Posted on

Republicans Worry That Trump’s Virus Response Fail Will Cost Them The Senate

Republicans are worried that Trump’s failed virus response, the collapsing economy, and Democratic enthusiasm will cost them the Senate.

The Washington Post reported:

Republicans are increasingly nervous they could lose control of the Senate this fall as a potent combination of a cratering economy, President Trump’s handling of the pandemic and rising enthusiasm among Democratic voters dims their electoral prospects.


A return to normalcy ahead of the elections is far from a given as the death toll continues to rise and economic data paints a grim picture, meaning the president’s handling of the pandemic could be the determining factor not only for his reelection but for Republicans’ ability to hold onto the Senate. In short, as goes Trump, so likely goes the Senate majority.

Republicans are also warning that Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Cory Gardner of Colorado may already be toast. The only hope that Republicans have of holding on to the Senate majority is for Trump to repeat his 2016 performance and drag struggling Republican incumbents like Thom Tills of North Carolina and Martha McSally of Arizona across the finish line with him.

Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) is the only incumbent Democrat who might lose his seat in November, so the map does not look good for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The odds that the campaign and the country will be back to normal by November are slim, so if the election is all about Donald Trump, Democrats will be in an excellent position to take back the Senate in November.

Posted on

Seven viral futures – TechCrunch

The entire world has run smack into the biggest economic wall since the Great Depression, and the US stock market is … above where it was this time last year. American tech megacorns like AirBNB, Lyft, and Uber have laid off 20% of their staff … and the Big Five tech companies are worth a record 20% of the entire market. What the hell?

Yes, those three cited companies are directly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but so many sectors are — travel, retail, hospitality, entertainment, events, real estate, business services, to name only a few — that every other sector is inevitably indirectly affected too.

So what are the markets, in their infinite wisdom, collectively expecting? The old saw has it that the market is a voting machine in the short term, but a weighing machine in the long run. What futures are being weighed?

I see seven possibilities bouncing around in time’s great lottery machine:

The Flying V

The future: In this, the best and laziest of all possible futures, we have beaten down the virus’s attack; a few easy countermeasures such as hand-washing, mask-wearing, and surface-sanitizing prevent future exponential growth, and when the lockdownss end, people flock back to their previous activities. Maybe a few extra months for some sectors, but come the autumn, schools reopen, flights resume, and life basically returns to normal. The economy and its jobs soon follow, and this short, sharp, V-shaped recession is behind us by November.

Probability apparently assigned by the market and many politicians: Call it 40%.

Its actual likelihood: This is delusional idiocy. Even with strict lockdowns, case counts are only plateauing in many areas. Mask wearing and hand washing are good and important, but not enough, and Americans have committed murder rather than wear masks. Most importantly, there is no way in hell people will flock back to previous activities as before — data shows they actually abandoned them before lockdowns were introduced. Consumer spending, and hence jobs, and hence the economy, will continue to suffer, lockdowns or no, while the virus is out there and (very understandably) keeping people in their homes.

The Christmas Tree

The future: We live in a world of Green Zones and Red Zones. In green zones, case counts are kept to near-zero, outbreaks are tracked with frequent ubiquitous testing — for which people are paid $50/test, to ensure underclasses don’t go untested — and forcefully squelched by aggressive contact tracing and away-from-home quarantines. People coming from Red Zones are kept in quarantine buffers before entry is allowed. In green zones, economies are roaring, but in red zones, the battle against the virus continues, and economies remain semi-comatose. Red and green zones are roughly equally distributed, so the economy is only half as bad as it would be in an all-red world.

Probability apparently assigned by the market and many politicians: Maybe 5%?

Its actual likelihood: I mean, we live in this already — Taiwan, South Korea, New Zealand, and (apparently) China and Vietnam are Green Zones. The likelihood of this extending to Europe and the USA, though … I don’t know. California moved fast and is competently governed, but now has roughly as many confirmed cases as all of China (allegedly) did. Hard to pack that mushroom cloud back into its uranium casing. But not impossible, with enough testing and tracing. Meanwhile, states with governments in denial will not dedicate the resources required to turn green. So, plausible, but IMHO not actually likely for the USA or Europe, much less South America or sub-Saharan Africa. I would think it a quite likely future for my homeland Canada … except we’re too tightly connected to fractured and incompetent America.

The Hammer And The Dance

The future: As described by Tomas Pueyo in a viral and pretty-good piece that came out a couple of months ago, the current lockdowns (The Hammer) are followed by the virus sine-waving indefinitely: it seethes, and from time to sporadic time erupts anew, and those eruptions are followed by localized screw-tightening including further lockdowns. But we keep it below health-system capacity, and we buy enough time such that when a vaccine is finally found and distributed, we haven’t come anywhere near herd immunity, and have thus saved many lives. The economy sine-waves too: surges of normalcy followed by massive ebb tides continue through 2020 and well into 2021 at the least.

Probability apparently assigned by the market and many politicians: Say 10%.

Its actual likelihood: I’d think reasonably high. We know lockdowns can plateau and reduce the virus; I fear that generalized incompetence and intransigence makes a Christmas Tree future implausible, at least in the USA, whose people and politicians tend to confuse organization with tyranny, and instead favor crude instruments such as lockdowns: and given those circumstances, this is the least bad option. I fear dangerous overshoots during “The Dance,” but I don’t think they’re inevitable. However, from an economic POV, this is not a good solution. People will continue to feel unsafe, and the economy will continue to be hit by hammerblows, albeit lighter than the one we’re in now.

The Silver Bullet(s)

The future: We’d best conservatively assume that, even if accelerated by human challenge studies and simultaneously building factories for seven different vaccines, we’ll be at least well into 2021, and possibly some distance beyond, before we get a vaccine. But a vaccine is not the only possible medical solution. If we find prophylaxes or treatments which, singly or in combination, render the disease much less dangerous, that would be hugely beneficial and change the proverbial game.

Probability apparently assigned by the market and many politicians: At least 35%. You can almost hear them screaming “Nerd harder!” at the doctors and scientists.

Its actual likelihood: Well, call me Pollyanna if you will, but I actually think this is fairly plausible. It’s still early but we’re already seeing (very initial) studies indicating that not just one, not just two, but a few different treatments may be beneficial. I want to stress again: very initial, and like hydroxychloroquine, may yet be ruled out by better data. But presumably the more we learn about this disease the better our treatments will get. The question is how much better, and how fast — but “much better, quite soon” is at least within the realm of possibility.

The Cattle Drive

The future: We basically give up on fighting the virus — while still trying to keep it from overwhelming healthcare systems and doing our level best to protect the elderly, the immunocompromised, the diabetic, etc. etc., with the fabled goal of Herd Immunity. Unfortunately we’ll almost certainly overshoot the actual Herd Immunity number, and it’s next to impossible to protect the elderly (“Who do you think works at those nursing homes? Highly trained gibbons?”), so this will almost certainly kill a lot of people who don’t have to die, while also not doing much for the economy since no one’s actually all that eager to rush out and catch a virus which has some chance of becoming the worst experience of your adult life even if it doesn’t ultimately kill you.

Probability apparently assigned by the market and many politicians: I’d like to think they don’t give this more than a 10% chance, largely because they know it wouldn’t fly with the public and also wouldn’t be particularly good for the economy.

