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Masks Really

Face Masks Really Do Matter. The Scientific Evidence Is Growing. – The Wall Street Journal

Face masks are emerging as one of the most powerful weapons to fight the novel coronavirus, with growing evidence that facial coverings help prevent transmission—even if an infected wearer is in close contact with others.

Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said he believes the pandemic could be brought under control over the next four to eight weeks if “we could get everybody to wear a mask right now.” His comments, made Tuesday with the Journal of the American Medical Association,…

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Really Republicans

‘Republicans are really fed up’: GOP increasingly splits with Trump as his polls drag – USA TODAY

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Donald Trump’s push to reopen schools comes amid a nationwide debate over whether it’s safe for children to return to the classroom amid coronavirus.

USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Weeks before President Donald Trump accepts his party’s nomination, cracks are deepening within the party as a host of GOP lawmakers distance themselves from the Republican standard bearer as they weigh their election chances in November.

Republicans have increasingly split with Trump on a host of issues shadowing his administration, from his tone on racism and the removal of Confederate statues, to wearing a face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic and questions over intelligence reports of a Russia-backed bounty program on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

It’s a rare moment in the president’s three-and-a-half-year tenure, during which Trump otherwise relished inparty unity on issues such as his impeachment and former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. 

“There’s a real disagreement between the president and his party in this election,” said Alex Conant, a GOP strategist and former aide to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. “I think a lot of Republicans are really fed up with the president’s divisive strategy. People are just throwing up their hands with some of the rhetoric that’s coming out of the president. It’s really unhelpful not just to his own re-election, but also to keeping the Senate.” 

Earlier this week, several GOP lawmakers said they plan to skip the party’s national convention in Jacksonville, Florida, where coronavirus cases have surged, leaving supporters, politicians and officials who plan to attend with the hard choice of risking their personal health or facing potential retaliation from the president. 

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the oldest GOP senator at age 86, said Monday he would avoid the convention “because of the virus situation,” while Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Susan Collins, R-Maine; and Mitt Romney, R-Utah,  also cited coronavirus concerns as the reason they won’t attend. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the convention a “challenging situation” when asked whether he plans to attend. 

“We’ll have to wait and see how things look in late August to determine whether or not we can safely convene with that many people,” he said Thursday.

The Trump campaign had hoped to test those waters this weekend with a campaign rally at a New Hampshire airport hangar, but the campaign announced it would postpone the rally over the approaching Tropical Storm Fay, according to White House officials. The campaign snag comes after turnout at a June rally held inside an Oklahoma arena fell short of expectations amid an increase in COVID-19 cases across the state. Tulsa health officials said Wednesday that the rally and surrounding protests likely contributed to the city’s recent surge in cases. 

New Hampshire’s Republican Gov. Chris Sununu is another GOP politician who has been willing to break with the president over his pandemic messaging when it collides with his state’s interests. Sununu has had to walk a careful line in defending the president’s rally while enforcing his own reopening guidelines. The Republican governor had planned to greet Trump in New Hampshire, but skip the rally over coronavirus fears.

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Some Senate Republicans are questioning the media reports that Russia offered bounties for killing American troops in Afghanistan. Some who have been briefed on the claims say they’ve concluded they aren’t corroborated. (June 30)

AP Domestic

The Republican party moved its convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, last month after state and local officials refused to commit to the president’s desire to hold a full convention, packed with thousands of supporters, over health concerns amid the ongoing pandemic.

But aside from coronavirus concerns, the Republican convention may have lost its luster for some lawmakers, according to GOP strategist Matt Gorman.

“For a lot of these elected officials, it’s a chance to go there for fundraising and press attention,” he said. “And if a lot of media folks are not planning to go and a lot of donors choose not to go because in-person fundraising is a bit less prevalent, then there’s not much incentive to show up.” 

Gorman said he doesn’t think the list of senators avoiding the convention will draw the president’s ire, noting that several lawmakers skipped the event in 2016 in protest – including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., now a key Trump ally.

The president has since softened his tone about holding a traditional convention, telling television host Greta Van Susteren this week that “it really depends on timing.” 

“We can do a lot of things, but we’re very flexible,” he said of convention plans. 

Jacksonville has emerged as one of the nation’s biggest hotspots for the coronavirus. The Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday Jacksonville would be one of three cities designated for a testing “surge” to make more tests available in the hardest hit areas. 

