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America to end ‘era of endless wars’ & stop being policeman, Trump gives same old election promises he broke

America to end ‘era of endless wars’ & stop being policeman, Trump gives same old election promises he broke

America to end ‘era of endless wars’ & stop being policeman, Trump gives same old election promises he broke

FILE PHOTO: US soldiers area pictured in Iraq, on December 27, 2016. ©  Reuters / Ammar Awad

US President Donald Trump has declared that America will shift its focus from waging “endless wars” and being the “policeman of the world,” rehashing his 2016 campaign promises that were not fulfilled.

The US is entering a “crucial moment” of its history, the president said as he addressed the US West Point Military Academy graduates in his commencement speech. “We are ending an era of endless wars.”

“It is not the duty of the US troops to solve ancient conflicts in faraway lands that many people have not even heard of,” he said, adding that Washington is “not a policeman of the world” anymore. That is something Trump has been promising ever since he was campaigning for president back in 2016. But has his almost four years of presidency made the US foreign policy any more peaceful?

His words come amid reports about the White House’s plans to pull out 9,500 troops from Germany – something that has already given some US allies, as well as hawks in Congress, a reason to worry about the US’ “diminishing” role on the world stage. Yet, their concerns could well turn out to be premature.

After all, Trump has so far failed to effectively pull out the US forces from pretty much anywhere. The US troops are apparently not in a hurry to leave Afghanistan – a country where America waged a really “endless” war of our age only to admit it could not defeat the local Taliban militants.

Washington signed a troop withdrawal deal with the Taliban in February, but the US forces are still there since the agreement is conditional on the intra-Afghan peace process and the talks between the insurgents and the Kabul government have been mired in setbacks.

Although American forces did scale down their presence in Iraq, they are hell bent on staying there in the foreseeable future. Washington even told Baghdad the US’ presence on Iraqi soil was “appropriate” after the country’s parliament told them to leave following the killing of the top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani that almost spilled into another military conflict.

Even his much hyped retreat from Syria, which led the Pentagon to issue a damning report warning about the withdrawal paving the way for the resurgence of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), was in fact only a partial one.

Some US troops and assets stayed in the country – where they had no legal right to be in the first place – to deny any malicious forces, which, in the eyes of the Pentagon, likely included the Syrian government, access to oil resources. Trump himself repeatedly bragged “We’re keeping the oil’ – something that appears to be part of “vital US interests” pretty much anywhere in the world.

And national interests are certain to stay high on the US military agenda, the president admitted. “There is a renewed clear-eyed focus on defending America’s vital interests,” he said in his West Point speech.

It was in pursuit of these interests apparently that the US pulled out of the nuclear deal with Iran and pushed tensions in their relations with the Islamic Republic to such a point that many feared a war could break out between the two nations at any moment.

It was on Trump’s orders that the US assassinated Soleimani. It was Trump who ordered the US Navy to destroy any Iranian vessels should they “harass” American warships – all after a maritime incident in the Persian Gulf – some 7,000 miles away from the US territory.

It looks extremely unlikely that Trump would suddenly abandon such policies. Not least because he himself warned America’s “enemies” that Washington would “never hesitate to act” should the US people – or soldiers for that matter – be “threatened.”

Yet, he might have been right about at least one thing when he said that “the job of the American soldiers is not to rebuild foreign nations.” After all, the US military is hardly up to that task since it is known for bombing hospitals in Afghanistan and leveling Syria’s Raqqa and Iraq’s Mosul almost to the ground – all in the process of their “liberation.”

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Tulsa health director wishes Trump would postpone rally because of spike in Covid-19 cases

The director of the Tulsa Health Department said he wishes President Donald Trump would postpone his planned campaign rally set to take place there on Saturday, citing concerns about a recent increase in local cases of Covid-19.

In an interview with the local newspaper, Tulsa World, Bruce Dart said, “I wish we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn’t as large a concern as it is today.”

The city’s health department on Friday said it recorded its highest daily increase of coronavirus cases to date.

