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DeVos and Trump want to advance god’s kingdom by sacrificing children

At the beginning of Trump’s plague in America, the “pro-life” GOP faithful claimed it was patriotic to sacrifice the lives of America’s elderly population for Trump’s re-election. Now those same “pro-life” cretins want to sacrifice the lives of American children to help re-elect Trump.

If any American required proof that neither Trump nor his Republican facilitators are pro-life, they just need to consider the incredible number of additional American citizens that Trump and Betsy DeVos are willing to sacrifice to aid dirty Don’s re-election.

This absurd idea that children should be forced to sit in confined spaces with thirty or so other children, and an adult teacher, is being pushed hard and heavy by Trump and his incompetent religious Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Of course it is curious that DeVos, a former anti-public school lobbyist, is so anxious to force over 56 million American students to attend in-person public schools that she hates with religious fervor. However, it is not curious that none of DeVos’ children or grandchildren will ever be put in a dangerous situation that could kill them.

To make the idea of cramming children into confined spaces palatable, there are typical lies from the administration’s sycophants that children cannot contract or transmit Trump’s plague. Fortunately, there are medical experts who have put that absurdity to rest. This is particularly true because according to the scientists attempting to save Americans’ lives, children and teenagers represent a ballooning percentage of Covid-19 cases across the nation. And, it is noteworthy that that “ballooning percentage” is occurring while children are not in school.

To get a relatively fair estimation about approximately how many additional Americans will perish so DeVos, who claimed her Education Secretary job was to “advance the kingdom of god,” there was a conversation between Trump’s main policy advisor, Sean Hannity, and a celebrity doctor regarding opening up the public schools.

Dr. Mehmet Oz replied to a Sean Hannity remark about pushing to completely open up the nation, especially opening up public schools, while the virulent Trump plague is raging. Oz said:

Schools are a very appetizing opportunity. I just saw a nice piece in The Lancet arguing the opening of schools may only cost us 2–3 percent in terms of total mortality. Any life is a life lost but to get every child back into a school where they are safely being educated, being fed, and making the most of their lives, with the risk on the back side, might be tradeoff some folks would consider.” (author bold)

Now, Dr. Oz may be a popular television personality, but he apparently does not mind the idea of endangering the lives of 56.6 million American K-12 students. Oz’s so-called “appetizing opportunity”  means that between 2.264 and 3.396 million school children will perish for Trump’s re-election effort.

It is not immediately clear if that 2-3 percent of fatalities includes any school employees like nurses, janitors, office staff and teachers, but it is beyond the pale that purposefully putting children in harm’s way would be considered “appetizing” by any human being.  If that two to three percent figure represents fatalities in the general population, then between 3 million and 6 million additional American citizens will perish for Trump’s re-election.

It cannot possibly be true that many American parents want to see their children take a risk for dumb Don Trump’s reelection, or that very many Americans will comport an additional 6 to 9 million American lives lost – especially as part of DeVos’ crusade to use public schools to advance god’s kingdom.

It is an atrocity that in 2020, in the richest nation on the planet, there is a movement to deliberately jeopardize the lives of even one child, much less between two to three million. Of course Trump has no problem living with millions of Americans dying for his re-election; it is precisely what one expects from a malicious narcissist.

DeVos is a different story though. She claims to love children, is pro-life and a devout Christian whose primary focus as Education Secretary is using her position to “advance god’s kingdom.” As a former Christian minister, this author is relatively certain that nowhere in the Christian bible is there any reference, even a passing one, advocating for sacrificial deaths of children or adults for the sake of anything – much less a dirty sinner’s re-election.

Over the past couple of decades many Americans have become accustomed to Republicans’ callous disregard for the American people they are supposed to serve. Although Trump is nothing if not a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, he has taken the GOP’s disregard for the American people to a level typically reserved for mass murderers or enemy combatants lusting to kill American citizens.

That Trump, DeVos and their Republican cohort are pushing to endanger the lives of tens-of-millions of Americans, with special emphasis on killing children, makes the entire conservative movement vicious and without an iota of compassion; exactly what one expects from a vile narcissist and his cabal of   vicious savages. For the alleged pro-life Christian Betsy DeVos, her drive to endanger children’s lives puts a new spin on the evangelical movement to advance the kingdom of god.


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‘A seldom seen niece’: Trump fires back at Mary Trump over tell-all book

Speaking with CNN’s Chris Cuomo hours after Trump’s tweet, Mary Trump echoed previous comments in which she described her uncle as a racist and dismissed the president’s accusation that she was an outcast from the family.

Though she conceded it was difficult to maintain relations after her grandfather’s death due to an intra-family lawsuit, Mary Trump pointed out that the president had requested she ghost write his second book. She also added that she and her grandmother were “very close.”

“My grandfather didn’t really have positive feelings for anybody except perhaps Donald,” she said.

In response to the president calling her a “mess,” Mary Trump replied: “I think it’s just an attack he hurls predominately at women and honestly, I’m in very good company. I believe he’s said the same thing about Nancy Pelosi and I’m fine with that.”

Mary Trump also responded to the president’s tweets with one of her own, writing: “5.23 million v. 5.11 million #seldomseen” accompanied by a pensive emoji.

The numbers are a reference to the reported views of Mary Trump’s interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday versus the reported views of the president’s town hall with Fox News’ Sean Hannity in June, and a dig at the president’s fascination with TV ratings.

During the explosive interview with Maddow, Mary Trump said that she had heard the president and other members of their family use anti-Semitic language and a derogatory slur on Black people.

As of late Friday, Trump had yet to respond to his niece’s latest broadside.

Mary Trump’s book is not the first damning account of the president, but its unique perspective from inside the family has propelled its popularity and intrigue. “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” is currently No. 1 on Amazon’s bestseller list, selling more than 950,000 copies on its first day of release.

The Trump administration has denied the accounts in the book on the president’s behalf, with White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany characterizing it as a work of opportunistic fiction, asserting that the president maintained a healthy relationship with his parents.

“It’s a book of falsehoods, and that‘s about it,“ McEnany said last week. “It‘s ridiculous, absurd allegations that has absolutely no bearing in truth.“

The Trump family tried to sue to stop the book’s release, citing a family financial agreement from 2001 as grounds to halt Mary Trump and her publisher, Simon & Schuster, from publishing or discussing the book. But New York state courts ruled that the publishing house was free to release the book, which it did earlier this week, and that Mary Trump could discuss and publicize her work — a point Mary Trump emphasized during her interview with Cuomo.

Trump also went after his former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who had written his own tell-all account of his time in the White House. Bolton’s highly anticipated book, released in June, alleged Trump committed numerous acts of presidential misconduct including offering favors to foreign heads of government and requesting Chinese help in his reelection.

The Trump administration tried to halt Bolton’s book, saying it revealed secrets pertaining to national security, but a federal judge allowed the book’s release.

In his tweets Friday, Trump called his former adviser “lowlife dummy John Bolton, a war mongering fool, violating the law” who wrote the book “to build badly needed credibility and make a few dollars.”

The president had previously attacked Bolton in the wake of his book, calling him “stupid” and a “guy with no heart.”

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Lying again about the pandemic, Trump made 200 false claims from early June to early July

Trump’s coronavirus-related lying spree appears here to stay, too.

Trump made 200 false claims in total over the four weeks from June 8 through July 5, an average of about seven per day. Forty-one of the claims were about the virus and the pandemic, by far the most of any subject.

Trump is now up to 2,783 total false claims since July 8, 2019, when we started counting at CNN.

What Trump was most frequently dishonest about

Both of Trump’s two most frequent individual false claims during the four-week period were about the pandemic.

Trump made 15 false claims about the relationship between testing and cases — claiming that testing is responsible for the recent spike in confirmed cases, that testing is causing cases to exist or something similar. (You can click here for a detailed explanation of why his assertions are false.) And he falsely claimed nine times that he had banned travel from China, though he imposed only a partial travel restriction; he has now made versions of this “ban” claim 67 times, more than any other pandemic-related false claim.

Trump made 26 total false claims on the subject of the military, including seven more versions of his regular lie that he is the one who got the Obama-era Veterans Choice program created. Trump also made 25 total false claims about China, the individual country about which he is most frequently inaccurate.

There were two new entrants on the list of Trump’s top-five dishonesty subjects.

The first was protests, about which Trump made 25 false claims during the four-week period. Among other things, Trump falsely claimed six times that he was responsible for sending in the National Guard to quell riots in Minnesota; the Guard was activated by the state’s Democratic governor. Trump also promoted wild conspiracy theories about a 75-year-old protester who was shoved to the ground by Buffalo police.
The second new entrant on the list was former Vice President Joe Biden, about whom Trump made 24 false claims. Trump ramped up his attacks on the presumptive Democratic nominee, some of them wildly inaccurate. Trump claimed, for example, that Biden was given reporters’ news conference questions in advance (no) and that he read his answers off of a teleprompter (no), that Biden has not left his basement (he has repeatedly left his home to campaign) and that Biden wants to prosecute Americans for going to church (wrong) but not for burning a church (wrong).

Where Trump made his false claims

Trump’s disastrous Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally — which involved empty seats, coronavirus infections for his staff and possibly others, and self-damaging Trump remarks about testing — was also a dishonest campaign rally. Trump made 22 false claims in his speech.
He also made 22 false claims in a “town hall” event in Wisconsin with Fox News host Sean Hannity, which was more like a conversation between Trump and Hannity with occasional softball audience questions thrown in.
And he made 14 false claims apiece in an interview with the Wall Street Journal and in a speech in Phoenix to the conservative group Turning Point Action.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden and the debates

Trump said of Biden: “Now, he’s already saying that he can’t do debates because of Covid. Do you believe it? ‘I can’t do the debates because of Covid.’ That was — I just heard a little inkling of it two days ago. I said, ‘Watch this one.’ ” — June 25 “town hall” event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: Trump’s claim was entirely baseless. Biden had officially committed to participating in the three scheduled presidential debates — and Biden had repeatedly said he is eager to debate Trump even if the pandemic forces them to hold the event online rather than in person.

Trump, conversely, had not officially committed to the scheduled debates. Instead, his campaign had been seeking changes to the debate schedule, and, according to The New York Times, sought an unusual role in selecting the moderators.
You can read a longer fact check here.

Biden’s campaign

Trump claimed four times that Biden is not leaving his basement. For example, he said on Fox News on June 20: “I mean, Biden is still in the basement. He hasn’t left the basement.”

Facts First: Biden is not stuck in his basement. Since late May, he has repeatedly left his home to campaign.

Biden, like Trump, has been forced by the pandemic to reduce his campaign travel, and he has campaigned cautiously — rising in the polls even as he has limited his public exposure. But the former vice president has made multiple trips since he emerged from his home to lay a Memorial Day wreath on May 25 after more than two months without public events.

For example, Biden attended a June 1 community meeting at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Delaware, delivered a June 2 speech in Philadelphia about racism and leadership and a June 5 economic address in Delaware, met with the family of George Floyd on June 8 in Houston, held a June 11 economic roundtable in Philadelphia, and went to Pennsylvania on June 17 to meet with business owners and to deliver a speech about the pandemic and the economy.

Biden’s public remarks

Trump said of Biden: “It’s so crazy what’s happening. Here’s a guy who doesn’t talk. Nobody hears him.” — June 25 “town hall” event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: Trump was clearly exaggerating when he said Biden “doesn’t talk.” Again, though Biden has campaigned cautiously, he has made speeches, done interviews and spoken in various other forums.

Biden’s xenophobia accusation

Hannity asked Trump about Biden having accused the President of xenophobia and fear-mongering the day his administration introduced travel restrictions on China. (Biden’s campaign says he was not referring to the restrictions in particular and did not even know about them when he spoke.) Trump claimed, “Well, he didn’t say it. They have people that write.” He continued, “He never said ‘xenophobic’ because I don’t think he knows what the word means. But he said it was ‘xenophobic.’ …” — June 25 “town hall” event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: This claim was intended as a jab at Biden’s intelligence or mental acuity, but it was just wrong. Biden did accuse Trump of xenophobia and fear-mongering, in a speech in Iowa on January 31. The fact that a speechwriter may have written the words does not change the fact that Biden said them.

Trump eventually conceded that Biden did call him xenophobic, but we’re calling the claim false because he first claimed twice in this paragraph that Biden did not do so.

Biden and money

If Biden gets elected, “Your 401(k)s and money itself will be worthless.” — June 20 campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Facts First: This is just nonsense. We don’t know exactly what will happen if Biden wins, and we don’t usually fact-check predictions, but the claim that “money itself will be worthless” is laughable. (We’ll ignore the extreme prediction about 401(k)s.)

Biden’s answer about cognitive testing

Interviewer Eric Bolling told Trump that someone at a Biden news conference had questioned Biden’s mental acuity — a journalist had asked Biden if he had been tested for cognitive decline — and that Biden had responded that he can’t wait to debate Trump.

Trump responded by telling Bolling that Biden had gotten “mixed up” on the question about a cognitive test and had responded by confusedly saying he had been tested for Covid-19.