Its actual likelihood: This is kind of the worst-case “Hammer and Dance” scenario, in which we just barely keep health-care systems from bursting. People call it “the Swedish model,” and we’ll see what happens there, but note that Sweden’s population is roughly comparable to New York City’s, and “the NYC model” sounds a whole lot less appealing. I think the cautionary tales of New York and Lombardy will keep most of the West from trying to deliberately seek out herd immunity.

The Second Wave

The future: After we relax the current lockdowns, everything seems fine. A few sporadic outbreaks here and there, the virus continuing to smolder a little, but basically a fire which is guttering and going out. But it turns out that it’s seasonal — and then — come the autumn — a completely unexpected second wave, which nobody predicted or saw coming, hits! You know, just like the Spanish Flu!

Probability apparently assigned by the market and many politicians: 0%.

Its actual likelihood: I too think this is very unlikely. First, if the virus is susceptible to heat and humidity, explain Ecuador and Brazil. Second, and more importantly, unlike the Spanish Flu, we have the example of the Spanish Flu to be warned by. Come the autumn, and again the winter, half the world will be watching all the data with keenly twitching antennae. Surely we can’t be collectively dumb enough to be ambushed by a Second Wave again. Right? Right?

The Double Tap

The future: This isn’t so much a new future as an add-on to any of the above. In this future, the coronavirus triggers a chain of effects which cascade into another, different massive crisis, while we’re still dealing with this first one. Say, an attempt to postpone November’s presidential election, followed by a constitutional crisis and calls for the US military to intervene. Or a huge spike in food prices around the globe, followed by widespread famine, riots, and revolution. Or the fracturing of a major nation hit particularly hard by the virus, e.g. Brazil or Russia or India.

Probability apparently assigned by the market and many politicians: 0%; second-order effects are generally beyond their remit.

Its actual likelihood: Pretty small … but not zero, and definitely worrying.

Posted on

Flynn’s Lawyer Says Obama Was Part Of Conspiracy To Entrap Former National Security Advisor

Michael Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, said Sunday that former President Barack Obama was part of the conspiracy to entrap the former national security advisor.

FBI agents conspired with each other in order to mask their investigation and did not reveal to Flynn that his answers to questions were not informal responses but could be construed as criminal if inaccurate or incomplete, Powell told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”

“These agents specifically schemed and planned with each other how to not tip him off, that he was even the person being investigated.”

House Intelligence Committee transcripts released last  week showed how FBI officials entrapped Flynn — even though they knew the former Army lieutenant general had not colluded with Russia. As a result of the revelation, the Department of Justice has decided to drop Michael Flynn’s case.

“So they kept him relaxed and unguarded deliberately as part of their effort to set him up and frame him,” Powell said. (RELATED: AG Barr: FBI Under Comey Set A ‘Perjury Trap For Michael Flynn)

The lawyer focused on what she described as Obama’s role in the operation — given that the former president has said the exoneration of Flynn means the “the rule of law is at risk.

Powell related that a crucial meeting occurred in the Oval Office on Jan. 5, 2017 when she says Flynn’s fate was effectively sealed. Former FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former DIA Director John Brennan were all present to brief Obama on Flynn’s case. (RELATED: Michael Flynn: ‘I Regret Pleading Guilty’)

President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse on June 24, 2019 in Washington, DC. Criminal sentencing for Flynn will be on hold for at least another two months. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

Host Maria Bartiromo asked Powell, “So you think this goes all the way up to the top to President Obama?

She responded: “Absolutely.”

When asked if anyone is going to be charged for this, Powell said, “I have no idea. That’s up to [attorney] John Durham and Attorney General [William] Barr.

She described Flynn’s reaction to the news of his vindication as “disbelief and relief at the same time.”


Posted on

WHO Denies Report It Helped China Conceal Outbreak (VIDEO)

By Bailey Vogt
May 10, 2020

Der Spiegel said that Chinese President Xi Jinping called the WHO director-general and asked him to hold back information about human transmission.

The World Health Organization is denying a report it was pressured by China to help cover up the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The WHO called a German magazine’s report allegations  “unfounded and untrue.” The magazine Der Spiegel reported Chinese President Xi Jinping called the WHO director-general in January, asking him to withhold information about the disease being transmittable between humans.

The health organization said the phone call never happened and said the report is a distraction from its efforts to end the pandemic.

The report comes as officials, including President Trump, have accused the WHO of not holding China accountable as the first COVID-19 cases began to emerge there last year — and questioning its ability to manage outbreaks in authoritarian countries. 

These concerns led President Trump to pull funding for the organization in April, accusing it of “mismanaging” the pandemic by not getting experts into China sooner. The WHO announced Friday it was $1.3 billion short of what it needs to manage the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted on

Yemen reports 17 new coronavirus cases, raising total number to 51

CAIRO (Reuters) – Yemen on Sunday reported 17 new coronavirus cases and one death, raising the total number of infections to 51 and total fatalities to eight, the emergency coronavirus committee of Yemen’s Saudi-backed government said on Twitter.

The committee said there are 10 new cases in Aden, three in Hadhramaut, two in Lahaj and two in Taiz.

(Reporting by Samar Hassan; editing by Diane Craft)

Posted on

Full transcript of “Face the Nation” on May 10, 2020

On this “Face the Nation” broadcast moderated by Margaret Brennan:

  • Kevin Hassett, White House Economic Adviser
  • Eric Schmidt, Former CEO and Chairman of Google
  • Dr. Christopher Murray, Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington
  • Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Former FDA Commissioner
  • James Ryan, President, University of Virginia

Click here to browse full transcripts of “Face the Nation.”

