Posts tagged with "The Washington Post"

Biden to amp up criticism of Trump on coronavirus as cases mount nationwide

July 1, 2020

As states report surging numbers of coronavirus cases—with Texas, Florida, and California documenting more than 5,000 new cases per day—Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden on Tuesday, June 30, said he planned to escalate his criticism of President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic and detail how he would stem the virus, The Washington Post reported.

More than 2.5 million Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the CDC, and over 126,000 nationwide have died from the virus. Even worse, there is no end in sight.

Biden said he will tie together a raft of proposals he’s offered since January— including providing free testing and treatment for the disease and guaranteed paid leave for those who must stay home from work while sick—according to a campaign document outlining his themes that was obtained by The Washington Post.

The document, in the form of a scorecard that the campaign will push via social media, is intended to hammer home the areas where Biden’s campaign believes that Trump has fallen short. Broad categories include the president’s failure to “level with the American people”; his inability to provide testing and treatment; shortfalls in securing a supply chain for protective equipment; and failures to protect workers, older Americans and small businesses.

Although, the Post says, the presumptive Democratic nominee is not expected to unveil new ideas, his speech will pull together various proposals under a single framework, intending to demonstrate a meaty response to the question of how he would respond to this crisis.

In contrast, the news outlet notes, “Trump has recently tried to push the nation’s focus away from the virus and instead talk about stimulating the economic recovery. He has refused to wear a mask in public and has held two large rallies — both circumstances that run counter to the advice of health officials, including those in his administration.

The president also has offered unproven and at times dangerous ideas on how to address the coronavirus, including promoting a drug now believed to be ineffective and suggesting that the virus could be treated via “an injection inside” the body with a disinfectant.”

Trump also said at a his May 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma,  that he had instructed officials to “slow the testing down” as a way to keep the country’s official data on infections lower.

What’s more, in March the president said, “I don’t take responsibility at all” for lagging coronavirus testing in the United States.

Biden last week hit Trump for his administration’s decision to ask the Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act, saying the action risked the lives of Americans who rely on the insurance.

Biden will make the point that “Trump has called himself a wartime president but is surrendering to the virus,” according to a campaign official who provided a brief preview of the candidate’s remarks on the condition of anonymity. The official said Biden will stress that lives would have been saved if Trump had acted sooner.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Mutiny on the bounties: Trump balks at briefing House members on Russian perfidy

June 30, 2020

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling for the Trump Administration to brief all House members immediately about allegations that surfaced on June 27–detailing that Russians have been paying Afghan militants to assassinate U.S. soldiers, Politico reports.

Most recently, President Donald Trump has claimed that he knows nothing about the disclosures—and that he and Vice President Mike Pence never have been briefed on the matter by U.S. intelligence agencies. He has not said that he intends to follow up on the accusations against Russia and, by extension, against President Vladimir Putin—which he does not believe to be credible.

However, The New York Times has countered that story, saying that senior White House and intelligence officials knew about the bounty allegations since at least March but took no action.

Indeed, the Times has reported that Trump was briefed on the matter and that it was included in his Presidential Daily Brief, but Trump denied ever learning of the intelligence and late Sunday said his leaders in the intelligence community told him it wasn’t credible.

“The questions that arise are: Was the President briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed? Congress and the country need answers now,” Pelosi wrote in her letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and CIA Director Gina Haspel. “I therefore request an interagency brief for all House Members immediately. Congress needs to know what the intelligence community knows about this significant threat to American troops and our allies and what options are available to hold Russia accountable.”

Since the news reports emerged, Politico reports, Democrats and some Republicans have been demanding details from the Administration. Early Monday, congressional aides indicated no briefing had been set up for the House intelligence, armed services or foreign affairs committee. It’s unclear if the Gang of Eight—the leaders of the House and Senate, as well as the intelligence committee—will be briefed, but as of Monday morning there was no meeting scheduled, per a congressional source.

The new allegations —which The New York Times and The Washington Post reported may have led to the deaths of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan—have once again brought Trump’s relationship with Russia under scrutiny.

Senior House Democrats were furious with the reports, which first surfaced Saturday. Pelosi told ABC ‘s ‘This Week” on Sunday: “This is as bad as it gets.”

