Joe Biden says Trump's divisiveness is 'the last thing we need' – live

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A CBS News reporter asked Joe Biden if he is running for presiden.....tay tuned.

A CBS News reporter asked Joe Biden if he is running for president specifically to defeat Trump or to enact his own policy agenda.

“I’m running because Trump is the president, and I think our democracy’s at stake, for real,” Biden replied.

The Democratic candidate acknowledged that many American voters consider him to be “the antithesis of Trump,” and he agrees with that assessment.

A number of polls indicate a substantial portion of Biden’s supporters view their votes for the Democrat to be more so votes against Trump, but as Biden’s answer indicates, that is also how he has structured much of his campaign pitch.

Joe Biden criticized the Trump campaign’s efforts to instill fear in Americans about the alleged dangers of a Democratic administration.

The Trump campaign has run anti-Biden ads featuring a 911 call going unanswered, as the president falsely accuses his Democratic opponent of supporting the movement to defund the police.

Biden said Trump was trying to craft a “bizarre law and order” campaign message in order to “try to scare the devil out of the American people.”

Joe Biden is taking reporters’ questions in Wilmington, and the first question was unsurprisingly about his vice presidential selection process.

A CNN reporter asked Biden whether he still intended to announce his choice of running mate in early August, as he previously indicated.

“I’m going to have a choice in the first week in August,” Biden said. “And I promise, I’ll let you know when I do.” When asked whether he would be able to meet with his running mate in person considering concerns about coronavirus, Biden said, “We’ll see.”

Biden has pledged to choose a woman as his running mate, and California senator Kamala Harris is widely considered the frontrunner at the moment.

But the former vice president is also hosting a virtual fundraiser with senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday, and he was seen speaking to congresswoman Karen Bass yesterday.

Updated

Biden says Trump's divisiveness is 'the last thing we need'

Joe Biden is now delivering remarks about the fourth plank of his “Build Back Better” economic recovery plan in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Democratic presidential candidate opened his remarks by noting he spoke to John Lewis in the final days of the civil rights icon’s life.

Biden called on the Senate to pass the Voting Rights Act in order to honor the legacy of Lewis, who is lying in state at the US Capitol today.

Biden then moved on to sharply criticizing Trump for his decision to send federal agents to Portland, Oregon, to crack down on recent protests against racism and police brutality.

“This isn’t about law and order,” Biden said, referencing the catchphrase Trump frequently uses to condemn the protesters. “It’s about a political strategy to revive a failing campaign.”

Biden added, “Every instinct Trump has is to add fuel to the fire. And it’s the last thing, the last thing we need.”

Moments ago at the House judiciary committee hearing, Democratic congresswoman Pramila Jayapal accused attorney general William Barr of setting a double standard for protesters based on political ideology.

Jayapal noted Trump previously threatened to “activate” Barr to “dominate” the protesters who have marched against racism and police brutality since the killing of George Floyd.

Yet the president did not pledge similar action when Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer was facing threats over her coronavirus shutdown order, Jayapal noted. Some of those anti-shutdown protesters swarmed the Michigan capitol with guns.

“When white men with swastikas storm a government building with guns, there is no need for the president to ‘activate’ you, because they’re getting the president’s personal agenda done,” Jayapal said.

“But when black people and people of color protest police brutality, systemic racism and the president’s very own lack of response to those critical issues, then you forcibly remove them with armed federal officers [and] pepper bombs because they are considered terrorists by the president.”

Barr indicated he was not aware of the threats against Whitmer. “There are a lot of protests around the United States,” Barr said.

But Jayapal noted Barr was “very aware” of certain protests in the country, such as those taking place in Portland, Oregon. Barr has defended the actions of federal agents in Portland by arguing they are protecting a federal courthouse in the city.

However, it’s worth noting the anti-shutdown protests in Michigan that Jayapal mentioned took place across the street from the Charles E Chamberlain federal building, raising questions about why those demonstrations didn’t cause similar concern for Barr.

According to the Washington Post, the White House insisted on the money for the new FBI headquarters being included in the next coronavirus relief bill.

The Post reports:

When the White House first proposed inserting money on the FBI building in the legislation and conditioning it on keeping the headquarters in Washington, Republican lawmakers blocked it from being in the bill, people familiar with the discussions said. But White House officials persisted in demanding the money and it ended up back in the legislation.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has now said he would move to strip the provision out of the relief bill after Democratic senators speculated that the proposal was meant to benefit the president’s business.

