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Ford officials reportedly ‘surprised’ Trump took mask off during tour

Ford officials reportedly ‘surprised’ Trump took mask off during tour
  • CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang tweeted that sources told her Trump was asked to wear a mask while touring a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan on Thursday and officials were “surprised” when he took it off. 
  • Jiang added that sources told her Ford officials “just went with it” after Trump took the mask off and said it was Trump’s “decision” to do so.
  • During a Q&A session following his tour on Thursday, Trump admitted that he wore a mask during a portion of the visit but said he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.” 
  • Trump has not been seen wearing a mask in public, despite CDC guidelines suggesting that people wear face coverings “in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump’s decision to take his mask off while touring a Ford manufacturing plant in Michigan on Thursday reportedly came as a surprise to Ford officials who asked him to wear one. 

CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang tweeted that sources told her Bill Ford asked Trump to wear a mask, and officials were “surprised” when he took it off. 

“Sources tell me Bill Ford asked the President to wear a mask when he got there, and he agreed,” Jiang tweeted. “The expectation was that he would keep it on for the entire visit, and officials were surprised when he took it off. Trump said he was given a ‘choice,’ but no one from Ford said that.” 

Jiang added that sources told her that Ford officials “just went with it” after Trump took the mask off and said it was Trump’s “decision” to do so.

Prior to Trump’s visit, a Ford spokeswoman told Reuters that the company has a policy requiring masks to be worn at its Michigan plant and said it had informed the White House of the policy. Still, she added that “The White House has its own safety and testing policies in place and will make its own determination.” 

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel encouraged Trump to wear a mask during his visit, and said in an open letter addressed to Trump on Wednesday that it was “not only a legal responsibility” for the president to prevent the spread of COVID-19, “but also a social and moral responsibility.”

During a Q&A session following his tour on Thursday, Trump admitted that he wore a mask during a portion of the visit but said he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.” 

Trump said he “had one on in an area where they preferred it, so I put it on and it was very nice, it looked very nice. But they said it’s not necessary.”

In a statement following Trump’s visit, Ford said: “Bill Ford encouraged President Trump to wear a mask when he arrived. He wore a mask during a private viewing of three Ford GTs from over the years. The President later removed the mask for the remainder of the visit.”

Trump has never worn a mask in public, despite CDC guidelines suggesting that people wear face coverings “in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”

According to an Associated Press report, Trump has told advisers that wearing a mask would “send the wrong message” and hurt his chances at reelection.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has posited that Trump might be concerned about his image. 

“It’s a vanity thing, I guess, with him,” Pelosi said on MSNBC earlier this month.

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DHS says top officials legally appointed, calls GAO report part of ‘partisan impeachment effort’

Homeland Security lashed out Monday against Congress’s top watchdog agency, demanding the Government Accountability Office rescind its report last week finding that the department’s top two officials are holding their jobs illegally. General Counsel Chad Mizelle said the report was written by a former Democratic campaign operative who only graduated law school three years ago…

DHS says top officials legally appointed, calls GAO report part of ‘partisan impeachment effort’

Homeland Security lashed out Monday against Congress’s top watchdog agency, demanding the Government Accountability Office rescind its report last week finding that the department’s top two officials are holding their jobs illegally.

General Counsel Chad Mizelle said the report was written by a former Democratic campaign operative who only graduated law school three years ago — both of which, he said, made the findings suspect. As for the substance, he said GAO cherry-picked its evidence and favored some legal interpretations over others to reach bogus conclusions.

“The report takes the reader on a march through a march,” Mr. Mizelle wrote in an eight-page rebuttal to last Friday’s report, which comes amid an election season. “Does the timing of this report suggest that something else is motivating this opinion? Does the GAO’s unfortunate recent history of issuing partisan and inaccurate reports perhaps explain what is going on?”

At issue was the chain of succession when then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was ousted in spring 2019.

The administration installed Kevin McAleenan, at the time head of the border security agency, as acting secretary. He then rewrote the chain of succession and when he left, the acting secretary’s job fell to Chad Wolf. Meanwhile, Ken Cuccinelli was appointed head of the department’s citizenship agency and then as deputy secretary — both in acting capacity.

GAO said last week that under a memo Ms. Nielsen wrote Mr. McAleenan shouldn’t have gotten the job after her. And that made all of his subsequent actions suspect, including the new chain of succession that allowed Mr. Wolf and Mr. Cuccinelli to ascend.

Mr. Mizelle said there were multiple ways to read Ms. Nielsen’s memo, and the GAO’s interpretation was just one of them. He said the department has consistently taken a different interpretation, and absent any clear error, that should be controlling.