The administration’s mounting controversies have pushed even Republicans who previously refused to break ranks with Trump to begin speaking out – most notably as it relates to the dramatic uptick in coronavirus cases in the U.S.

They have been vocal in their opposition to his refusal to wear a mask, pressuring the administration for increased testing and, most recently, some have criticized Trump for pulling out of the World Health Organization as the pandemic continues to ravage the country. 

More: Some Republicans split with Trump, support removing Confederate statues and renaming military bases

More: The White House has sent conflicting messages on wearing masks and the new coronavirus cases

“I disagree with the president’s decision,” Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, said after the president pulled the U.S. from WHO, noting that while mistakes of the WHO should be examined, “the time to do that is after the crisis has been dealt with, not in the middle of it. Withdrawing U.S. membership could, among other things, interfere with clinical trials that are essential to the development of vaccines.” 

Even some of the president’s closest allies on Capitol Hill in recent weeks have been critical as Trump’s poll numbers, already hit by the pandemic, continue to plummet amid a national reckoning over policing, race and America’s Confederate history. 

Aides and allies have urged the president to change his tone as the nation both grieves the death of George Floyd after he was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, and protesters call for change to racially fraught policies. The president has instead stoked division, threatening to use the military against demonstrators and using Independence Day speeches to defend Confederate monuments and dismiss protesters as “Marxists.”  

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The Republican National Committee announced it has picked Jacksonville, Florida, as the location for its convention.

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“The country is looking for healing and calm. And I think the president needs to project that in his tone,” said Sen. John Thune, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican. “He masters that sometimes, and that’s the tone he needs to strike right now.”

Trump’s handling of the protests even led to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, leaving the door open to voting against the president in November. “I am struggling with it,” she said when asked by reporters whether she would continue to support Trump. “I have struggled with it for a long time.” 

Trump has drawn the ire of even of his most ardent supporters with his some of his racially polarizing comments. 

Most recently, after Trump criticized NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag and called for Bubba Wallace, one of the sport’s only Black drivers, to apologize after the FBI said a noose found in his garage wasn’t targeting the driver, Graham, a fierce defender of the president, pushed back.

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“I don’t think Bubba Wallace has anything to apologize for,” Graham told Fox News Radio. “I’ve lived in South Carolina all my life and if you’re in business, the Confederate flag is not a good way to grow your business.”

Senate Republicans have largely ignored the president’s threat to veto a defense spending bill over an amendment to rename Army bases named for Confederate figures. The proposal, sponsored by former 2020 Democratic contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has gained a groundswell of support from prominent Republicans, including Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who warned earlier this week that Congress would “probably override” Trump’s veto. 

While the president has drawn a line on removing memorials honoring Confederate leaders and controversial historical figures, Republican attitudes appeared to have shifted since protests over racial inequality first unfolded in May.

McConnell said last month he’d be “OK” with changing the names of military bases while Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican facing a tough re-election in November, supported the amendment in a U.S. Armed Services Committee vote last month.

“There shouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction to renaming bases,” Grassley said Monday. “And I imagine that in my lifetime, there’s been a lot of bases that have had their names changed. I’m not aware of it. But the extent to which it’s a thoughtful process and not a knee-jerk reaction, I wouldn’t have any objection to it.”

Trump has issued eight vetoes during his presidency, and none have been overridden by Congress.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wy., has made a habit of marking her differences with the president over his term, especially when it comes to foreign policy, and has continued to speak up throughout the latest controversies. After the president refused to wear a face mask in public, Cheney tweeted a photo of her father Dick Cheney in a mask with the hashtag #realmenwearmasks.

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Republicans like Cheney know the risks of speaking out and the potential for a lashing from the president’s Twitter account. But history has shown the president is less likely to go after loyal lawmakers who disagree with him on occasion, as he typically targets those who attack him personally or could imperil his re-election chances, such as those who have voiced openness to voting against him or weren’t unilaterally behind him during his impeachment.

“My sense is that Trump is fine with Republicans criticizing his policy, even his tweets, but he’s not OK with them attacking him,” said Conant. 

Congressional Republicans say the critiques of the president aren’t part of a trend but more of a reaction to specific instances worthy of criticism, rejecting the notion that it’s a showing of division within the party but rather an attempt to get the president back on track and on message. Though privately, many wonder whether public criticisms will alter the president’s conduct. 