“I think it’s an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting president want to come and visit our community, but not during a pandemic,” Dart told Tulsa World. “I’m concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I’m also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well.”

CNN reached out to the Trump campaign about Dart’s concerns and was told the campaign has no comment.

Overnight, Tulsa World editorialized that “this is the wrong time” and “this is the wrong place” for the President to hold a rally, citing the challenges created by the corornavirus pandemic along with racial unrest following the death of George Floyd.

“When the president of the United States visits your city, it should be exciting. We think a Trump visit will be, but for a lot of the wrong reasons, and we can’t welcome it,” the newspaper wrote.

The Tulsa Health Department said in a statement obtained Sunday by CNN that it is “concerned about the safety of any large gathering of people in enclosed spaces where social distancing is difficult to maintain.”

The department last week encouraged caution regarding large gatherings after an investigation in Tulsa “identified an outbreak linked to indoor gatherings, which large groups of people congregated in close contact for prolonged periods of time.”

There was a “meaningful increase” in cases of coronavirus last week in the city, according to the statement. As of Friday, there had been 1,443 total confirmed cases of coronavirus in Tulsa County, and 62 deaths.

Trump has already moved the date of his rally in Tulsa once, from Friday to Saturday, because the original date coincided with Juneteenth — the day commemorating the end of slavery in the US.

“We had previously scheduled our #MAGA Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for June 19th — a big deal,” Trump tweeted Friday night. “Unfortunately, however, this would fall on the Juneteenth Holiday. Many of my African American friends and supporters have reached out to suggest that we consider changing the date out of respect for this Holiday, and in observance of this important occasion and all that it represents. I have therefore decided to move our rally to Saturday, June 20th, in order to honor their requests.”

Aside from the significance of June 19, Tulsa also has a troubled racial history. In 1921, it was the site of a massacre of hundreds of African Americans during racial unrest in the historic section of the city known as “Black Wall Street.”

Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” on Sunday that he was planning to attend Trump’s rally, but that he had not yet decided if he would wear a mask while there.

Attendees of Trump’s upcoming rally must agree not to sue the campaign if they contract coronavirus. Rallygoers are asked to RSVP to gain admission to the event and by registering, they must agree to a disclaimer that states they acknowledge the “inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present.”

“By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury,” the disclaimer reads.

Trump’s campaign officially announced plans on Wednesday for the President’s first campaign rally since most of the country shut down to prevent the spread of the virus.

The President has been anxious to get back out on the trail since in-person campaigning stopped. His campaign had originally drawn up plans to restart rallies in July, but it pushed up the timeline as more states started reopening their economies and as big crowds have taken part in demonstrations across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death late last month in the custody of Minneapolis police.


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LIVE on June 11 at 1:30 p.m. ET: Rep. Karen Bass talks protests and policing reform

Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-Calif.) is leading the charge to implement unprecedented reforms to curb police brutality, end racial profiling, and eliminate qualified immunity with the Justice in Policing Act. At House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request, Bass and the Congressional Black Caucus are responding to the national protests calling for change after the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Bass is working to rally fellow members of Congress to step up and make historic changes to combat systemic issues and police brutality. Washington Post opinions writer Jonathan Capehart interviews Bass on Monday, June 15 at 1:30 p.m. ET. Washington Post Live is the newsroom’s live journalism platform, featuring interviews with top-level government officials, business leaders, cultural influencers and emerging voices on the most pressing issues driving the news cycle nationally and across the globe. From one-on-one, newsmaker interviews to in-depth multi-segment programs, Washington Post Live brings The Post’s newsroom to life on stage. SPECIAL OFFER: To thank you for your support, here’s a deal on a Washington Post digital subscription: $29 for one year http://washingtonpost.com/youtubeoffer. Subscribe to The Washington Post on YouTube: https://wapo.st/2QOdcqK Follow us: Twitter: https://twitter.com/washingtonpost Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/washingtonpost/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/washingtonpost/

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SC Rules Existing Federal Law Forbids Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation | NBC News