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m Margaret Brennan in Washington. And this week on FACE THE NATION, the grim march to reopen the country continues, as unemployment soars to levels unseen since the Great Depression. The jobs numbers for April are abysmal. Twenty and a half million people lost their jobs last month. Thirty-three million have filed for unemployment in just the last six weeks. One in seven working Americans are out of a job. Will the President push for more federal aid to help those who are struggling?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, we’re in no rush. We’re in no rush.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The COVID-19 numbers are staggering, too. There are now four million confirmed cases worldwide. More than 1.3 million just in the U.S., where the death toll is seventy-eight thousand and rising.
DR. TOM FRIEDEN: As bad as this has been, it’s just the beginning.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Despite the dire warnings from medical experts, the do what I say, not what I do, mindset at the White House continues, as two staffers with close proximity to the President and vice president test positive for the virus. And three top coronavirus task force members quarantined. The CDC recommends Americans wear masks, but that’s not enforced at the White House.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I feel about vaccines like I feel about tests. This is going to go away without a vaccine. It’s going to go away, and it’s– we’re not going to see it again, hopefully, after a period of time.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That type of wishful thinking drew a rare rebuke from the President’s predecessor. In a recording obtained by Yahoo! News, former President Obama called the response “anemic and spotty.”
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset of “what’s in it for me” and “to heck with anybody else,” when that mindset is operationalized in our government.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll talk with White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett, as well as former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. He’s now leading a project to reimagine parts of the economy. Doctor Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, will share brand new COVID-19 projections with us. And we’ll hear from former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb. Finally, with college graduations canceled or going virtual this year, we’ll ask the president of the University of Virginia, Jim Ryan, what challenges school officials are facing as they plan for the fall.
It’s all just ahead on FACE THE NATION.
Good morning. And welcome to FACE THE NATION. We begin today with the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The numbers are brutal. The official unemployment rate jumped more than 10 points, from 4.4 percent for March to April’s 14.7 percent. CBS News national correspondent Mark Strassmann is in Atlanta. Mark.
MARK STRASSMANN (CBS News National Correspondent): Good morning, Margaret. If you think about it, one month is all it took. One month for the best jobs economy in the last fifty years to plummet into worries about a second Great Depression.
(Begin VT)
MARK STRASSMANN: Hunger is motivating. By 5:00 AM in Connecticut, this grocery giveaway had a line of cars waiting.
MAN: We need food. My son was laid off. My daughter-in-law was laid off. And I’m handicapped.
MARK STRASSMANN: Nearly one in five mothers with children under twelve now report their families don’t have enough to eat. Today’s food lines recall soup lines during the Great Depression.
JILL SCHLESINGER (CBS News Business Analyst/@jillonmoney): There is a broader unemployment rate, a rate that encompasses people who may be sidelined because they are not actually looking for work actively, and that rate is nearly twenty-three percent unemployment.
MARK STRASSMANN: That is a Depression-era number. Like hunger marchers in 1932, protesters in 2020 pushed to reclaim their piece of America.
CROWD (in unison): You work for us.
MARK STRASSMANN: And its economy, in deep freeze. On this Mother’s Day weekend, this protest in Olympia, Washington, drew more than one thousand people. They demanded the governor speed up his reopening plan. Tesla is fed up with California. Let its factory reopen or the carmaker says it will move to Texas or Nevada. And Florida is reopening salons and barber shops tomorrow.
RON DESANTIS: There was a lot of doomsday predictions for Florida. Those have not borne out.
MARK STRASSMANN: Maybe not, but last week was Florida’s deadliest since its COVID outbreak began. So much about America’s economy now rides on the unknown, containing COVID-19, whether the virus resurges later this year and when people feel safe again. Polls show most Americans expect a full recovery to take at least a year. Some financial analysts argue, count on a decade.
JILL SCHLESINGER: Any hope of what we would like to call a v-shaped recovery, one where you go down sharply and recover sharply, I think that’s thrown out the window.
(End VT)
MARK STRASSMANN: Georgia led the country with its limited reopening. Consumer response has been mixed and many eligible stores have stayed closed. And in the roughly two weeks since the state eased its restrictions, new COVID cases have gone up more than twenty percent. Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mark Strassmann, thanks.
CBS News senior foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer has our report about what’s going on in the rest of the world.
ELIZABETH PALMER (CBS News Senior Foreign Correspondent/@elizapalmer): Margaret, despite passing that grim milestone of four million cases, the overall number of deaths every day is dropping, thanks in part to controlled measures in New York and, of course, in Europe. But many countries are in the real thick of the crisis.
(Begin VT)
ELIZABETH PALMER: Like Russia. Yesterday was the anniversary of the end of World War II. But there was little to celebrate. In spite of Moscow’s ultra strict lockdown, Russia reported ten thousand new COVID cases every day last week. In neighboring Belarussia, in spite of a serious outbreak, President Lukashenko remains in COVID denial.
(Alexander Lukashenko speaking foreign language)
ELIZABETH PALMER: He’s called it a psychosis, and welcomed huge crowds to his country’s Victory Day ceremony on Saturday. There were crowds in Brasilia, too, demonstrating in support of the world’s other great COVID denier, President Jair Bolsonaro who still refuses to social distance. Though Rio’s famous Christ the Redeemer statute wearing a mask shows he is out of step with local officials fighting to control the outbreak. South Korea has opened its baseball season with masked cheerleaders performing in empty stadiums. Strict measures early on here have almost eliminated COVID, but President Moon Jae-in warned today–
(Moon Jae-in speaking foreign language)
ELIZABETH PALMER: –it isn’t over until it’s over after nightclubs in Seoul had to close abruptly when there was a fresh outbreak. Now, it’s the developing world that’s being closely watched by public health experts. In Africa and Southeast Asia, the virus appears to be spreading more slowly, maybe because the population tends on average to be young, but no one is sure and it might well be that the worst is yet to come.
(End VT)
ELIZABETH PALMER: Here in Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to go on television tonight to explain how we get out of our lockdown. And there is some speculation that the roadmap will include a two-week quarantine period, Margaret, for anyone arriving on these shores.
(End VT)
MARGARET BRENNAN: Elizabeth Palmer, thank you.
Kevin Hassett is a White House economic adviser and he joins us this morning. Good morning to you, Kevin.
KEVIN HASSETT (White House Economic Adviser): Good morning.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You called this one of the worst jobs reports ever. We know that this has hit Hispanic and African-American population exceptionally hard and that these numbers we’re seeing likely don’t reflect the real pain out there. Where is the bottom to this?
KEVIN HASSETT: Well, you know, you are exactly right to emphasize that that the African-American community and the Hispanic-American community have been hit especially hard by this jobs report with both of those communities, which were really experiencing record low unemployment rates even in January, seeing massive, massive increases in unemployment. You know, right now, looking across the U.S., there are more than thirty million people that are getting initial claims for unemployment insurance. And that’s the biggest negative shock to the jobs market that we’ve seen since World War II. To get unemployment rates like the ones that we’re about to see, to get back to your question, which I think will climb up towards twenty percent by next month, you have to really go back to the Great Depression to see that. Now, there are a lot of economic differences between right now and the Great Depression. Here, we understand why the economy is slowing down. And we expect that we can reverse it. Whereas in the Depression, there were a lot of other things, a lot of policy errors and so on, that made the whole thing drag out. And so I think if you look at the Congressional Budget Office, they currently forecast that the second half of the year will be one of recovery. You know, God willing, that’s what’s going to happen. And I think that that’s the view that’s pretty much shared by the White House. And so I think you could expect to see jobs probably trough, you know, in May or June.
MARGARET BRENNAN: May or June would be the low point for unemployment at what? What rate?
KEVIN HASSETT: That– that– That’s about what we expect yeah. You know, I’m looking for rates north of twenty, sadly.
MARGARET BRENNAN: North of twenty.
KEVIN HASSETT: In part– part of the– part of this is not really as science as much as just arithmetic.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. After the financial crisis, it got– it took a decade to get back to employment levels prior to that. You said on Friday that when it comes to this crisis, there’s kind of a silver lining in the jobs report that you saw because you said almost everybody accounted for the increase in unemployment said they expect to go back to work within six months. I’m sure they hope to but isn’t that just wishful thinking at this point? You don’t know that.
