Here’s a summary of today’s events:
- Trump attempts to save himself in battleground states as Covid cases surge. With little more than two weeks to reverse his dismal standing in the polls, and amid a coronavirus resurgence that could sink his pursuit of a second term, Donald Trump has embarked on a tour of battleground states.
- National guard spy plane monitored George Floyd protest in Sacramento suburb. A peaceful protest in a sleepy and affluent suburb that is home to the head of the California national guard was among four demonstrations monitored by national guard spy planes, according to a newspaper report.
- Buttigieg to Fox News Sunday: Barrett nomination puts my marriage in danger. Pete Buttigieg, a former challenger for the Democratic presidential nomination and a member of Joe Biden’s transition team, believes his own marriage is under threat from Donald Trump’s supreme court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.
- Gretchen Whitmer: Trump ‘inciting domestic terrorism’ with ‘Lock her up!’ rally chant. The governor of Michigan, who was the subject of a rightwing plot to kidnap and possibly kill her over coronavirus lockdown measures, has accused Trump of “inspiring and incentivizing domestic terrorism”.
- US power in Asia Pacific falls amid mishandling of Covid, Australia’s Lowy Institute finds. The United States remains the top power in the Indo-Pacific but has suffered the biggest relative fall in its standing in the region over the past year, partly because of the loss of prestige over the mishandling of Covid-19, according to the Lowy Institute’s Asia Power Index.
- Midwest Covid surge may be linked to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. According to the Washington Post, a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota may be linked to a Covid-19 outbreak in the upper Midwest.
- Iran hails lifting of 13-year UN arms embargo as ‘momentous day’. Iranian officials have hailed the lifting of a 13-year UN arms embargo on their military as a momentous day, claiming they were once again free to buy and sell conventional weapons in an effort to strengthen their country’s security.
The Washington Post is already looking ahead to the contest to become the Republican party’s presidential nominee in 2024, regardless of whether Donald Trump sinks or swims on 3 November.
In an opinion piece Sunday penned by the respected political analyst and talk show host Hugh Hewitt, the newspaper lists 20 names of prominent and not-so-prominent Republican governors, senators, congressmen and women and two Trumps – Don Jr and Ivanka – he thinks are likely to throw hats into what promises to be a crowded ring.
Some of the names are to be expected, vice-president Mike Pence and former challengers Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both currently US senators, among them.
Others have served in the Trump administration, such as secretary of state Mike Pompeo, former ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and the White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
And then there are some, including several friends and close allies of the president, considered “rising stars”, including governors Ron DeSantis (Florida) and Kristi Noem (South Dakota), and senators Rick Scott, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, Tim Scott, Pat Toomey and Ben Sasse, with whom Trump is currently feuding.
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” Hewitt writes, quoting the Amity Island police chief Martin Brody from the movie Jaws. “Republicans are going to need bigger stages than even 2015’s massive debate venues.” He says the race will begin in earnest on the morning of 4 November.
Interestingly, Hewitt notes the field could drop by two if Trump loses next month. His theory? Donald Trump seeks revenge after his defeat by Joe Biden and runs again for a second term in 2024, prompting his children to drop out of the race and try again in 2028.
Donald Trump has arrived at the Orange County home of Palmer Luckey, the 28-year-old tech entrepreneur who designed the Oculus Rift head-mounted virtual reality display, for tonight’s private fundraiser.
A White House pool report sets the scene as both critics and supporters have rallied nearby:
En route, the motorcade passed a half dozen Biden supporters holding a sign that read: “Honk if you vote Democrat.”
As the motorcade drove through Newport Beach, thousands of Trump supporters lined the streets. The throng of supporters included people with hoisting U.S. flags, Trump flags and Trump placards. Many people wore MAGA hats and other Trump apparel.
Some chanted “USA” as the motorcade passed.
A large crowd lined the street outisde the fundraiser in Newport Beach, apparently waiting to get into the residence. Scores of people shouted at disparaging comments about the news media as the pool exited the press vans and walked passed them.
Several men yelled: “Fake news!”
A man called out: “Where’s Hunter!”
Another man yelled: “The computer is real” and “Don’t spin this event.”
An older woman sitting in a golf cart called out: “The lying press has arrived.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday reported 53,157 new coronavirus cases, taking the total to 8,081,489. The number of deaths has risen by 593 to 218,511, the health protection agency said.
The CDC figures do not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual states.
A peaceful protest in a sleepy and affluent suburb that is home to the head of the California national guard was among four demonstrations monitored by national guard spy planes, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
The planes flew over several cities in early June, to monitor street protests following the police killing of George Floyd, triggering concerns the military was improperly gathering intelligence on US citizens, the newspaper reported.
Three reconnaissance planes watched demonstrations in Minneapolis, Phoenix and Washington DC that drew large crowds and were marred by violence. But the target of the fourth plane was the prosperous Sacramento suburb of El Dorado Hills, where much smaller rallies were entirely peaceful, the Times said.