“If reports are true that Russia offered a bounty on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Trump wasn’t briefed, that’s a problem,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-California) tweeted Sunday. “What will it take to get Trump to abandon the fiction that Putin is our friend?”

“Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP,” Trump said. “Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!”

Democrats, however, hammered the president over the bounties.

“It’s sickening that American soldiers have been killed as a result of Russian bounties on their heads, and the Commander in Chief didn’t do a thing to stop it,” Representatuve Max Rose (D-N.Y.), a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan, told Politico.

Research contact: @politico

Revealed: A family member has turned on Trump

June 16, 2020

Every family has its secrets—and the Trumps are no exception. Now, the president’s niece, his deceased older brother Fred’s daughter, is set to publish a tell-all book this summer that will reveal “harrowing and salacious” stories about Donald just weeks ahead of the Republican National Convention, The Daily Beast reports.

Mary Trump, 55, the daughter of Fred Trump Jr. and the eldest grandchild of Fred Trump Sr., is scheduled to release Too Much And Never Enough on August 11.

One of the most explosive revelations Mary will detail in the book, according to people familiar with the matter, The Daily Beast says, is how she played a critical role helping The New York Times print startling revelations about Trump’s taxes—including how he was involved in “fraudulent” tax schemes and had received more than $400 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire.

As she is set to outline in her book, Mary was a primary source for the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation, supplying Fred Trump Sr.’s tax returns and other highly confidential family financial documentation to the paper. 

Details of the book are being closely guarded by its publisher, Simon & Schuster, but The Daily Beast has learned that Mary plans to include conversations with Trump’s sister, retired federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry, that contain intimate and damning thoughts about her brother, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Mary Trump has kept out of the public eye and has not spoken publicly in decades—but in 2000, amidst a bitter family court battle over Fred Trump Sr.’s will, she told the New York Daily News, “Given this family, it would be utterly naive to say it has nothing to do with money. But for both me and my brother, it has much more to do with that our father [Fred Jr.] be recognized,” she said.

Fred Trump Jr., the firstborn son and once the heir apparent to his father’s real estate empire, worked for Trans World Airlines after turning his back on the family business.

He died in 1981, aged just 42, from a heart attack owing to complications from his alcoholism; leaving behind a son, Fred the 3rd, and daughter Mary, who has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. The circumstances of Fred Trump Jr.’s descent into alcoholism also are detailed in the book, with allegations that Donald and Fred Trump Sr. contributed to his death and neglected him at critical stages of his addiction.

In a 2019 interview, Donald Trump admitted to pressuring his brother over his career choices but said he had come to regret it. “I do regret having put pressure on him,” Trump told The Washington Post. Discussing his brother and the family business Trump said it “was just something he was never going to want” to do.

After Fred Jr.’s children brought their messy court case against the family—contesting their grandfather’s will and alleging it was “procured by fraud and undue influence” on the part of Donald and his siblings—they highlighted Donald’s callous treatment of family members as he, along with siblings Maryanne and Robert, cut off the medical benefits to his nephew’s sick child William, who was born with cerebral palsy. The move, the family said at the time, was payback for Mary and Fred the 3rd’s challenge to the will.

That court case produced a treasure trove of confidential and highly sensitive Trump family financial documents, including Fred Trump Sr.’s tax returns, which almost two decades later would fall into the hands of The New York Times and form the basis for one of the most “stunning pieces” of journalism in recent years, The Daily Beast notes.

In the upcoming book, Mary Trump will out herself as a source for the Times and detail her involvement in cracking the story, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

This is the first time a Trump family member has written a tell-all that is highly critical of the president.

“My aunt and uncles should be ashamed of themselves,” Mary Trump said about Donald Trump and his siblings in a rare 2000 interview, which provides a preview of the tone of her book. “I’m sure they are not.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Trump offers dubious conspiracy theory about elderly protester shoved off his feet by Buffalo cops

June 10, 2020

President Donald Trump advanced an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory on Tuesday, June 9, about the 75-year-old protester in Buffalo who suffered head injuries after he was pushed to the ground by police and hit his head on the sidewalk, USA Today reports.