KEVIN HASSETT: Right. Yeah. Nobody knows it. And, you know, and it’s very unsatisfying. Just like none of us really, you know, when the– the virus is going to be either treatable or there’ll be a vaccine or, you know, it’ll be gone, in which case we could really just go back to our– to our lives. But the fact is that if you think about the things that would happen that would make it hard to turn on the economy, that’s like bankruptcies and business failures and so on. We’ve built a bridge to the other side by having these business– small business loans called the PPP loans–
KEVIN HASSETT: –by having a Main Street Lending Facility so that the Fed is making cash available to big businesses, too. And the idea is to try to keep firms up and running, or maybe not running but up, and connected with their workers so that when we turn the switch back on, they can get going right away. Now, again, nobody knows for sure whether it’s going to work–
KEVIN HASSETT: –exactly that way, but the Congressional Budget Office, that’s their median expectation right now.
MARGARET BRENNAN: If you look at the reality for the people who are getting hit the hardest right now, Brookings says one in every five U.S. children are going hungry. What responsibility does the White House have to respond to that? Don’t you need to look at doing things like increasing the amount of money available for food stamps?
KEVIN HASSETT: Right. We– we need to look at everything. You know, we’ve mailed very large checks to like more than a hundred and eighty million families to help them with those costs–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Are you going to have to do that again?
KEVIN HASSETT: –and you’re right to emphasize the schools. So– so many children get two meals a day at school. You know, we’ve got schools within a few miles of my house here in DC where we’re really without the school meals. A lot of the kids that go to those schools, the principal tells me, would go hungry. And right now, our schools are closed. And– and those kids who aren’t going to school, by the way, many of them don’t have internet. So they’re not connected to society. It’s a terrible tragedy. And we’re looking at everything we can do to help with that. And so the White House has an opportunity council that’s putting together a major proposal that we expect is going to be part of whatever happens in the phase four deal to fill in the gaps that we’re noticing as we watch the data. But absolutely, there’s a lot that needs to be done, especially for the most disadvantaged.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you just referenced a phase four deal. Larry Kudlow, one of the White House advisers, said this week that you’re putting off any talks about more emergency rescue packages until maybe even June.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Why do you think you can wait that long?
KEVIN HASSETT: Right, well– well, here’s what we are doing, okay? We’ve done this, you know, maybe in counting the Fed numbers up to about nine trillion worth of actions. And now what we’re doing is– and the states around the country, you know, are starting to turn their economies back on. And so what we’re doing is we’re watching very closely what happens to those states, get their economies up relatively quickly. Does the opening of the state lead to a new outbreak of the disease? We’ve built a bridge that pretty much, you know, lasts–
KEVIN HASSETT: –for– for quite a bit of time right now with that nine trillion dollars. And then the question really becomes, is phase four really going to be extending the bridge because we’re not there yet? Or is it going to be focused on growth and making sure that now that we’re on the other side, that we have a healthy economy again? And so right now, what we’re doing–
KEVIN HASSETT: –is basically building a plan for either scenario and we’re going to be ready to act as soon as we need to. But– but I think that right now we have bought some time with all the money that we’ve thrown at the economy and we’ve been using the time to do things like develop treatments, improve our treatments, learn more about social distancing and so on.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah. But companies and employers need to know what to do to safely re-open. The White House is testing staff regularly. Is that what you’re advising America’s businesses to do? When will the CDC release specific guidance?
KEVIN HASSETT: You know, I– I’m not a doctor. I’m just an economist, and I– I could tell you–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, neither are these CEOs.
KEVIN HASSETT: –that as– as we learned this–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –that’s why they’re asking for the CDC to provide guidance.
KEVIN HASSETT: Yeah. No, that’s right. That’s– but I’m going to say that, of course, we need to ramp up testing. That’s something that the President has heavily emphasized. And just last week, we had one day where there were three hundred thousand tests and then there is a new test approved that will hopefully increase that by an order of magnitude. But you’re absolutely right that testing is a key component of it, but even testing doesn’t remove all risk. And so the interesting, sad thing about my– my dear colleague who was stricken with the coronavirus this week is that we were getting tested because we’re close to the President every day. And even with that, you know, she tested negative one day and then positive the next day. And she’s going to work at a community where people are being tested. And so this is a very, very scary virus. You know, that– that people are going to go back to work and they’re going to be worried about things. And it’s going to take a while for things to get back to normal absolutely.
KEVIN HASSETT: But what we can do is we maximize the chance that that happens quickly by making lots of testing available. And that’s why we’ve focused so much energy on that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I didn’t hear a date on when that CDC guidance is going to be released. But when it comes to your work environment you just described–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –do you wear a mask? Are you going to continue to show up for work at the White House?
KEVIN HASSETT: You know, I– I’ve got a mask right here. And the fact is that– that I practice aggressive social distancing. I’ll wear a mask when I feel it’s necessary. It is scary to go to work. You know, I– I was not part of the White House in March. I think that I’d be a lot safer if I was sitting at home than I would be going to the West Wing. But, you know, it’s the time when people have to step up and serve their country. And if I think about the amazing accomplishments of the team that we put together that’s been down in the basement of the White House getting data from all over the government to help us decide how to solve the ventilator problem and the PPE problem and everything. But I think everybody knows that they go into work. You’ve been in the West Wing. You know, it’s a– it’s a small, crowded place. It’s, you know, it’s a little bit risky. But– but you have to do it because you have to serve your country. And there are a lot of things that you can’t do except there. Like if you’re going to have secure communications, you need to be in the Situation Room.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. Kevin Hassett, thank you for your time.
We’ll be back in one minute with some new coronavirus projections.
MARGARET BRENNAN: One of the national death toll models that the White House is watching closely is from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. You’ve often heard it referred to as IHME, and they have some brand new projections out this morning. Institute Director Doctor Christopher Murray is in Seattle and he joins us. Good morning.
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, M.D. (Director, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington): Good morning.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What is your model showing you today?
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, M.D.: So our projections through till August 4th are up. We’re up to a hundred and thirty-seven thousand deaths that we expect to see and that’s the effect of two things going in opposite directions. Some good-ish news coming out of New York and New Jersey and Michigan, where the death cases and death numbers are– are coming down faster than expected. Some other states where cases and deaths are going up more than we expected, Illinois and then Arizona, Florida, California as examples of that. And so it’s the balancing of those that is driving our numbers. And then, of course, we’re seeing just explosive increases in mobility in a number of states that we expect will translate into more cases and deaths, you know, in ten days from now.
MARGARET BRENNAN: This is today, the second time in about a week that you’ve raised these projections. What’s driving the change?
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, M.D.: Well, what’s driving the change is, simply put, the rise in mobility and– and that’s the key driver. We’re seeing in some states, you know, a twenty percentage point increase in just ten days in mobility. And that will translate into more human contact, more transmission. And then the other thing that we’re– we’re seeing in some states is, which is why we like to– to revise the forecast on a very regular basis, is that we’re just seeing more cases and deaths than expected in certain places. But it’s mostly mobility that’s driving up the numbers.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And you are looking at mobility through tracking cell phone data. Is this mobility because of loosened restrictions or is it just quarantine fatigue and people are going out and about more than they should?