“Well, his response, actually, was I get tested all the time — but he was talking about Covid,” Trump said. Trump continued, “He said, ‘I — I get tested all the time.’ But he was talking — I assume he was talking about the Covid, not — not cognitive, and now he’s mixed up.” — July 1 interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Eric Bolling

Facts First: Biden was not talking about Covid-19 in his response to this question about whether he has been tested for cognitive decline. Biden did not mention the virus at all in his response.

Rather, Biden responded by saying, “I’ve been tested and I’m constantly tested. Look, all you gotta do is watch me, and I can hardly wait to compare my cognitive capability to the cognitive capability of the man I’m running against.”

Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, said on Fox News that Biden was arguing that his cognitive ability is constantly tested through the act of running for president, not revealing that he constantly receives literal cognitive tests.

“First of all, he’s been tested every single day that he’s been on the campaign trail. You know, he went through 12 debates in the Democratic primary. He defeated 25 other candidates to become the Democratic nominee,” Bedingfield said.

Whether or not you think that explanation makes sense, there is no indication at all that Biden was referring to Covid-19 tests.

Biden’s news conference

“Biden was asked questions at his so-called Press Conference yesterday where he read the answers from a teleprompter. That means he was given the questions, just like Crooked Hillary. Never have seen this before!” — July 1 tweet
“He knew the questions and still couldn’t answer them. Lamestream Media being laughed at all over the world!” — June 30 tweet

“He did his first press conference, in I guess almost 90 days, and he was reading the answers off the teleprompter. … I’ve never seen that before.” — July 1 interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Eric Bolling

“He doesn’t know — he doesn’t know where he is, frankly. I watched his press conference yesterday. He’s answering — I mean, he’s answering questions like this from a teleprompter. I said, what’s that all about?” — July 1 interview with Fox Business’ Blake Burman
Facts First: Biden was not given the questions in advance at his Delaware news conference on June 30, CNN’s Arlette Saenz, who was one of the reporters present, and other reporters confirmed. (Biden’s campaign also said the claim was false.) And Biden did not read his answers off the teleprompter.
Politico reported that the teleprompters in the room appeared to be off during the question-and-answer portion of the event, as Biden’s press secretary, TJ Ducklo, told CNN they were. (Ducklo called Trump’s claim “laughable, ludicrous, and a lie.”) The Associated Press noted that Biden was often looking directly at the reporter who asked him the question. And, again, Biden did not get the questions ahead of time.

Barack Obama’s endorsement of Biden

Trump said of Obama and Biden: “And, you know, today he’s with Obama — President Obama. It only took him — how long? — a year and a half to endorse him. What did it take? A year and a half to endorse him? Even after he won, he didn’t endorse him for a long time.” — June 23 speech to Turning Point Action event in Phoenix
Facts First: Trump was exaggerating. Obama, who kept a low profile during the Democratic primary, endorsed Biden on April 14, 2020, less than a week after Biden’s last rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, dropped out of the race. That was just under a year after Biden launched his campaign on April 25, 2019.

Biden and the police

Trump said of Biden: “Well, he wants to defund and abolish police because that’s what he’s being told to do. He’s not making his own decisions. The radical left is doing, I mean, they’re telling them what to do. He wants to defund and abolish the police and you see it, what they’re doing in Minnesota.” — July 1 interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Eric Bolling

Facts First: Biden explicitly opposes the idea of defunding the police, and he has proposed nothing even close to abolishing police.

Biden told CBS in June, “No, I don’t support defunding the police. I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness. And, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community and everybody in the community.” The Trump campaign has noted that Biden told a progressive activist that he is “absolutely” open to redirecting some funding, but the context made it unclear what he meant; regardless, it was nothing remotely resembling the abolition of police.
Biden’s published criminal justice plan calls for a $300 million investment in community policing efforts — including the hiring of more officers.

Bernie Sanders and Biden

“I don’t know if you saw — Bernie Sanders said, ‘My sole focus now is to take Joe Biden way left.’ ” — June 25 “town hall” event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: We could not find any examples of Sanders saying his “sole focus” is moving Biden to the left, and spokesmen for both Sanders’ campaign and Senate office said they were unaware of any such quotes. Rather, Sanders has emphasized that while he does want progressive policy from Biden, he considers it a top priority for Trump to be defeated.

For example, as campaign spokesman Mike Casca noted, Sanders told The New Yorker in early June: “It is no great secret that Joe Biden and I have very serious political differences, but, at this particular moment in history, what is most important is to defeat Trump, who, as you implied a moment ago, is literally a threat to American democracy, and is moving this country not only in a dangerous way but in an authoritarian way, as well. Trump has got to be defeated and, in a variety of ways, I intend to play an active role in that process.”
In April, soon after dropping out of the race, Sanders told late-night host Stephen Colbert that “I hope to be able to work with Joe to move him in a more progressive direction.” But he also said, “What I said from the first day that I announced my intention to run for president: I will do everything I can to make sure Donald Trump has not been reelected.”

Biden and ICE

Moments after invoking “Joe Biden and the Democrats,” Trump said, “And they want to abolish ICE, our great people from ICE who send the roughest, toughest, meanest people that you’ve ever seen or ever heard.” — June 20 campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Facts First: Biden does not want to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Rather, his immigration plan calls for “independent oversight” over ICE’s activities, ensuring that ICE personnel “abide by professional standards and are held accountable for inhumane treatment,” and more resources for training ICE personnel.
“We shouldn’t abolish ICE. We should reform the system. ICE is not the problem. The policies behind ICE are the problem, and that’s easy enough to fix if the president knows what he or she is doing,” Biden said during the Democratic primary campaign in November 2019.

Biden and churches

“Joe Biden and the Democrats want to prosecute Americans for going to church, but not for burning a church.” — June 22 interview with EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo

“Joe Biden and the Democrats want to prosecute Americans for going to church, but not for burning a church.” — June 20 campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Facts First: There is no apparent basis for either the claim that Biden wants to prosecute churchgoers or the claim that he does not want to prosecute people for burning a church. We could find no comments from Biden in which he made any such statements. Neither could PolitiFact.
Biden has expressed specific disapproval of deliberate fire-setting during protests against police brutality, saying in a statement that protests against brutality like the killing of George Floyd are just and necessary, “but burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not. Violence that guts and shutters businesses that serve the community is not.”

Biden has generally expressed support for social-distancing orders that have shut down numerous kinds of entities, including churches, but has not said that people should be prosecuted for attending church.

Asked for comment on the accuracy of Trump’s claims, Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates told CNN, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

The coronavirus pandemic

The seriousness of Covid-19

Trump said that by testing for the coronavirus, “we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless.” — July 4 speech for Independence Day

Facts First: There is no basis for Trump’s “99%” figure.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany suggested later that Trump was referring specifically to the percentage of people with the coronavirus who die, telling reporters, “The President was noting the fact that the vast majority of Americans who contract coronavirus will come out on the other side of this.”
The known mortality rate in the US was around 4% at the time Trump spoke. Even assuming that the true mortality rate is significantly lower, since experts believe many mild cases are going undetected, there is no basis for the claim that all but 1% of cases cause no “harm.”
“I’m trying to figure out where the President got that number,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Financial Times. “What I think happened is that someone told him that the general mortality is about 1%. And he interpreted, therefore, that 99% is not a problem, when that’s obviously not the case.”

A substantial percentage of people who survive the virus experience significant problems, from headaches to deep fatigue to lung damage; some require hospitalization. Even if they do feel better days or weeks later, that is still harm in the short term.

In addition, we don’t yet have research on the long-term effects of the virus in people who aren’t killed by it. Some survivors have experienced difficulties for months beyond the disappearance of their original symptoms.

Fauci told FT, “I have never seen a virus or any pathogen that has such a broad range of manifestations. Even if it doesn’t kill you, even if it doesn’t put you in the hospital, it can make you seriously ill.”

Knowledge of Covid-19 in late January

Aske why he decided in late January to impose his travel restrictions on China, Trump said, “Well, I was seeing information that China, Wuhan, in particular, was very heavily infected. And I just said, look, you know, why are we doing this? And let’s see. And nobody knew anything about it at that time. We didn’t know it affected the elderly much more so than children.” — June 17 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: While it’s true that knowledge about Covid-19 was limited in January — indeed, the world is still learning about the new virus even in July — it’s not true that nobody knew “anything” about the virus or that nobody knew the elderly were disproportionately affected.

On January 23, eight days before Trump’s administration announced its travel restrictions, the South China Morning Post ran a headline that said, “Wuhan virus killing mostly the elderly, those with previous health problems.” Its sub-headlines were two bullet points: “Almost half the fatalities were 80 years or older, all of them from Hubei province. Chinese authorities say children have been infected but are not highly susceptible to the virus.”
Also before the administration announced its travel restrictions, The Washington Post reported: “Most people sickened and killed by the virus have been elderly, had preexisting health conditions, and lived in Hubei Provence — specifically its capital, Wuhan.” And The New York Times quoted Columbia University epidemiology professor Dr. Ian Lipkin as saying, “The majority of fatal cases are elderly and/or have a chronic disease that would increase their susceptibility to infectious diseases.”

These were preliminary assessments, but they were correct.

The state of the pandemic

Trump claimed in a July 2 speech that the coronavirus crisis in the US is “getting under control,” that the US is “getting rid of the flame; it’s happening” and that “we have some areas where we’re putting out the flames or the fires, and that’s working out well.”
Facts First: As government officials confirmed the week Trump spoke, the pandemic situation in the US was worsening, it was not a matter of isolated outbreaks and the problem was not being extinguished. The US had set a single-day record for confirmed coronavirus cases the day prior to Trump’s comments, hitting 50,000 for the first time, and then set another record the day Trump spoke. As of the day he spoke, 37 states were seeing increases in the rate of confirmed new cases. And it wasn’t just mild cases: Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Congress on Tuesday of that week that hospitalizations were rising in 12 states.
You can read a longer fact check here.

Governors’ needs

“The relationship with the governors is very good. We made a call — Mike Pence made a call just yesterday and said, ‘What do you need?’ Not one governor needed anything. They don’t need anything. They have all the medical equipment they can have. Thank you, US government.” — July 2 speech on the jobs report

Facts First: We don’t know what governors said to Vice President Mike Pence on this particular phone call, but it’s not true that governors (or states more broadly) do not have any more needs from the federal government.

We reached out to 48 governors’ offices asking if Trump’s claim was true.

Forty-three did not respond; the office of Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said the claim is accurate with regard to Noem; the office of Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said, “Officials are accessible at every turn, and we have received countless supplies from our federal partners as we battle Covid-19.”

But three Democratic governors, representing Washington state, Colorado and Michigan, told us they are seeking more from the federal government. Days later, the Democratic governor of Illinois told Congress he wants more as well.

The office of Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said they have an outstanding request to the Trump administration “to use full authority under the Defense Production Act to compel production here in the United States of the supplies our frontline workers and other employees need to stay safe on the job.”

“We are hearing from businesses and workers across Washington that they’re struggling to access (personal protective equipment) on the private market, are subject to price gouging, and being forced to use extreme conservation measures to stretch limited supplies over longer periods of time,” communications director Tara Lee said in an email.

Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis wants additional federal help obtaining personal protective equipment and testing supplies, and help with preparation for flu season, said press secretary Conor Cahill. Cahill noted that Polis sent a June letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requesting assistance with flu season.

“Flu season is going to tax our PPE supplies as those giving vaccinations are going to need medical grade masks, perhaps shields and gloves to ensure they are protected from COVID-19. While we have much better access to PPE than we did before, we are going to need help obtaining more,” Polis wrote in the letter.

“Additionally, we know we will have much better results if we can deploy health workers across the state as well as launch a strong mobilization and outreach campaign.”

Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also wants more from the federal government, said press secretary Tiffany Brown.

“The federal government must continue to help with the production and distribution of testing supplies and financial support,” Brown said. “It’s also crucial for Congress to pass additional financial support for states like Michigan, so we can maintain essential services that our families and small businesses rely on every day as we recover from this crisis.”

Protests and policing

Racial justice protesters

“Because you know what, the country has to get back to work. They’ve been protesting now — and these protests are all paid for — do you see the signs? They’re all made, many of them, most of them made in a printing shop. Real protesters don’t go to printing shops.” — June 20 interview with Fox News’ John Roberts
Facts First: This is conspiratorial nonsense. There were nationwide street protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd in May; it is clearly not true that all of the tens of thousands of participants were paid (or that all of the protests themselves were “paid for”). And although it is also not true that a genuine protester would never get a sign printed at a shop, we should note that many of the protesters carried handmade signs.

A protester in Buffalo

“Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?” — June 9 tweet
Facts First: Trump’s allegations were baseless. There was no evidence that Gugino, a longtime peaceful protester on issues like police brutality, nuclear weapons and climate change, according to The New York Times, was affiliated with antifa, a loose collection of self-described anti-fascists, or was somehow trying to “black out” police communications equipment. There was also no basis for Trump’s suggestion that Gugino embellished his fall after he was pushed by Buffalo police on June 4. Gugino was hospitalized for his injuries, and his lawyer told CNN more than a week and a half after the incident that he had fractured his skull and was unable to walk at the time.
The two officers involved in the incident have been charged with assault. They have pleaded not guilty.