“75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment,” Trump said in a morning tweet.

Citing a report on conservative news network OANN, Trump said: “I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?” He also said Gugino “could be” an anarchist “provocateur,” but provided no evidence for that assertion.

Two suspended Buffalo police officers have been charged with assault and accused of intentionally pushing Gugino, who was seen bleeding from the back of the head after he hit the sidewalk.

Gugino, described by a friends as a man of peace seeking justice, was in serious but stable condition following the incident on Thursday.

Kelly Zarcone, Gugino’s attorney, told The Washington Post on Tuesday that Gugino has always been a peaceful protester who loves his family, and “no one from law enforcement has suggested otherwise.

“So we’re at a loss to understand why the president of the United States would make such a dark, dangerous and untrue accusation against him,” she added.

Critics expressed outrage over Trump’s tweet.

Trump sent the tweet just hours before the funeral of George Floyd, the man whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police triggered protests nationwide, including massive demonstrations in cities like Washington, D.C., and Buffalo.

Research contact: @USATODAY

Romney is first Republican in Senate to break ranks, march with DC protesters

June 9, 2020

Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah marched with demonstrators toward the White House on Sunday, June 7—the first Republican senator to join the thousands across the country protesting the death of George Floyd while in police custody, The New York Times reported.

Romney, who marched with a group of Christians, told a Washington Post reporter that he had joined the protest to show that “… we need to end violence and brutality, and to make sure that people understand that black lives matter.”

In joining the protest, Mr. Romney again found himself at odds with President Donald Trump, who has pushed for a military response to the unrest. He also has  distanced himself from most of his party, as when he became the sole Republican senator to vote to remove Trump from office, the Times notes.

But not the only U.S. legislator: Last week, Representative Will Hurd of Texas, the lone black Republican in the House, joined a peaceful protest, marching alongside Floyd’s family.

Democrats, by contrast, have made a point of supporting and participating in the rallies. Representative Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) was hit by pepper spray during a demonstration in her state late last month, while Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) made a trip last week to briefly speak to protesters gathered outside the Capitol.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) was seen on Saturday handing out water bottles to protesters marching through Washington, while Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) attended a protest and handed out masks to people walking by.

The visibility of politicians at the protests “does matter to a degree,” Vania Brown, a protester from Maryland who had come to join the marches in Washington on Sunday, told the Times. “But right now, I’m skeptical of any political party.”

The civil unrest around the country, coupled with renewed calls to address police brutality against people of color, has amplified pressure on lawmakers—particularly Republicans—to address not only police officers’ use of force; but also racial discrimination, and the economic and social disparities that the coronavirus pandemic has further exposed.

According to the Times report, Democrats were expected on Monday to unveil sweeping legislation that would make it easier to prosecute police misconduct and recover damages from officers found to have violated civil rights.

In the coming weeks, the Senate and the House both plan to hold hearings on proposals to improve policing and counter racial discrimination.

Compared with previous instances in which black men have died after police officers have used excessive force, Republicans have been almost uniformly outraged at the case of Floyd, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The administration’s move to crack down on demonstrators prompted a rare break with President Trump, the Times said, as some Republicans moved to distance themselves from the president’s threats to send the military to confront protesters. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) went so far as to endorse scathing criticism from Jim Mattis, the former defense secretary, of Trump’s handling of the protests.

Among Republicans, Romney in particular has been vocal in condemning the circumstances surrounding Floyd’s death, saying last month that “the George Floyd murder is abhorrent.”

He has also reflected on how his father, George Romney, participated in a civil rights march in the 1960s as governor of Michigan, quoting him on Twitter and sharing a photo of him at the protest in the 1960s in Detroit.

“Force alone will not eliminate riots,” Senator Romney quoted his father saying. “We must eliminate the problems from which they stem.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Biden to address nation—reviling Trump’s actions against protesters, vowing to heal racial wounds

June 3, 2020

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said he would speak to the nation on Tuesday, June 2—seeking to console Americans nationwide who are horrified by yet another death of a black man at the hands of police, as well as by subsequent nights of protest and violence.

