Trump Says Testing Is ‘Overrated’ As His Testing Failures Hinder Our Response

23 Jul

Trump continues to downplay the importance of coronavirus testing, saying it is “overrated,” as testing shortages and delays hinder our response and more testing is needed to track and contain the spread of the virus.

Last night, Trump once again said that he thought testing is “overrated.”

TRUMP: “I personally think it’s overrated.”

Trump has suggested that we do less testing so there would be fewer recorded cases, but cases are increasing faster than testing.

New York Times: “Spike in U.S. Cases Far Outpaces Testing Expansion”

New York Times: “The average number of tests conducted nationwide has grown by 80 percent since early June, to 780,000 per day. Daily case counts have grown by 215 percent in the same period.”

Four months into the pandemic, states are still experiencing testing delays, which hinders our response and underscores Trump’s failures.

TIME: “People across the country are reporting lags of at least a week, and sometimes much longer, while awaiting their COVID-19 test results.”

Associated Press: “Laboratories across the U.S. are buckling under a surge of coronavirus tests, creating long processing delays that experts say are undercutting the pandemic response.”

Bloomberg: “Testing has found itself back atop a long list of logistical snafus the U.S. has encountered since Covid-19 hit. The absence of a quick, accurate and effective testing strategy that can be scaled to demand underscores just how much the world’s largest economy has struggled to manage the fallout of the novel coronavirus.”

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Trump’s Failed Response Stalls The Economic Recovery

23 Jul

The Trump administration continues to say the economy is in good shape and will quickly recover, but the data paints a much bleaker picture. More Americans are losing their jobs and more businesses are closing for good. The economic recovery Trump touted was short-lived because of his failed pandemic response.

Yesterday, Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow said the economy is “much, much, much better” and all signs point to a rapid recovery.

KUDLOW: “The answer is much, much, much better.”

KUDLOW: “I don’t see any evidence of economic harm” from rising cases.

Unemployment claims rose to 1.4 million last week. Overall, Americans have filed 52.7 million unemployment claims over the past four months.

Politico: “Unemployment claims rose to 1.4 million last week, the Labor Department reported, ending 15 weeks of consecutive declines in new applications. The increase in the number of workers seeking new aid follows several states delaying their reopening plans and closing some businesses down again as coronavirus cases spike.”

USA Today: “That most recent stream of claims means that in little more than four months, a staggering 52.7 million have sought unemployment aid for the first time.”

New data suggests all of the job gains since mid-May have been wiped out after Trump’s failed response led to a resurgence in new cases.

New York Times: “Data from the Census Bureau on Wednesday showed that the number of employed people fell by more than four million last week, the fourth-straight weekly decline. Taken literally, the results indicate that the economy has given up all the job gains since mid-May, before the recent surge in coronavirus cases.”

Many business closures have now become permanent and millions of jobs are not coming back at all.

Washington Post: “The economic crisis caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic has entered a new phase, with permanent business closures now outnumbering temporary ones, new data shows.”

New York Times’s Peter Baker: “More than 15,000 restaurants in America have closed permanently during the pandemic and as many as 10% of independent operators could shut by year’s end.”

CNN: “The ugly truth about millions of American jobs: They are not coming back”

Manufacturing flatlined last year and fell sharply with the pandemic. As of June, there were nearly 300,000 factory jobs lost under Trump’s watch.

New York Times: “After increasing in the first two years of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the number of manufacturing jobs flatlined last year and fell sharply with the pandemic. As of June, there were nearly 300,000 fewer factory jobs in the United States than there were when Mr. Trump was inaugurated.”

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Trump’s Chaos Threatens Unemployed Americans

23 Jul

Tens of millions of working Americans are days away from losing most of their income because Trump refused for months to consider extending enhanced unemployment relief. Now that those benefits are about to expire, Trump and Republicans can’t get their act together to provide badly needed relief.

Tens of millions of unemployed Americans are about to lose a majority of their income, but Trump and Republicans have struggled to get their act together.

New York Times: “More than 20 million Americans could soon see their weekly income fall by half or more at a time when the unemployment rate remains higher than in any period since World War II.”

Washington Post: “White House, GOP in disarray over coronavirus spending plan as deadline nears on expiring emergency aid”

Politico’s Jake Sherman: “DELAYED … So, in sum, @senatemajldr’s announcement of the GOP covid package is pushed, as the administration and Senate Rs continue to haggle over details.”

House Democrats passed additional coronavirus relief and extended unemployment benefits more than two months ago, but Trump’s White House refused to even begin negotiations.

Nexstar: “House Democrats are pushing the Senate to take up the Heroes Act after it was passed two months ago.”

Washington Post: “After delaying discussions for weeks, the White House is now trying to rush talks in part because more than 20 million Americans are slated to receive their final expanded unemployment check at the end of this week before the program expires.”

Because of Trump’s delay, the White House is close to breaking its promise to not let enhanced unemployment benefits expire this week.

KUDLOW: “‘We’re not going to let unemployment expire — no way.”

Politico’s Jake Sherman: “I just asked @senatemajldr if he anticipates a coronavirus bill will pass by the end of next week — which is what @stevenmnuchin1 and @MarkMeadows are running around the Hill saying. MCCONNELL let out a big laugh and said: ‘No.’”

