👋 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.
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😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~15,595,000; deaths: ~636,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~4,074,000; deaths: ~145,000
Source: Johns Hopkins University
1/ The CDC published new guidance recommending that schools reopen in the fall – two weeks after Trump criticized its earlier recommendations on school reopenings as “very tough and expensive.” The new guidelines start with an unsigned statement on “the importance of reopening America’s schools this fall,” and repeatedly describe children as low risk for being infected by or transmitting the coronavirus. A recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report, however, concludes that “There is insufficient evidence with which to determine how easily children and youth contract the virus and how contagious they are once they do.” Nevertheless, the CDC claimed that “the best available evidence indicates that COVID-19 poses relatively low risks to school-aged children,” and that “reopening schools creates opportunity to invest in the education, well-being, and future of one of America’s greatest assets — our children.” Earlier this month, an internal CDC document warned that fully reopening schools would be the “highest risk” for the spread of coronavirus. Dr. Anthony Fauci said the country should try “as best as we possibly can” to keep children in school, but “it depends on where you are” and reopenings should depend on the level of virus transmission in individual communities. (New York Times / CNN / Washington Post)
- Barron Trump’s school will not fully reopen in September despite Trump’s repeated demands and threats to withhold federal money. St. Andrew’s Episcopal School will decided in August whether to adopt a hybrid model for the fall that would allow limited in-person education or to resume holding all classes completely online as was done in the spring. (New York Times / Washington Post)
2/ Trump canceled the in-person portion of the Republican National Convention as the coronavirus continues to spread across the U.S. The event was supposed to be held in Jacksonville, FL next month after North Carolina officials said they wanted the party to take health precautions. Trump, however, abruptly announced at a press conference last night that “the timing for this event is not right, just not right with what’s happened recently.” He cited the “flare-up” of coronavirus cases in Florida and said “I have to protect the American people.” Trump has repeatedly downplayed and denied the dangers of large gatherings over the last few months and accused Democrats of “purposely” keeping their states closed for political advantage. Trump said he still plans to give an acceptance speech of some kind, but it won’t be done in person. (NBC News / Washington Post / Associated Press / Bloomberg / New York Times)
3/ Trump said he would deploy as many as 75,000 federal agents into U.S. cities as part of his “surge” against “violent crime.” Trump told Fox News that he would would dispatch “50,000, 60,000 people” into American cities, but eventually upped the number to 75,000. “We’ll go into all of the cities, any of the cities. We’re ready,” he said. Trump first said the federal government would “have to be invited in,” but added suggested that a lack of invitation wouldn’t prevent him from deploying federal agents. “At some point we’ll have to do something much stronger than being invited in,” he said. Meanwhile, the Trump administration deployed a Special Response Team, comprised of an unspecified number of Customs and Border Patrol agents, to Seattle to protect federal property. (CNN / New York Times / Seattle Times)
4/ New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo threatened to sue the Trump administration after the Department of Homeland Security admitted that it made false statements defending its decision to block New York residents from participating in Trusted Traveler Programs, including Global Entry. Cuomo alleged that top Homeland Security officials Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli “have criminal liability” and that the agency “abused government resources to advance political purposes.” DHS blocked New Yorkers from the program over a state law limiting immigration agents’ access to the state’s driver’s license data. (Politico / CNBC / CNN)
5/ Trump repealed a fair housing regulation he claimed would lead to “destruction” of the country’s suburbs. The White House replaced the rule, which required local governments to proactively track patterns of poverty and segregation to gain access to federal housing funds, with a checklist of questions that would allow local governments to essentially self-certify that they are meeting their obligation to “affirmatively further fair housing” under the 1968 Fair Housing Act. (Washington Post / Politico)
6/ China ordered the U.S. to close its consulate in Chengdu. The move is retaliation after Trump ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, TX. A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry called the move “a legitimate and necessary response to the unjustified act by the United States.” The U.S. consulate in Chengdu is responsible for monitoring Tibet and other areas in the southwest that are are home to non-ethnic Chinese minorities that are considered especially sensitive by Beijing. (Associated Press / New York Times)
poll/ The approval rating for governors in four states hit hardest by the coronavirus all sink. In Florida, 58% disapprove of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ handling of the pandemic, while 40% approve, and in Texas, 55% disapprove of Gov. Greg Abbott, while 44% approve. In Arizona, 62% disapprove, while 36% approve of Gov. Doug Ducey, and in Georgia, 55% disapprove, while 44% approve of Gov. Brian Kemp. (Axios)
[Fox News] poll/ Voters prefer Biden over Trump in Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. In Michigan, Biden leads Trump 49% to 40%, while 11% are undecided. 51% of voters in Minnesota say they’d vote for Biden if the election was today, compared to 38% who say they’d vote for Trump. And Biden leads Trump 50% to 39% in Pennsylvania, while 10% are undecided. (Fox News)
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