Donald Trump’s Covid-19 Response has Failed Black Americans

30 Jun

The Trump administration and its failed response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating to Black Americans. Fewer than half of all Black adults now have a job, Black small business ownership has cratered, and Black Americans are more than twice as likely to die due to complications of the disease. These economic and health disparities in the Black community have been exacerbated through his callous obsession to end the Affordable Care Act and insistence to funnel economic benefits to the richest Americans through his disastrous tax law.

“We knew we couldn’t expect much from a Trump presidency, but the harm caused by his failed response to this pandemic has been much deeper and widespread than any of us could have imagined,” said DNC Black Caucus Chair, Virgie M. Rollins. “Donald Trump inherited a thriving economy and a historic drop in Black unemployment from President Obama but has managed to run those tremendous gains into the ground. We have learned the hard way what we have to lose if Trump is reelected and we must do everything in our power to make sure that is not the case.”

Black unemployment fell less than 2% in Trump’s first three years after declining by over 9% under the Obama-Biden administration from its recession peak. Today, the Black unemployment rate has ballooned to nearly 17%.

The number of Black business owners has dropped precipitously and have struggled to secure PPP loans from the Trump administration.

Black people have disproportionately suffered from the pandemic from exacerbated health disparities.

  • Nationwide, about 30 percent of Covid-19 patients are Black, even though Black people only make up 13% of the overall population.

  • Adjusting for age, the death rate for Black Americans is nearly 4 times that of White Americans.

  • Nearly one in three Black adults (31%) say they know someone personally who has died as a result of having Covid-19, more than three times the amount who said this among white adults (9%).

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Trump’s Failed Coronavirus Response Hurts American Women

30 Jun

Trump’s failed coronavirus response has devastated American women. Women comprise a majority of the job losses during the pandemic. The economic fallout from Trump’s erratic, incomplete response has already exacerbated existing inequities between women in the workforce and their male counterparts. The situation is even worse for women of color, who already faced pay inequity and systemic disparities within the American workforce, and are facing devastating job losses while also making up a large portion of the essential workers in nursing homes, hospitals, and grocery stores.

“While attacking protections for people with preexisting conditions and relentlessly opposing efforts to ensure equal pay for equal work, Trump has also managed to botch the coronavirus response and run the strong Obama-Biden economy into the ground,” said DNC Women’s Caucus Chair Lottie Shackelford. “It didn’t have to be this bad, but Trump’s failed leadership in a time of crisis has left American women struggling to stay afloat. And as is often the case, the situation is even more dire for Black women and women of color, who are facing a devastating unemployment crisis. It didn’t have to be this bad, and women will remember these failures when we hold Trump accountable for his inaction.”

Women comprise a majority of the job losses during coronavirus and disproportionately work in jobs that require close contact and cannot be done remotely. 

  • More women than men lost their jobs from February to May, 11.5 million vs. 9.0 million

  • Nearly 1.7 million Black women are out of work

  • Women are about 77% of workers in jobs such as food service and health care support that require close personal contact and cannot easily be done remotely

Pregnant women are at particular risk of hospitalization from coronavirus. 

  • Pregnant women are more likely to face serious complications due to COVID-19, and are at a higher risk of hospitalization, according to the CDC.

Women aren’t represented on the coronavirus task force.

  • There are 27 members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, but only two are women: Dr. Deborah Birx and Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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Trump’s Failures Lead To Coronavirus Spreading Out Of Control

30 Jun

Despite the Trump administration’s claims, the coronavirus is not under control. Trump’s failure to effectively respond to the coronavirus has led to surges in cases across the country, and once again states are facing testing shortages that will make it harder to control.

At least a dozen states and cities have been forced to reverse reopening plans due to surging coronavirus outbreaks.

Associated Press: “States reverse openings, require masks amid virus resurgence”

New York Times: “With new cases surging in many parts of the country, at least a dozen states and cities are pulling back on reopening plans, with measures that effectively declare: Not so fast.”