Over in the Senate, majority leader Mitch McConnell said he is opposed to including money for the new FBI headquarters in the next coronavirus relief bill.

A draft of the Republican relief bill includes $1.75 billion for a new FBI headquarters in Washington, which has been a priority for Trump since he took office.

Before the president’s inauguration, the FBI planned to move its headquarters to the DC suburbs, which would open up a large piece of real estate near Trump’s Washington hotel.

Democrats have accused Trump of trying to block the FBI from moving its headquarters in order to prevent other hotel companies from buying the property and thus creating competition for his company.

Republicans expressed surprise that the unrelated proposal was included in the coronavirus relief bill. “That smells like a kind of strange addition,” Republican senator Ron Johnson said.

McConnell has now said he wants extraneous items, including the money for the FBI headquarters, stripped from the bill.

After attorney general William Barr stumbled over a question about soliciting foreign election assistance, a commissioner of the Federal Election Commission weighed in on the issue.

FEC commissioner Ellen Weintraub reshared a memo from June of last year condemning foreign assistance, saying of the memo, “I would not have thought that I would need to keep saying this.”

Weintraub’s memo reads in part, “Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election.”

Barr acknowledges it's not appropriate for president to accept foreign election assistance

Over at the House judiciary committee hearing, attorney general William Barr had another tense exchange with a Democratic member of the panel.

Congressman David Cicilline noted that the Republican-led Senate intelligence committee concluded Russia interfered in the 2016 US elections, and Barr said he agreed with that conclusion.

Cicilline then asked Barr, “Is it ever appropriate, sir, for the president to solicit or accept foreign assistance in an election?”

After a pause, Barr responded, “It depends what kind of assistance.”

That answer was notable considering Trump was impeached by the House over allegations that he attempted to pressure Ukraine to intervene in the 2020 presidential race to benefit his reelection bid.

Cicilline repeated, “Is it ever appropriate for the president or presidential candidate to accept or solicit foreign assistance of any kind in his or her election?”

Barr then acknowledged, “No, it’s not appropriate.”

Acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf confirmed in a statement that DACA recipients would be allowed to renew deportation protections for one year.

“As the Department continues looking at the policy and considers future action, the fact remains that Congress should act on this matter,” Wolf said. “There are important policy reasons that may warrant the full rescission of the DACA policy.”

The statement said the department would not consider new DACA applications but would “limit the period of renewed deferred action granted pursuant to the DACA policy after the issuance of this memorandum to one year.”

The policy guarantees DACA will remain in place until after the presidential election in November.

Trump administration to allow 'dreamers' to extend deportation protections for a year - report

The Trump administration reportedly plans to allow “dreamers” to extend deportation protections for a year as the federal government seeks to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The news comes a month after the supreme court blocked the administration’s effort to end the Obama-era program.

Reuters reports:

The administration is preparing a fresh attempt to end the program that shields from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants living in the United States illegally after entering as children - a group often called ‘Dreamers.’ ...

The administration plans to continue its existing policy of not accepting new DACA applicants, a policy in place since 2017, [a senior administration official] told Reuters. But the administration will extend the eligibility by a year for those DACA immigrants whose protection from deportation was due to expire, as long as they do not have a criminal record, the official said.

‘For anyone who refiles, if they are eligible and were set to expire, we will renew them on a case by case basis into the next year for an extension,’ the official said.

That policy would allow DACA to remain in place until after the November election. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has vowed to make the program permanent if he is elected.

Attorney general William Barr claimed he does not read the president’s tweets, during a tense exchange about Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s sentence.

Democratic congressman Eric Swalwell asked Barr if he was investigating the commutation. When Barr said no, Swalwell asked, “Why not?”

Barr replied, “Why should I?”

Swalwell went on to recount some of the events surrounding Stone’s conviction and eventual commutation. The congressman quoted a Trump tweet from December 2018, in which the president said Stone had “shown guts” by not testifying against him.

Barr said he was not familiar with the tweet.

“You don’t read the president’s tweets?” Swalwell asked.

“No,” Barr responded.

Swalwell replied, “Well, there’s a lot of evidence in the president’s tweets, Mr Attorney General. I think you should start reading them.”

Barr is clearly familiar with at least some of Trump’s tweets because he said earlier this year that the president should stop tweeting about the justice department because it makes it “impossible for me to do my job.”