The history of St. John’s Episcopal Church

Trump said of St. John’s Episcopal Church, outside of which he had a controversial photo op on June 1: “John Adams was the first parishioner. Was he the fifth or sixth? Whatever. You’ll figure it out. First supporter. First parishioner.” — June 17 interview with the Wall Street Journal
Facts First: James Madison, not John Adams, was the first president to attend the church, which is a short walk from the White House. (And Adams was the second president of the United States.)

Minnesota and the National Guard

On six separate occasions, Trump said or strongly suggested he was responsible for Minnesota’s use of the Minnesota National Guard to deal with the violence that occurred during the protests (many of which were peaceful) after the May killing of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police. For example, Trump said in a June 17 interview, “I brought it out five days after they started. They wouldn’t use the National Guard. I brought the National Guard to — I told them, I said, you got to get the National Guard. We got them in.”

Facts First: Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, not Trump, was the one who deployed the Minnesota National Guard; Walz first activated the Guard on May 28, more than seven hours before Trump publicly threatened to deploy the Guard himself. Walz’s office says the governor activated the Guard in response to requests from officials in Minneapolis and St. Paul — who happen to be Democrats as well. And it’s not true that there were “five days” of unrest before Walz called out the Guard; violent protests began two days prior to Walz’s decision.

It is theoretically possible that pressure from Trump contributed to a Walz decision to activate the entire Minnesota National Guard on May 30, two days after his initial activation of a smaller number of Guard troops. But no evidence has emerged to prove that was the case, and Walz’s office says Trump had nothing to do with either of the governor’s decisions.

You can read a longer fact check here.

Monuments, Trump and the law

“Since imposing a very powerful 10-year prison sentence on those that Vandalize Monuments, Statues etc., with many people being arrested all over our Country, the Vandalism has completely stopped. Thank you!” — June 28 tweet

“And now we’ve enacted an act, a very specific statue and monument act that puts people in jail for 10 years if they do anything to even try to deface one of our monuments or statues.” — June 23 remarks at border security roundtable in Yuma, Arizona

“And I want to also thank all of law enforcement. The job you’ve done is incredible. We signed a bill. If you play with our monuments or our statues, you go to jail for 10 years. It’s amazing how it all stops so fast.” — July 2 speech at Spirit of America Showcase

“I have authorized the Federal Government to arrest anyone who vandalizes or destroys any monument, statue or other such Federal property in the U.S. with up to 10 years in prison, per the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act, or such other laws that may be pertinent. …” — June 23 tweet
Facts First: Trump did not enact an act, sign a bill or “impose” any new penalties for damaging monuments. He issued an executive order that directed the attorney general to “prioritize” investigations and prosecutions of monument-destruction cases, and declared that it is US policy to prosecute such cases to the fullest extent permitted under federal law — but that order was not a law itself and did not create any punishment.

Rather, the order simply laid out penalties that exist under current laws, including one that allows for a maximum of 10 years in prison for damaging or attempting to damage monuments commemorating “the service of any person or persons in the armed forces of the United States.”

Penalties for defacing monuments

“Under the executive order I signed last week — pertaining to the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act and other laws — people who damage or deface federal statues or monuments will get a minimum of 10 years in prison.” — July 3 speech at Mount Rushmore

Facts First: Trump was exaggerating. Ten years is a maximum term of imprisonment, not a minimum term, under the law he mentioned, the Veterans’ Memorial Preservation and Recognition Act of 2003.

The law says that damaging or attempting to damage a statue or monument that commemorates “the service of any person or persons in the armed forces of the United States” is subject to a fine, imprisonment of “not more than 10 years” or both.
The June executive order Trump mentioned in these remarks also makes clear that 10 years is a maximum, not minimum.

A police reform bill

Speaking about police reform efforts, Trump suggested a bill had already passed: “And whether it’s the cams, you know, the dash cam and the body cam, which is a camera, basically, very sophisticated camera, and other things, we have a lot of that in the bill. And it passed. And it — and it’s going to — a lot of things are happening right now. But I signed an executive order.” — June 17 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: There was funding for body cameras in a police reform bill proposed by Republicans, but that bill had not passed — and it was blocked by Democrats a week later on the grounds that its proposed reforms were too weak.


Manufacturing data

“The latest ISM Manufacturing Report rose 10 percentage points, with new orders jumping a remarkable 25 percentage points — all a record.” — July 2 speech on the jobs report

Facts First: Trump was right that one of the numbers he cited was a record, but the other number was not.

The 24.6-point increase in the Institute for Supply Management New Orders Index between May and June was indeed the largest one-month spike since record-keeping began in 1948. But the 9.5-point increase in the ISM’s PMI index was the largest since a 10.5-point increase in 1980, not an all-time high.

Consumer confidence

Trump said: “We have — consumer confidence has risen 12 points since April, an all-time high. Think of that.” — July 2 speech on the jobs report

Facts First: The 12.2-point increase in consumer confidence from May to June was not an all-time high; nor was the 12.4-point increase from April to June. The actual level of consumer confidence in June was also not an all-time high.

Starting in 1978, when the business organization The Conference Board began conducting its consumer confidence survey on a monthly basis, the all-time record one-month increase is a 21.7-point jump from February 1991 to March 1991, said Lynn Franco, the organization’s senior director for economic indicators and surveys. “The last time we had an increase greater than 12.2 was in November 2011, with an increase of 14.3,” Franco said.

Consumer confidence stood at 98.1 in June. The record is 144.7, in May 2000. The confidence figure was higher than 100 for the entire Trump presidency until the pandemic crash of this year; it stood at 132.6 in February.

Trump could have accurately boasted that the increase from May to June was one of the nine largest one-month spikes since 1978, according to Franco. Instead, he made an objectively false claim.

African American employment

“African American workers — really happily for me — made historic gains, with 404,000 jobs added last month alone, and that’s a record.” — July 2 speech on the jobs report

“African American workers made historic gains, the likes of which we’ve never had before, with 404,000 new jobs in June. That’s a record, and that’s the highest number ever.” — July 2 speech at Spirit of America Showcase
Facts First: The 404,000-job gain for African Americans in June was not a record. The actual record was a 450,000-job gain in February 2018.
Amid Trump’s triumphant rhetoric about the June jobs report, it’s also worth noting that the African American unemployment rate was 15.4% in June — an improvement from 16.8% in May but still more than 5 percentage points higher than the 10.1% rate in June for White Americans and also worse than the African American rate for any point between late 2011 and the 2020 pandemic.

Hispanic employment

“Likewise, Hispanic employment is up by 1.5 million jobs, a record by a lot.” — July 2 speech on the jobs report

Facts First: The June increase in Hispanic employment — 1.47 million jobs — was not a record increase at all, let alone a record “by a lot.” Hispanics recorded a slightly bigger gain, of 1.526 million jobs, in January 2000.
Amid Trump’s triumphant rhetoric, it’s also worth noting that the Hispanic unemployment rate was 14.5% in June — down 17.6% from May but still more than 4 percentage points higher than the 10.1% rate for White Americans and worse than the Hispanic rate for any point between 1983 and the 2020 pandemic.

Obama and the Maine lobster industry

“Pres. Obama destroyed the lobster and fishing industry in Maine. Now it’s back, bigger and better than anyone ever thought possible.” — June 24 tweet
Facts First: Obama didn’t destroy Maine’s lobster-dominated fishing industry, as multiple news and fact-checking outlets have pointed out. Obama’s last full year in office, 2016, was a record year for Maine’s lobster haul; the value and size of Maine’s lobster catch and total industry catch in the last year of the Obama presidency was bigger than its value and size during the first three years of the Trump presidency.
In 2016, Maine’s lobster catch totaled more than 132 million pounds and had a value of more than $540 million. Neither of those totals was equaled in Trump’s first three years in office, according to official state data. (We’re not saying Obama was responsible for the big haul or that Trump was responsible for making the haul smaller, but it’s clearly not true that Trump revived something that had been “destroyed.”)
Trump may have been referring to Obama’s creation in 2016 of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, an offshore conservation area of about 5,000 square miles; in June, Trump signed an order to lift Obama’s limits on commercial fishing in the zone.
But the creation of the monument didn’t destroy the Maine lobster industry — and it didn’t even immediately impose any restrictions on the industry. That’s because Obama allowed lobstering and crabbing to continue in the monument until September 2023.

The history of tariffs on China

“But last year was a bad year for China, one of the very bad years that they’ve had. And that’s largely because I put tariffs on. Nobody ever put tariffs on them. Nobody ever did anything to China. China walked away from Obama-Biden. No tariffs, no downside, no nothing.” — June 17 interview with the Wall Street Journal

Facts First: The US had tariffs on imports from China long before Trump took office. And the Obama-Biden administration imposed special tariffs on China.

For more than two centuries, imports from China were subjected to the general tariffs the US applied to imports from other countries. Specifically, the US has had tariffs on imports from China since the country created its first general tariff law in 1789. The US continued to have tariffs on imports from China after China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001; has reported that US tariffs on China produced an average of $12.3 billion per year from 2007 to 2016, before Trump took office.

“Before the trade war started, the average US tariff on imports from China was about 3%. China was treated as a ‘normal’ WTO member and received what is known as America’s most-favored nation tariff, which averages around 3%,” Chad P. Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, told CNN.

(Bown wrote in a 2019 paper that US tariffs on China averaged between 5% and 7% in the late 1980s, depending on how you calculated the average.)
In addition to the general tariffs, Obama imposed special tariffs on car and light-truck tires and solar panels from China.

While Trump has relied on Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to hit China with special tariffs, Bown said, previous administrations, including Obama’s and George W. Bush’s, have hewed closer to WTO rules by imposing special tariffs on China “through policies like antidumping and countervailing (anti-subsidy) duties. By the end of the Obama administration, more than 7 percent of US imports from China were subject to those kinds of special tariffs.”


Trump and DACA recipients

“I have wanted to take care of DACA recipients better than the Do Nothing Democrats, but for two years they refused to negotiate – They have abandoned DACA.” — June 19 tweet
“We’ll work it out with DACA. I think good things are happening with DACA. They resubmit, but we’ll work it out. And the Democrats have been playing with DACA for years, and they haven’t done anything. I’ll get it done. I’ll get it done.” — June 23 exchange with reporters after border wall commemoration in Arizona

Facts First: It is nonsensical to claim that Trump has been trying to support Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients better than Democrats. Trump has repeatedly tried to end the DACA program, an initiative of Democratic President Barack Obama, despite vocal Democratic objections. And Trump has rejected various Democratic proposals to save the program even though they have offered him concessions on his own priorities, like a wall on the US-Mexico border.

You can read a longer fact check here.

Democrats and the border wall

“But they don’t like bringing it up and it’s never mentioned anymore; the wall is never mentioned anymore. The reason it’s not mentioned: It’s not that we won the battle. It’s that it’s such a compelling thing to have done.” — June 23 remarks at border security roundtable in Yuma, Arizona

“You know, you don’t hear about the wall. They don’t want to talk about the wall anymore. Do you notice? Never has the Democrat Party fought so hard against something. And do you notice? They never talk about the wall. Because, in the end, they gave it up. They gave up. We won.” — June 23 speech to Turning Point Action event in Phoenix

Facts First: It’s possible that Democrats are talking about the border wall less than they did early in Trump’s term, but it’s not true that they “never” mention it or that they “gave up” fighting it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement denouncing the wall project later that same week, after a federal appeals court ruled Trump could not divert funds from the military to pay for the wall.
Meanwhile, Biden criticized the wall in late April and in a statement upon Trump’s visit to the wall in late June. And other Democrats continue to denounce the wall and try to thwart Trump’s plans in court.

DACA, citizenship and the Supreme Court

Referring to a Supreme Court decision that rejected Trump’s attempt to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects from deportation some undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children, Trump said, “Based on the decision the Dems can’t make DACA citizens. They gained nothing!” — June 19 tweet

Facts First: The Supreme Court didn’t say anything about whether DACA recipients can eventually be made citizens — whether by Democrats, Republicans or a bipartisan effort.

“There is nothing in the Court’s opinion that prevents Congress from providing a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. The case had nothing to do with citizenship and this issue was not addressed by the Court,” Angela Banks, a law professor at Arizona State University, said in an email.

You can read a longer fact check here.


The New York Times and its sources

“The Fake News @ nytimes must reveal its ‘anonymous’ source. Bet they can’t do it, this ‘person’ probably does not even exist!” — June 28 tweet
“The Russia Bounty story is just another made up by Fake News tale that is told only to damage me and the Republican Party. The secret source probably does not even exist, just like the story itself. If the discredited @nytimes has a source, reveal it. Just another HOAX!” — July 1 tweet

Facts First: There is simply no evidence the Times invented the existence of its sources.

Trump appeared to be referring to the Times’ report that “American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan.” Multiple other media outlets soon reported the same thing or similar.