Despite the Trump administration’s claims, the pandemic is not under control, and the CDC says it is spreading too rapidly to be controlled.

Washington Post: “Trump administration says the epidemic is under control despite surges in the South and West”

CNBC: “The coronavirus is spreading too rapidly and too broadly for the U.S. to bring it under control, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.”

The European Union is reopening its borders but barring travel from the United States because of our high number of new coronavirus cases.

NBC News: “Most travelers from the United States will be barred from entering the European Union after it reopens its borders Wednesday because the coronavirus is still far too prevalent in the U.S., European officials announced Tuesday.”

Once again, states are facing testing shortfalls that threaten to make it even more difficult to contain the virus.

Bloomberg: “The U.S. is again grappling with a shortfall of testing that has hobbled the nation since the pandemic’s early weeks, and now threatens to further undermine containment efforts at a crucial moment. In new hot spots like Arizona, Texas and Florida, where Covid-19 is rapidly spreading, lines for testing extend outside of urgent-care offices and other sites.”

The Trump administration downplays new outbreaks as only affecting a small number of counties, but more than 20% of Americans live in those counties.

Associated Press: “It’s been a frequent Trump administration talking point on the recent spike in COVID-19 infections: Don’t worry, only a small sliver of U.S. counties is at greater risk. In offering this reassurance, Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar have said that only 3% or 4% of counties in the country are seeing a surge in cases. Focus on the ‘encouraging signs,’ Pence told senators last week. But they and other administration officials are skirting a key fact: More than 20% of Americans live in those relatively few counties.”

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Trump Was Briefed In February On Russian Bounties That Killed Americans — He’s Done Nothing

30 Jun

Despite the White House’s denials, new reporting indicates that Trump was briefed in writing in February on Russian bounties paid to Taliban-linked militants to kill American troops. Either he knew and did nothing, or he ignored the briefing and did nothing.

Trump was briefed in writing in late February on Russian bounties paid to kill American troops.

New York Times: “American officials provided a written briefing in late February to President Trump laying out their conclusion that a Russian military intelligence unit offered and paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, two officials familiar with the matter said.”

Top White House officials were reportedly aware in early 2019 of Russia secretly offering bounties to the Taliban, and briefed Trump at the time.

Associated Press: “Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence.”

Associated Press: “The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials. Then-national security adviser John Bolton also told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.”

Trump is consistently unprepared and has so often been outplayed by Putin and other leaders that it has posed a national security threat.

CNN: “In hundreds of highly classified phone calls with foreign heads of state, President Donald Trump was so consistently unprepared for discussion of serious issues, so often outplayed in his conversations with powerful leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, and so abusive to leaders of America’s principal allies, that the calls helped convince some senior US officials — including his former secretaries of state and defense, two national security advisers and his longest-serving chief of staff — that the President himself posed a danger to the national security of the United States, according to White House and intelligence officials intimately familiar with the contents of the conversations.”

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MEMO: “Exploding”

30 Jun

MEMORANDUM

TO: Interested Parties

FROM: DNC War Room

DATE: Tuesday, June 30, 2020

RE: “Exploding”


The DNC War Room today released a television ad, “Exploding,” to highlight to critical swing voters how coronavirus is exploding again across the country because of President Trump. America is three months into this crisis, and last week the United States hit a single-day record high of more than 40,000 new coronavirus cases, with Arizona, Texas and Florida reporting their highest case numbers yet.

It didn’t have to be so bad. But Trump lied about the virus early on, saying, “it’s going to disappear.” He wasted critical time to mitigate the outbreak by refusing to push China on its coronavirus response and delayed taking action to mitigate the crisis, in an effort to not upset Beijing and secure a limited trade deal that has largely gone unfulfilled.

The Trump campaign is running ads about being tough on China, but Trump’s failure to promptly address coronavirus, lest he upset China, is maybe the most disastrous example of a president getting played by a foreign country, leading to a total catastrophe at home.