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, M.D.: You know, I think it is a bit of both. We’re seeing increases in mobility, even in anticipation of the relaxation of social distancing. But there’s definitely a correlation. The places that are taking off the social distancing mandate, the bump in mobility appears to be larger. So somewhere like Georgia, which was one of the first, we’re seeing, is in that category of– of a pretty big increase. So it’s definitely a mixture of both, we believe.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, we spoke just before you with one of the White House economic advisers who said one of the reasons they’re waiting on more emergency financial aid is because they want to see what happens in the states as they pull back restrictions and whether that leads to a new outbreak of the disease, as Kevin Hassett put it. Do you have any indication that that is happening?
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, M.D.: Well, I think that the big challenge here is that when we model the relationship between mobility and transmission, most of the data that’s informing that is coming from when people reduce their mobility and we saw a reduction in transmission, you know, namely social distancing works. Now that we’re coming out, the big question mark is will people’s own behavior, acting responsibly, wearing a mask, avoiding physical– coming into physical close contact, will that be enough to counteract the effects of rising mobility? And so we really are going to have to wait and see. Our suspicion is that there will be about ten days from now in these places that have had these big increases in mobility, we are expecting to see a jump in cases.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And what– what places? What are the potential hotspots in the next ten days?
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, M.D.: Well, as I mentioned a moment ago, the big increases in mobility, there’s five states at the top. Some of those have had modest epidemic so far. So they may not be huge numbers. But, you know, the top five in terms of increasing mobility are Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Georgia. But there’s another ten states or more where there’s been a ten to fifteen percentage point increase of mobility. So pretty– pretty diverse. So we may see quite a lot of states tipping towards increasing cases in the next two weeks.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you advise Americans to travel? The Treasury Secretary was on another network this week and he said it is a great time for people to explore America. Would you advise them to do that?
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, M.D.: You know, I would give people advice– you know, I tend to practice what I preach. And so we’re not traveling, my family and I, and have no intention of traveling. And I think it’s all part of trying to think about a route back to work and school. And that entails, you know, trying to minimize exposure and, you know, close physical contact. Hard to do if you’re traveling. So personal advice would be, you know, protect yourselves. Wear a mask and– and try to minimize interactions with– with others.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What does the data tell you about how effective wearing a mask actually is?
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, M.D.: You know, that’s one of the big question marks. We know that the medical masks are highly effective and also very– not available, nor is it likely that people are going to feel comfortable wearing medical masks. And so the big question is the effectiveness of cloth masks. We believe they are effective. Just how effective is the subject of a lot of research and discussion. And I think, you know, we just don’t have an exact number on it. It’s one of these factors that we’re going to have to wait and watch and see what happens. The good news is that there are– there’s more and more data coming in on who’s wearing a face mask. And we may be able to figure out from what’s happening community by community across the U.S.–
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, M.D.: –whether those places that are wearing masks more are seeing less transmission. And so, again–
CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, M.D.: –more data will teach us more.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be watching for that. Thank you, Doctor Murray for that.
We’ll be back in a moment with a lot more FACE THE NATION.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The Justice Department dropped charges Thursday against President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who twice pled guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Attorney General William Barr said the FBI did not have a basis for the investigation.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be right back with former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb, former chairman and CEO of Google Eric Schmidt, and University of Virginia President Jim Ryan.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We go now to Westport, Connecticut, and former FDA Commissioner Doctor Scott Gottlieb. Good to have you back with us.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB, M.D. (Former FDA Commissioner/@ScottGottliebMD): Thank you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We heard from the FDA that they have given emergency use authorization for the first antigen test to discover COVID-19, so that’s any substance that causes your immune system to produce antibodies against it. How significant is this authorization? How will this work?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB, M.D.: Well, I think this kind of technology is a real game changer, and this test was authorized by the FDA under the leadership of Jeff Shuren who runs that device center in twenty-four hours from receiving the application. What it is it’s a very rapid test that could be used in a doctor’s office. Doctors now have about forty thousand of these Sofia machines already installed in their offices. And you do a simple nasal swab and the test itself scans for the antigens that the virus produces. The test is about eighty-five percent sensitive. So let’s say a hundred people come into a doctor’s office who have COVID-19, eighty-five of them are going to be able to be tested positive with this test very quickly. It’s a cheap test. It’ll probably be about five dollars a test and you can get a result within five minutes. For the other fifteen, the doctors are going to have to have an index of suspicion that the patient may have COVID-19 and send off one of the PCR-based tests, which take about twenty-four hours to get the result back. But for those eighty-five patients that you could screen out right away, you’re getting a very fast result and you can start to take action immediately. The company itself said that they’re going to be able to produce about two hundred thousand of these tests starting right away. But in several weeks they’ll be able to produce up to 1.5 million a week. So this dramatically expands our testing capacity as long as doctors are able to run these tests in their offices.
MARGARET BRENNAN: As long as they can run them. How different is this kind of testing from what we’ve heard so much about where states are struggling to get capacity and they’re looking for, you know, reagents and cotton swabs? Does this solve those challenges?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, it helps solve the challenges. I mean, every test paradigm is a little bit different. It has pros and cons. The PCR-based tests, where the states have struggled to get the testing supplies, those are more accurate, but they also take more time and they cost more to perform. The reimbursement is about a hundred dollars. Maybe if you do that at scale, you can get the cost down to fifty dollars. There is point-of-care-based systems like the Abbott machine that the White House is using or the GeneXpert, which is very reliable. Those take a little longer to get a result. Their sensitivity isn’t as good as the PCR-based machines, with the exception of the GeneXpert, which is very accurate. These antigen based tests aren’t as reliable, meaning they’re not as sensitive. So they’re going to miss some patients who have COVID. But in the hands of a doctor who already has a high index of suspicion that the patient may have the disease, and if they get a negative test and they still think the patient may be infected, they’ll send off a PCR-based test. They allow you to dramatically expand testing. And they’re very cheap. They’re very easy to perform. And again, most doctors have these machines already in their offices. They’re using them for strep throat and flu. The challenge is going to be what the guidance is from the CDC and public health agencies about how doctors test in their offices. If turning over a positive case in your medical office means that you have to do a deep cleaning and quarantine your nursing staff and close your office, doctors aren’t going to be testing. And that would be unfortunate because there’s a big, installed base of these tests already in place. So, CDC has to come out with flexible guidelines on how doctors can protect their offices and protect their staff and also be testing in the community because if we can’t do that, then we’re not going to have access to tests. And the challenge won’t be the platforms. There’ll be plenty of capacity to perform tests. The challenge will become where can you go get the test.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You said this could be more accurate than the testing system the White House is currently using. Let me ask you about these aides who have been testing positive at the White House. Our top three medical officials in the U.S. government are now in self-quarantine because of possible exposure. They work in a White House that’s a fortress. But the virus has still made it inside. I want to play for you what President Trump said this week when he revealed one of Vice President Pence’s aides tested positive.
(Begin VT)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: She tested positive out of the blue. This is why the whole concept of tests aren’t necessarily great. The tests are perfect, but something can happen between a test where it’s good and then something happens. And all of a sudden, she was tested very recently and tested negative. And then today, I guess for some reason, she tested positive.