Trump events and accomplishments

A West Point graduation

Trump said of the graduation ceremony he attended at the US Military Academy at West Point: “You know, they delayed it for six weeks because of Covid.” — June 20 campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Facts First: The ceremony was delayed three weeks, not six. It had been scheduled for May 23 and was eventually held on June 13.

Trump and the West Point ramp

“The ramp that I descended after my West Point Commencement speech was very long & steep, had no handrail and, most importantly, was very slippery. The last thing I was going to do is ‘fall’ for the Fake News to have fun with. Final ten feet I ran down to level ground. Momentum!” — June 13 tweet
Facts First: It’s just not true that Trump ran for the “final 10 feet” of his descent down the ramp on June 13. Video shows that Trump walked slowly for almost all of the descent, then slightly picked up the pace for the final three steps or so. (Ran” is also a stretch, but we’ll let that slide.)
This all might appear trivial, but Trump’s halting descent fueled questions about his health — and it was yet another example of him trying to deceive Americans about facts they could see with their own eyes.

Trump’s rally venue in Tulsa

Trump said of his decision to resume campaign rallies: “The first one, we believe, will be probably — we’re just starting to call up — will be in Oklahoma — in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A beautiful, new venue — brand-new.” — June 10 remarks at White House roundtable
“They have a new — a pretty new, magnificent arena, as you probably have heard.” — June 15 exchange with reporters at roundtable on fighting for seniors
Facts First: As the Tulsa World newspaper noted, Trump’s Tulsa rally was scheduled for a 12-year-old arena, the BOK Center, not a “brand-new” venue.

Trump’s accomplishments

“Well, you know, they say — everybody says it — and nobody even disputes it: In the history of our country, nobody has done more than I have in the first three-and-a-half years.” — July 1 interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Eric Bolling

Facts First: This is an obvious exaggeration. Not “everybody” says that no president has accomplished more than Trump has; the claim is indeed disputed.

Environment and energy

Democrats and wind energy

“And they want to have no energy because they’re totally against anything petroleum. They’re probably against everything. They’re probably against wind, too. You know, it kills birds.” — June 25 interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity
Facts First: While prominent Democrats do want to transition from the use of fossil fuels, there is no basis for Trump’s suggestion that “they’re probably against wind, too.” Trump is the one who regularly talks about how wind energy harms birds. Election opponent Biden, conversely, is calling for an expansion of wind energy — proposing, among other clean-energy targets, to “develop renewables on federal lands and waters with the goal of doubling offshore wind by 2030.”


An assault on a Democratic lawmaker

Trump spoke about how Wisconsin state Sen. Tim Carpenter, a Democrat, had been assaulted during a protest in the state capital of Madison during which participants destroyed two statues, including one of an anti-slavery abolitionist who died fighting for the Union side in the Civil War.

Trump said: “And the person they beat up was a Democrat who happened to be gay. And he was probably out there rooting them on or something, because Democrats think it’s wonderful that they’re destroying our country.” — June 25 “town hall” event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: Carpenter told CNN that Trump’s claim that he was rooting on the protesters is “an absolute lie” and “completely false.” Carpenter said he opposes removing statues without government authorization and never cheered on this group, which he described as a “mob.”

Carpenter said he had been heading to work at the state Capitol and had just stopped to see what was going on with the protest when he was assaulted after trying to use his phone’s camera to document the situation.

Carpenter also took issue with Trump mentioning his sexual orientation, saying it was entirely irrelevant to the situation.

A conversation involving Sen. Mark Warner

Trump mentioned to Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he had heard Democratic Sen. Mark Warner “talking to the comedian — the Russian comedian.” Hannity responded, “No, that’s Schiff — Adam Schiff.” Trump insisted, “That was both of them.” He continued by appearing to acknowledge Hannity’s point, saying, “One or two. They were scammed” — but he then proceeded to talk again about how Warner was scammed by a comedian: “Warner — Senator Warner, he gets scammed by a Russian who you — I mean, the guy was fantastic, this comedian.” — June 25 “town hall” event with Hannity

Facts First: Hannity was right, Trump was wrong: it was Rep. Adam Schiff, not Sen. Mark Warner, who took a call from Russian comedians. Warner, conversely, made an attempt, through text messages with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch, to get in touch with Christopher Steele, the British ex-spy who produced a controversial research dossier about the Trump campaign’s alleged relationships with Russia.
This was not the first time Trump has mixed up the Schiff and Warner situations.

ISIS under Obama

Trump boasted of how “we destroyed” the entire ISIS “caliphate,” then added, “And when I took over, that caliphate was goin’ like this,” gesturing to suggest the territory was getting bigger. — June 23 speech to Turning Point Action event in Phoenix
Facts First: While ISIS did create the so-called “caliphate” during the Obama administration, that ISIS territory was shrinking, not expanding, when Trump took office. IHS Markit, an information company that studied the changing size of the so-called caliphate, reported two days before Trump’s 2017 inauguration that the caliphate had shrunk by 23% in 2016 after shrinking by 14% in 2015.

“The Islamic State suffered unprecedented territorial losses in 2016, including key areas vital for the group’s governance project,” Columb Strack, senior analyst and head of the IHS Conflict Monitor, said in a statement at the time.

Roger Stone

The jury foreperson in the Roger Stone trial, part 1

Trump claimed the jury foreperson in Stone’s trial was biased: “And, by the way, she was a dominant person. The jurors said she was very dominating in the room. She dominated.” — June 25 “town hall” event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: There is no evidence that the jury foreperson, Tomeka Hart, attempted to dominate the rest of the group. In fact, at a February hearing prompted by Stone’s request for a new trial, both a juror selected to testify by Stone’s defense team and a juror selected to testify by the prosecution said that Hart had not pressured them.

Asked directly if anyone attempted “to dominate or intimidate the others,” the juror selected by the prosecution said, “No.” The juror selected by the defense, meanwhile, testified that it had been Hart who had encouraged the jury to take a little more time to examine one of the charges against Stone even though most of them had made up their minds that he was guilty.
Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote in rejecting Stone’s request for a new trial: “The jurors’ accounts stand uncontested, and they were consistent with the record in the case, which includes two notes, signed by the foreperson, asking careful questions about the intricacies of the counts. So the portion of the motion for a new trial based on misconduct will be denied because there is no evidence of any misconduct.”

The jury foreperson in the Roger Stone trial, part 2

Claiming again that the jury foreperson in Stone’s trial was biased, Trump said, “You know, she acted like she was an innocent. She ran for Congress or something, and lost, but she was, like, pretending to be an innocent. How did she even get into the jury pool? She must have had a little contact.” — June 25 “town hall” event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: There is no basis for Trump’s claim that jury foreperson Tomeka Hart, who ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2012, somehow tricked her way into the jury pool. Prior political involvement does not prohibit someone from serving on a jury.

Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s President

“They took a — think of it: They impeached a duly elected President of the United States on a perfect conversation. Actually, there were two conversations. The first one was ‘Hello,’ ‘Goodbye.’ They don’t even talk about that. The second one was about the same thing.” — June 25 “town hall” event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: Trump was correct that he had a brief and relatively unremarkable first phone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in April 2019. But he was incorrect that his second conversation with Zelensky, in July 2019, was anything close to “the same thing” as the first conversation.
In that second call in July, which became a focus of his impeachment, Trump sought to get Zelensky to investigate rival Joe Biden and a debunked conspiracy theory about Democratic computer servers. He also told Zelensky that his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and the attorney general, William Barr, would get in touch with him.

Repeat false claims

Below is a list of the false claims Trump repeated from previous periods. Since we’ve fact-checked them all of them in previous articles, we’ve shortened the fact checks here.

The coronavirus pandemic

Travel restrictions on China

Trump claimed nine times that he had stopped people from China from coming into the US, “closed our country to China” or “banned people coming in from China.”

Facts First: Trump imposed travel restrictions on people who had recently been in China, but they were not a complete ban; they contained exemptions for citizens, permanent residents, many of their family members and others.

Democrats, mail-in voting and the pandemic

“The Democrats are also trying to rig the election by sending out tens of millions of mail-in ballots, using the China virus as the excuse for allowing people not to go to the polls.” — June 23 speech to Turning Point Action event in Phoenix

Facts First: There is no basis for the claim that Democrats are trying to rig the election. Both Democratic-led and Republican-led states have made efforts to expand voting by mail because of concerns about in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic, and several of Trump’s Republican allies in the Senate have endorsed these expansion efforts.

Ventilators and the stockpile

Trump claimed three times that the government didn’t have ventilators before the pandemic.

Facts First: A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to CNN in late June that there had been about 19,000 ventilators in the national stockpile for “many years,” including 16,660 ventilators that were ready for immediate use in March 2020; the spokesperson confirmed that none of those 16,660 were purchased by the Trump administration.

You can read a longer fact check here.

Trump’s popularity and accomplishments

Trump claimed twice that he has a 96% approval rating with Republicans and once that it is a 95% approval rating.

Facts First: We could not find any recent poll in which Trump had a 95% or 96% approval rating with Republicans, though he was frequently in the high 80s or low 90s (and got as high as 94% in one poll from the period). Trump has regularly exaggerated his Republican approval rating even though the actual number has usually been high.
We also know now that the 95% and 96% numbers are not coming from the Trump campaign’s internal polls. Campaign pollster Tony Fabrizio told The Washington Post for a June 28 article: “Over the past four months, the president’s support among Republican voters has ranged between 90 and 94 percent consistently. As of our most recent polling, it stands at 94 percent.”

Attendance at Trump rallies

“We’ve had a tremendous run at rallies. I don’t think there’s been an empty seat in — since we came down in the escalator with the first lady,” trump said, referring to his June 2015 presidential announcement speech. — June 10 remarks at White House roundtable

Facts First: There have been empty seats at various Trump rallies, including an October rally in Minneapolis, a July rally in Greenville, North Carolina, an October 2018 rally in Houston and an April 2017 rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, according to journalists on the scene.


Trump claimed three times that opinion polls, including a CNN poll that showed him trailing Biden by 14 points, are “suppression polls” designed to deflate his supporters.

Facts First: CNN has not manipulated poll numbers to suppress the enthusiasm of Trump voters, and there is simply no evidence that any other major pollster has done so either.

Foreign and military affairs

The Space Force and the Air Force

On two occasions, Trump claimed that the Space Force was the first new branch of the military to be created in “75 years” and “76 years.”

Facts First: These were little exaggerations or errors. The Air Force was made a separate branch of the armed forces in September 1947 — about 72 years before the Space Force was founded in 2019.

Veterans Choice

Trump claimed seven times that he was the one who got the Veterans Choice health care program passed.

Facts First: The Veterans Choice bill, a bipartisan initiative led by Sens. Bernie Sanders and the late John McCain, was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2014. In 2018, Trump signed the VA Mission Act, which expanded and changed the Choice program.

The money in the Iran deal

Trump said three times that President Barack Obama gave Iran $150 billion as part of their nuclear deal.

Facts First: The money released to Iran was Iranian money frozen in foreign financial institutions because of sanctions, not US government money — and experts say the total was significantly lower than $150 billion. You can read a fuller fact check here.

Spending on military equipment

“We’ve invested the $2.5 trillion in all of the greatest equipment in the world. …” — June 25 speech at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin

Facts First: The United States has not spent $2.5 trillion on military equipment under Trump. “When he says $2.5 trillion, he can’t possibly mean the amount spent on military equipment. That figure is roughly the total of military spending since he took office, and about two-thirds of it is for things other than equipment, like pay and benefits,” Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank, said in June after Trump made an earlier version of this claim.

Germany and NATO

Trump claimed five times that Germany and other NATO members that are not meeting the alliance’s goal of spending 2% of their gross domestic product on defense are “delinquent,” failing to pay “bills” or “owe a lot of money.”

Facts First: That’s not how NATO works. The 2% target is not a binding financial obligation; falling short of the target does not create any debts.


Trump said “the military was a joke” under Obama and Biden, adding, “We had no ammunition. We had no ammunition.” — June 11 interview with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner (remark was aired on Fox in a preview of the interview)

Facts First: This was a major exaggeration. According to military leaders, there was a shortfall in certain kinds of munitions, particularly precision-guided bombs, late in the Obama presidency and early in the Trump presidency — but they did not say, at least publicly, that they had completely run out of any kind of bomb, let alone ammunition in general. You can read a full fact check of Trump’s claims about munitions levels here.

Trade and China

Who is paying for Trump’s tariffs on China

Trump claimed seven times that China is paying the billions in revenue to the US government from his tariffs on imported Chinese products.

Facts First: Study after study has shown that Americans are bearing the cost of the tariffs. And it is American importers, not Chinese exporters, who are responsible for making the tariff payments to the federal government.

China’s economic performance

Trump claimed three times that before the pandemic crisis, China had been having its worst economic year in “67 years.”

Facts First: Trump was exaggerating. China’s officially reported 2019 growth rate, 6.1%, was the lowest since 1990, 29 years prior. While China’s official figures are unreliable, there is no basis for the “67 years” claim.

