TRUMP RALLY HIGHLIGHTS ELECTION VULNERABILITIES
NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump’s return to the campaign trail was designed to show strength and enthusiasm heading into the critical final months before an election that will decide whether he remains in the White House.
Instead, his weekend rally in Oklahoma highlighted growing vulnerabilities and crystallized a divisive reelection message that largely ignores broad swaths of voters — independents, suburban women and people of color — who could play a crucial role in choosing Trump or Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
The lower-than-expected turnout at the comeback rally, in particular, left Trump fuming.
The president did not offer even a token reference to national unity in remarks that spanned more than an hour and 40 minutes at his self-described campaign relaunch as the nation grappled with surging coronavirus infections, the worst unemployment since the Great Depression and sweeping civil unrest.
Nor did Trump mention George Floyd, the African American man whose death at the hands of Minnesota police late last month sparked a national uprising over police brutality. But he did add new fuel to the nation’s culture wars, defending Confederate statues while making racist references to the coronavirus, which originated in China and which he called “kung flu.” He also said Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who came to the U.S. as a refugee, “would like to make the government of our country just like the country from where she came, Somalia.”
Trump won the presidency in 2016 with a similar red-meat message aimed largely at energizing conservatives and white working-class men. But less than four months before early voting begins in some states, there are signs that independents and educated voters — particularly suburban women — have turned against him. Republican strategists increasingly believe that only a dramatic turnaround in the economy can revive his reelection aspirations.
“It’s bad,” said Republican operative Rick Tyler, a frequent Trump critic. “There’s literally nothing to run on. The only thing he can say is that Biden is worse.”
UNDATED (AP) — What’s all this talk about a “second wave” of U.S. coronavirus cases?
In The Wall Street Journal last week, Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a piece headlined “There Isn’t a Coronavirus ‘Second Wave’” that the nation is winning the fight against the virus.
Many public health experts, however, suggest it’s no time to celebrate. About 120,000 Americans have died from the new virus and daily counts of new cases in the U.S. are the highest they’ve been in more than a month, driven by alarming recent increases in the South and West.
But there is at least one point of agreement: “Second wave” is probably the wrong term to describe what’s happening.
“When you have 20,000-plus infections per day, how can you talk about a second wave?” said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health. “We’re in the first wave. Let’s get out of the first wave before you have a second wave.”
Clearly there was an initial infection peak in April as cases exploded in New York City. After schools and businesses were closed across the country, the rate of new cases dropped somewhat.
But “it’s more of a plateau, or a mesa,” not the trough after a wave, said Caitlin Rivers, a disease researcher at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security.
Scientists generally agree the nation is still in its first wave of coronavirus infections, albeit one that’s dipping in some parts of the country while rising in others.
PIRATED COPIES OF BOLTON'S BOOK END UP ONLINE
NEW YORK (AP) — John Bolton’s memoir officially comes out Tuesday after surviving a security review and a legal challenge from the Justice Department. But over the weekend, it was available in ways even his publisher is hoping to prevent.
A PDF of “The Room Where It Happened” has turned up on the internet, offering a free, pirated edition of the former national security adviser’s scathing takedown of President Donald Trump, who has alleged that the book contains classified material that never should have been released.
“We are working assiduously to take down these clearly illegal instances of copyright infringement,” Simon & Schuster spokesperson Adam Rothberg said Sunday.
Piracy has long been a top concern among publishers, especially in the digital age, although the actual impact on sales is undetermined. “The Room Where It Happened” has been No. 1 for days on the Amazon.com bestseller list. The Associated Press was among several news outlets that obtained early copies of the book and reported on its contents.
On Saturday, a federal judge ruled that Simon & Schuster could publish the book despite the Trump administration’s contention that it compromised national security. “The Room Where It Happened” was originally scheduled for March, but was delayed twice as the White House reviewed the manuscript.
Bolton’s legal team has said that he spent months addressing White House concerns about classified information and that Bolton had been assured in late April by the official he was working with that the manuscript no longer contained any such material.
SEATTLE SHOOTING PROBED
SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle police on Sunday pursued their investigation into a weekend shooting in a park in the city’s protest zone that killed a 19-year-old man and critically injured another person. No arrests had been made.
An “active and ongoing” investigation was underway into the shooting, which occurred about 2:30 a.m. Saturday in an area near downtown known as CHOP, for “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone, Detective Mark Jamieson said. The suspect or suspects fled the scene, and police asked the public for any information that could identify them.
The zone evolved after weeks of protests in the city over police brutality and racism following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Officers responding to the shooting said they had trouble getting to the scene because they were “were met by a violent crowd that prevented officers safe access to the victims,” according to a police blog.
Video released later Saturday by police appears to show officers arriving at the protest zone saying they want to get to the victim and entering as people yell at them that the victim is already gone. Police mostly retreated from the zone after clashes with protesters, KIRO-TV reported.
Private vehicles took two males with gunshot wounds to Harborview Medical Center, where the 19-year-old man died. A 33-year-old man, whose name was not immediately released, remained in critical condition Sunday, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg told KOMO-TV.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office had yet to release the identity of the dead man. Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant said he was Black.
The CHOP zone is a several-block area cordoned off by protesters near a police station in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood following demonstrations against police violence since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis several weeks ago. President Donald Trump has criticized Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee for allowing the zone.
TALLADEGA RACE SET FOR TODAY AFTER RAIN
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — It cost $40 to get into Talladega Superspeedway if you were one of 5,000 people to purchase a ticket and live within 150 miles of the NASCAR staple.
But to get to the seat in Row 26A, Seat 12W, you first had to weave down Talladega Blvd., perhaps passing dozens of people lining the road and proudly waving the Confederate flag.
Look up, and you might spot a plane pulling a banner of the Southern symbol, now banned from being displayed inside race tracks, with the words “Defund NASCAR”
The Confederate flags that once flew openly around the infield and stands are still for sale across the street. NASCAR hasn’t disclosed how it will handle fans flying flags.
The race was pushed back to this afternoon because of heavy rain and lightning. But before the rain came, the scene was a dramatic departure from the Talladega norm.
“It’s weird. It’s eerie,” said David Radvansky, 32, from suburban Atlanta, who brought his wife and boys, 3 and 6.
Radvansky, who started coming to Talladega in the 1990s when his father parked cars at races, applauded NASCAR’s decision to ban the Confederate flags.
“I don’t think there’s a place for it in NASCAR, to be honest with you,” the 32-year-old said. “That doesn’t sit well with all the good ole boys but it is what it is.”
Fans had to go through screening and wear masks to get in for the race, though a few were walking around inside without theirs on. But lines seemed to flow quickly and the sun was shining until about an hour before the race, when rain and lightning started.