Now coronavirus is raging stronger than ever. More than 125,000 American lives have been lost, 20 million jobs destroyed, the country is in recession and the U.S. leads the world in coronavirus cases. Trump put himself and his political fortunes first. He put the health and economic well-being of the American people last, and we continue to suffer the consequences.

Coronavirus is spiking.

  • Trump’s failed coronavirus response has led to a record surge in new infections, and forced some states to pause reopening plans.

  • New coronavirus cases hit a daily record high last week of more than 40,000 cases, and the true number of infections could be 10 times higher than the confirmed case count.

  • Seven states reached record highs in new cases over the weekend, and only two states are reporting a decline in cases.

At the time it mattered the most, Trump failed to take action to prevent coronavirus.

Trump praised China while the Chinese government pulled one over him.

  • Trump was so eager to get a bad trade deal that he repeatedly praised President Xi for his leadership and refused to demand accountability.

    • TRUMP: “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”

    • TRUMP: “Just had a long and very good conversation by phone with President Xi of China. He is strong, sharp and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus.”

    • TRUMP: “No, I think President Xi is working very, very hard. I spoke to him. He’s working very hard. I think he’s doing a very good job.”

  • And as the extent of the outbreak became more clear, Trump continued to defend China’s handling of the coronavirus.

    • TRUMP: “We have a great trade deal. And we’d like to keep it, they’d like to keep it, and the relationship is good.”

    • TRUMP: “As to whether or not their numbers are accurate, I’m not an accountant from China.”

    • TRUMP: “We did a trade deal and everybody was very happy… I’m making a trade deal with China, of course I’m going to be complimentary.”

Trump got played by China on both the trade deal and coronavirus.

  • Trump signed a “phase one” trade agreement with China that failed to address the structural issues that sparked his trade war in the first place. It only secured vague pledges to buy U.S. products that haven’t panned out, and won’t boost growth.

  • Trump’s “phase one” trade deal failed to boost purchases of U.S. exports, it failed to even stop the bleeding by getting exports back to where they were before his damaging trade war. And China won’t come close to purchasing the $50 billion a year in U.S. agriculture that Trump promised.

Trump’s failure of leadership is hurting America.

  • As a result of Trump’s failed leadership, more than 125,000 Americans are dead and our country leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases.

  • The economy is in recession. The unemployment rate reached the highest since the Great Depression. Nearly 20 million Americans are unemployed. Black and Hispanic workers have disproportionately suffered from job losses during the pandemic.

  • The Trump administration botched its management of the Paycheck Protection Program, preventing small firms and businesses from getting timely aid to help weather the pandemic, while large corporations got loans. More than 100,000 small businesses have closed for good, and more than 40% of Black small businesses have had to shut down.

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Secretary Michael R. Pompeo’s Participation in the Virtual C5+1 High-Level Dialogue

30 Jun

Office of the Spokesperson

The following is attributable to Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus:

Today, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo participated in the Virtual C5+1 High-Level Dialogue hosted by Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale with the foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.  Secretary Pompeo reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the C5+1 diplomatic platform to address shared security interests, including peace in Afghanistan, and to advance regional connectivity and trade.  He emphasized the U.S. Government’s steadfast support for the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the five Central Asian states.  The Secretary also highlighted U.S. efforts to improve the economic resiliency and connectivity of Central Asian countries and to ensure regional food security in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Secretary Michael R. Pompeo’s Call with Taliban Deputy Mullah Baradar

30 Jun

Office of the Spokesperson

The following is attributable to Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus:

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met via video conference yesterday with Taliban Deputy and chief negotiator Mullah Baradar to discuss implementation of the U.S.-Taliban Agreement. The Secretary made clear the expectation for the Taliban to live up to their commitments, which include not attacking Americans.

 

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Secretary Michael R. Pompeo At the UN Security Council on the Iran Arms Embargo

30 Jun

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Washington, D.C.

SECRETARY POMPEO:  Thank you, Nicolas.  Thanks for the couple words in English there.  I appreciate that.