(End VT)
MARGARET BRENNAN: The President seems to be doubting the value of testing in the workplace. What’s your view?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, look, I think testing has value in a workplace, especially when you’re dealing with places where there’s people who are at higher risk of getting infected. So you think about people who work on a shop floor or in a grocery store. The machine– the antigen-based tests that we’re talking about here that was just approved is actually less sensitive than a machine that the White House is using. They’re using an Abbott platform. But that flat– platform also has false negatives, meaning that sometimes patients– people are going to have the virus. But the test is going to say they don’t. There’s machines that are more accurate than that Abbott machine, like the GeneXpert. They take a little longer to perform the test. The reason why the White House prefers the Abbott machine is it gives a result in five to fifteen minutes. GeneXpert takes about forty-five minutes. And so I think that’s why they prefer that platform. But this is why we need to have testing out in the community. This is why we need very accurate tests if we’re going to be testing asymptomatic people. In the setting of a doctor’s office where someone is symptomatic–
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: –using a test that doesn’t have very high sensitivity might be okay because the doctor’s going to run a confirmatory test anyway. But in the setting of where you’re testing people who are asymptomatic, as the White House is doing, and you’re trying to catch that– those people who don’t have any symptoms, you want a very sensitive test for that kind of a purpose.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: And that’s what we should be using out in the employment setting, as well.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ve talked a lot about remdesivir. We interviewed the CEO of the company that makes that drug last week. He told us at that time the government would be deciding who the drug gets to and where. The rollout this week was pretty chaotic. Yesterday, HHS revealed its new plan for distribution. What does this indicate to you about how things will work in the future with other drugs or potentially a vaccine?
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Well, look, I think we need to get a better system in place. If the government’s going to take control of the supply of these kinds of therapeutics and they don’t necessarily have to do that, they chose to do that, they need to have a good system in place for allocation. Here, in this case, Gilead gave a half a million doses to the federal government. They distributed initially about four thousand in New York City, which is the city that I’m familiar with. I think they should’ve been trying to push out as many doses as fast as possible because more supply is coming into the market. There’s no reason to hoard it or hold onto it. And so, hopefully, when they start to contemplate the next therapeutic and there will be more therapeutics in the fall or a vaccine and how they allocate that, they’re going to have a better system in place based on clinical need.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Thank you very much for your insight, Doctor Gottlieb.
SCOTT GOTTLIEB: Thanks a lot.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be right back with a look at how some businesses may be looking a little different in the near future.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We want to go now to the former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt. He is leading a New York commission to reimagine sectors of the economy in light of the coronavirus pandemic. He joins us from Miami this morning. Good morning to you.
ERIC SCHMIDT (Former CEO and Chairman of Google/@ericschmidt): Good morning.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We just heard from one of the White House economic advisers that the– the worst is yet to come on the unemployment front. What jobs, in your view, will continue to exist?
ERIC SCHMIDT: Well, a lot will but they’ll operate in different ways. We’re going to have to reimagine how the workplace works. We’re going to have to figure out how to get people into buildings that they’re fearful of. My guess is we’ll have more demand for office space, not less, because people will want social distancing. We’re going to have to think about hub-and-spoke systems where local people don’t travel so far because they don’t want to be in public transit for so long. So we’re going to have to really rethink how businesses operate. They need their employees back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: After 9/11 in– in Manhattan, you saw people establish homes outside the city. You saw businesses move and have backup facilities outside of major cities. Is there something that we know is in the works this time around?
ERIC SCHMIDT: You can be sure that something like that will happen. If you think of it as an employer, you have a bunch of employees, some of whom are dying to get back to the office, and some people who are afraid that if they go to the office, they will die. They’re very concerned about– they’re immunocompromised or what have you. So they’re going to have to come up with flexible arrangements. So imagine that there are three or four people. One will go to the office. One will stay home. Someone– some will go to some local or near their– near their town working environment. It will change the pattern. We’ve had this situation where people move to super cities in these incredibly concentrated ways. That will change in the next few years. You don’t need to be in the super city in order to participate in the ex– excitement of these super cities. The commission, by the way, is intending to work not just on the city, but also suburban and all the rural folks. We have to be sensitive to the fact that everybody has problems. Everyone has concerns. And they’re very different situations.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, corporations are being forced to try to do things in a different way right now. But many of them may use this as an excuse or as an accelerant to make–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –some big strategic shifts. What does the economy look like on the other side of it? What does that mean?
ERIC SCHMIDT: One way to think about this is that this one month, two months period has brought forth ten years of forward change. So all of a sudden, the Internet is no longer optional. It’s fundamental to doing business, to operate, to live our lives, all sorts of much higher expectations as a result. For example, we need much better broadband in the rural areas. Another example will be tele-health. Eighty percent of the visits to doctors are right now in tele-health. People have been wanting this to happen for years. Now using remote monitoring, we can actually measure everybody and do it remotely. And then only if you have to, you go in to see the doctor. And by the way, that’s more convenient for you as a– as a patient. There are all sorts of examples. Another thing that we’ll have to do is we’ll have to have all sorts of interesting sort of social monitoring of one kind or another to look for these hotspots. So systems will have to be developed to see, oh, my God, there’s an outbreak over there. Let’s get to it right now before the spread begins.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But one of the things that this crisis has also made obvious is not just income disparity, but– but access to Internet as you just said. If someone doesn’t have access to broadband or they don’t have the computer, how do you make up for that difference? Who pays for that?
ERIC SCHMIDT: Well, we have to– we have to solve that problem. And when the government does another one of these huge stimulus bills, let’s put some stimulus into broadband access, especially for rural areas. The cities are in pretty good shape. And then let’s figure out a way for people who don’t otherwise have access to computers through libraries or– or whatever, find a way for them to get access. Many people can access through their mobile phones. That’s another solution. You can’t participate in this new economy without access to the Internet. It’s how you’re going to learn. It’s how you’re going to deliver services. It’s how you’re going to market it. By the way, it’s how you’re going to sell.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Right? So sales people won’t be traveling as much. They are going to be doing it with the equivalent of Zoom and other services like that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But it’s not just– you’re talking about federal funding to build out infrastructure like WiFi. But what we’ve learned, because of some of these backlogs in unemployment claims with the states, is that their basic infrastructure, their computers are so outmoded, they can’t even process the amount of demand right now. Where does that come from? I mean, you’re talking about re– not just rebuilding. But, you know, completely remaking how states function.
ERIC SCHMIDT: What you’re learning through this is that the government at the federal and state level have just terrible infrastructure in the software department.
ERIC SCHMIDT: They’re still using COBOL systems, which is a pro– system I programmed in forty-five years ago. And those systems, you know, the programmers are no longer with us. So we’ve really got to upgrade these systems. And there are much better technologies that are much more secure, much quicker and so forth. You can see them in the– in the private sector. The public sector has lagged for whatever set of reasons. Because of this, this will accelerate all of that. If you look forward to it, what you’ll do as a citizen is many of your services will be online, your health will be online, much of your education will be online. And then there’ll be other systems like we need to figure out a way to de-densify public transportation. People will say it’s better if you get on the subway now because it’s less crowded, right? Because you don’t want to be on a subway when it’s full of everybody.