Local and state authorities have not explained how and why that neighborhood was chosen when other cities that saw property destruction and street clashes amid large protests, including Los Angeles and Oakland, were not.
Twitter has removed a “misleading” tweet by a top US coronavirus adviser for violating its Covid-19 information policy.
Dr Scott Atlas has downplayed the importance of masks in stopping the spread of infection – despite the health experts widely endorsing the containment measure. On Sunday, he tweeted: “Masks work? NO.”
Twitter Inc removed the tweet on Sunday, saying it violated its misleading information policy on Covid-19, which targets statements that have been confirmed to be false or misleading by subject-matter experts.
Donald Trump’s advisor – whose views align with the president’s own on mask-wearing, if not with the medical establishment – has been criticized by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for spreading misinformation.
“Everything he says is false,” Robert Redfield said about Atlas, NBC reported. Redfield later confirmed he had been talking about Atlas.
Biden: ‘This guy’s gone around the bend if he thinks we’ve turned the corner’
Joe Biden urged North Carolina residents to cast ballots as soon as possible at a drive-in rally on Sunday in Durham, part of the Research Triangle region that is a traditional Democratic stronghold.
“Go vote today and don’t just vote for me and Senator Harris,” the former vice-president said in his 20-minute remarks at Riverside High School. “You’ve got a Governor’s race and a Senate race. A record number of black women on the ballot, Congress and Lt Governor, Labor Commissioner and the courts. Folks they’re ready to deliver for North Carolina families. So vote, vote. It’s time.”
Biden also criticized Donald Trump for saying over the weekend that the United States had “turned the corner” in the coronavirus pandemic, noting that the rate of new cases across the country has risen to the highest level in months.
“As my grandfather would say, ‘This guy’s gone around the bend if he thinks we’ve turned the corner,’” Biden said. “Things are getting worse, and he continues to lie to us about circumstances.”
Biden’s pick for vice president, California senator Kamala Harris, canceled in-person events over the weekend as a precaution after an aide tested positive for Covid-19. She will return to the campaign trail on Monday with a visit to Florida to mark that state’s first day of early in-person voting.
North Carolina, a battleground state where 1.4m (or 20%) of the state’s registered voters had already voted as of Sunday morning, is considered criticial to Donald Trump’s re-election hopes.
Healthcare workers and high-risk populations will be prioritized for vaccination against the coronavirus in New York when a candidate is approved, governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday.
He announced details of a preliminary five-stage vaccine rollout plan – here’s a summary:
- Phase 1: healthcare workers in patient-care settings, long-term care facility workers and some long-term care residents
- Phase 2: first responders, school staff, other public-facing frontline workers and people whose health conditions put them at extreme risk
- Phase 3: people over 65
- Phase 4: all other essential workers
- Phase 5: healthy adults and children
Prioritization would also vary by geographic location based on the prevalence of the virus, the governor said.
Midwest Covid surge may be linked to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
According to the Washington Post, a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota may be linked to a Covid-19 outbreak in the upper Midwest:
Within weeks of the gathering, the Dakotas, along with Wyoming, Minnesota and Montana, were leading the nation in new coronavirus infections per capita.
Public health officials confirmed to the Post that so far, more than 330 coronavirus cases have been officially tied to the rally, resulting in at least one death. Experts also warned that the spread will likely worsen in the fall and winter months. One epidemiologist called the rally and other public gatherings that violate CDC recommendations “the weakest link in the chain” that eventually becomes “a risk to everybody”.
“Holding a half-million-person rally in the midst of a pandemic is emblematic of a nation as a whole that maybe isn’t taking [the novel coronavirus] as seriously as we should,” said Josh Michaud of the Kaiser Family Foundation
Analysts also blame state Republican officials’ response to the outbreak. South Dakota does not enforce any regulations to combat the spread of the virus.
In light of Gretchen Whitmer’s comments today about the plot to kidnap her and Donald Trump’s reaction to it, here’s a taste and a link to Lois Beckett’s piece today on guns, power and far-right thought…
Josh Horwitz has been an American gun control activist for nearly 30 years. In 2009, he co-wrote a book warning that the idea of armed revolt against the government was at the center of the US gun rights movement.
Now, after a year that has seen heavily armed men show up at state capitols in Virginia, Michigan, Idaho and elsewhere to confront Democratic lawmakers over gun control and coronavirus restrictions, more Americans are taking gun owners’ rhetoric about “tyrants” seriously. Some of the same armed protesters who showed up at Michigan’s state house and at a pro-gun rally this summer were charged last week with conspiring to kidnap Michigan’s governor and put her on trial for tyranny.
Horowitz spoke to the Guardian about how mainstream the idea of insurrection has become in American politics, and why lawmakers have failed to challenge it for decades.