The USMCA and Canadian dairy tariffs

“Canada was ripping off Wisconsin and Iowa and other farm states. You have no idea what they — 287% tariff. They were charging on farm products, on — they would call it ‘dairy products’ — 287%. And I stopped it. I stopped it.” — June 25 “town hall” event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: Most of Canada’s dairy tariffs were left in place by Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, an update to NAFTA. Trump did secure concessions from Canada to allow greater market access for US dairy farmers, but the tariffs themselves — which apply to US exports that exceed Canadian quota maximums — were not altered.

The exception is whey and margarine, for which both Canada and the US agreed to eliminate tariffs.


The media and sources

Trump made a general claim that media outlets regularly make up sources: “… it’s actually beyond fake. It’s fake and it’s corrupt. They make up stories, they make up sources. They don’t have so — anytime you say anonymous source, and a source that wants to remain secret, all this — it doesn’t exist, in many cases.” — July 1 interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Eric Bolling

Facts First: There is no evidence that major media outlets have invented nonexistent sources for their reporting on the Trump administration.

An apology from The New York Times?

Alleging that New York Times polling is inaccurate, Trump tweeted, “Do you think they will apologize to me & their subscribers AGAIN when I WIN?” — June 29 tweet
Facts First: Trump was making a clear reference to his repeated claim that the New York Times apologized after the 2016 election; as the Times has noted, it did not do so.
A post-election letter in 2016, from executive editor Dean Baquet and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., did say the election had raised several questions, including this: “Did Donald Trump’s sheer unconventionality lead us and other news outlets to underestimate his support among American voters?” But the letter did not issue any apology, to Trump or anyone else.


Democrats and borders

Trump claimed five times that Joe Biden or the Democrats want “open borders.”

Facts First: Prominent Democrats, including Biden, do not support completely unrestricted migration.

While Biden has proposed a liberalization of immigration policy, including a moratorium on deportations for his first 100 days in office (for people who were already in the US) and taking in more refugees, he is not proposing to allow people to walk across the borders unfettered. His immigration plan says, “Like every nation, the U.S. has a right and a duty to secure our borders and protect our people against threats.” In 2019, he explicitly opposed Democratic opponents’ proposals to decriminalize the act of crossing the border illegally, saying, “It’s a crime.”
Though the Democratic majority in the House opposes Trump’s signature proposal for a border wall, congressional Democrats have long supported other border security measures.

Health care

Trump and preexisting conditions

Trump claimed five times that he would always protect people with preexisting conditions or that he loves to protect preexisting conditions.

Facts First: Congressional Republicans have repeatedly put forward bills, supported by Trump, that would weaken Obamacare’s protections for people with preexisting conditions. Trump is currently supporting a Republican lawsuit that is seeking to declare all of Obamacare void. He has not issued a plan to reinstate the law’s protections for people with preexisting conditions if the suit succeeds.

Voting and fraud

Mail-in voting

Trump made another series of baseless conspiratorial claims about voting by mail. He alleged in a June 23 speech that “it’s going to be fraud all over the place”; in that speech and other comments, he repeatedly mentioned various kinds of possible fraud that experts said were highly unlikely to occur on any large scale, such as foreign countries “printing their own ballots” or ballots being “stolen from mailboxes.”
Facts First: All evidence shows that voter fraud is extremely rare in the US, though it does happen on occasion; experts say it is slightly more common with mail-in voting than with in-person voting, but still represents a minuscule fraction of votes cast. Mail ballot fraud is exceedingly rare in part because states have systems and processes in place to prevent forgery, theft and voter fraud. You can read longer fact checks here and here.

A voting settlement in California

Trump said of a legal settlement between the state of California and conservative group Judicial Watch: “They settled. They agreed that many people either voted illegally, shouldn’t have been voting — a lot of things.” — June 23 speech to Turning Point Action event in Phoenix

Facts First: California’s settlement with conservative group Judicial Watch was not about fraudulent voting at all; rather, it was about inactive voters who remained on voter lists. California did not “agree” that many people voted illegally.

“The Judicial Watch settlement provided no evidence of fraud whatsoever,” said Rick Hasen, an expert in elections law and a professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine.

You can read a longer fact check here.


Energy production

“How about the fact that we’ve become the number one energy (producer) in the world, through me?” — June 25 “town hall” event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: The US has not become the world’s top energy producer because of Trump: It took the top spot in 2012, according to the US government’s Energy Information Administration — under the very Obama administration Trump has repeatedly accused of perpetrating a “war” on the industry.

The US became the top producer of crude oil in particular during Trump’s tenure.

Women’s unemployment

Trump claimed that women’s unemployment, prior to the pandemic, was the best in “75 years,” though not an all-time record. He continued, “But it was getting ready to hit the all-time. Women, it was the best in 75 years, so I have to apologize. Can you believe that? We did the best in 75 years, and I apologize to women.” — June 23 speech to Turning Point Action event in Phoenix

Facts First: Aside from earlier points in Trump’s own presidency, it had been about 66-and-a-half years, not 75 years, since the women’s unemployment rate has been as low as it was in February 2020, 3.4%; it was at that level in 1953.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama and criminal justice reform

Trump boasted about signing a criminal justice reform bill; he said, “Obama and Biden never even tried it. And that was something so important for the Black community.” And: “Now, Obama didn’t try. If he did, he may come out and say, ‘We did try.’ But you know, he didn’t get it done. I got it done.” — June 25 “town hall” event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: The Obama administration did try to get a criminal justice reform bill passed; a bipartisan bill failed in the Senate during the 2016 presidential campaign when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided not to bring it up for a vote. Obama nonetheless took his own steps that did not require Republican approval, such as banning the use of solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons, working with state and local governments to reduce pretrial incarceration and the incarceration of people with mental illnesses, and instructing federal prosecutors to try to avoid triggering mandatory minimum sentences for certain nonviolent drug offenders.

Obama and judicial vacancies

Boasting about how many judges he has appointed, Trump said, “And part of it was that President Obama was unable to get judges approved in a large number — about 142 judges. So I took it off, got them approved and then got a lot approved beyond.” — June 25 “town hall” event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: Trump was vague here, but we know from numerous previous remarks that he was claiming that Obama had been unable to fill 142 vacant spots in the federal judiciary. In fact, there were 104 court vacancies on January 1, 2017, 19 days before Trump took office, according to Russell Wheeler, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution who tracks judicial appointments.

Obama and “treason”

Asked what crime he is accusing Obama of committing in relation to the Russia investigation, Trump said, “Treason. Treason. It’s treason.” — June 22 interview with CBN News’ David Brody
Facts First: There is no basis for this claim. Obama simply did not commit treason, which is narrowly defined in the Constitution: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”
You can read more here on Trump’s vague allegations about Obama and the Russia investigation.

Hunter Biden’s career

Trump claimed that before Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden was appointed in 2014 to a lucrative position on the board of directors of the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma, “He was jobless.” — June 20 campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma

“This young guy who didn’t have a job … all of a sudden, he’s making millions of dollars a year.” — June 25 “town hall” event with Fox News’ Sean Hannity

Facts First: It’s not true that Hunter Biden was unemployed at the time he was appointed to the board of Burisma. Rather, he was a lawyer at the firm Boies Schiller Flexner, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s foreign service program, chairman of the board of World Food Program USA, and chief executive officer and chairman of Rosemont Seneca Advisors, an investment advisory firm. He also served on other boards.

Hunter Biden has acknowledged that he would “probably not” have been asked to be on the board if he were not a Biden. But Trump’s repeat portrayal of him as unemployed is inaccurate.

Protesters in Washington

Trump again denounced the protesters who had been cleared out of the way by police before his controversial June 1 photo op outside a Washington church: “A @FoxNews commentator just ripped me with lies, with nobody defending. They talked about the ‘friendly’ protesters (they set the Church on fire the day before. They were anything but friendly). …” — June 25 tweet
Facts First: There is no basis for Trump to blame the peaceful protesters present on June 1 for a fire police say was set at St. John’s Episcopal Church the day prior. Nobody has been charged for the fire; we don’t know what Trump was “told,” but there is no evidence that any of the peaceful June 1 protesters, much less all of them, were responsible.

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US Election: Donald Trump and Mike Pence attempt a campaign reset as public trust falters

Trump spent little time trying to lead America out of its coronavirus crisis this week, which was bookended by an erratic Rose Garden press conference Tuesday and a sharply worded campaign speech by Vice President Mike Pence in Wisconsin Friday afternoon. Clearly losing the battle on messaging, the President and his team sought to reframe the 2020 election as a choice between their agenda of “freedom and opportunity” and what Pence claimed is Biden’s vision of an America under “growing control of the state” — a future he said would lead to “socialism and decline.”

Their aim — in keeping with the President’s relentless push to reopen the US economy regardless of the human cost — is to get Americans to focus on anything other than the raging virus while distracting from the administration’s flawed effort to control it earlier this year, a diversionary tactic that has not worked so far.

After aggressive race-baiting earlier this summer, the Trump team is pivoting with greater focus to the longtime GOP tactic of trying to paint their Democratic opponent as weak and ill-equipped to protect and defend America.

Trying to signal a shakeup to address falling poll numbers, Trump demoted his campaign manager Brad Parscale this week and elevated a more seasoned Republican operative, Bill Stepien, to the top role. In his first public comments as campaign manager Thursday, Stepien argued that the Trump campaign has “better voter information, a better ground game, better fundraising” and a “better candidate,” and promised the team would use the time between now and November to “expose Joe Biden as a hapless tool of the extreme left.”

Pence on the stump

Distilling the Trump campaign’s argument in Ripon, Wisconsin, on Friday, Pence described Biden as something akin to a zombie candidate who had been co-opted by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and the radical left, and falsely claimed that Biden is now aligned with far-left activists who want to defund the police.

The vice president pointed to a document released by the task force convened by Biden and Sanders to unify the Democratic Party after Biden clinched the Democratic nomination: “I thought Joe Biden won the Democratic primaries, but looking at their unity agenda, it looks like Bernie won,” Pence said in Wisconsin, a key swing state that Trump won by less than a percentage point in 2016.
Fact check: Trump deceives about Sanders-Biden task force proposals to make Biden sound 'extreme'

While scarcely mentioning the human toll of the coronavirus, Pence charged that Biden and Sanders have embraced an agenda based on government control that would be defined by “an avalanche of regulation,” “open borders” and hostility toward police.

Though Biden has rejected calls to “defund the police” following the death of George Floyd, who was killed at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, Pence twisted the former vice president’s words in a recent interview with activist Ady Barkan (where Biden said he “absolutely” agreed that some police funding should be redirected).

With that comment, Pence said Biden had “capitulated to the radical left-wing mob.”

“Joe Biden would weaken the Thin Blue Line that separates order from chaos,” Pence said, noting that the Trump administration would never defund the police. “We will defend the police every day. … The hard truth is: you won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”

Trump echoed those comments in a tweet Friday night: “Corrupt Joe Biden wants to defund our police. He may use different words, but when you look at his pact with Crazy Bernie, and other things, that’s what he wants to do. It would destroy America!”

Reprising an unproven argument

But the President has tried unsuccessfully to make that argument for several months now — and it doesn’t seem to be sticking so far — as he has attempted to stoke racial division in America to ignite supporters wary of the cultural shift inspired by Floyd’s death.
In his latest attempt to fire up White suburban voters, Trump used an event on the South Lawn of the White House to condemn an Obama-era federal rule that is intended to reduce segregation in housing, claiming it would “obliterate” America’s suburbs.

Employing tired racial tropes that were used in the previous century — and that seem wildly out of step with the views of most Americans today — Trump claimed that under the rule, homes will “go down in value and crime rates will rapidly rise… Suburbia will be no longer as we know it.”

Trump wants Americans to believe Biden is a radical leftist. It's a tough sell.

But there is scant evidence that Trump’s tactics of fear and racial division are working. This week brought another poll showing Biden leading Trump by double digits, as his coronavirus performance still appears to be a major driver in his approval ratings.

More alarming for Trump’s campaign, as CNN’s Harry Enten noted this week, Americans are continuing to lose confidence in Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, and that erosion is beginning to show up among Whites without a college degree and rural voters, two groups that supported Trump by about a 30-point margin as the core of his base in 2016.

In an average of recent ABC News/Ipsos and Quinnipiac polls, Trump’s approval rating on coronavirus among Whites without a college degree was about 50% and the numbers were similar among rural voters, Enten noted.

And as much as Trump and Pence would like to shift the conversation away from the coronavirus, it is still top of mind for Americans as the US shattered yet another record Thursday with more than 77,000 new Covid-19 cases.

Two-thirds of Americans (66%) said in a new ABC News-Washington Post poll that they are at least somewhat worried they or someone in their family might catch the coronavirus, and 60% said they disapprove of the President’s handling of the outbreak.

The trust gap for the President when it comes to Covid-19 is glaring: a stunning 64% said they trust “not much” or nothing at all of what Trump says about the pandemic.