ERIC SCHMIDT: These kinds of changes are easy for computer systems to do if they’re in place.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The Wall Street Journal is reporting this morning that the Trump administration’s in talks with Intel and some other companies to move facilities back to the United States to have manufacturing be here. Do you see that change in the global supply chain happening?
ERIC SCHMIDT: Well, we’ve built in the last ten or twenty years this extraordinarily efficient global supply chain with many, many steps. We’ve now learned that it’s not resilient. There has been for at least a decade a great concern about our over-reliance on Taiwan in particular about foreign chip manufacturing and there is an initiative within the government which is very important, that we get domestic supply of foundries, literally the– the places where chips are made. And companies like Intel and Samsung and TSMC. TSMC is the largest foundry. It’s in Taiwan, at the seven nanometre level, trying to get them into our country. So we have better control. It’s important from a standpoint of– of our own economics. It’s also important for national security. We want to make sure that our critical infrastructure is owned and controlled by America, right?
ERIC SCHMIDT: Never bet against America. We are the innovators in our world. We should be able to do this well.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll leave it on that note. Never bet against America. Thank you, Eric Schmidt.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Thank you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We will be back in a moment.
MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s graduation season. As students finish high school and college in the next few weeks, the big question that students and parents have is what will the fall and their future look like? Jim Ryan is the president of the University of Virginia, my alma mater, as well as the alma mater of our executive producer, Mary Hager and former FACE THE NATION moderator John Dickerson. Wahoowa.
JAMES RYAN (President, University of Virginia/@presjimryan): Wahoowa, Margaret.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So you have not yet canceled all summer courses or the fall semester.
MARGARET BRENNAN: How do you make this decision? What are you telling parents right now?
JAMES RYAN: So, we are in the midst of trying to figure out how we can have as many students back on grounds in the fall and in classrooms and to do that safely. And we’re working night and day to figure out exactly how to do that and we’ll make an announcement about the fall in mid-June. We’re trying to push back as far as we can so we’ll have the best information when we make the decision but we also realize that people need to be able to make plans.
MARGARET BRENNAN: They certainly do. But what do you mean when you say, you know, you’re taking into consideration health standards? Do you expect to have to–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –test every student before they come back to grounds?
JAMES RYAN: So, you know, I think in order for us to be able to have students back on grounds and in classrooms, there are a few basic things we’re going to need. One is testing capacity. I think we would need to test students when they first arrive and faculty and staff before the students arrive. We’re going to need to have the ability to do contact tracing. We’re going to need the ability to be able to isolate and quarantine students who have been exposed. And then we’re also going to need to enact a bunch of social distancing protocols in terms of how far away students need to be from each other in the classroom or in dining halls. As you can imagine, it’s a– it’s a complicated task. College campuses are a difficult and challenging place for contagious viruses.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What you just described is what mayors and governors tell me they have to do. It sounds like you’re planning for– for basically a city.
JAMES RYAN: That’s it, yeah.
MARGARET BRENNAN: What is– what– what is the state telling you? Will all Virginia state schools make the same decision at the same time and do the same thing?
JAMES RYAN: So, we are in contact with the Department of Education, and I’m also in close contact with my colleagues at Virginia colleges and universities, and we are all trying to work against the same challenge. And my hope is that there will be a set of guidelines that we can all agree to and all follow. But not all of us are in the same situation as well. Some of us are– have smaller campuses than others, some are more local than others. So I think we’re all following the same principles and all guided by concerns around public health. But because circumstances differ from campus to campus, some might be able to open sooner rather than others. Some may be able to have more students back than others.
MARGARET BRENNAN: UVA has a relatively high percentage of out-of-state and international students.
MARGARET BRENNAN: As you look at– at applicants, you know, how are you taking into consideration not just where people are coming from, but how many people to accept at the university?
JAMES RYAN: Yeah. So international students are– are a particular challenge. A number of them are not likely to be able to be back in time. So one thing that we know for sure is that we will have courses that are online in order to provide an education to students who can’t come back to campus. That may be true for students who are out of state or in state, who are at high risk as well. But our admission season this year was remarkably strong. We had a higher yield than we did last year, and we fully expect to have a fully enrolled class when fall– when fall comes around.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Higher yield. Do you mean more acceptances?
JAMES RYAN: I mean, more people have accepted our offers of admission, a higher percentage accepted our offer of admission than last year, which is a little surprising given the uncertainty.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. UVA obviously has a strong athletic program on the basketball front, certainly on the football front as well. Those are also revenue streams. What do you know about the athletics season? What is the plan?
JAMES RYAN: Yeah. That’s a great question. We’re taking it day by day. Obviously, we need to have students back on grounds before football can begin. But our athletic director, Carla Williams, and our head football coach, Bronco Mendenhall, are committed first and foremost to the safety and well-being of their players, our student athletes. And they’ll begin practice when the medical experts tell them that it’s safe to do, so. Our hope, obviously, is that there’s a football season this fall. I don’t imagine it will look like normal football seasons, just like I don’t imagine even if we have all students back on grounds, it will look like a normal semester. It will not be a normal semester next fall, regardless of which path we follow.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you know, the federal government passed this massive package called the CARES Act and private universities with very substantial endowments like Harvard and Princeton took a lot of public pressure for even applying for any kind of financial help. UVA has an endowment just short of about ten billion dollars and did take it. How do you explain that?
JAMES RYAN: Well, we accepted the funding because it is helping our students. Half of the funding that we receive goes directly to students in need. We created a student hardship fund that we’ve been using to provide grants for technology, for online learning, for transportation, for living expenses. And those needs are only going to continue throughout the summer and the fall. So half of the funding we received is directly related to providing assistance to our students.
JAMES RYAN: The other half reimburses us for costs that we incurred–
JAMES RYAN: –including rebating housing and dining costs. So we’re really passing on these savings to our students. And I think that’s a good thing to do.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. President Ryan, good luck to you and to all–
JAMES RYAN: Thank you very much.
MARGARET BRENNAN: –the upcoming graduates.
JAMES RYAN: Thanks so much.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be right back with a tribute to mothers.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Today, we honor and celebrate mothers. They continue to go above and beyond, more so today than ever before.
(Begin VT)
MARGARET BRENNAN: Across the country, moms are keeping households afloat, turning kitchen tables into school rooms and home offices. And trying to explain to little ones why life as we knew it disappeared. The reality of gender dynamics is being revealed. Seventy-five percent of mothers with young children are in the workforce. Moms are the primary or sole earners for forty percent of those households, according to the Labor Department. This week we learned that they’re losing their jobs at a higher rate than men.
WOMAN #1: I was laid off due to a decrease in patient volume. I’m teacher, mom, nurse, provider, everything. I’m all of it. That– I mean, it’s a challenge.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The majority of nurses, nursing home aides and childcare workers are women. Those moms must figure out who protects their children while they continue working.
WOMAN #2: I wonder how much my children suffer from me kind of giving everything at work and coming home to it. Tomorrow is going to be tough because I am going to home-school all day and I work overnight.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Some of us are mourning mothers lost to this virus in an isolation that robs families of last moments.
WOMAN #3: Oh, my God.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Other first-time moms are unable to hug grandmom and granddad. We cannot gather. But Mother’s Day is about celebrating those who gave us life itself. And this year we are especially grateful for that.
(End VT)
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we want to wish all the mothers out there a happy Mother’s Day. And to my mom and my mother-in-law, happy Mother’s Day. And thank you for all that you do. For FACE THE NATION, I’m Margaret Brennan.  