Republicans’ failure to extend enhanced unemployment will create unnecessary hardship for millions of families and could be devastating for the economy.

New York Times: “End of $600 Unemployment Bonus Could Push Millions Past the Brink”

New York Times: “Ernie Tedeschi, a former Treasury Department official and an economist at Evercore ISI Research, has estimated that if the payments ceased, the U.S. gross domestic product would be 2 percent smaller at the end of 2020 and there would be 1.7 million fewer jobs nationwide.”

As the pandemic surges, unemployed workers across the country fear what will happen if they lose their benefits because of Trump’s failure to lead.

Unemployed Georgia Worker: “At this point, I have no idea what I’m going to do” about the looming expiration of enhanced benefits.

Unemployed Florida Worker: The extra benefits “are literally vital to survival. It’s tough to even think about what happens once July ends.”

Unemployed Florida Mother: “Everything is out of my control. You can’t just pull the rug because it’s not over.”

Unemployed Indiana Worker: “‘If Congress does not continue these benefits, my partner and I are looking at making around $193 a week each with Indiana’s unemployment allowances. With two kids and rent and groceries, that is not enough for us to survive.”

Unemployed Oklahoma Father: “‘If the $600 gets yanked, I’ll have to start deciding, OK, which obligations can I afford to not meet: paying rent, student loans, car payments, putting food on the table? It would be a disaster.”

Unemployed Kentucky Mother: How is Congress, “going to take the money away when there’s all of these people like me who haven’t even received it yet?”

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Joint Statement by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania

23 Jul

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on the occasion of the 80th Anniversary of the Welles Declaration.

Begin Text:

Today we celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the Welles Declaration, which laid the foundation for the United States of America’s non-recognition policy, by which it never formally accepted the occupation and annexation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania by the Soviet Union.

The Welles Declaration established an international framework for the survival of the three Baltic states de jure throughout the entire period of Soviet occupation and for the eventual restoration of statehood of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The people of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania value and cherish the Declaration for the hope that it gave during the difficult times of totalitarian rule.

We stand firmly against any attempts by Russia to rewrite history in order to justify the 1940 occupation and annexation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union. The Welles Declaration shows that already in 1940 the free world recognized the Soviet action for what it was – an illegal act of forceful annexation. Regrettably, even the end of WWII a few years later did not bring liberation to the Baltic states and other nations in Eastern and Central Europe; instead, it brought repression and persecution.

The legacy of the Welles Declaration and the United States’ firm support of the Baltic states’ sovereignty and territorial integrity led to a prospering relationship between our nations after the fall of the Soviet Union. Through our membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization we have become strong Allies, working together to safeguard peace and stability.

The commitment of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to the trans-Atlantic Alliance remains unquestionable. The Baltic states value the United States’ contribution to European defense, notably through maintaining regular deployments of forces to the Baltic States – crucial to deter any potential adversary.

The Welles Declaration’s historic importance remains highly relevant in the 21st century, when some countries challenge the key principles and norms of a rules-based international order – notably sovereignty and territorial integrity. The principles of the Welles Declaration were rightly invoked again on July 25, 2018, when the United States confirmed its refusal to accept the attempted annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation.

We – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the United States – stand together in support of a rules-based international order that ensures security and prosperity for every nation.


Message on the 80th Anniversary of the Welles Declaration

23 Jul

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

The Welles Declaration is a proud moment in the history of U.S. foreign policy and friendship with the peoples of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Eighty years ago, the United States pointedly refused to recognize the illegal incorporation of the Baltic states into the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union’s criminal act was accomplished through the signing of secret protocols to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with Nazi Germany in August 1939. Through decades of Soviet occupation and attempts at forced assimilation, the United States never ceased to recognize the sovereignty of the three Baltic states. Throughout those dark days, the peoples of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania never lost hope that the doors of the Soviet “prison of nations” would one day open; nor did the United States.

The Welles Declaration is no mere historical artifact. Just as the United States never recognized the Baltic States’ forced incorporation into the Soviet Union, so it will never accept Russia’s attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and Georgia, through its purported annexation of Crimea, its support for destabilizing proxies in eastern Ukraine, or its occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The partnership between the United States of America and Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania is based on our joint dedication to democracy, human rights, and rule of law. Today as always, we remain firmly committed to respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of all states. I join the governments and peoples of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in commemorating this date, reaffirming our alliance and democratic partnership, and looking forward to further close cooperation in the years to come.


Calling Progress in Syria ‘Vastly Insufficient’, Special Envoy Tells Security Council of Need for Meaningful Action on Humanitarian, Human Rights Front

23 Jul

The top United Nations negotiator facilitating Syria’s peace process called on parties to unilaterally release the thousands of people who have been detained or abducted, and take action on the issue of missing persons at a level commensurate with the massive scope of the tragedy, as he briefed the Security Council on his recent diplomatic efforts during a 23 July videoconference meeting.

Newly Elected President Discusses Key Role of Economic and Social Council in Tackling COVID-19 Pandemic, Climate Change, as 2021 Organizational Session Begins

23 Jul

The Economic and Social Council’s mandate remains as relevant as ever, encompassing the three simultaneous global challenges Member States are facing — the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the existential threat of the climate catastrophe — its newly elected President said today at the first meeting of its 2021 organizational session, held via videoconference due to COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions at United Nations Headquarters.