Lack of leadership

And yet, Trump doesn’t seem to be doing anything to show he can lead on the virus. The President spent the week talking about dishwashers and posing with cans of Goya products on the Resolute Desk. Some of his aides would like him to return to the briefing room podium for regular coronavirus briefings, but the last time he did that, he told Americans that ingesting disinfectant might help treat the disease.

The administration’s moves to suppress public information about the spread of Covid-19 certainly will not help rebuild voter confidence. The Trump administration’s decision directing hospitals to bypass the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send their data directly to the Department of Health and Human Services met a furious backlash from public health experts this week.

Trump's outrageous refusal to lead is making the pandemic worse
In a statement Friday, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield insisted the reporting change was meant to curtail the “reporting burden” by reducing “confusion and duplication of reporting.”

“No one is taking access or data away from CDC,” Redfield said.

But the administration’s move was widely perceived as another attack on transparency in public health data. Meanwhile, the White House is blocking Redfield and other officials from the agency from testifying before a House committee hearing next week on reopening schools.
Trump continues pushing states to reopen their economies and resume in-person school this fall, despite concerns from public health experts about how that could accelerate the spread of the virus to vulnerable populations, including nearly a quarter of the nation’s teachers.
Trump’s willful disconnect from the coronavirus reality was also underscored late this week by an unpublished report prepared for the White House coronavirus task force, which was obtained by the non-profit Center for Public Integrity, that recommended rolling back reopenings in 18 states that are part of the coronavirus “red zone.”

Devin O’Malley, spokesman for Pence and the task force, said the report showed “encouraging signs” amid the pandemic, because a few weeks ago Pence reported that “16 states met the criteria for rising cases and rising positivity rate.” In the unpublished report, he noted that only 10 states fit that criteria. “This is just one data point of many encouraging signs that we are seeing across the country as we continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic,” O’Malley said in a statement to CNN.

But as many times as Trump and Pence try to claim that America is moving on from the virus and that everything is fine, the data continues to tell another story.

“People say is this a second wave? No. We’re still in the first one,” Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” Friday evening.

“It never quite went away,” after the major outbreaks in March and April, Collins said, “and now it’s coming back in a very steep incline, which is, of course, a source of great concern for anybody, especially in those hard-hit areas.”

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Politicians and activists praise Rep. John Lewis’s legacy of “good trouble”

Tributes are pouring in from political leaders and activists following the news late Friday night that Rep. John Lewis, the Georgia congressman and civil rights leader, has died.

In tweets and public statements, Democratic and Republican lawmakers, as well as current and former colleagues in the civil rights movement, praised Lewis’s decades of activism — a lifelong project he often described as “good trouble.”

The son of sharecroppers, Lewis was only 23 years old when he spoke at the March on Washington in 1963. He was among the “Big Six” of the 1960s Civil Rights movement, a group led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that planned that event, and was its last surviving member.

He was among the protesters beaten by law enforcement during a 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, an incident that helped spur federal civil rights legislation, particularly the Voting Rights Act, passed later that year.

Described as “the conscience of Congress,” Lewis was elected to the body in 1986 as a Democrat in Atlanta. Over the course of his career, he opposed the Iraq War, protested for the rights of refugees and immigrants, and advocated for gun reform measures. Recently, he argued for President Donald Trump’s impeachment from the floor of the House of Representatives, and took part in anti-racism protests.

In December, Lewis announced that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. In a statement at the time, he wrote that he would continue working for his district, writing, “We still have many bridges to cross.”

As news of his death spread on Friday night and into Saturday morning, leaders from across the political spectrum referred to that legacy of fighting as they offered their condolences in public statements and on social media.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement that said Lewis’ colleagues in Congress were “heartbroken.”

“May his memory be an inspiration that moves us all to, in the face of injustice, make ‘good trouble, necessary trouble,’” she said.

Former President Obama, who honored Lewis with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, praised the congressman’s commitment to nonviolence in a statement published Saturday.

Lewis “loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise,” Obama wrote. “And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.”

In a statement, Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, called Lewis “truly a one-of-a-kind, a moral compass who always knew where to point us and which direction to march.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) praised Lewis’ lifelong commitment to collective activism, writing the lawmaker’s “courage helped transform this country.”

Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta, ordered the flags of city hall to be flown half-mast in Lewis’ honor, calling him “the most brave of giants” in a tweet.

Flags will similarly be lowered at the US Capitol in Lewis’ honor, and at the White House.

President Donald Trump had not yet issued a statement about Lewis on Saturday morning, but in a proclamation, Trump stated that the act was “a mark of respect for the memory and longstanding public service” of Lewis.

The proclamation means that all flags at public buildings, military posts, naval stations and vessels, and at all United States embassies, consulates, and facilities abroad, will remain at half-mast throughout Saturday.

Although Lewis was a lifelong Democrat, many Republicans, including some with whom Lewis had sparred in Congress — some who had opposed Lewis’ work as an activist — also shared their thoughts.

Former President Bush, whose first inauguration Lewis skipped, and who later joined Lewis on the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, said he was mourning Lewis’ death.

“As a young man marching for equality in Selma, Alabama, John answered brutal violence with courageous hope,” Bush said in a statement. “And throughout his career as a civil rights leader and public servant, he worked to make our country a more perfect union. America can best honor John’s memory by continuing his journey toward liberty and justice for all.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued a statement about Lewis’ death that called him “a pioneering civil rights leader who put his life on the line to fight racism, promote equal rights, and bring our nation into greater alignment with its founding principles.”

Critics responded to McConnell’s statement by noting that one of the causes for which Lewis shed blood, the Voting Rights Act, has been defanged, and that McConnell has so far declined to back legislation meant to restore key portions of it.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) called Lewis a man of “unwavering principle, unassailable character, penetrating purpose, and heartfelt compassion.”

Sen. Tim Scott, the Senate’s only African American Republican, said that Lewis had welcomed him to Congress with “open arms” after his 2011 election.

“He was a giant among men; his life and legacy will continue to serve as an example for the generations to come,” Scott tweeted. “I am encouraged by his courage, determination, and perseverance, characteristics that we can all try to emulate – especially in the wake of current events.”

The tributes reflected the trajectory of Lewis’ career, from Alabama-born activist to Georgia politician.

Fellow Georgia lawmakers speaking in Lewis’ honor included Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both Republicans, and Stacey Abrams, a Democrat. Former president Jimmy Carter also had praise for Lewis.

“He made an indelible mark on history through his quest to make our nation more just,” Carter, who appointed Lewis the associate director of ACTION a federal volunteer agency in 1977, wrote. “Everything he did, he did in a spirit of love. All Americans, regardless of race or religion, owe John Lewis a debt of gratitude.”

Other civil rights leaders praised a friend and comrade.

“My friend, role model, and activist extraordinaire has passed,” Rev. Al Sharpton wrote. “Congressman John Lewis taught us how to be an activist. He changed the world without hate, rancor or arrogance. A rare and great man.”

And Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., said that Lewis “personifies a New Testament prophet.”

Dr. King’s children, Bernice King and Martin Luther King III, also praised their father’s colleague.

“Farewell, sir. You did, indeed, fight the good fight and get into a lot of good trouble. You served God and humanity well,” wrote Bernice King, while her brother called Lewis “an American treasure.”

Funeral information for Lewis has not yet been shared, and public tributes of the kind that celebrated the life of fellow activist and Congressman Elijah Cummings are unlikely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Notably absent among the immediate outpouring of tributes was a statement from President Donald Trump, who frequently ridiculed Lewis. Lewis skipped Trump’s 2017 inauguration, saying that he considered the election to be illegitimate, and Trump has attacked Lewis in tweets, calling him “all talk, talk, talk – no action.”

Although Trump himself did not released a statement Saturday morning, his press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted a tribute, writing that “We hold his family in our prayers, as we remember Rep. John Lewis’ incredible contributions to our country.”

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Strzok notes show no evidence of Team Trump-Russia contacts, doubts about Steele dossier — in February 2017

Just when did the FBI’s top echelon realize that the Steele dossier was unreliable? New notes released by the Senate Judiciary Committee late yesterday show the agent in charge of Operation Crossfire Hurricane realized it by mid-February 2017. Peter Strzok also knew that leaks from the investigation included flat-out false information that attempted to shore up the public case for continuing the probe, all of which raises new questions as to why the probe continued at all:

A top F.B.I. agent recognized by February 2017 that a now notorious dossier of claims about purported Trump-Russia ties had credibility problems, but the Justice Department continued to rely on it as part of its basis to renew permission to wiretap a former Trump campaign adviser, documents released on Friday showed.

The documents included an F.B.I. memo recounting a three-day interview in January 2017 with a person who served as a primary source for Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer who compiled the dossier for a research firm paid by Democrats. They also included an F.B.I. agent’s notes disputing aspects of a New York Times article the next month.

The agent, Peter Strzok, had not participated in the interview of Mr. Steele’s source, in which the source had suggested that the dossier misstated or exaggerated certain information that the source had gathered from a network of contacts in Russia and relayed to Mr. Steele. But Mr. Strzok appeared to be aware of aspects of it.

In his annotations about two weeks later, Mr. Strzok questioned the reliability of the dossier.

Reacting to a line in the newspaper article that senior F.B.I. officials believed that Mr. Steele had a credible track record, Mr. Strzok wrote in the margins: “Recent interviews and investigation, however, reveal Steele may not be in a position to judge the reliability of his subsource network.”

Why is this important? It shows that the whole basis for idea that Donald Trump had colluded with Russians in warping the 2016 elections — or had been trapped by their intelligence services — had serious credibility problems well before the appointment of a special counsel. Those credibility problems went right to the top by February 2017, as the Strzok notes Lindsey Graham released show. And yet the FBI would not only rely on the Steele dossier to get surveillance extended on Carter Page multiple times, it also kept the probe alive long enough to turn it over to Robert Mueller.

The notes show something else, too, in relation to the entire raison d’être of the investigation. The NYT report that followed two weeks later claimed that “Trump campaign aides had repeated contact with Russian intelligence,” the core accusation of Russiagate. That was news to Strzok, who wrote in a recently declassified comment that the FBI had no such evidence of any meetings:

“We are unaware of ANY Trump advisers engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials.”

Still, he also added, the bureau had identified contacts between Mr. Page and Russian intelligence officials before the campaign; contacts between an associate of Paul Manafort, the onetime campaign chairman, and Russian intelligence; and contacts between two campaign advisers, Jeff Sessions and Michael T. Flynn, and Russia’s ambassador to the United States.

Let’s recall the specific context of Strzok’s comments. Page, as it turned out, made contacts with Russian intelligence because he was working clandestinely for the CIA at the time. Manafort had a long history with the Russians and their intel that predated the campaign — a history of illegality which the DoJ had declined to pursue until Robert Mueller needed it for leverage. Jeff Sessions and Michael Flynn’s “contacts” were with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and were entirely legitimate. And at least as far as Flynn is concerned, the FBI knew that a month prior to Strzok’s notes.

Beyond that, though, the FBI had apparently not found any basis for Crossfire Hurricane by mid-February 2017. According to Strzok’s notes, they hadn’t found any contacts between Trump or his advisers and Russian intelligence, and the only substantial input they had was the Steele dossier — which Strzok already knew was unreliable. And, as we found out two years later and after much demagoguery and more leaked misinformation, the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller never did find any evidence of collusion with Russian intelligence.

All of this leads to one question: why did the FBI continue to pursue the investigation after February 2017 when they had no evidentiary basis for it? Where was the probable cause? Who leaked misinformation to the New York Times to provide a political cover for the FBI’s investigation? Who kept this probe going when it clearly didn’t have any need to continue, and why?

Perhaps John Durham will come up with some answers to those questions. At this point, though, there doesn’t appear to be any innocent answers to them.

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No end in sight, Congress confronts new virus crisis rescue

WASHINGTON (AP) — It stands as the biggest economic rescue in U.S. history, the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill swiftly approved by Congress in the spring. And it’s painfully clear now, as the pandemic worsens, it was only the start.

With COVID-19 cases hitting alarming new highs and the death roll rising, the pandemic’s devastating cycle is happening all over again, leaving Congress little choice but to engineer another costly rescue. Businesses are shutting down, schools cannot fully reopen and jobs are disappearing, all while federal emergency aid expires. Without a successful federal plan to control the outbreak, Congress heads back to work with no endgame to the crisis in sight.

“It’s not going to magically disappear,” said a somber Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., during a visit to a hospital in his home state to thank front-line workers.

Lawmakers return Monday to Washington to try to pull the country back from the looming COVID-19 cliff. While the White House prefers to outsource much of the decision-making on virus testing and prevention to the states, the absence of a federal intervention has forced the House and Senate to try to draft another assistance package.

It’s a massive undertaking, hardly politically popular, but the alternative is worse. Experts predict an even more dire public health outlook for winter. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease official, says the U.S. needs to “regroup.”

As McConnell prepares to roll out his $1 trillion-plus proposal, he acknowledges it will not have full support. Already the White House is suggesting changes, Republicans are divided and broader disagreements with Democrats could derail the whole effort.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., already pushed through a more sweeping $3 trillion relief bill to bolster virus testing, keep aid flowing and set new health and workplace standards for reopening schools, shops and workplaces.