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Trump’s propensity for fiery Twitter missives has been notably absent amid the wave of GOP criticism. Part of that calculation may be focusing attacks on Democrats with just four months until Election Day, Gorman said. 

“I think not just him, but also his team, know that the people we need to be going after right now are Democrats and he has been pretty consistent with that,” he said. “So I think there is a calculation that Republicans doing well down ballot helps him and vice versa.”

Republicans keeping Trump at an arm’s distance must also reckon with his dwindling poll numbers as November approaches.

A recent USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll found that opposition to Trump is by far the biggest factor propelling Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, to the White House. Biden leads Trump by 12 percentage points, 53%-41%, the nationwide survey shows. 

Polls have similarly not been good for Senate Republicans, who hold a three-seat majority and are fending off serious challenges in more than five states. A slew of recent polls show Democrats leading in Maine, Arizona, North Carolina, Iowa, Colorado and Montana, which has left incumbents in an uncomfortable position as they wrestle with the barrage of controversies surrounding the president. 

Incumbents have employed varying strategies, some tying their fate to Trump while others distance themselves from the president – a heavy feat as he sits atop the ticket.

Several have attempted to steer clear of weighing in on the president’s conduct while others, such as Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, have repeatedly criticized the president in recent weeks, including Trump’s clearing of protesters outside the White House in early June. 

Still, some Republicans acknowledge that Trump is a political unicorn and while his tactics are far from traditional and frequently attract fierce criticism, he has weathered many storms – a trend that could continue as November nears.

“Every time I think that he’s miscalculated, he comes out on the winning side of it,” Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., told the Wall Street Journal when asked about the president’s rhetoric on Confederate history. “The thing the president is credited with, appropriately, is really good instincts.” 

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President Trump is getting a fresh push to don a face mask during the pandemic from some Republicans and members of Fox News.

Buzz60

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/07/11/election-2020-trump-exposes-cracks-gop-ahead-florida-convention/5389624002/

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Bernice Really

‘We really should not be here today,’ Rev. Bernice King says at funeral of Rayshard Brooks – NBC News

Dozens of mourners, most dressed in white and nearly all wearing masks, filled the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church on Tuesday afternoon for the private funeral of Rayshard Brooks, a Black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer outside an Atlanta Wendy’s restaurant almost two weeks ago.

Brooks, a father of three daughters and a stepson, was shot twice in the back as he ran from Atlanta Police Department officers. He died in the hospital following surgery. The shooting occurred amid international protests against police brutality and systemic racism following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.

Rev. Bernice King — in a moving speech at the church where her father, Martin Luther King Jr., was a co-pastor from 1960 until his assassination in 1968 — said she knew the pain Brooks’ children felt.

Tomika Miller, wife of Rayshard Brooks, holds their 2-year-old daughter Memory while pausing with her children during the family processional at his funeral in Ebenezer Baptist Church on June 23, 2020 in Atlanta.CURTIS COMPTON / AFP – Getty Images

“Having a father killed when I was only 5 years of age, my heart deeply grieves,” King said. “I know the pain of growing up without a father. And the ongoing attention around his tragic loss.”

King said she mourned with Brooks’ widow, Tomika Miller, and his loved ones.

“We really should not be here today. This did not have to happen to Rayshard,” King said. “There’s so many ways that Friday June 12 could have ended. And a police killing did not have to be one of them. And yet, here we are again.”

“Ironically,” King said, June 12 is the same day that civil rights activist Medgar Evers was assassinated in his driveway in 1963.

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“June 12 is also the same day in 1964 that Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to overthrow the government of South Africa,” she added, noting that Mandela later became president of the country.

“So June 12,” King said, “is now a constant reminder of the struggle for justice for Black lives throughout the world. Tragically here we are once again.”

King said she was at Brooks’ funeral for “what feels like an all-too-familiar moment.”

“We are here because individuals continue to hide behind badges and trainings and policies and procedures rather than regarding the humanity of others in general and Black lives specifically,” she told the crowd.

Ambrea Mikolajczyk, who owns a construction company in Toledo, Ohio, where Brooks worked last year, remembered him as a “once-in-a-lifetime individual.” Brooks had overcome his circumstances and was working hard to “become the best provider, caretaker, community builder, father, husband, son, brother and relationship agent he could possibly be,” she said.

Mikolajczyk said Brooks biked to work every day, regardless of the weather, and was always the first to arrive for duty.

