimated death rate, which excludes the thousands people who have spent weeks in the hospital or at home with mild to moderate symptoms that still caused debilitating health problems. The 1% death rate also narrowly focuses on the number of people who die compared to the total number of people who were infected, including those who are asymptomatic and don’t experience any illness, and those with mild cases who experience fleeting symptoms. Meanwhile, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who isn’t an epidemiologist, backed up Trump’s false claim, saying “the risks are extremely low, and the president’s right with that and the facts and statistics back us up there.” He provided no evidence to support the false claim. (The Guardian / New York Times / NBC News / Politico / Axios)

  • The FDA commissioner declined to defend Trump’s false claim that 99% of COVID-19 cases “are totally harmless.” Stephen Hahn also refused to confirm Trump’s claims that a COVID-19 “solution” would likely be available “long before the end of the year.” (ABC News / NBC News)

5/ At least 40 lobbyists with ties to Trump helped clients secure more than $10 billion in federal coronavirus aid. The lobbyists either worked in the Trump administration, served on his campaign, were part of the inaugural committee or were part of his transition. Many are donors to Trump’s campaigns. (Public Citizen / Associated Press / New York Times)

  • The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration released a list of businesses that received more than $150,000 as part of the Paycheck Protection Program. Among the recipients were Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s family’s business received between $350,000 and $1 million. Chao is the wife of Mitch McConnell. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s trucking company was approved for $150,000 to $350,000 in loan money. And, Trump’s business partner in a hotel and residential tower in Waikiki, Hawaii received a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program between $2 million to $5 million. (CNBC / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Daily Beast / New York Times)

6/ Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that international students pursuing degrees in the United States will have to leave the country if their universities switch to online-only courses for the fall semester. The State Department will not issue visas to students enrolled in online-only programs and Customs and Border Protection will not allow these students to enter the country. Foreign nationals currently enrolled in U.S. educational institutions “may face immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings” unless part of their course load is taken in-person. The announcement comes as some colleges and universities, including Harvard, have announced that they will hold online-only courses this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Politico / NBC News / CNN / The Hill / Axios)

poll/ 38% of Americans approve of the way Trump has handled the coronavirus pandemic, while 54% disapprove. 52% believe the coronavirus crisis will continue to get worse. 76% fear that current re-openings will increase the number of cases. 84% say they’ve worn a face mask in public. (YouGov)

poll/ 38% of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing as president – three percentage points above his personal low of 35%, which he registered on four separate occasions in 2017. (Gallup)


Notables.

  1. Simon & Schuster will publish Mary Trump’s tell-all book two weeks earlier than expected, citing “high demand and extraordinary interest.” The book, “Too Much and Never Enough, How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” portrays Trump as a “damaged man” with “lethal flaws” who “threatens the world’s health, economic security, and social fabric.” (CNN / Politico)

  2. Michael Cohen was seen eating out at a New York City restaurant after the federal Bureau of Prisons released him for “home confinement” due to the coronavirus risk. Cohen was released 10 months into his three-year prison sentence. (New York Post)

  3. Congress adjourned for a two-week recess without addressing the recent spikes in coronavirus cases across the southern and western United States. When they return on July 20, lawmakers will have three weeks to debate and pass a new relief package before they adjourn again through Labor Day. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the next rescue bill will be the last. Meanwhile, enhanced unemployment benefits are scheduled to end on July 31 and both chambers of Congress remain divided on whether or not to issue additional stimulus checks to Americans. (Washington Post)

  4. At least eight Secret Service agents in Phoenix either tested positive for the coronavirus or were showing symptoms of being infected. Pence was scheduled to visit Phoenix on Tuesday, but instead went on Wednesday so healthy agents could be deployed. (CNN / Washington Post)

  5. Trump Jr.’s girlfriend tested positive for the coronavirus. Kimberly Guilfoyle traveled to South Dakota with Trump Jr. and planned to attend Trump’s Fourth of July fireworks display where Trump was set to speak, but Guilfoyle tested positive before the event. She did not travel on Air Force One and is the only person in her group who tested positive. Guilfoyle is now the third person in possible proximity to Trump to have contracted the virus. (New York Times / ABC News / CNN)

  6. Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle were spotted maskless last Saturday at a Hamptons party with 100 other guests. (PageSix)

  7. The Trump campaign “strongly” encourages attendees to wear a mask at Trump’s upcoming rally Saturday in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The campaign will also provide face masks and hand sanitizer for all attendees. (Axios)


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