She said recently she finds herself yearning for an earlier era of Republicans in the White House, saying tha despite differences, even with President Richard Nixon, who resigned facing impeachment, “At least we had a shared commitment to the governance of our country.”

The political stakes are high for all sides before the November election, but even more so for the nation, which now has more coronavirus infections and a higher death count than any other country. On Friday, two former Federal Reserve Board leaders urged Congress to do more.

“Time is running out,” Pelosi said.

There were just a few hundred coronavirus cases when Congress first started focusing on emergency spending in early March. By the end of that month, as Congress passed a $2.2 trillion bill, cases soared past 100,000 and deaths climbed past 2,000.

Today, the death toll stands at more than 139,000 in the U.S., with 3.6 million-plus confirmed cases.

The virus that first tore into New York, California and America’s big cities is now plaguing places large and small, urban and rural, burning through the South, West and beyond without restraint.

Freezer cases that stored bodies outside New York hospitals are now on order in Arizona. The mobilization of military medical units to help overworked health care providers has shifted now to Texas.

Lawmakers hardly wore facial masks when they voted in March as the Capitol was shutting down and sending them to the ranks of work-from-home Americans. Trump and his allies still rarely wear them. But at least 25 governors from states as diverse as Alabama to Oregon now have mask requirements. The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this past week that if everyone wore a mask, iit could help “drive this epidemic to the ground.”

Just as the pandemic’s ferocious cycle is starting again, the first round of aid is running out.

A federal $600-a-week boost to regular unemployment benefits expires at the end of the month. So, too, does the federal ban on evictions on millions of rental units.

With 17 straight weeks of unemployment claims topping 1 million — usually its about 200,000 — many households are facing a cash crunch and losing employer-backed health insurance coverage.

Despite flickers of an economic upswing as states eased stay-home orders in May and June, the jobless rate remains at double digits, higher than it ever was in the last decade’s Great Recession.

Pelosi’s bill, approved in May, includes $75 billion for testing and tracing to try to get a handle on the virus spread, funnels $100 billion to schools to safely reopen and sends $1 trillion to cash-strapped states that are pleading for federal dollars to pay essential workers and prevent layoffs. The measure would give cash stipends to Americans, and bolster rental and mortgage and other safety net protections.

McConnell hit “pause” after passage of the last aid package as Republicans hoped the economy would rebound and stem the need for more assistance. He now acknowledges additional intervention is needed.

His bill centers on a five-year liability shield to prevent what he calls an “epidemic of lawsuits” against businesses, schools and health care providers. The bill is expected to provide up to $75 billion for schools, another round of $1,200 direct payments to Americans and grants to child care providers. There is likely to be tax credits to help companies shoulder the cost of safely reopening shops, offices and other businesses.

Unlike the other virus aid pacakges that passed almost unanimously, McConnell says this one will be more difficult to approve.

In the two months since Pelosi’s bill passed, the U.S. had 50,000 more deaths and 2 million more infections.

“If we don’t invest the money now, it will be much worse,” Pelosi said.

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AP FACT CHECK: Trump and the virus-era China ban that isn’t

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump’s “ban” on travel from China is his go-to point when defending his response to the coronavirus pandemic. The problem with his core argument starts with the fact that he did not ban travel from China. He imposed porous restrictions.

Over the past week, Trump cited his China action repeatedly and as part of a scattered indictment of Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden.

Trump thoroughly misrepresented Biden’s position on immigration and more, while an economic adviser with no public health credentials tried to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, with a scientific argument.

It was a difficult week for discerning the reality of things.

In review:


TRUMP: “We would’ve had thousands of people additionally die if we let people come in from heavily infected China. But we stopped it. We did a travel ban in January. … By closing up, we saved millions, potentially millions of lives.” – Rose Garden remarks Tuesday.

TRUMP: He didn’t ban travel from China. He restricted it. Dozens of countries took similar steps to control travel from hot spots before or around the same time the U.S. did.

The U.S. restrictions that took effect Feb. 2 continued to allow travel to the U.S. from China’s Hong Kong and Macao territories over the past five months. The Associated Press reported that more than 8,000 Chinese and foreign nationals based in those territories entered the U.S. in the first three months after the travel restrictions were imposed.

Additionally, more than 27,000 Americans returned from mainland China in the first month after the restrictions took effect. U.S. officials lost track of more than 1,600 of them who were supposed to be monitored for virus exposure.

Few doubt that the heavy death toll from COVID-19 would be even heavier if world travel had not been constricted globally. But Trump has no scientific basis to claim that his action alone saved “millions” or even “hundreds of thousands” of lives, as he has put it.



TRUMP, on what happened after he restricted travel from China: “Nancy Pelosi was dancing on the streets of Chinatown in San Francisco a month later, and even later than that, and others, too.” – Rose Garden.

THE FACTS: No she wasn’t. This is Trump’s frequent and fanciful account of the House speaker’s visit to San Francisco’s Chinatown on Feb. 24. That day, she visited shops and strolled the streets to counter the hostility some people in the district were encountering over a virus that emanated from China.

On that day, Pelosi said the public should be vigilant about the virus but the city took precautions and “we should come to Chinatown.” Local TV news tracked her visit;. She wasn’t seen dancing and did not call for a “street fair,” as Trump at times has put it. Community spread of the coronavirus had not yet been reported.

As pointed out, the same day Pelosi went to Chinatown, Trump tweeted: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health (Organization) have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” The CDC is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two days later, Trump asserted that only 15 people in the U.S. were infected and that number would go down “close to zero.” Instead the numbers exploded. More than 3.6 million Americans have had COVID-19.

Trump has accused Pelosi of being “responsible for many deaths” because of the Chinatown visit. He has denied responsibility for any of the deaths sweeping the country as he has persistently minimized the threat, pushed for reopening and refused to take mask-wearing seriously.



TRUMP: “He opposed my very strict travel ban on Chinese nationals to stop the spread of the China virus. He was totally against it. ‘Xenophobic,’ he called me. ‘Xenophobic.’ A month later, he admitted I was right.” – Rose Garden.

THE FACTS: No, Biden did not come out against the travel restrictions on China. He said little about them at the time. In April, his campaign said he supported travel restrictions if “guided by medical experts.”

Biden did say Trump has a record of xenophobia, a comment made during an Iowa campaign event when the restrictions were announced. Biden said Trump was “fear-mongering” against foreigners and the Democrat took issue with Trump’s references to the “China virus” as an example. He did not address the travel steps.

Trump has claimed that Biden realized he was right after all about restricting travel from China and wrote him a “letter of apology.” This didn’t happen, either.



PETER NAVARRO, White House trade adviser: “When Fauci was telling the White House Coronavirus Task Force that there was only anecdotal evidence in support of hydroxychloroquine to fight the virus, I confronted him with scientific studies providing evidence of safety and efficacy. A recent Detroit hospital study showed a 50% reduction in the mortality rate when the medicine is used in early treatment.” – op-ed published Wednesday in USA Today.

THE FACTS: Navarro cherry-picks a study widely criticized as flawed and ignores multiple studies finding hydroxychloroquine doesn’t help.

Numerous rigorous tests of hydroxychloroquine, including a large one from Britain and one led by the National Institutes of Health, concluded that the anti-malaria drug was ineffective for treating hospitalized coronavirus patients. Fauci leads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH.

The Food and Drug Administration also has warned the drug should only be used for the coronavirus in hospitals and research settings because of the risk of serious heart rhythm problems and other safety issues.

The Henry Ford Health System study that Navarro refers to was an observational look back at how various patients fared. It was not a rigorous test where similar patients are randomly assigned to get the drug or not and where each group is compared later on how they did.

In the study, some people with heart or certain other conditions were not given the drugs, which can cause heart rhythm problems, so those patients were fundamentally different from the group they were compared with. Researchers said they adjusted statistically for some differences, but the many variables make it tough to reach firm conclusions.

Some patients also received other treatments such as steroids and the antiviral drug remdesivir, further clouding any ability to tell whether hydroxychloroquine helped.

Trump repeatedly has pushed the drug and claimed he took it himself to try to prevent COVID-19 infection or illness.

The White House said Navarro was not authorized to challenge Fauci with the op-ed and should not have done it. But his points largely reflect ones Trump and others in the White House have made themselves.


NAVARRO: “Fauci says a falling mortality rate doesn’t matter when it is the single most important statistic to help guide the pace of our economic reopening. The lower the mortality rate, the faster and more we can open.” – USA Today op-ed.

THE FACTS: He’s taking Fauci’s words out of context. Fauci said in early July that it was a “false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death.” At the time, deaths were dipping as infections spiked in many parts of the country. But deaths lag sickness, a risk cited by Fauci and other experts. Deaths have since increased, driven by fatalities in states in the South and West, according to data analyzed by The Associated Press.

“It’s consistently picking up,” said William Hanage, a Harvard University infectious diseases researcher. “And it’s picking up at the time you’d expect it to.”


More from the Rose Garden on Tuesday:


TRUMP: “We’re placing massive tariffs and have placed very large tariffs on China — first time that’s ever happened to China. Billions of dollars have been paid to the United States.”

THE FACTS: A familiar assertion, false to the core.

It’s false to say the U.S. never collected tariffs on Chinese goods before he took action. Tariffs on Chinese goods are simply higher in some cases than they were before. It’s also wrong to suggest that the tariffs are being paid by China. Tariff money coming into the government’s coffers is mainly from U.S. businesses and consumers, not from China. Tariffs are primarily if not entirely a tax paid domestically.



TRUMP, on the economy: “Prior to the plague pouring in from China, they were having the worst year, you know, in 67 years.”

THE FACTS: That’s not true. China is far from the impoverished disaster of over a half century ago, when it was reeling from the massive famine caused by Mao Zedong’s radical economic policies and heading into the chaos of the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s.

China’s economy has been slowing from Trump’s taxes on Chinese imports, as well as its own campaign to constrain runaway debt. But it’s still markedly faster than U.S. growth.

Since overhauling its economy in the late 1970s, China has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, established a growing middle class and surpassed Japan to become the world’s second-biggest economy.



TRUMP, on Joe Biden: “His son walked out with $1.5 billion of money to invest, where he’ll make hundreds of thousands of dollars – maybe millions of dollars a year. Walked out with $1.5 billion.”

THE FACTS: There’s no evidence Hunter Biden pocketed $1.5 billion from China.

In 2014, an investment fund started by Hunter Biden and other investors joined with foreign and Chinese private equity firms in an effort to raise $1.5 billion to invest outside China. It was not a lone effort by Hunter Biden to get his hands on that much money.

In any event, the effort fell far short, his lawyer, George Mesires, wrote in an internet post last year. Mesires said the fund, an investment management company known as BHR, raised only about $4.2 million, not the $1.5 billion it aimed for. Hunter Biden’s 10% share was worth about $420,000, but he did not cash it in, Mesires said. And he said Hunter Biden was an unpaid director at the time.

“He has not received any return on his investment,” Mesires said. Biden stepped down from the board in October as part of a pledge not to work on behalf of any foreign-owned companies should his father win the presidency.



TRUMP: “Sign new immigrants up for welfare immediately. This is Joe Biden. So they walk off, and they come in, and they put a foot into our land, and we sign up new immigrants up for welfare. We sign them up immediately. They get welfare benefits. United States citizens don’t get what they’re looking to give illegal immigrants.”

THE FACT: Biden has proposed no such thing. Nor has the task force on immigration that Biden advisers created with advisers from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ former presidential campaign.

Biden has proposed something far more limited. He would reverse a Trump administration rule that allows immigration officials to consider whether someone seeking a U.S. visa or green card is likely to use Medicaid or certain other public benefits. If so, that person’s bid to live legally in the U.S. could be disadvantaged.

The committee of advisers makes a similar recommendation in hopes of influencing the Democratic platform. But neither Biden nor the panel has endorsed extending blanket public assistance immediately to immigrants regardless of their legal status.



TRUMP: “What they’re going to do is they’re going to rip down the wall. They’re taking it down. They want to take down the wall, which we fought hard for.”

THE FACTS: Also false.

Biden’s immigration plan does not include money for new border fencing, and he and the task force aren’t calling for any new walls. But neither has proposed taking down existing barriers.



TRUMP, on Biden’s agenda: “Abolish immigration detention. No more detention. You come in here illegally, no more detention.”

THE FACTS: Such a plan also does not exist.

Instead, Biden has promised to adhere to federal court precedent capping how long immigrants can be held in detention, which the Trump administration has challenged. He also supports “community-based” alternatives to detention and would close private, for-profit detention centers.

As for the task force of advisers, it proposes using federal money to help states find alternatives to detention for immigrant children specifically and says detention centers should be a last resort for all immigrants. Biden is not bound by what these advisers want him to do, and in any event, they are not proposing to eliminate incarceration but to reduce it.



TRUMP: “Think of that: Abolish immigration enforcement. They’re going to abolish immigration enforcement.”

THE FACT: No, they’re not.