Florida reports highest single-day Covid death toll

Florida has reported its highest single-day death toll from Covid-19 since the pandemic began, with 186 deaths reported, bringing total deaths in the state to 6,117. The state health department has also confirmed 9,230 new cases, bringing the state’s known total to 441,977.

The way Florida collects statistics means the 186 deaths reported on Tuesday did not necessarily all happen on Monday.

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 4.3m cases and more than 148,000 deaths have been recorded in the US as a whole. That source puts Florida second in total cases confirmed, behind California, an early hotspot now experiencing a resurgence.

Under Governor Ron DeSantis, known to some as “mini Trump”, Florida is among largely Republican-led southern and western states which sought to reopen their economies over the Memorial Day weekend in late May and which are now struggling to cope.

Late last week Dr Mark Supino of Jackson Memorial Hospital’s emergency department, in Miami, told the Guardian: “The last three weeks have been some of the busiest shifts in my entire life. We’ve seen some of the sickest patients we’ve ever seen.”

Florida has lost the Republican national convention but its governor has insisted it remains open for business:

“We’re not going to restrict the businesses,” DeSantis said last Thursday.

As the presidential election approaches, most national and battleground state polling has shown growing disapproval for Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic. Polling averages for Florida show Joe Biden with a healthy lead.

Updated

Today so far

The House judiciary committee hearing with attorney general William Barr has now resumed after a very brief recess.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Barr said he does not generally believe there is systemic racism in US police departments. Under questioning from Democratic congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Barr said, “I don’t agree there is systemic racism in police departments generally in this country.”
  • The American Federation of Teachers has authorized “safety strikes” if necessary to protect teachers from coronavirus. The announcement comes as number of school districts in coronavirus hot spots are pushing to reopen schools, despite concerns about the spread of the virus in classrooms.
  • Twitter temporarily restricted Donald Trump Jr’s account for spreading false claims about coronavirus. The president’s son shared a video of a doctor falsely claiming that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine is a “cure” for coronavirus.

The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Updated

The Guardian’s Sam Levine reports:

Senate Republicans did not allocate any money in the latest Covid-19 relief bill to support election officials as they prepare to run an unprecedented election this fall.

States need at least $4bn to upgrade their systems, according to an estimate to the Brennan Center for Justice. Congress has allocated just $400m, so far.

There have been widespread and bipartisan calls for federal assistance to local election officials, who are grappling with how they can accommodate expected high turnout in the presidential election.

More Americans are expected to vote by mail this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and election officials in states that typically do not see widespread absentee voting are figuring out how they can scale up their systems to process ballot requests as well as ballots themselves.

During the primaries, voters in many states have seen severe delays in getting their ballots as local election offices, in some cases staffed by just a few full-time employees, have been crushed by the surge of requests.

“The Senate proposal is an insult to the lives we have lost to this global pandemic and to those who continue to suffer. It is a morally deficient response that does not support our most marginalized communities and protect our democratic institutions,” Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which has lobbied for more support for mail-in voting, said in a statement.

Covid-19 is also forcing election officials to find poll workers and places for polling stations as the people who usually serve - and tend to skew older - and locations drop out because of the virus. Tina Barton, an election official in Rochester Hills, Michigan, told the Guardian last week she was “begging” people to work the polls and had recently spent $2,000 on an advertisement encouraging people to sign up to be poll workers.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, who has led a push for expansion of vote by mail in recent weeks, also criticized the Republican proposal, describing it as an “outrage.”

Moments ago, attorney general William Barr defended his widely criticized handling of criminal cases involving the president’s former associates, such as Michael Flynn and Roger Stone.

“I agree the president’s friends don’t deserve special breaks, but they also don’t deserve to be treated more harshly than other people,” Barr said.

However, as a Washington Post reporter noted, it would be difficult if not impossible to think of another instance when the justice department moved to dismiss charges against someone who had twice pleaded guilty, as happened in the case of Flynn.

Barr: 'I don’t agree there is systemic racism in police departments'

Attorney general Wiliam Barr said he does not generally believe there is systemic racism in US police departments.

Democratic congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas questioned Barr on whether he considered the killing of George Floyd to be indicative of a systemic problem in policing.

Amid crosstalk between Lee and Barr, the attorney general said, “I don’t agree there is systemic racism in police departments generally in this country.”

Barr also noted he is opposed to eliminating qualified immunity, which protects police officers from being held legally liable in civil court for misconduct.

AFT authorizes 'safety strikes' if necessary to protect teachers

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has authorized local teachers unions to conduct “safety strikes” as a last resort, if local officials do not meet safety criteria to protect teachers from coronavirus.