Good morning, everyone.  Good to see you, Secretary General.  Rosemary, thank you for your comments this morning.  I would like to say you made some comments about humanitarian assistance inside of Iran.  The United States has tried to facilitate that, in light of the COVID issues inside of Iran.  Indeed, we offered our own American assistance to the Iranians, which was rejected by them.  So to suggest somehow that our sanctions have prevented humanitarian assistance to get into Iran I think is a misunderstanding of the situation on the ground.

Because of the flawed nuclear deal negotiated by the previous American administration, the arms embargo on the world’s most heinous terrorist regime is scheduled to expire on October 18th, a mere four months from now.  Four months.

This chamber has a choice:  Stand for international peace and security, as the United Nations’ founders intended, or let the arms embargo on the Islamic Republic of Iran expire, betraying the UN’s mission and its finest ideals, which we have all pledged to uphold.

If you fail to act, Iran will be free to purchase Russian-made fighter jets that can strike up to a 3,000 kilometer radius, putting cities like Riyadh, New Delhi, Rome, and Warsaw in Iranian crosshairs.

Iran will be free to upgrade and expand its fleet of submarines to further threaten international shipping and freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf, and the Arabian Sea.

Iran will be free to purchase new and advanced technologies for its proxies and partners throughout the Middle East, including Hamas, Hizballah, and the Houthis.

Iran will hold a sword of Damocles over the economic stability of the Middle East, endangering nations like Russia and China that rely on stable energy prices.

Iran will be free to become a rogue weapons dealer, supplying arms to fuel conflicts from Venezuela, to Syria, to the far reaches of Afghanistan.

In November of last year, President Rouhani himself said, quote, “When the embargo . . . is lifted next year, we can easily buy and sell weapons,” end of quote.  We should take him at his word.

Iran is not a responsible democracy like Australia or India.  We already know that Tehran will do, if given the ability to buy more weaponry.

Just consider the secretary general’s UNSCR 2231 report that we’re discussing today.  The report confirmed that weapons used to attack Saudi Arabia in September 2019 were of Iranian origin.  The report has also confirmed the weapons interdicted off the coast of Yemen in November of 2019 and February 2020 were of Iranian origin.

Iran is already violating the arms embargo, even before its expiration date.  Imagine if Iranian activity were sanctioned, authorized by this group, if the restrictions were lifted.

And we don’t need the secretary general’s report to see what else the regime is doing.  In January, Iran launched an attack on the coalition forces in Iraq with its own advanced missiles.

Iran, even as we sit here today, supplies Shia militia groups like Kata’ib Hizballah – groups which have launched dozens of rocket attacks since the fall of last year against U.S. and coalition forces fighting the important continued important campaign against Daesh.

Iran unleashes ship-mining attacks on commercial vessels in the Gulf of Oman, as it did in May and June of last year.

Nearly all countries have arms.  Mature nations use them for defensive purposes and to promote stability.

But not the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Don’t just take it from me or from the United States; listen to countries in the region.  From Israel to the Gulf, countries in the Middle East – who are most exposed to Iran’s predations – are speaking with a single voice:  Extend the arms embargo.

This council has a responsibility to listen to them.

The United States’ overwhelming preference is to work with this council to extend the arms embargo to protect human life, to protect our national security, and to protect yours.

We’ve imposed arms restrictions on Tehran in various forms for 13 years, and with good reason, and to substantial effect.

When we unanimously adopted UN Security Council Resolution 1747 back in 2007 – which, among other actions, prohibited arms transfers from Iran – the United Kingdom’s representative to the council said, quote, “The path of proliferation by Iran is not one that the international community can accept,” end of quote.

I welcome the statement from the United Kingdom, from France and Germany, recently recognizing that lifting the embargo would have major implications for regional security and stability.

I also welcome the support of almost 400 members of the United States Congress.  For those of you not tracking, there’s only 435.  Those almost 400 members supported my diplomacy to extend this arms embargo.  Our concern is a matter of national security, not partisan politics.