In a major win for LGBT rights, the Supreme Court has ruled that existing civil rights laws protect gay and lesbian workers from discrimination based on their sexual orientation. » Subscribe to NBC News: http://nbcnews.to/SubscribeToNBC » Watch more NBC video: http://bit.ly/MoreNBCNews NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative and powerful news brands that deliver compelling, diverse and engaging news stories. NBC News Digital features NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, TODAY.com, Nightly News, Meet the Press, Dateline, and the existing apps and digital extensions of these respective properties. We deliver the best in breaking news, live video coverage, original journalism and segments from your favorite NBC News Shows. Connect with NBC News Online! NBC News App: https://apps.nbcnews.com/mobile Breaking News Alerts: https://link.nbcnews.com/join/5cj/breaking-news-signup?cid=sm_npd_nn_yt_bn-clip_190621 Visit NBCNews.Com: http://nbcnews.to/ReadNBC Find NBC News on Facebook: http://nbcnews.to/LikeNBC Follow NBC News on Twitter: http://nbcnews.to/FollowNBC Follow NBC News on Instagram: http://nbcnews.to/InstaNBC SC Rules Existing Federal Law Forbids Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation | NBC News

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First Thing: Covid-19 skeptics may convert as virus hits Trump country

Good morning,

Throughout the coronavirus crisis, many Republicans have remained skeptical about the threat of Covid-19. But as the disease moves from urban Democratic strongholds such as New York into some of the rural and exurban areas that voted for Donald Trump, research suggests those partisan attitudes to the pandemic may be shifting.

Coronavirus cases are climbing in Arizona, Florida, South Carolina and Arkansas. In Texas, hospitalisations for Covid-19 are up 42% since Memorial Day. In Oklahoma, health officials have expressed concern that a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa this weekend could contribute to the spread of the disease in a city that has experienced a recent rise in cases.

The president, however, sees mass rallies as his best chance of changing the narrative and putting him back on track for re-election, reports David Smith:

A Trump rally with a cheering crowd eschewing face masks, and a packed convention crowning him as the Republican nominee, could be used to draw a striking contrast in optics with the mask-wearing, basement-bound Biden, selling the incumbent as a happy warrior.

  • China has won the battle over world opinion in a survey that found just three out of 53 countries believed the US has handled the coronavirus better than its superpower rival.

  • … But Beijing is back on lockdown after dozens of new cases were linked to two seafood markets in the Chinese capital.

The police killing of Rayshard Brooks was a homicide

After weeks of protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a fresh tragedy in Atlanta on Friday has further fuelled the Black Lives Matter movement. Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old black man, was shot in the back by a police officer, after what began as a friendly encounter. His death has now been ruled a homicide by the Fulton county medical examiner’s office.

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Rayshard Brooks: police body-cam footage shows buildup to fatal shooting – video

Leading Democrats said on Sunday that Brooks’s killing underlines the need for significant change in US law enforcement. “This did not call for lethal force,” said the House majority whip, James Clyburn. “And I don’t know what’s in the culture that would make this guy do that. It has got to be the culture. It’s got to be the system.”

  • The shooting puts a spotlight on two VP contenders, Atlanta mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, both touted as potential running mates for Joe Biden. Bottoms said the footage of Brooks’s death broke her heart.

  • Beyoncé has called for justice for Breonna Taylor. in an open letter to the attorney general of Kentucky, Knowles complained no arrests had been made in the case of the 26-year-old African American EMT shot dead in her home by police.

Trump claims the ‘radical left’ has ‘taken over’ Seattle

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Child pepper-sprayed by police in Seattle is helped by Black Lives Matter protesters – video

Trump interrupted his own 74th birthday, spent in seclusion at his New Jersey golf club on Sunday, to tweet that Seattle has been “taken over” by the “radical left”. The president appeared to be referring to the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” established by demonstrators in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, where police vacated a precinct amid the protests.

Meanwhile, there was outrage over distressing footage of police macing a seven-year-old boy during a peaceful protest in Seattle on 30 May. Evan Hreha, the 34-year-old who captured the incident on camera, has since been arrested and spent two days in jail, for what some consider police retribution over the video going viral.

