1/ Trump – again – claimed that the coronavirus will “disappear” without a vaccine and that the U.S. would develop “herd mentality.” The correct term is “herd immunity,” which occurs when enough individuals develop immunity to prevent the spread of a disease. “With time it goes away,” Trump said during an ABC News town hall. “You’ll develop, you’ll develop herd — like a herd mentality. It’s going to be, it’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen. That will all happen.” Trump also denied that he downplayed the threat of the coronavirus, contradicting his recorded statements, before downplaying the pandemic even further, saying “in many ways, I up-played it in terms of action.” Trump also insisted that the U.S. is “rounding the corner” when it comes to the virus, even as the U.S. death toll approaches 200,000 people. (New York Times / CNN / The Hill / ABC News / The Guardian)

  • [Transcript] Trump’s ABC News town hall.

  • Dept. of Trump’s ABC News Town Hall A collection of opinion and analysis from Trump’s Tuesday night town hall.

  • ‘Just A Firehose Of Lying’: Trump’s Town Hall Widely Roasted As A Train Wreck. “President Donald Trump ventured from the safe space of Fox News to a considerably more challenging town hall hosted by ABC News in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Tuesday night.” (Talking Points Memo)

  • ‘He was lying through his teeth.’ “Voters stood up and spoke the truth to President Trump on Tuesday night. And Trump had a very hard time coming out of his Fox bubble to face real questions.” (CNN)

  • Trump’s town hall didn’t go well. (CNN)

  • Trump’s ABC town hall revealed a president disconnected from reality. “He faced tough questions from voters — and had few answers.” (Vox)

  • Trump faces great peril outside Fox News bubble. “President Trump deigned to take hard questions at a town hall on Tuesday night, and the verdict of his propagandists is in: Trump was treated with hideous unfairness even as he managed to convert the spectacle into a triumph through sheer force of his forthrightness and deep benevolence.” (Washington Post)

  • Trump squirms in TV spotlight as voters pin him down on Covid, health and race. “The president stepped outside his Fox News bubble on Tuesday night – and endured a barrage of criticism he couldn’t bat back.” (The Guardian)

  • Trump, in Philadelphia, Says He ‘Up-Played’ the Virus, Then Downplays It. “President Trump presented a view of the pandemic radically at odds with the view of public health officials, insisting again that the virus would disappear on its own.” (New York Times)

  • Trump made at least 22 false or misleading claims at ABC town hall. (CNN)

2/ CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield testified that a COVID-19 vaccine won’t be widely available until late spring or summer 2021 and that Americans will not return “our regular life” until then. Redfield said that wearing a mask remains “the most important, powerful public health tool we have,” adding that a “face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.” Trump, nevertheless, insisted that the U.S. could start distributing a coronavirus vaccine “some time in October” – a much more optimistic estimate than his own health officials – and that Redfield “made a mistake” and shared “incorrect information,” asserting that “The mask is not as important as the vaccine.” Trump added: “The mask, perhaps, helps.” Biden, meanwhile, said: “I trust vaccines. I trust the scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump. At this point, the American people can’t either.” (NPR / CNBC / New York Times / Washington Post / Axios / New York Times /Bloomberg / The Guardian / CNBC)

3/ Trump criticized Biden for not implementing a national mask mandate, even though Biden is not the president and has no authority to do so. Trump’s comments were in reference to a policy promise Biden made as part of his plan to combat the pandemic if he is elected president. Trump added that “A lot of people don’t want to wear masks. There are a lot of people think that masks are not good.” (Washington Post / ABC News / USA Today / The Guardian / Business Insider)

4/ Trump urged congressional Republicans to support a new coronavirus economic relief bill with “much higher numbers” and stimulus payments for Americans. In May, House Democrats passed a $3.5 trillion bill and have said they would settle for a $2.2 trillion package. Senate Republicans, however, have tried to advance a $300 billion bill, without stimulus checks. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both said Trump could support a $1.5 trillion deal. (Bloomberg / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)

5/ A whistleblower complaint accused an ICE detention center of performing unnecessary hysterectomies on immigrant women and failed to follow procedures meant to keep both detainees and employees safe from the coronavirus, which facilitated the spread of COVID-19. The complaint by a nurse who previously worked at an ICE facility in Georgia said detained women told her they did not understand why they had to get a hysterectomy. Nancy Pelosi called on the Department of Homeland Security to “immediately investigate” the allegations of “high rates of hysterectomies done to immigrant women.” In a statement, Pelosi said Americans “need to know why and under what conditions so many women, reportedly without their informed consent, were pushed to undergo this extremely invasive and life-altering procedure.” The complaint also alleges “jarring medical neglect” at the ICE facility for its refusal to test detainees who had been exposed to the coronavirus or those who showed symptoms of COVID-19. (NPR / BBC / Washington Post / The Hill / Forbes / Vice News / CNN / Vox)

6/ Attorney General William Barr encouraged federal prosecutors to consider charging violent protesters with sedition. To bring a sedition case, prosecutors would have to prove that demonstrators conspired to attack or overthrow the government. (Wall Street Journal)

7/ Michael Caputo will take a 60-day leave of absence from the Department of Health and Human Services after accusing government scientists of “sedition” and calling on the Trump’s supporters to arm themselves ahead of the election. HHS said in a statement that Caputo would be on leave to “focus on his health and the well-being of his family.” The health department’s assistant secretary for public affairs had claimed in a Facebook Live video that scientists at the CDC “don’t want America to get well” and that the “shooting will begin” after the presidential election. Paul Alexander, who was at the center of efforts to muzzle the department’s career scientists, will also be leaving the department. (Politico / ABC News / Wall Street Journal / CNN / Washington Post / NBC News)

8/ Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s operational changes delayed nearly 350 million pieces – about 7% – of first-class mail during the five weeks they were in effect. Before the changes, the Postal Service delivered more than 90% of first-class mail on time, but deliver rates dropped to about 83% following the changes. Additionally, delivery rates fell 20.4 percentage points in northern Ohio, 19.1 percentage points in Detroit, and 17.9 percentage points in central Pennsylvania – all regions that could decide the November election. The Postal Service, meanwhile, sent postcards urging voters to “plan ahead” if they intended to vote by mail. (Washington Post / New York Times)

9/ The Big Ten Conference will play football this fall after Trump had a “productive conversation” with the league’s commissioner. Trump also personally spoke with several unnamed Big Ten coaches, athletic directors, and parents. Several Big Ten schools are located in swing states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. The conference postponed its fall sports season on Aug. 11 because of health concerns. Eight days later, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren issued a statement that the decision “will not be revisited.” One Big Ten president said Trump “had nothing to do with our decision and did not impact the deliberations. In fact, when his name came up, it was a negative because no one wanted this to be political.” Trump, meanwhile, tweeted “It is my great honor to have helped!!!” (Yahoo News / ESPN / Wall Street Journal / NBC News / Washington Post / New York Times)

poll/ 42% of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing as president – essentially unchanged since July. (Gallup)


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