Biden is expected to bluntly criticize President Donald Trump’s decision on the evening of June 1 to clear protesters from a Washington, D.C., street so that he could pose with a Bible in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, The Washington Post reported.

“When peaceful protestors are dispersed by the order of the President from the doorstep of the people’s house, the White House — using tear gas and flash grenades — in order to stage a photo op at a noble church, we can be forgiven for believing that the president is more interested in power than in principle,” the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee plans to say, according to the excerpts released by his campaign.

“More interested in serving the passions of his base than the needs of the people in his care,” he plans to add. “For that’s what the presidency is: a duty of care — to all of us, not just our voters, not just our donors, but all of us.”

The remarks will be delivered at Philadelphia’s City Hall. Philadelphia also was where Barack Obama delivered a heralded speech on race relations more than 12 years ago, entitled “A More Perfect Union.”

Part of the Biden speech will speak to the nation’s concerns over police brutality, with plans to use the words of George Floyd — “I can’t breathe”— as a mantra. Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a police officer knelt on his neck in Minneapolis.

“George Floyd’s last words. But they didn’t die with him. They’re still being heard. They’re echoing across this nation,” Biden plans to say.

“They speak to a nation where too often just the color of your skin puts your life at risk. They speak to a nation where more than 100,000 people have lost their lives to a virus and 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment — with a disproportionate number of these deaths and job losses concentrated in the black and minority

“It’s a wake-up call for our nation,” he adds. “For all of us.”

Biden’s speech will take on Trump directly, criticizing him for both rhetoric and actions.

“Look, the presidency is a big job. Nobody will get everything right. And I won’t either,” he says in the excerpts. “But I promise you this. I won’t traffic in fear and division. I won’t fan the flames of hate. I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country – not use them for political gain.”

It is unclear whether Biden will outline new policies in the address, the Post says, but he will allude to the challenges ahead if he is elected president.

“I’ll work to not only rebuild this nation,” he says in the excerpts. “But to build it better than it was.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Trump retreats into White House bunker as protests rage

June 2, 2020

Unlike ill-fated presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy—who in 1968 famously took to the Detroit streets to calm mobs after the assassination of Martin Luther King—(or even current Democratic candidate Joe Biden, who took to the streets of Delaware over the weekend); President Donald Trump has retreated from public appearances as “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe” protesters fill the streets of Washington, D.C., and other cities nationwide.

Secret Service agents rushed President Donald Trump to a White House bunker on Friday night, May 29, as hundreds of protesters of all creeds and colors gathered outside the executive mansion—some of them throwing rocks and heaving police barricades, The Washington Post reports.

Trump spent nearly an hour in the bunker, which was designed for use in emergencies such as terrorist attacks, according to a Republican close to the White House who spoke with the news outlet on the condition of anonymity. The account was confirmed by an administration official who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.

According to the Post, “The abrupt decision by the agents underscored the rattled mood inside the White House—where the chants from protesters in Lafayette Park could be heard all weekend; and Secret Service agents and law enforcement officers struggled to contain the crowds.”

Friday’s protests were triggered by the alleged murder of George Floyd, a black man who died after he was pinned at the neck by white Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.

The demonstrations in Washington turned violent and appeared to catch officers by surprise. Indeed, the news outlet reports, they sparked one of the highest alerts on the White House complex since the September. 11 attacks in 2001.

Ultimately, 50 Secret Service agents were rumored to have been injured during the protests at the White House.

“The White House does not comment on security protocols and decisions,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere. The Secret Service said it does not discuss the means and methods of its protective operations. The president’s move to the bunker was first reported by The New York Times.

The president and his family have been shaken by the size and venom of the crowds, according to the Republican. It was not immediately clear if first lady Melania Trump and the couple’s 14-year-old son, Barron, joined the president in the bunker. Secret Service protocol would have called for all those under the agency’s protection to be in the underground shelter.

Trump did not appear in public on Sunday. Instead, a White House official who was not authorized to discuss the plans ahead of time said Trump was expected in the coming days to speak to the American public.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Thousands of former DOJ employees again call for Barr’s resignation

May 12, 2020

On May 11, more than 1,900 former Justice Department employees repeated their demand for Attorney General Bill Barr to head for the exits—asserting in an open letter that he had “once again assaulted the rule of law” by moving to drop charges against President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael  Flynn, according to a report by The Washington Post.