On one occasion, when a coworker’s car broke down, Mikolajczyk said, Brooks got off his bike, pushed the car and walked alongside him for two hours. “That’s the type of man Ray was,” she said. “He looked out for everyone.”

Her clients referred to Brooks as “legal aid” because he knew the answers to everything, Mikolajczyk said. He was “smart as a whip” and helpful almost to a fault, she said.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and singers Tamela Mann and Kelly Price attended the funeral. Mann sang her hit, “I Can Only Imagine.”

The body of Rayshard Brooks arrives for his funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church on June 23, 2020 in Atlanta.Curtis Compton / AFP – Getty Images

Rev. Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church and a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, delivered the eulogy Tuesday. Warnock said the funeral was paid for by media mogul Tyler Perry, a prominent figure in Atlanta.

Warnock recited a long list of names of Black people who died at the hands of police in recent years, including Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Botham Jean and George Floyd, stating, “Sadly, we’ve gotten too much practice at this.”

Warnock said he has heard some say the cases of Floyd and Brooks are not the same, because Floyd complied and Brooks ran. “Yes,” he said. “That’s true.”

“But they are both dead. And therein is the problem,” he said. “Black parents do not really know what to tell their children in order to keep them alive and that’s a problem. That’s not just a Black problem. Although it’s happening to Black people. That’s an American problem.”

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said at a news conference last week that Brooks “never presented himself as a threat” and appeared “almost jovial” leading up to the fatal shooting. He said Brooks followed every instruction from the officers and was never informed that he was under arrest for driving under the influence.

The officers were responding to a 911 call on June 12 about a man who appeared intoxicated sleeping in his car in the drive-thru of the Wendy’s. Brooks was questioned by the officers for more than 25 minutes, body and dash-camera video shows.

The Atlanta police officer who shot Brooks, Garrett Rolfe, was fired and charged with murder. A second officer, Devin Brosnan, was placed on administrative duty and charged with aggravated assault. The city’s police chief resigned. The Wendy’s restaurant was burned down and protesters took to the streets of Atlanta following Brooks’ death.

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Middleton Really

How Kate Middleton Is Really Managing to Keep Calm Following Prince Harry’s Big Exit – E! Online

How Kate Middleton’s Keeping Calm After Harry & Meghan’s Exit

No need to call in the cavalry: Kate Middleton doesn’t feel trapped. 

Nor is she “furious about the larger workload” she’s had to take on as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle settled into a quieter life in Los Angeles’ toniest of enclaves or kvetching about the obligations expected of her. And while the Duchess of Cambridge may very well be exhausted, she is a mother of three, so it’d be quite remarkable if she felt particularly well-rested. 

Much like all parents during this current coronavirus pandemic, she and husband Prince William are muddling through it, juggling work and newfound homeschooling obligations with seemingly endless rounds of fort-building and cookie-baking. “I’m sure you’re experiencing the same yourselves with your families and things,” she allowed to the hosts during a May appearance on ITV’s This Morning. “It’s unprecedented times, really, but we’re fine, thank you for asking.”

Which is good, because never has it felt more crucial for Kate to maintain the royal family’s trademark stiff upper lip. 

All eyes have been on her and William since little brother Harry’s January bombshell that he was opting out of a life of walkabouts and heavily scheduled press trips. And with half of their generation’s full-time royals giving notice, it only seems logical that would shake out to an increase workload for England’s presumed future king and queen.

But despite Tatler‘s detailed anecdotes—a piece the palace made the rare move of denouncing—sources close to the St. Andrew’s-educated duchess insist her beloved Lover’s Knot tiara isn’t weighing all that heavy on her head. 

PA Wire

More than happy to log extra appearances gripping and grinning in her hosiery and L.K. Bennett pumps, “It’s the suggestion that she resents her duty and hard work which has upset her,” an insider told Vanity Fair of the Tatler piece. “She takes her role very seriously and has been working harder than ever. The idea she feels trapped and exhausted simply isn’t the case.”

Particularly when the 38-year-old has just found her stride. 

Having worked on the particulars for awhile now, 2020 was to be the year Kate went public in a big way, the mother to Prince George, 6, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2, agreeing to whatever bookings would help spread the word about her groundbreaking “5 Big Questions on the Under Fives” survey, meant to help further direct her efforts in providing assistance to young children, their parents and caregivers.