Posted on

Fashion Designers Are Now Making Clothes for Animal Crossing

While sweatpants and athleisure might be more present in people’s daily routines due to social distancing, that doesn’t mean they’re not getting their style fix. But it might be happening virtually on Animal Crossing, where on any given island, you might spot a character sporting a Sandy Liang fleece or a sleek dress from the Phoebe Philo era of Céline.

With the Nintendo game Animal Crossing: New Horizons, players can customize their looks to show off outfits that reflect their personal style, something that piqued the interests of fashion enthusiasts playing the game, who quickly began designing custom looks that riffed on the trendy designers of the moment. Coupled with social distancing and less opportunities to show off fits in-person, it’s created an unorthodox, but amazing opportunity for Animal Crossing users to show off their outfits — so much so that many real-life fashion designers are creating official clothing codes so users can cop designs from their latest collections.

Fashion photographer Kara Chung, who began documenting the high-fashion looks of her and her friends’ characters on Animal Crossing, recently teamed up with legendary fashion house Valentino to make 20 custom looks from their S/S and Paris Fashion Week 2020 collections, that are available to access for free with codes.

Chung also collaborated with Marc Jacobs to create six pieces from their The Marc Jacobs line, also available for free with the codes.

They’re not the only designers looking to dress the characters of Animal Crossing. Indie designer Sandy Liang created free codes for looks for both her current collection and past collections and offered them to her customers, along with an invitation to visit her island for a sort of virtual pop-up shop. She also encouraged those who visited and used the code to make a donation to Give Directly.

Italian label GCDS also created free codes for their customers and encouraged them to share their virtual looks on Instagram.

Whether you’re into streetwear or couture, it seems that there’s a look, and a code, for everyone in Animal Crossing.

Write to Cady Lang at

Posted on

Biden Rape Charges Hurting Democrats In U.S. Senate Races

All across the country Democrats are turning on Joe Biden and backing a probe into Tara Reade’s rape charges, much to the consternation of the Biden campaign. Though some are sticking with Biden and some are trying to cut the baby in half.

Because Democrat Senate hopefuls are all over the road on their party’s de facto nominee, it is hurting their party unity and thus their races all over the nation. Here are some examples of how the Reade charges are playing out. We lead off with Mitch McConnell setting the stage.

Kentucky: “Well, at the very least it’s pretty obvious that the same people who were outraged about allegations — unproven allegations against Justice Kavanaugh when he was in high school — seemed to have little or no interest, or certainly not as much interest, in suggestions of improper behavior by an adult who was in the Senate,” said GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

“I was asked earlier today about Judge Brett Kavanaugh and I answered (that she would have voted to confirm) based upon his qualifications to be on the Supreme Court,” Amy McGrath said. She is the Democrat up against McConnell. First she was for Kavanaugh, knowing that would play in red state Kentucky. Then she turned tail after leftist pressure and said this, “But upon further reflection and further understanding of his record, I would have voted no.” Ducked the issue on Reade altogether.

Maine: “At the time of his confirmation, there was plenty of evidence that put into question Brett Kavanaugh’s fitness for the Supreme Court,” Democrat Sara Gideon said.

Gideon is challenging GOP incumbent Senator Susan Collins. “Senators Collins cast a critical vote to confirm him anyway, and she said she doesn’t regret it.” Gideon has dodged all comment on the Reade story.

“Principles like the presumption of innocence, fairness, and due process always bear on my thinking in evaluating such an allegation,” Collins said. “Ms. Reade should be treated with respect and have a chance to tell her story. I served with Joe Biden in the Senate, and I have respect for his service to our country.” Cautious and down the middle. Very Susan Collins.

Georgia: “The law actually has a system for this that can be used in the political and civic world as well, and that is when a woman makes an allegation she makes a prima facie statement and it is to be believed, and then it is to be rebutted by the accused and then the burden’s on the woman to state her case,” Teresa Tomlinson said. She is in the Democrat primary to take on GOP Senator David Perdue (R-GA) this fall. She tries to go down the middle. Her legal mumbo jumbo fails.

“Any allegation of sexual assault needs to be taken seriously. In a supercharged political environment, we need to look carefully. And only Vice President Biden and the accuser really know what happened,” Jon Ossoff said. He is also in that primary. A little bit better than Tomlinson. But still not good enough to escape charges of Democrat hypocrisy.

“These accusations deserve to be heard in full and the voters deserve a full investigation of what happened,” Sarah Riggs Amico said. “And at the same time Joe Biden does deserve due process.” Still better and smarter, this time. But that wasn’t her attitude on Brett Kavanaugh.

“I will never be silent when it comes to fighting for what’s right. That’s why I’m offering my unwavering support to those who are coming forward and joining others calling for Kavanaugh’s impeachment because this is no time for half measures, especially when it comes to our values. It is clear that Senate Republicans, including Senator David Perdue, put partisan politics ahead of good judgment by confirming Kavanaugh without a thorough investigation,” said Amico during the Kavanaugh hearings. Even later, she wasn’t so evenhanded about Kavanaugh.

All over the road. It will cost them, and Biden, in the fall.

This piece was written by PoliZette Staff on May 7, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

Read more at LifeZette:
California Democrat Gov. Newsom hit with massive lawsuit over $75 million stimulus for illegal aliens
Influential COVID scientist promoting lockdown resigns after he’s busted breaking his own quarantine rules
Meghan McCain shuts down Whoopi Goldberg after she claims Trump is afraid of Fauci testimony

Posted on

Pence says he would welcome Trump ex-adviser Flynn’s return: Axios

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday said he would welcome Michael Flynn’s return to the Trump administration after the U.S. Justice Department’s controversial move last week to drop criminal charges against the president’s former national security adviser.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) greets National Security Adviser Michael Flynn before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump arrived for their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

In an interview with online news site Axios, Pence was asked if he would like Flynn to return to work for President Donald Trump. “For my part, I’d be happy to see Michael Flynn again,” Pence said, and defended the department’s action. (

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators more than two years ago. In 2017, Trump said he had fired Flynn for misleading Pence about his dealings with Russia’s U.S. ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the weeks before Trump took office.

Pence’s statement could help pave the way for Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general and 2016 Trump campaign adviser, to return to the president’s orbit if the courts grant the department’s request.

Flynn, charged under former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that detailed Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, initially pleaded guilty and vowed to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors before hiring new lawyers and reversing himself.

On Thursday, the Justice Department asked a judge to drop criminal charges against Flynn amid mounting pressure from the Republican president and his political allies, sparking criticism from Democrats and others who accused Attorney General William Barr of improperly protecting Trump’s friends and associates.

It is unclear how the federal judge handling the case will proceed.

Flynn’s lawyer Sidney Powell told Fox News in an interview on Sunday she expected U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington to sign off on the department’s request this week.

Last month, Trump told reporters he might rehire Flynn and would weigh Pence’s comments on the matter, and on Sunday re-aired his grievances with a slew of related retweets.

Critics have accused Trump of becoming emboldened after his February acquittal in his Senate impeachment trial to interfere in cases involving people close to him. Democratic lawmakers have also called on the department’s internal watchdog to investigate the Flynn matter.

Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

Posted on

Trump Tweets Commercial For His Golf Course As Thousands Of Americans Die

Donald Trump tweeted a commercial for the reopening of his California golf course at the same time as thousands are dying daily from the coronavirus.

Trump tweeted this ad for his business:

Even during a pandemic, Trump is using the platform of the presidency to promote his businesses. The tweet also reinforces the idea that Donald Trump doesn’t care about American deaths. He wants things to go back to normal, and for him, normal is making money off of the presidency.

No other president would ever have gotten away with such overt public corruption, but Republicans have given Donald Trump a free pass. House Democrats are limited in what they can do to punish the President for this behavior. Since Mitch McConnell refuses to act, Trump has no fear of being held accountable for his actions by Congress.

Accountability will come on November 3rd. A man who only cares about making money for himself deserves to be a one-term president.

For more discussion about this story join our Rachel Maddow and MSNBC group.

Follow Jason Easley on Facebook