And Mr. Mizelle pointed out that Ms. Nielsen even swore in Mr. McAleenan as her successor, which he said was a clear indication she thought it was appropriate he succeed her.

In his eight-page response he included a photo of the April 2019 swearing in, calling that an “unambiguous designation of a successor.”

If Mr. McAleenan is legally in his job, then both Mr. Wolf and Mr. Cuccinelli are too, he said.

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Trump officials: ‘Personal responsibility’ crucial to defeating coronavirus

Trump administration officials said Friday the country is not “defenseless” against the coronavirus, but it will take greater cooperation from the public to beat back the pandemic. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the nation has developed safeguards and new therapies to save lives, but the public needs…

Trump officials: ‘Personal responsibility’ crucial to defeating coronavirus

Trump administration officials said Friday the country is not “defenseless” against the coronavirus, but it will take greater cooperation from the public to beat back the pandemic.

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the nation has developed safeguards and new therapies to save lives, but the public needs to wear masks, maintain physical distancing and wash their hands to keep the virus at bay.

“I am appealing to all Americans to be part of the public health solution. Together, we can turn the tide of this pandemic,” Dr. Redfield told the Subcommittee on the Coronavirus.

Adm. Brett Giroir, the coronavirus-testing czar, said testing capacity is improving every day, but it does not replace personal responsibility, amid widespread fears that some people aren’t following public-health guidance.

“A negative test does not mean you won’t be positive tomorrow,” he told the subcommittee.

Anthony Fauci, a top scientist at the National Institutes of Health, said he is still confident the U.S. could see a vaccine by the end of the year and expressed skepticism about boastful news from abroad.“I do hope that the Chinese and the Russians are actually testing the vaccine before they’re administering the vaccine to anyone,” he said.

Chairman James Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat, said he called the hearing because he’s worried that a lack of centralized planning at the federal level led to a fragmented, flimsy response in the states. He said the U.S. is in the middle of a public health “catastrophe” in which some hospitals have been forced to consider which patients get care and which are “sent home to die.”

“It is clear that the administration’s approach of deferring to the states, sidelining the experts and rushing to reopen has prolonged this virus and led to thousands of preventable deaths,” Mr. Clyburn said.

His Republican counterpart, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, said Mr. Trump issued clear guidelines and advanced the ball on therapeutics and landing a vaccine in record time.

“Critics keep shouting about ‘a plan’ — perhaps they should take some time and read these plans — they are all public, they were all created by experts in their field, and each was created and executed because President Trump approved them,” Mr. Scalise said.

Mr. Clyburn later displayed a chart showing a greater magnitude of transmission in the U.S. than the European Union, saying the disparity is noticeable even though places around the world employed lockdowns.

Dr. Fauci, a key member of the president’s coronavirus task force, tied it the springtime decision to shut down partially and reopen too quickly in some states.

“When [European nations] shut down or locked down or went to shelter in place … they really did it to the tune of 95%-plus,” Dr. Fauci said. “Even though we shut down, even though it created a great deal of difficulty, we only functionally shut down 50%.”

While the U.S. plateaued at about 20,000 cases per day, European nations came down to a lower baseline.

As the country reopened, it saw a surge in some states across the South and West.

The White House put out a list of benchmarks that should be met before governors moved forward, but some states didn’t tick off all the boxes.

“Some were followed very carefully, and some were not,” Dr. Fauci told Mr. Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat. “That led to the surging that you’re showing on your chart there.”

Mr. Trump fumed over Mr. Clyburn’s comparison on Twitter, arguing the U.S. is uncovering more cases because of its testing regime.

“Somebody please tell Congressman Clyburn, who doesn’t have a clue, that the chart he put up indicating more CASES for the U.S. than Europe, is because we do MUCH MORE testing than any other country in the World. If we had no testing, or bad testing, we would show very few CASES,” Mr. Trump wrote.

Under GOP questioning, Dr. Fauci said he believes Mr. Trump’s decision to restrict travel from China at the start of February and from Europe in mid-March saved lives.

Dr. Fauci tried not to get pulled into a debate over mandated restrictions, as Rep. Jim Jordan asked whether the government should clamp down on street protests. He said states imposed limits on church services.

The scientist said any mass gathering comes with increased risk.

“I don’t judge one crowd versus another crowd,” Dr. Fauci said.

Mr. Jordan, Ohio Republican, said the scientist has commented on plenty of things, but Dr. Fauci said it wasn’t up to him to decide who should be arrested or barred from certain activities.

“I’m not going to opine on limiting anything,” Dr. Fauci said. “I’m telling you what it is, the danger … you should stay away from crowds, no matter where the crowds are.”

Dr. Fauci also cast doubt on a Henry Ford Health System study that found hydroxychloroquine could help COVID-19 patients survive. The malaria drug has been promoted by Mr. Trump as a treatment for the disease.