School districts are being pushed to open, even in areas where the coronavirus outbreak is severe, such as Florida.

The authorization will give local unions another bargaining chip as school districts across the Sun Belt – where Covid-19 is spreading widely – are scheduled to open in early to mid-August.

“Let’s be clear,” president of the AFT Randi Weingarten told delegates at the union’s annual conference, which is being held online this year. “Just as we have done with our healthcare workers, we will fight on all fronts for the safety of our students and their educators. But if the authorities don’t get it right, and they don’t protect the safety and health of those we represent and those we serve, nothing is off the table — not advocacy or protests, negotiations, grievances or lawsuits, or, if necessary as a last resort, safety strikes.”

The 1.7 million-member union represents both teachers and nurses across the country, and it is the nation’s second-largest union for educators.

This month, in an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Weingarten said, “It’s as if Trump and [education secretary Betsy] DeVos want to create chaos and want to jeopardize reopening. ... There’s no other reason why they would be this reckless, this callous, this cruel”.

The union has pushed Congress to fund billions in safety upgrades for schools to improve ventilations and provide personal protective equipment, among other safeguards. Among the union’s demands: mandatory masks for teachers and students, enhanced cleaning regiments, and smaller class sizes to enforce social distancing measures.

House judiciary committee chairman Jerry Nadler pressed attorney general William Barr on whether he had ever discussed the presidential election with Trump or one of his advisers.

“I’m not going to get into my discussions with the president,” Barr replied. The attorney general noted he and Trump had not discussed the election in relation to the justice department program that Barr was focused on during today’s hearing.

When asked whether he has discussed the election generally with the president or one of his advisers, Barr said, “I’m a member of the cabinet, and there’s an election going on. Obviously the topic comes up.”

He added, “The topic comes up in cabinet meetings and other things. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the topic of the election comes up.”

Nadler responded, “I didn’t say I was surprised. I just asked if you’d done that.”

The Democratic chairman succeeded in getting Barr to admit he had discussed the election, but Daniel Goldman, the former impeachment counsel for House Democrats, said Nadler’s line of questioning was “ineffective.”

Barr bemoans the 'demonization of police' following Floyd's killing

In his opening statement, attorney general William Barr acknowledged incidents of racism against African Americans but declined to characterize such events as the consequence of systemic raicsm.

Barr said the death of George Floyd, who was killed after a white police officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, had “understandably jarred the whole country and forced us to reflect on longstanding issues in our nation.”

But the attorney general added, “At the same time, I think it would be an oversimplification to treat the problem as rooted in some deep-seated racism generally infecting our police departments. It seems far more likely that the problem stems from a complex mix of factors, which can be addressed with focused attention over time.”

Barr went on to criticize the “violent rioters and anarchists [who] have hijacked legitimate protests to wreak senseless havoc and destruction on innocent victims,” echoing Trump’s words about the protesters who have been marching against racism and police brutality since the killing of Floyd.

“The demonization of police is not only unfair and inconsistent with the principle that all people should be treated as individuals, but gravely injurious to our inner city communities,” Barr said. “There is no harder job in America today than being a police officer.”

Interestingly, Barr skipped a section of his prepared remarks released last night, which bemoaned “the grave abuses involved in the bogus ‘Russiagate’ scandal.”

After Republican congressman Jim Jordan’s lengthy video of recent protests concluded, Democratic chairman Jerry Nadler quipped, “Well, I hope that Mr Jordan will never complain about the length of my opening statement.”

Nadler then noted Jordan did not give the committee the required 48-hour notice about audiovisual aids used during hearings.

With that, Nadler swore in attorney general William Barr, about 35 minutes after the start of the hearing.

Congressman Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House judiciary committee, used his opening statement to criticize the origins of the justice department’s Russia investigation.

“Spying. That one word, that’s why they’re after you, Mr Attorney General,” Jordan said to William Barr.

He went on to go through a now-familiar list of complaints about the justice department’s handling of the investigation.

Jordan then played a lengthy video of recent protests against racism and police brutality, meant to justify the deployment of federal troops to Democratic-controlled cities.

Updated

Nadler accuses Barr of having 'aided and abetted the worst failings' of Trump

House judiciary committee chairman Jerry Nadler used his opening statement to thoroughly rebuke attorney general William Barr for his leadership of the justice department.

“Your tenure has been marked by a persistent war against the department’s professional core in an apparent attempt to secure favors for the president,” Nadler said.