How the US military covered up a killing in Iraq

US prosecutors say Julian Assange risked American lives by releasing hundreds of thousands of US intelligence documents. But their indictment against the Wikileaks founder does not include perhaps his most shocking revelation: the video entitled Collateral Murder, which depicted an Apache helicopter gunning down a group of Iraqi civilians in Baghdad in July 2007. Its omission has raised accusations that the US is trying to avoid having its “war crimes” exposed in public.

In other news…

Great reads

Angela Davis on George Floyd: ‘They’re now finally getting it’

The veteran civil rights campaigner Angela Davis has witnessed and participated in decades of protest and campaigning for racial justice. This time, things might be different, she tells Lanre Bakare – but “while the immensity of this response is new, the struggles are not new.”

The trans kids helped by a pioneering project

While the debate goes on over whether trans children ought to be allowed to transition, or even to express their gender, their families often need guidance on how to parent them. New York’s Gender and Family Project is the largest independent program for transgender youth and families in the US. Katelyn Burns reports.

How coronavirus shook a neglected neighborhood

New York’s coincidentally-named Corona neighbourhood has been hard hit by Covid-19, with economic and health consequences that will likely shake the community for years to come. Amanda Holpuch explains how race, poverty and inequality left this corner of Queens vulnerable.

Opinion: Republicans are hypocrites on defunding the police

The GOP is feigning a fainting fit over calls to defund the police. And yet, argues David Sirota, they gladly slash budgets for those charged with policing the world’s most dangerous and powerful criminals.

Apparently, we’re expected to be horrified by proposals to reduce funding for the militarized police forces that are violently attacking peaceful protesters – but we’re supposed to obediently accept the defunding of the police forces responsible for protecting the population from the wealthy and powerful.

Last Thing: NZ porn actors ‘keep it real’ for web safety ad

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‘Porn stars’ deployed in New Zealand government’s online safety campaign – video

A December 2019 report revealed young New Zealanders use the internet as their primary source of sex education, while a third of the country’s most popular porn clips depict non-consensual sexual activity. The government’s answer? This web safety ad.

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GOPers Aren’t Fazed By The High Risk Of COVID-19 Spread At Trump’s Tulsa Rally

Three Republicans on Sunday appeared to be full-steam ahead when asked about President Trump’s first re-election campaign rally in three months amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump is scheduled to travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma next Saturday in what will be his first rally since early March. The President delayed his upcoming rally by a day after facing backlash for originally scheduling it on Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S.

Backlash over the risk of spreading COVID-19 at the Tulsa rally remains, however. On Saturday, Tulsa city-county health department director Bruce Dart expressed concerns over the spread of COVID-19 at the upcoming rally in an interview with Tulsa World, saying that he wishes “we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn’t as large a concern as it is today.”

“I think it’s an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting President want to come and visit our community, but not during a pandemic,” Dart told Tulsa World. “I’m concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I’m also concerned about our ability to ensure the President stays safe as well.”

The Trump campaign has yet to outline coronavirus safety measures ahead of the rally set for next weekend, which will be held indoors at a 19,000-seat arena despite Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale boasting in a Friday tweet that 300,000 people registered for tickets to Trump’s Tulsa rally. CDC guidance places large gatherings without social distancing measures in the category of “highest risk” of spreading COVID-19.

Here’s how three Republicans downplayed COVID-19-related concerns ahead of Trump’s Tulsa rally:

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)

Asked by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos about whether it’s time for the President to postpone his upcoming rally in Tulsa in light of Dart’s remarks, Lankford said he does not believe so due to declining numbers of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in Oklahoma.

“Our deaths continue to decline and we encourage people that are high risk not to get involved in any location, whether that be a rally or other higher risk locations,” Lankford said. “So, high-risk folks need to be able to step back and everybody needs to be able to take responsibility for their own health.”

After conceding that he’s unsure of how social distancing will work at the Tulsa rally — saying that it “will up to be the city of Tulsa, this will be the governor of Oklahoma and the Trump team itself” to figure out how safety measures will work — Lankford said that he will “absolutely” be in attendance.