The letter, organized by the nonprofit group Protect Democracy, was signed by Justice Department staffers serving in Republican and Democratic administrations dating back to President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961). The vast majority were former career staffers — rather than political appointees — who worked as federal prosecutors or supervisors at U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country or the Justice Department in downtown Washington.

The signatories to the letter were united in their belief that Barr should resign, as the following excerpt shows:

In December 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States …. The Department [of Justice] has now moved to dismiss the charges against Flynn, in a filing signed by a single political appointee and no career prosecutors. The Department’s purported justification for doing so does not hold up to scrutiny, given the ample evidence that the investigation was well-founded and — more importantly—the fact that Flynn admitted under oath and in open court that he told material lies to the FBI in violation of longstanding federal law.

Make no mistake: The Department’s action is extraordinarily rare, if not unprecedented. If any of us, or anyone reading this statement who is not a friend of the President, were to lie to federal investigators in the course of a properly predicated counterintelligence investigation, and admit we did so under oath, we would be prosecuted for it.

We thus unequivocally support the decision of the career prosecutor who withdrew from the Flynn case, just as we supported the prosecutors who withdrew from the Stone case. They are upholding the oath that we all took, and we call on their colleagues to continue to follow their example. President Trump accused the career investigators and prosecutors involved in the Flynn case of “treason” and threatened that they should pay “a big price.” It is incumbent upon the other branches of government to protect from retaliation these public servants and any others who are targeted for seeking to uphold their oaths of office and pursue justice.

It is now up to the district court to consider the government’s motion to dismiss the Flynn indictment. We urge Judge Sullivan to closely examine the Department’s stated rationale for dismissing the charges — including holding an evidentiary hearing with witnesses — and to deny the motion and proceed with sentencing if appropriate. While it is rare for a court to deny the Department’s request to dismiss an indictment, if ever there were a case where the public interest counseled the court to take a long, hard look at the government’s explanation and the evidence, it is this one. Attorney General Barr’s repeated actions to use the Department as a tool to further President Trump’s personal and political interests have undermined any claim to the deference that courts usually apply to the Department’s decisions about whether or not to prosecute a case.

Finally, in our previous statement, we called on Attorney General Barr to resign, although we recognized then that there was little chance that he would do so. We continue to believe that it would be best for the integrity of the Justice Department and for our democracy for Attorney General Barr to step aside. In the meantime, we call on Congress to hold the Attorney General accountable. In the midst of the greatest public health crisis our nation has faced in over a century, we would all prefer it if Congress could focus on the health and prosperity of Americans, not threats to the health of our democracy. Yet Attorney General Barr has left Congress with no choice. Attorney General Barr was previously set to give testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on March 31, but the hearing was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge the Committee to reschedule Attorney General Barr’s testimony as soon as safely possible and demand that he answer for his abuses of power. We also call upon Congress to formally censure Attorney General Barr for his repeated assaults on the rule of law in doing the President’s personal bidding rather than acting in the public interest. Our democracy depends on a Department of Justice that acts as an independent arbiter of equal justice, not as an arm of the president’s political apparatus.

A spokeswoman for Barr did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. However, Barr has publicly defended the move, telling CBS News that it was an “easy” decision and one for which he was prepared to take criticism. As the group of Justice Department alumni acknowledged, their letter is unlikely to persuade him to step down.

“I also think it’s sad that nowadays these partisan feelings are so strong that people have lost any sense of justice,” Barr told CBS News. “And the groups that usually worry about civil liberties and making sure that there’s proper procedures followed and standards set seem to be ignoring it and willing to destroy people’s lives and see great injustices done.”

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan must still approve the department’s request to drop the case, and so far has not indicated what he will do. The Justice Department alumni asked Sullivan to hold a hearing with witnesses to examine Barr’s legal reasoning and “to deny the motion and proceed with sentencing if appropriate.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

‘Betty the Weathercat’ is a TV star in Indiana

April 30, 2020

When TV meteorologist Jeff Lyons of Channel 14 News in Evansville, Indiana, set up a green screen at home during the coronavirus lockdown in order to do his 10 p.m. live report, he didn’t know that, out of adversity, a star would be born, reports The Washington Post.