The Democratic chairman outlined several examples of this “war,” specifically criticizing Barr for “actively seeking out conflict with American citizens” who are protesting for civil rights.

The hearing comes as Trump’s administration continues to receive criticism for sending federal troops to crack down on anti-racism protests in Portland, Oregon.

“In your time at the department, you have aided and abetted the worst failings of this president,” Nadler said.

Updated

House judiciary committee hearing with Barr begins

The House judiciary committee hearing featuring testimony from attorney general William Barr has now started.

House judiciary committee chairman Jerry Nadler gaveled in the hearing and confirmed the event was slightly delayed because of his “minor car accident” this morning.

“Everyone is fine, except perhaps the car, but it did cause significant delay,” Nadler joked.

Nadler noted this marks Barr’s first House testimony since becoming Trump’s attorney general early last year.

The hearing on oversight of the justice department is expected to include Democrats grilling Barr on the forcible removal of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square last month and last month’s firing of the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan.

Barr arrives on Capitol Hill to testify

Attorney general William Barr has arrived on Capitol Hill to testify before the House judiciary committee.

The hearing was originally scheduled to begin at 10am ET, but it was slightly delayed after judiciary committee chairman Jerry Nadler was in a minor car accident. (Nadler was not driving and not injured, his spokesperson said.)

Barr’s opening remarks, which were released last night, indicate he intends to come out swinging against Democrats, who are expected to press him on the forcible removal of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square near the White House last month.

Democratic members of the committee are also likely to ask Barr about last month’s firing of the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan.

In his prepared opening remarks, Barr says, “Ever since I made it clear that I was going to do everything I could to get to the bottom of the grave abuses involved in the bogus ‘Russiagate’ scandal, many of the Democrats on this Committee have attempted to discredit me by conjuring up a narrative that I am simply the President’s factotum who disposes of criminal cases according to his instructions.”

This hearing marks Barr’s first appearance before the House judicary committee since becoming Trump’s attorney general in February of last year.

Updated

Twitter’s communications team reiterated that it has not permanently suspended Donald Trump Jr’s account after the president’s son shared false information about coronavirus.

The Twitter team said in a tweet, “This account has not been permanently suspended. Per the screenshot, the Tweet requires deletion because it violates our rules (sharing misinformation on COVID-19), and the account will have limited functionality for 12 hours.”

Donald Trump Jr’s Twitter account was restricted after he reshared a video of Dr Stella Immanuel, who has made a number of baseless claims about coronavirus.

Immanuel has hailed hydroxychloroquine as a “cure” for coronavirus, even though the anti-malaria drug has not been found to be an effective treatment against the virus.

The Houston doctor has also dismissed mounting evidence that face masks substantially help to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The Daily Beast has more on Immanuel:

Immanuel, a pediatrician and a religious minister, has a history of making bizarre claims about medical topics and other issues. She has often claimed that gynecological problems like cysts and endometriosis are in fact caused by people having sex in their dreams with demons and witches.

She alleges alien DNA is currently used in medical treatments, and that scientists are cooking up a vaccine to prevent people from being religious. And, despite appearing in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on Monday, she has said that the government is run in part not by humans but by ‘reptilians’ and other aliens.

According to a New York Times reporter, Twitter quibbled with the characterization that it had “suspended” Donald Trump Jr’s account.

The social media giant said it had only required the president’s son to delete a tweet with false claims about coronavirus and limited some account features for 12 hours.

Twitter limits some of Donald Trump Jr's account features

Twitter limited some of Donald Trump Jr’s account features after the president’s son reshared false claims about the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment.

According to a screenshot shared by an adviser to Trump, Twitter concluded that he had violated its policy on spreading “misleading and potentially harmful” information about coronavirus.

The news comes after Trump shared a video of a doctor falsely touting hydroxychloroquine as a “cure” for coronavirus. The viral video, which was also retweeted by the president, was taken down by Twitter.

Hydroxychloroquine is not considered an effective treatment against coronavirus, and the Food and Drug Administration revoked its emergency use authorization as a potential treatment last month.

Dr Anthony Fauci said of the drug in an interview this morning, “The overwhelming prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in coronavirus disease.”

Barr hearing slightly delayed due to Nadler's minor car accident - reports

Today’s House hearing with attorney general William Barr has reportedly been slightly delayed because judiciary committee chairman Jerry Nadler was in a minor car accident on his way from New York.