Watch Lankford’s remarks below:

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson

Pressed also by Stephanopoulos about Dart’s remarks, Carson was asked about his reaction given how he’s a medical doctor.

After claiming that he was “pleasantly surprised” by how much Trump knew about Juneteenth, Carson said that the President’s re-election rally can be “quite acceptable.”

“I think if it’s done in conjunction with the public health experts — which it is being done in conjunction with them — that’s quite acceptable,” Carson said. “We do need to always, all of us, need to do what we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but it is very important that we utilize what we have learned about the disease so that we can live with it, rather than allow it to dominate us and determine how we’re going to live.”

Watch Carson’s remarks below:

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow

After agreeing with CNN’s Jake Tapper that people need to continue practicing safety guidelines such as social distancing and face covering in light of the rise of coronavirus cases in several states, Kudlow — who falsely asserted that COVID-19 was “contained” in early March — was asked whether people should be wearing masks at Trump’s upcoming rally in Tulsa.

“Well, OK, probably so,” Kudlow said, before speculating that the rise of hospitalizations related to the novel coronavirus are due to how elective procedures now being permitted.

“And maybe, most importantly, Jake, although the case rate has increased a bit, we’re not talking about a second round here,” Kudlow said.

Watch Kudlow’s remarks below:


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Chinese diplomat promotes coronavirus conspiracy theory

Posting to his more than 300,000 followers on Twitter, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian republished a video of Robert Redfield, the director for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, addressing a US Congressional committee on March 11.

In the clip, Redfield said some influenza deaths in the US were later identified as cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Redfield didn’t say when those people had died or over what time period, but Zhao pointed to his remarks in support of a growing conspiracy theory that the coronavirus did not originate in Hubei province in central China. He did not offer any further evidence for the claim.

“CDC was caught on the spot. When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!” the Foreign Ministry official said.

Hundreds of athletes from the US military were in Wuhan for the Military World Games in October 2019.

The video of Redfield was also published to Twitter by other state media outlets, including national broadcaster CCTV and the popular Global Times tabloid.

On Friday, Zhao’s fellow Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said there were “varied opinions” on the origin of the virus in the international community.

“China always considers this a scientific question, which should be addressed in a scientific and professional manner,” he said, avoiding questions on whether Zhao’s tweet represented the Chinese government’s official position.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian during a daily briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing, on February 24.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian during a daily briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing, on February 24.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian during a daily briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing, on February 24.

Origin theories

Parts of Chinese social media, and even the country’s government, appear to have launched a concerted campaign to question the origin of the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 125,000 people globally.

The first reported cases of the virus were in Wuhan, and since then the city has had more infections and deaths than anywhere in the world.

Speaking in his official capacity at a press conference in Beijing on March 4, Zhao told reporters that “no conclusion has been reached yet on the origin of the virus” — and Chinese scientists were still tracing where it came from.

On February 27, renowned Chinese infectious disease expert Zhong Nanshan also questioned where the coronavirus had come from.

“The infection was first spotted in China but the virus may not have originated in China,” Zhong said at a press conference.

On Thursday, Hua Chunying, Zhao’s boss who heads the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Department of Information, tweeted a link to Redfield’s testimony, saying it was “absolutely wrong and inappropriate to call this the Chinese coronavirus.”

China’s ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian, took to Twitter on March 8 to say that although the first epidemic was recorded in China, it didn’t mean the virus “originated from China.”

However, Zhao’s colleague Geng cautioned Thursday that the origin of the virus could only be determined “by science.”

“We don’t hope to see anyone making an issue out of this to stigmatize other countries,” he said. “With COVID-19 developing into a pandemic, the world should come together to fight it instead of leveling accusations and attacks against each other, which is not constructive at all.”

W.H.O.: Coronavirus is 'not unstoppable'

W.H.O.: Coronavirus is 'not unstoppable'

coronavirus china italy world health organisation_00041427

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W.H.O.: Coronavirus is ‘not unstoppable’ 14:19

Twitter diplomacy

Zhao’s comments are another example of Chinese government figures using Twitter to defend China against criticism — despite the platform being banned in the country, along with Facebook, Instagram and a number of other prominent Western social media sites.