Three weeks into his new routine, things were going pretty smoothly when Betty—Lyons’ 11-year-old cat— showed up for her closeup: Shortly before Lyons’s three-minute weathercast on April 13, Betty sauntered out from beneath the dining room table for a little attention from her owner.

Is that your cat?” the news director asked Lyons. “You should put her on the air.”

Lyons wasn’t sure that was a great idea, he told the Post. “But I did it,” he said. “I held the cat up and on it went from there.”

He cradled his gray and white longhair feline in both arms and introduced her to his viewers. Betty lazily looked at the camera and twitched her tail. That’s all it took for the station’s viewers to fall in love.

The next morning, Lyons posted a screen shot to his Facebook page of him holding Betty in front of the weekly Evansville forecast. “I didn’t think much of it,” he told the news outlet, “but then I got a text from my nephew. He said, ‘My God, you’re trending on Reddit.’”

That was his first inkling that Betty was becoming a celebrity. But Lyons had no idea just how famous she would become. She is now so popular that she has her own Instagram page and is on the Channel 14 weather segment most nights with her own “Betty the Weathercat” graphic.

Lyons built a small “throne” for her next to his green screen, and he uses computer-animated graphics of Betty as a catalyst for his forecast. (An umbrella on her tail means that rain is on the way, while sunny skies usually get a paws-up.)

Viewers regularly leave comments for Betty, along with snapshots of their own cats.

“I think she will need a raise soon,” wrote one fan. “That 1 can of tuna is just not gonna cut it.”

“So long Jeff, it has been great watching you over these past years!” posted another. “Betty has taken over! She is a purrrfect meteorologist!”

Lyons, who has worked at Channel 14 for the past three decades, said he learned a long time ago to have fun while doing the weather. “When the weather is threatening, you have to be serious, but for the rest of the time, it’s important to be happy,” he said. “My sense is that people want a diversion right now during this horrible pandemic. They’re looking for something that’s kind of fun. So at least for now, doing the forecast with Betty fits right in.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Study: In 13 hours of COVID-19 briefings, Trump expressed just 4.5 minutes of empathy for victims

April 27, 2020

From the time he started his COVID-19 press briefings in March to the moment when he ostensibly stopped them on Saturday, April 25, tweeting that they were “Not worth the time & effort!”—President Donald Trump spent a total of ten minutes praising himself for every one minute he spent expressing condolences for the Americans who have died in the pandemic, Common Dreams reported on April 26.

Indeed, a new analysis—published Sunday by the nonprofit, independent news outlet— details a “shocking lack of sympathy expressed by the nation’s highest ranking elected official,” Common Dreams said.

The actual study, conducted with help from the data analytics firm Factbase by The Washington Post, looked at the cumulative hours of White House pandemic briefings since March 16—including a detailed breakdown of the last three weeks in which the press events have become increasingly concerning , the Post noted, as Trump pushed unproven treatments and, just last week, suggested that patients could be injected with disinfectants as a way to cure their illness.

Indeed, according to the Post:

  • The president has spoken for more than 28 hours in the 35 briefings held since March 16, eating up 60% of the time that officials spoke;
  • Over the past three weeks, the tally comes to more than 13 hours of Trump—including two hours spent on attacks and 45 minutes praising himself and his administration—but just 4½ minutes expressing condolences for coronavirus victims;
  • The president spent twice as much time promoting an unproven antimalarial drug that was the object of a Food and Drug Administration warning; and
  • Trump also said something false or misleading in nearly 25% of his prepared comments or answers to questions, the analysis shows.

The uproar over Trump’s mismanagement of the crisis and his increasingly erratic behavior led the progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org on April 24 to call for the president’s removal under the 25th Amendment.

Finally, a public survey conducted recently by psychology researchers found broad consensus among the American people—both Republicans and Democrats—that Trump exhibits clear traits associated with a spectrum of six personality disorders, including narcissism, sadism, histrionic tendencies, being passive-aggressive, an anti-social lack of empathy, and paranoia.

Research contact: @commondreams