Should that mean sitting down for her very first podcast with Happy Mum, Happy Baby‘s host Giovanna Fletcher, she’s ready with relatable anecdotes about the mom guilt struggle. “Yes, absolutely—and anyone who doesn’t as a mother is actually lying!” she said when asked if she’s experienced that familiar pang. “Yep—all the time. You know, even this morning, coming to the nursery visit here, George and Charlotte were like, ‘Mummy, how could you possibly not be dropping us off at school this morning?'”

Kensington Palace

A January visit to a Welsh daycare center, meanwhile, saw the duchess getting candid about how tough it was for her after George’s arrival as a new mom, separated from friends and family on an island off the country’s north-west shore. 

“I had a tiny, tiny baby in the middle of Anglesey,” she recalled while visiting the Cardiff spot. “It was so isolated, so cut off. I didn’t have any family around. William was still working with search and rescue doing night shifts. If only I’d had a center like this.”

Prior to this year, the duchess has done scant few interviews, so to suddenly see her switch course and speak rather openly about her feelings is shocking to be sure. But it’s all part of her mission to help other parents, a role she’s deftly carved out for herself in the near decade she’s spent as part of the monarchy.

“As a parent, I know how much we cherish the future health and happiness of our children,” she said at the daycare center. “I want to hear the key issues affecting families and communities so I can focus my work on where it is needed most. My ambition is to provide lasting change for generations to come.”

So if that requires her to truss out tales from homeschooling on television as Londoners watch from their breakfast table, so be it. 

BBC

“George gets very upset because he wants to do all of Charlotte’s projects,” she shared during her appearance on This Morning, “making sort of spider sandwiches is far cooler than literacy work.”

And running mum and dad ragged is the most fun of all. 

“The children have got such stamina, I don’t know how,” Kate exclaimed during an April BBC interview. “Honestly, you get to the end of the day and you write down the list of all the things that you’ve done in that day. So, you pitch a tent, take the tent down again, cook, bake. You get to the end of the day—they have had a lovely time—but it is amazing how much you can cram into one day that’s for sure.”

All the more impressive when you consider that between batches of cookies and make believe campouts, the patron of some 20 organizations has found the time to tend to her pet causes of mental health awareness and child development. 

kensingtonroyal / Instagram

Even a pandemic that moved their headquarters 112 miles north to their 10-bedroom Norfolk spread and their whole operation online didn’t do much to slow her down. She and William have gamely video conferenced in to schools and hospitals to offer a cheery hello and a few words of encouragement to doctors, midwives and new parents. 

And while it’s certainly the royal way to never complain, never explain, she didn’t seem all that put out while serving as bingo callers for the residents of Cardiff’s Shire Hall Care Home, cheekily announcing numbers such as “six and two—tickety boo.” 

Eager to move forward with the project she’s devoted herself so wholly to, she’s quite happy keeping her diary full, those close to her swear. 

“She has really been enjoying the early years work and has found her stride and purpose,” an insider told Vanity Fair. “She sees this work as a life-long commitment and she has worked really hard on this campaign.”

Certainly, Kate couldn’t have found a better time to truly cement her footing in The Firm. When Harry and Meghan decamped for North America, they took with them some of the excitement and new life the American-raised former actress had breathed into the staid monarchy. And while Queen Elizabeth II is certainly a formidable woman, at 94, she’s hardly the person to make the royals seem hip no matter how many James Bond cameos she films. 

Anthony Harvey/BAFTA/Shutterstock

“What has been reinforced throughout all of this is just how important the Cambridges are,” royal historian Sarah Gristwood recently told Vanity Fair. “There is a repositioning going on within the royal family and we are clearly seeing this. I think this is one of the most important stages in Kate’s life as a royal. As a young mother Kate was allowed to raise her children away from the media spotlight but now we are seeing a shift. She’s working harder, being more visible and we are also seeing more of the Cambridge children. Kate has been given a platform to take on a more prominent role. She’s not just accompanying William to engagements, she is doing things independently and voicing new ideas.”

So she’s not about to complain about logging a little overtime. 

“Harry and Meghan leaving the firm has left a void and I think the royal family were at risk of looking out of touch and dowdy without them,” Gristwood continued. “With Charles and Camilla over 70, and Anne about to get there, and the Queen scaling back, there is a serious vacuum when it comes to star appeal at the heart of the royal family. This is Kate’s moment to shine.”

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