A spokesperson for Nadler told CNN the Democratic congressman was not driving and was not injured in the accident.

However, the incident has slightly delayed the hearing on justice department oversight, which was set to start in about 15 minutes at 10 am ET.

The hearing is now expected to begin at 10:45 am ET.

Updated

Trump to hold coronavirus briefing today

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany just announced Trump will hold a coronavirus briefing today at 5 pm ET.

The president resumed the briefings last week, nearly three months after he suspended the daily events.

The initial decision to suspend the briefings came shortly after Trump dangerously suggested that Americans could protect themselves from coronavirus by ingesting disinfectants, prompting warnings from some state health officials not to do so.

In last week’s briefings, the president did not reiterate that false claim, and he strongly urged Americans to wear face masks after months of refusing to do so.

However, the president went on a Twitter spree last night that reshared false claims about the use of hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment.

Trump will almost certainly be asked about those claims today, so it should be a rather interesting briefing.

The Black Lives Matter mural painted outside Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan has been vandalized for at least the fourth time.

In the latest incident, Mark David Hutt, a 32-year-old resident of Rochester, New York, tossed white paint over part of the stencil and smeared it with his hands, according to the New York Police Department. Hutt was arrested and charged with criminal mischief.

Black Lives Matter is seen painted on the street in front of Trump Tower.
Black Lives Matter is seen painted on the street in front of Trump Tower. Photograph: Amy Harris/REX/Shutterstock

Whilst the NYPD doesn’t track the number of times the mural has been defaced, three separate incidents have previously been reported. The mural, which lies outside the Trump Organization’s headquarters, was first vandalized about four days after it was painted on July 9. In that incident, red paint was used paint over V in “Lives.”

Donald Trump has called the words “Black Lives Matter” a “symbol of hate”. In a tweet before the sign was approved by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Trump said a “big, expensive, yellow Black Lives Matter sign” would be “denigrating [to] this luxury Avenue.”

The mayor responded: “Here’s what you don’t understand: Black people BUILT 5th Ave and so much of this nation. Your ‘luxury’ came from THEIR labor, for which they have never been justly compensated. We are honoring them. The fact that you see it as denigrating your street is the definition of racism.”

In his “Good Morning America” interview today, Dr Anthony Fauci also corrected false claims reshared by the president that the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine is a “cure” for coronavirus.

GMA host George Stephanopoulos noted the Food and Drug Administration revoked its emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment last month.

“I go along with the FDA,” Fauci said. “The overwhelming prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in coronavirus disease.”

The infectious disease expert also made clear he does not pay too much attention to Trump’s Twitter feed, which was particularly active last night.

One tweet reshared by the president accused Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, of having “misled the American public.”

Asked about the tweets this morning, Fauci said, “I don’t tweet. I don’t even read them, so I don’t really want to go there. I just will continue to do my job no matter what comes out because I think it’s very important.”

He later added, “I have not been misleading the American public under any circumstances.”

Trump launches defensive Twitter spree as coronavirus death toll approaches 150,000

Good morning, live blog readers, and greetings from Washington.

Donald Trump sent a flurry of tweets last night, resharing messages accusing Dr Anthony Fauci of misleading the country on coronavirus treatments and videos of a doctor falsely claiming that hydroxychloroquine is a “cure” for the virus.

“Dr. Fauci has misled the American public on many issues, but in particular, on dismissing #hydroxychloroquine and calling Remdesivir the new gold standard,” the retweet said.

Twitter later took down the videos of the doctor making false claims about hyroxychloroquine, citing their rules on spreading misinformation.

Trump’s defensive Twitter spree came as the US coronavirus death toll approaches 150,000. The country’s daily death toll has also recently been on the rise because of many states’ surges in new cases.

But public health experts, including Fauci, say they remain committed to educating the public about mitigating the spread of the virus, even as the president seems determined to downplay the severity of the threat.

When asked this morning by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos how he can continue to do his job while the president undermines his credibility, Fauci replied, “You know, George, I don’t know how to address that. I’m just going to certainly continue doing my job.”

Here’s what else is happening today:

  • Trump has no events on his public schedule, which should give him plenty more time to tweet.
  • Joe Biden will speak in Wilmington, Delaware, about the fourth plank of his “Build Back Better” economic recovery plan for working families and how it will address systemic racism at 2.30 pm ET.
  • Attorney general William Barr will testify at a House judiciary committee hearing on justice department oversight at 10 am ET.

The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

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