Prior to 2019, few Chinese officials had verified Twitter accounts. But since then, ambassadors, mission heads and Chinese foreign ministry spokespeople across the world have joined Twitter.

In January, Chinese ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming weighed in on the UK’s decision on whether or not to ban telecommunications giant Huawei from its 5G networks on Twitter.

Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to the US, took to Twitter in December to deny accusations of human rights abuses against Muslim-majority Uyghurs in Xinjiang. “Ultimately, facts will always prevail over lies,” he tweeted.

Zhao was promoted in mid 2019 after building a reputation for himself on Twitter as a fierce advocate for Chinese interests — arguing with western politicians and blocking Beijing’s critics — during his time as a senior diplomat at the Chinese embassy in Pakistan.

The headline and first line of this story have been updated to better characterize the claim by China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman.


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FOX News: Air Force signs deal for COVID-19 oral tests


The Air Force has signed a deal to distribute oral fluid tests for COVID-19 among U.S. military personnel around the world.

FOX News


Author mikenova12Posted on April 23, 2020Format AsideCategories 1. World from Michael Novakhov

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CDC reminds every public event is Covid-19 risk… after weeks of mass protests & just as Trump is set to hold own rally

CDC reminds every public event is Covid-19 risk… after weeks of mass protests & just as Trump is set to hold own rally

CDC reminds every public event is Covid-19 risk… after weeks of mass protests & just as Trump is set to hold own rally

FILE PHOTOS. ©  Reuters / Stephanie Keith;  Reuters / Tami Chappell;  Reuters / Brian Snyder

The CDC has warned that the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over and that states may be forced to reintroduce lockdowns – just as President Trump prepares to resume his campaign rallies after weeks of crowded protests nationwide.

“If cases begin to go up again, particularly if they go up dramatically, it’s important to recognize that more mitigation efforts such as what were implemented back in March may be needed again,” the health agency’s deputy director for infectious diseases, Jay Butler, told reporters on Friday.

Every activity that involves interacting with others has some degree of risk right now… It’s important to remember the situation is unprecedented and the pandemic is ongoing.

With dozens of localities cautiously lifting sweeping lockdown policies imposed in March to contain the virus, some states have already seen a resurgence in cases and hospitalizations, among them North Carolina, Arizona and Texas.

The spike comes on the heels of packed street protests over police brutality in hundreds of American cities, seeing thousands of demonstrators gather in close proximity since late May, disregarding social distancing guidelines. Although CDC Director Robert Redfield issued a delayed warning last week that the protests could be a “seeding event” for Covid-19, mainstream press coverage of the demonstrations largely ignored the virus threat, despite overwhelmingly negative and hectoring treatment of anti-lockdown protests just months prior.

But as US President Donald Trump prepares to hold his own campaign rally, the first since the pandemic took hold in the country, the CDC has issued a new guidance for mass gatherings, “strongly” encouraging participants to don masks and take other precautions. Pressed by reporters to specify whether the advice applied to political rallies, presumably with the president in mind, Butler would only say that the recommendations are “not commands.”

The organizers of the Trump rally, set for Tulsa, Oklahoma next week, have asked attendees to sign a waiver acknowledging that “an inherent risk of exposure to Covid-19 exists in any public place where people are present” and to agree not to hold the campaign liable for any “illness or injury” that may result. In stark contrast to the George Floyd protests, the upcoming rally has already generated a spate of negative headlines, suggesting the event will expose thousands to the virus and drive a surge in cases.

The US topped 2 million cases of the coronavirus earlier this week, counting more than 114,000 fatalities in total since the outbreak began, with Butler warning the figure could soar to 130,000 by July. Worldwide, the virus has infected some 7.6 million people and killed over 425,000. While some areas in the US, Europe and Asia have seen a downward trend in cases and deaths, the pathogen is rapidly spreading through South America, which the World Health Organization has dubbed the world’s next major epicenter for the illness.

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