👋 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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💌 Send me a handwritten postcard or letter with advice for the future generation about wtf has happened over the last four years and what needs to be done.
Not sure where to start? Consider the Trump administration’s impact on climate change, healthcare, immigration, education, civil rights, or whatever, like this goddamn pandemic, and how it’s changed you, your relationships, and your outlook for the future.
Matt at WTF Just Happened Today?
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🗳 How To Vote In The 2020 Election In Every State. Everything you need to know about mail-in and early in-person voting in every state in the age of COVID-19, including the first day you can cast your ballot in the 2020 election. (FiveThirtyEight / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)
😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”
Global: Total confirmed cases: ~24,285,000; deaths: ~829,000
U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~5,857,000; deaths: ~181,000
Source: Johns Hopkins University
1/ Another 1 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, and an another 608,000 workers applied for aid through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. In total, 27 million workers are unemployed and more than 14.5 million are collecting benefits – up from 1.7 million a year ago. The report also marks the 22nd time in 23 weeks that new jobless claims have come in above 1 million. Before the coronavirus pandemic, initial claims had never topped 700,000 in a week. (CNN / CNBC / Associated Press / Politico / New York Times)
2/ The CDC attempted to clarify its recommendation that people with no symptoms “do not necessarily need a test” – even after exposure to the coronavirus. In a new statement, the CDC’s director, Dr. Robert Redfield, said that “testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients.” He added: “Everyone who needs a COVID-19 test, can get a test. Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test.” The CDC’s previous guidance recommended that people exposed to the coronavirus be tested because of the threat of asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic transmission. Despite Redfield’s statement, the CDC’s website had not been updated. (NBC News / New York Times / NBC News / USA Today)
- The Trump administration will purchase 150 million rapid coronavirus tests for about $750 million, which will be deployed in nursing homes, schools and other areas with populations at high risk. Abbott Laboratories received an emergency authorization from the FDA on Wednesday for the test, which costs $5 and can produce results in 15 minutes without the use of any lab equipment. (Reuters / Politico)
3/ Trump – without evidence – claimed that problems with mail-in ballots on Election Day will come from election officials who are “going to count them wrong.” Multiple investigations and studies – including Trump’s own voter fraud investigatory committee – have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the U.S. Trump, however, said he’s not worried about USPS’s ability to deliver ballots – “it has nothing to do with the post office” – but rather “The problem is when they dump all these [ballots] in front of a few people who are counting them, and they’re going to count them wrong.” Trump added that the “only thing” he’s worried about is “unsolicited ballots, where they’re going to send 80 million unsolicited ballots to people that they don’t even know if they’re alive or if they’re living there.” Earlier this month, Trump threatened to veto any coronavirus relief package that included funding for the USPS, and baselessly suggested that election drop boxes would lead to widespread fraud. (NBC News)
🌀 Dept. of Political Infomercials.
The live audience for Trump’s Republican convention address won’t receive coronavirus tests. Instead, guests received instructions that they must wear masks. (Politico)
Department of Homeland Security sent employees an email advising them not to engage in “partisan political activity,” citing “heightened scrutiny.” The warning comes days after acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf participated in a naturalization ceremony at the Republican National Convention. (CNN / Politico)
4/ Trump dismissed the NBA player-led protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake hours after Jared Kushner said the players were “very fortunate” to be “able to take a night off from work.” Trump told reporters that while he doesn’t “know much” about the protest, “I know their ratings have been very bad because I think people are a little tired of the NBA […] They’ve become like a political organization, and that’s not a good thing.” Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, meanwhile, called the protests “absurd and silly,” adding “If they want to protest, I don’t think we care.” The comments from the White House come a day after the NBA postponed three scheduled playoff games, prompted by the Milwaukee Bucks’ demanding that lawmakers address police brutality and racial injustice. The unprecedented decision to postpone games was followed by players and teams from the WNBA, MLB, NFL, MLS, and pro tennis sitting out events Wednesday night. Trump has made restoring “law and order” a centerpiece of his campaign following the death of George Floyd, a Black man Minneapolis police killed in late May, which spurred national protests. (ESPN / Washington Post / CNN / Politico / The Hill / Washington Post / CNBC / CNN / Axios / Mediate / Wall Street Journal)
5/ Biden accused Trump of “rooting for more violence, not less” because he thinks it benefits him politically. Biden also suggested that Trump is making the situation worse by “pouring gasoline on the racial flames that are burning […] the people have a right to be angry, people have a right to protest.” He continued: “This is the same guy, when people came out of Charlottesville and a young woman gets killed, they’re spewing hate, and their veins bulging, carrying swastikas […] he says there are very fine people on both sides. He just keeps pouring fuel on the fire. He’s encouraging this.” Biden concluded: “This is his America.” (NBC News / Bloomberg / Politico)
Kamala Harris, meanwhile, accused Trump and Republicans of ignoring “the reality” of the “life of a Black person in America.” In a speech to prebut Trump’s appearance at RNC, Harris said Trump’s “reckless disregard for the well-being of the American people” has been deadly. As “Donald Trump stood idly by […] Instead of rising to meet the most difficult moment of his presidency, Donald Trump froze. He was scared and he was petty and vindictive.” (CNN / Politico / Axios)
The RNC aired a video meant to give viewers “a taste of Biden’s America,” but the video included footage from Barcelona, Spain. Other images of protests in the segment included a march in Brooklyn, a car on fire in Chicago, and drone footage of a tree on fire in New York. (BuzzFeed News)
6/ Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman filed a complaint with the Pentagon’s inspector general suggesting he and his brother Alexander was retaliated against for disclosing potential ethics violations by senior White House officials. Alexander Vindman served as a key witness during Trump’s impeachment and was dismissed from his position on the National Security Council in February. Yevgeny Vindman worked as a deputy legal adviser for the NSC and a senior ethics official on the NSC staff. He was also removed after the impeachment proceedings ended. Yevgeny Vindman’s legal team said in a statement that actions were “improperly taken against him in retaliation for his protected disclosures involving matters that ultimately led to the president’s impeachment as well as disclosures of misconduct by other current senior members of the president’s national security team.” (CBS News / Axios)
7/ The Trump Organization has charged taxpayers more than $900,000 in fees related to Trump’s 271 visits to his own properties since he took office. At least $570,000 came as a result of Trump’s travel. Campaign finance records also show that the Trump Organization received at least $3.8 million in fees related to 37 instances in which Trump headlined a political event at one of his properties. (Washington Post)
- The White House said that it has compiled a “very large” dossier on a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter and others, calling them a “disgrace to journalism and the American people.” In a statement, White House spokesperson Judd Deere accused The Washington Post of “blatantly interfering with the business relationships of the Trump Organization” and demanded “it must stop.” (CNN / Washington Post)
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