We saw from Iran’s actions while implementing the JCPOA that the regime doesn’t moderate when we lift sanctions or weaken accountability.

In fact, it does just the opposite.

While still claiming to remain in the deal, Iran, by its own admission, and as confirmed by the IAEA, is showing no signs of slowing its destabilizing nuclear escalation.

Iran is also accumulating dangerous knowledge.  For example, late last year Iran announced that its scientists were working on a new centrifuge – the IR-9 – that would allow Tehran to enrich uranium up to 50 times faster than the IR-1 centrifuges allowed under the JCPOA.

Even as Iran pursues research that could threaten its breakout time to a nuclear weapon, it’s also denied IAEA inspections access to locations Iran is obligated to provide.

This council cannot simply hope that Iran acts in good faith, given its indisputable fact pattern.

The council must hold Iran accountable.  And we all have the chance to do so.

I’ll close with this.  I’ll close with an appeal to our greater purpose.

Article I of the UN Charter says the purpose of the UN is to “take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to … peace.”

Consider the overwhelming evidence that I’ve detailed today.  It’s a fraction of the evidence available.  If Iran isn’t a threat to peace that demands a collective measure, I do not know what is.

The council must reject extortion diplomacy.  President Rouhani recently declared, quote, “Iran will give a crushing response if the arms embargo on Tehran is extended.”  End of quote.

Given the Iranian regime’s history of resorting to terrorism and violence, perhaps we should take this threat seriously.  Iran’s foreign minister will speak today.  I hope he’ll tell us – I hope he’ll tell us whom he intends to crush and how he will crush them.

Renewing the embargo will exert more pressure on Tehran to start behaving like a normal nation.

The world needs this to happen.  The long-suffering Iranian people need this to happen.

Seventy-five years ago, the founders of the UN came together after the devastation of World War II to ensure that the world would never again have to face such horrors.

Let’s not shrink from the challenge before us simply because the path ahead seems hard.

Let’s uphold the mission of this body to address the threats to international peace and security that the Islamic Republic of Iran presents.

And let’s take real action in the name of this council by extending the arms embargo.

Thank you all for allowing me to be here today.

 what

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Deputy Secretary Biegun’s Remarks at the Three Seas Initiative Virtual Ministerial

30 Jun

Office of the Spokesperson

Today, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun delivered remarks at the Three Seas Initiative Virtual Ministerial hosted by the Government of Estonia.  The Three Seas Initiative aims to boost economic prosperity through connectivity between the Baltic, Adriatic, and Black Seas.

Deputy Secretary Biegun reaffirmed U.S. support for the 12 Three Seas member states’ efforts to improve North-South energy, transportation, and digital infrastructure.  The Deputy noted a secure, prosperous, and resilient Three Seas region is key not only to binding the countries of Central and Eastern Europe more closely with the rest of the European Union, but also to the United States.

The United States, through the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, has committed to investing up to $1 billion toward Three Seas Initiative energy projects, and welcomes the investments to the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund announced by Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania.  Looking forward to the October 2020 Tallinn Summit, we encourage all Three Seas member states to invest in the Fund, to endorse the Blue Dot Network principles, and to launch projects that will make this initiative an innovative platform and vehicle for positive change.

 

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DNC Veterans and Military Families Council on Trump’s Failure to Respond to Russian Bounties on American Troops

30 Jun

DNC Veterans and Military Families Council Chair retired U.S. Navy Lt. Jan Donatelli and Vice Chairs former U.S. Army CPT Terron Sims and U.S. Navy veteran Leo Cruz released the following statement:

“The grave problem America faces is that Donald Trump bows to tyrants like Vladamir Putin. For several months, President Trump and his administration have sat on corroborated intelligence that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill American troops, a conclusion that reportedly, and tragically, has been borne out. Trump’s failure to take action and his betrayal of American troops makes him a national security threat. Enough is enough. We must restore civility, trust, and competence to the White House by electing Joe Biden as our next president and commander in chief of the United States.”

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