“That study is a flawed study,” Dr. Fauci said. “You can peer-review something that is a flawed study.”

The doctor said it was an observational study in which patients who received the drug also received steroids, which have shown some promise against the virus.

Dr. Fauci said if he saw a randomized, placebo-controlled trial that found hydroxychloroquine to be effective, he would “be the first one to admit it and promote it.”

“I just have to go with the data,” he said. “I don’t have any horse in the game one way or the other.”

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Oregon officials blast ‘blatant abuse of power’ of federal troops |NationalTribune.com

Federal agents in green camouflage uniforms have been taking into custody people in the streets of Portland, Oregon who are not close to the federal property that they were sent to protect, in what the ACLU on Friday said “should concern everyone in the United States”. “Usually, when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly…

Oregon officials blast ‘blatant abuse of power’ of federal troops |NationalTribune.com

Federal agents in green camouflage uniforms have been taking into custody people in the streets of Portland, Oregon who are not close to the federal property that they were sent to protect, in what the ACLU on Friday said “should concern everyone in the United States”.
“Usually, when we see people in unmarked cars forcibly grab someone off the street we call it, ‘kidnapping’,” said Jann Carson, interim executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon.
“The actions of the militarised federal officers are flat-out unconstitutional and will not go unanswered.”
Governor Kate Brown said President Donald Trump, who deployed Department of Homeland Security officers to Portland, is looking for a confrontation in the hopes of winning political points elsewhere.
The Democratic governor on Thursday called the actions “a blatant abuse of power by the federal government”. Her spokesman, Charles Boyle, said Friday that arresting people without probable cause is “extraordinarily concerning and a violation of their civil liberties and constitutional rights”.

Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters. These Trump/Barr tactics designed to eliminate any accountability are absolutely unacceptable in America, and must end. pic.twitter.com/PE4YfZ9Vqd
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) July 16, 2020

Federal officers have charged at least 13 people with crimes related to the protests so far, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported Thursday. Some have been detained near the federal courthouse, which has been the scene of protests. But others were grabbed blocks away.
One video showed two people in helmets and green camouflage with “police” patches grabbing a person on the sidewalk, handcuffing them and taking them into an unmarked vehicle.
“Who are you?” someone asks the pair, who do not respond. At least some of the federal officers belong to the Department of Homeland Security.
‘Escalating tactics’
“Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters,” Democratic US Senator Jeff Merkley said in a tweet.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations Oregon chapter said in a statement: “We are now seeing escalating tactics with protesters being unlawfully detained by unknown Federal law enforcement entities.”
US Attorney Billy Williams in Portland said Friday that, based on news accounts that allege federal law enforcement detained two protesters without probable cause, he has requested the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General to investigate the actions of DHS personnel.
Oregon’s two senators and two of its House members announced they will also be asking the DHS inspector general, as well as the US Department of Justice, to investigate “the unrequested presence and violent actions of federal forces in Portland”.
“It’s painfully clear this administration is focused purely on escalating violence without answering my repeated requests for why this expeditionary force is in Portland and under what constitutional authority,” Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said.
On Thursday night, federal officers deployed tear gas and fired non-lethal rounds into a crowd of protesters, hours after the head of the Department of Homeland Security visited the city and called the demonstrators, who are protesting against racism and police brutality, “violent anarchists.”
A few hundred people gathered near the federal courthouse Thursday night. Other protesters went to a police station in another part of the city. Police told protesters to leave that site after announcing they heard some chanting about burning down the building. Protester Paul Frazier said Friday the chant was “much more rhetorical than an actual statement”.

Young people taking part in a protest against police brutality and racism in Portland, Oregon [AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer]

Portland police said Friday they wound up arresting 20 people overnight.
Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said Thursday that state and city authorities are to blame for not putting an end to the protests, angering local officials.
Mayor Ted Wheeler and others have said they did not ask for help from federal law enforcement and have asked them to leave.
Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said Friday morning on US TV show, Fox & Friends, that the federal government has a responsibility to protect buildings such as the courthouse.
“What we’ve seen around the country is where responsible policing is advanced, violence recedes,” Cuccinelli said. “And Portland hasn’t gotten that memo. Nor have a lot of other cities. And the president is determined to do what we can, within our jurisdiction, to help restore peace to these beleaguered cities.”
The Department of Homeland Security had no immediate comment when reached by The Associated Press on Friday.
Tensions have escalated in the past two weeks, particularly after an officer with the US Marshals Service fired at a protester’s head on July 11, critically injuring him.
The protests following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis have often devolved into violent clashes between smaller groups and the police. The unrest has caused deep divisions in a city that prides itself on its activism and progressive reputation.
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