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Wake Up To Politics - September 1, 2020

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Trump visits Kenosha as Biden accuses him of inciting violence

President Donald Trump will visit Kenosha, Wisconsin, today to survey the damage from a week of riots following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man.

Trump’s visit comes one day after his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, delivered his first major address on the recent racial unrest throughout America. Although Trump has sought to tie Biden with some of the violent agitators, the Democratic candidate laid the blame for the destruction squarely at the president’s feet.

“This president long ago forfeited any moral leadership in this country,” Biden said. “He can’t stop the violence — because for years he has fomented it.”

Accusing the president of stoking racial divisions in the United States, the former vice president added: “Does anyone believe there will be less violence in America if Donald Trump is re-elected?”

Trump will stop in Kenosha to tour businesses damaged during the riots and meet with law enforcement officials. The president has not signaled any plans to meet with Blake’s family while in Kenosha; White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News that the administration had been “efforting outreach” to the family, but their attorney said they had not received a message about setting up a meeting.

At his own press conference on Monday, Trump said that Democratic leaders — from the mayor of Kenosha and governor of Wisconsin to Joe Biden himself — are at fault for the recent violence, continuing the “law and order” messaging that has become central to his re-election campaign.

“The violence is fueled by dangerous rhetoric from far-left politicians that demonize our nation and demonize our police,” Trump told reporters. “The violent rioters share Biden’s same talking points, and they share his same agenda for our nation. The rioters and Joe Biden have a side — they’re both on the side of the radical left.”

However, while Biden condemned the rioters on Monday — “Rioting is not protesting...It’s lawlessness, plain and simple,” he said — Trump has so far declined to discourage his own supporters who have contributed to violent episodes in Kenosha, Portland, and other cities.

A 17-year-old Trump supporter, Kyle Rittenhouse, was charged with homicide after two demonstrators were shot and killed last week. Trump said Monday that Rittenhouse’s actions were justified because he was acting in self-defense. “I guess he was in very big trouble,” Trump said. “He probably would have been killed.”

The president also defended a group of his supporters in Portland who fired paintballs and pepper spray at protesters in Portland over the weekend. “That was a peaceful protest,” he said. “Paint is a defensive mechanism. Paint is not bullets.”

Amid the unrest, Trump is visiting Kenosha today against the wishes of Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers.

“I, along with other community leaders who have reached out, are concerned about what your presence will mean for Kenosha and our state,” Evers wrote in a letter to the president. “I am concerned your presence will only hinder our healing. I am concerned your presence will only delay our work to overcome division and move forward together.”

But the White House responded to Evers’ letter by affirming that the president’s travel plans remained unchanged. “President Trump looks forward to visiting on Tuesday and helping this great city heal and rebuild,” a spokesperson said.

Markey, Kennedy face off in hotly-contested primary

Massachusetts voters will head to the polls today to choose between Sen. Ed Markey and his Democratic primary challenger, Rep. Joe Kennedy III.

Kennedy, the 39-year-old grandson of Bobby Kennedy and scion of the famed Bay State dynasty, was leading in early polls of the race, but Markey has recently gained momentum amid a surge of support from the left flank. A 74-year-old who has served in Washington since the 1970’s, Markey may be an unlikely subject for liberal enthusiasm — but his role co-authoring the “Green New Deal” and an endorsement from New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has gained him significant cachet with young, progressive voters.

Kennedy has racked up impressive endorsements of his own, drawing support from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other major figures. He also his history on his side — no Kennedy has ever lost a statewide race in Massachusetts — although the polling average currently is not: Markey now leads by 11%, according to RealClearPolitics.

  • Also today: In Massachusetts’ 1st District, longtime Democratic Rep. Richard Neal faces a primary challenge from Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse. Progressives are hoping that Neal, a 32-year incumbent and chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, could be the next centrist incumbent they knock off, after a victory against Missouri Rep. Lacy Clay last month.
  • Polls close at 8 p.m. Eastern Time

Health experts raise concerns of political interference at FDA, CDC

NBC News: “A series of recent public missteps involving the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, two of the federal agencies critical to the U.S. coronavirus response... have damaged their reputations at a time when they are needed the most, according to seven prominent doctors and scientists who spoke to NBC News.

“They say that the recent events are clear signs of political interference from the White House and that they have shaken their trust and confidence in the leadership of the agencies.”

...“In an interview published Sunday in The Financial Times, Hahn said the FDA could fast-track a coronavirus vaccine by issuing an emergency use authorization before the end of Phase 3 clinical trials. The comments were met with an outcry from public health experts, prompting him to clarify in the CBS interview that a vaccine wouldn't be politicized.”

“Before that, Hahn misrepresented data about convalescent plasma, leading him to apologize for having overstated the potential treatment's benefits. He also ousted the agency’s chief spokesperson over the fiasco, The New York Times reported.”

“The CDC sparked its own crisis when it inexplicably changed its guidance on COVID-19 testing...[to suggest] that people exposed to the coronavirus ‘do not necessarily need a test’ unless they exhibit symptoms, are older or have existing medical needs that make them especially vulnerable to the virus.”

“But it has been known that infected people can be contagious before they experience symptoms and that people can also spread the virus even if they remain asymptomatic.”

“The CDC’s director, Dr. Robert Redfield, backtracked and issued a statement saying that ‘all close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients’ may consider getting tested.”


All times Eastern.

President Donald Trump will travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin. He will survey “property affected by recent riots” at 1:40 p.m., tour an Emergency Operations Center set up by law enforcement at 2:15 p.m., and participate in a roundtable on “community safety” at 2:30 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Exeter, Pennsylvania. He will deliver remarks at a “Workers for Trump” event at 4:30 p.m.

The House and Senate will meet for brief pro forma sessions. Neither chamber is expected to conduct any business.

The Supreme Court is on summer recess.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will each attend virtual fundraisers.

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