Biden has been notably outspoken in arguing that crossing the U.S. border illegally is a crime and should remain punished as such in federal court. In fact, he and the task force have not endorsed immigration plans supported by Sanders and other former presidential candidates that sought to decriminalize illegal border crossings and make doing so only a civil offense.



TRUMP: “Stop all deportation. So if we get a MS-13 gang member, which we’ve taken out of our country by the thousands – brought them back to Honduras, Guatemala – can’t do that anymore – El Salvador. Can’t do that anymore. Stop all deportations. So in other words, we’ll take all of these people – many of whom are in prison for rape, murder, lots of other things.”

THE FACTS: Biden hasn’t proposed ceasing deportations. He’s not committed to a policy on it either way. The committee of advisers has proposed a 100-day moratorium on deportations, not a ban.



TRUMP on Biden’s agenda: “Federal student aid and free community college for illegal aliens. What do you think about that?”

THE FACTS: Only for the people already in the country who came illegally as children – the so-called Dreamers. Neither Biden nor the task force is proposing such aid for everyone who is in the country illegally or who comes illegally in the future.



TRUMP: “Expand asylum for all new illegal aliens. How about that one? All new illegal aliens, expand asylum.”

THE FACTS: No. Biden and the task force are not proposing asylum for all who seek it.

They have advocated rolling back Trump administration restrictions that greatly reduced the number of immigrants who are now eligible for U.S. asylum. That would probably expand the number of immigrants eligible for asylum closer to levels before Trump took office. That’s far from a universal granting of asylum.


AP Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione in Milwaukee and Associated Press writers Will Weissert and Ben Fox contributed to this report.


EDITOR’S NOTE – A look at the veracity of claims by political figures.


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John Lewis, lion of civil rights and Congress, dies at 80 – Boston Herald


ATLANTA (AP) — John Lewis, a lion of the civil rights movement whose bloody beating by Alabama state troopers in 1965 helped galvanize opposition to racial segregation, and who went on to a long and celebrated career in Congress, has died. He was 80.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed Lewis’ passing late Friday night, calling him “one of the greatest heroes of American history.”

“All of us were humbled to call Congressman Lewis a colleague, and are heartbroken by his passing,” Pelosi said. “May his memory be an inspiration that moves us all to, in the face of injustice, make ‘good trouble, necessary trouble.’”

The condolences for Lewis were bipartisan. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Lewis was “a pioneering civil rights leader who put his life on the line to fight racism, promote equal rights, and bring our nation into greater alignment with its founding principles. ”

Lewis’s announcement in late December 2019 that he had been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer — “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now,” he said — inspired tributes from both sides of the aisle, and an unstated accord that the likely passing of this Atlanta Democrat would represent the end of an era.

The announcement of his death came just hours after the passing of the Rev. C.T. Vivian, another civil rights leader who died early Friday at 95.

Lewis was the youngest and last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, a group led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that had the greatest impact on the movement. He was best known for leading some 600 protesters in the Bloody Sunday march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

At age 25 — walking at the head of the march with his hands tucked in the pockets of his tan overcoat — Lewis was knocked to the ground and beaten by police. His skull was fractured, and nationally televised images of the brutality forced the country’s attention on racial oppression in the South.

Within days, King led more marches in the state, and President Lyndon Johnson soon was pressing Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act. The bill became law later that year, removing barriers that had barred Blacks from voting.

“He loved this country so much that he risked his life and its blood so that it might live up to its promise,” President Barack Obama said after Lewis’ death. “Early on, he embraced the principles of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience as the means to bring about real change in this country.”

Lewis joined King and four other civil rights leaders in organizing the 1963 March on Washington. He spoke to the vast crowd just before King delivered his epochal “I Have a Dream” speech.

A 23-year-old firebrand, Lewis toned down his intended remarks at the insistence of others, dropping a reference to a “scorched earth” march through the South and scaling back criticisms of President John Kennedy. It was a potent speech nonetheless, in which he vowed: “By the forces of our demands, our determination and our numbers, we shall splinter the segregated South into a thousand pieces and put them together in an image of God and democracy.”

It was almost immediately, and forever, overshadowed by the words of King, the man who had inspired him to activism.

Lewis was born on Feb. 21, 1940, outside the town of Troy, in Pike County, Alabama. He grew up on his family’s farm and attended segregated public schools.

As a boy, he wanted to be a minister, and practiced his oratory on the family chickens. Denied a library card because of the color of his skin, he became an avid reader, and could cite obscure historical dates and details even in his later years. He was a teenager when he first heard King preaching on the radio. They met when Lewis was seeking support to become the first Black student at Alabama’s segregated Troy State University.

He ultimately attended the American Baptist Theological Seminary and Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. He began organizing sit-in demonstrations at whites-only lunch counters and volunteering as a Freedom Rider, enduring beatings and arrests while traveling around the South to challenge segregation.

Lewis helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and was named its chairman in 1963, making him one of the Big Six at a tender age. The others, in addition to King, were Whitney Young of the National Urban League; A. Philip Randolph of the Negro American Labor Council; James L. Farmer Jr., of the Congress of Racial Equality; and Roy Wilkins of the NAACP. All six met at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York to plan and announce the March on Washington.

The huge demonstration galvanized the movement, but success didn’t come quickly. After extensive training in nonviolent protest, Lewis and the Rev. Hosea Williams led demonstrators on a planned march of more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama’s capital, on March 7, 1965. A phalanx of police blocked their exit from the Selma bridge.

Authorities shoved, then swung their truncheons, fired tear gas and charged on horseback, sending many to the hospital and horrifying much of the nation. King returned with thousands, completing the march to Montgomery before the end of the month.

Lewis turned to politics in 1981, when he was elected to the Atlanta City Council.

He won his seat in Congress in 1986 and spent much of his career in the minority. After Democrats won control of the House in 2006, Lewis became his party’s senior deputy whip, a behind-the-scenes leadership post in which he helped keep the party unified.

In an early setback for Barack Obama’s 2008 Democratic primary campaign, Lewis endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton for the nomination. Lewis switched when it became clear Obama had overwhelming Black support. Obama later honored Lewis with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and they marched hand in hand in Selma on the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday attack.

President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday praised Lewis as a “giant” who became “the conscience of the nation.”

Lewis also worked for 15 years to gain approval for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Humble and unfailingly friendly, Lewis was revered on Capitol Hill — but as one of the most liberal members of Congress, he often lost policy battles, from his effort to stop the Iraq War to his defense of young immigrants.

He met bipartisan success in Congress in 2006 when he led efforts to renew the Voting Rights Act, but the Supreme Court later invalidated much of the law, and it became once again what it was in his youth, a work in progress. Later, when the presidency of Donald Trump challenged his civil rights legacy, Lewis made no effort to hide his pain.

Lewis refused to attend Trump’s inauguration, saying he didn’t consider him a “legitimate president” because Russians had conspired to get him elected. When Trump later complained about immigrants from “s—hole countries,” Lewis declared, “I think he is a racist … we have to try to stand up and speak up and not try to sweep it under the rug.”

Lewis said he’d been arrested 40 times in the 1960s, five more as a congressman. At 78, he told a rally he’d do it again to help reunite immigrant families separated by the Trump administration.

“There cannot be any peace in America until these young children are returned to their parents and set all of our people free,” Lewis said in June, recalling the “good trouble” he got into protesting segregation as a young man.

“If we fail to do it, history will not be kind to us,” he shouted. “I will go to the border. I’ll get arrested again. If necessary, I’m prepared to go to jail.”

In a speech the day of the House impeachment vote of Trump, Lewis explained the importance of that vote.

“When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something, to do something. Our children and their children will ask us ‘what did you do? what did you say?” While the vote would be hard for some, he said: “We have a mission and a mandate to be on the right side of history.”

Lewis’ wife of four decades, Lillian Miles, died in 2012. They had one son, John Miles Lewis.


Woodward reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Michael Warren contributed to this report.

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John Lewis, civil rights icon and longtime congressman, dies

In his memoir, Lewis said Alabama’s “Bloody Sunday” was a strange day from the get-go. “It was somber and subdued, almost like a funeral procession,” he wrote in “Walking With the Wind“ of the march he led with Hosea Williams. “There were no big names up front, no celebrities. This was just plain folks moving through the streets of Selma.”

Calling him “a personal hero,” Sen. John McCain described Lewis‘ actions that day as exemplary of America’s most basic dreams.

“In America, we have always believed that if the day was a disappointment, we would win tomorrow,” McCain wrote in 2018‘s “The Restless Wave.” “That’s what John Lewis believed when he marched across this bridge.”

The footage of the beatings that day in Alabama pushed President Lyndon B. Johnson to action on civil rights legislation. “Something about that day in Selma touched a nerve deeper than anything that had come before,” Lewis later wrote.

After Selma and with each passing month, SNCC became more militant. The organization grew to reflect the disappointment of those who saw progress as coming too slow. “Something was born in Selma, but something died there, too,” Lewis wrote in “Walking With the Wind.” “The road of nonviolence had essentially run out.” (King’s assassination in 1968 was another devastating blow against those advocating nonviolence.)

In 1966, Lewis lost the chairmanship to Stokely Carmichael, champion of the slogan “Black Power.” “My life, my identity, most of my very existence, was tied to SNCC,” Lewis recalled in “Walking With the Wind.” “Now, so suddenly, I felt put out to pasture.”

In 1968, he worked on the presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy. On the night of the California primary, he was with the campaign at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles when Kennedy was shot and killed by Sirhan Sirhan.

Lewis moved on to the Voter Education Project in 1970, and in 1977 made his first stab at electoral politics, running unsuccessfully for a House seat in Georgia.

After a stint on Atlanta’s City Council, he tried again for the House in 1986 and won, edging out fellow activist Julian Bond. He remained in the House after that, an ardent Democratic partisan but one who said that his mission never changed.

“My overarching duty,” Lewis wrote in 1998, “as I declared during that 1986 campaign and during every campaign since then, has been to uphold and apply to our entire society the principles which formed the foundation of the movement to which I have devoted my entire life.”

Lewis spent years pushing for a National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, introducing legislation every year until it finally passed in 2003. “Giving up on dreams is not an option for me,” he wrote when the museum opened in 2016.

Though not an author of much in the way of major legislation, some issues drew out his eloquence. In March 2010, in the final stages of the fierce debate over the Affordable Care Act, he fought for its passage. “This may be the most important vote that we cast as members of this body,” Lewis said. “We have a moral obligation today, tonight, to make health care a right and not a privilege.”

In 2016, he was one of the leaders of a unique sit-in on the House floor in support of gun-safety legislation. “Give us a vote. Let us vote. We came here to do our job,” he said. (The sit-in failed.)

As time passed, he came to be seen as the living embodiment of the civil rights movement.

Many awards came his way: a Lincoln Medal from Ford’s Theatre, a Preservation Hero award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the NAACP Spingarn Medal, the Liberty Medal from the National Constitution Center, a Dole Leadership Prize named for Bob Dole, and a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for lifetime achievement, among others. Stephan James portrayed him in the 2014 movie “Selma.” Universities showered him with honorary degrees. In 2016, the U.S. Navy announced that it was naming a ship, a replenishment oiler, after him.

During his congressional career, Lewis often led bipartisan delegations of lawmakers to the Edmund Pettus Bridge to reenact the Bloody Sunday march. Those members would come away from the trips vowing to work for a more equitable society, which gratified Lewis.

In 2013, he launched a trilogy titled “March,” graphic novels written with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell that chronicled the early decades of his life. In 2016, the third installment became the first graphic novel to win a National Book Award. “I grew up in rural Alabama — very, very poor with very few books in our home,” Lewis said in accepting the award.

The “March” books used the inauguration of Obama as a framing device. Lewis was initially a Hillary Clinton supporter in 2008, but Obama’s election shined a spotlight on Lewis. The new president signed a photograph to him: “Because of you, John.”

The Trump years were different. Lewis had sparred with Republicans before — even calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush — but the jousting with Trump escalated quickly. Saying he didn’t believe Trump was “a legitimate president,” Lewis announced he would not attend the inauguration.

Trump responded on Twitter. “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to … mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!,” he said.

Lewis remained a prominent foe of Trump. “I think he is a racist,” Lewis said of the president in January 2018.

Lewis’ cancer diagnosis at the end of 2019 led to an outpouring of support. “There is no more important New Year’s resolution, and it begins right now: pray for John Lewis,” tweeted NPR’s Scott Simon. On that day, Obama tweeted: “If there’s one thing I love about @RepJohnLewis, it’s his incomparable will to fight. I know he’s got a lot more of that left in him.“

In 2009, Lewis met with a white man named Elwin Wilson, who was among those who assaulted Lewis and other Freedom Riders in 1961. Following Obama’s election in 2008, Wilson said he had an epiphany and traveled to Washington to apologize for his violent acts and seek Lewis’ forgiveness. Lewis gave it freely.

“It’s in keeping with the philosophy of nonviolence,” Lewis later told the New York Times. “That’s what the movement was always about, to have the capacity to forgive and move toward reconciliation.”

John Bresnahan contributed to this article.