Updated: October 7, 2020 1:18:33 pm
News reports suggest that US President Donald Trump has been trying to capitalise on his coronavirus diagnosis to project himself as a leader who had successfully battled the infection, just weeks before the elections. Bloomberg reported how a Trump campaign spokesman chided his opponent Joe Biden for lacking the experience of contracting and beating the coronavirus. Supporters have also taken to social media to project Trump as a hero for purportedly having defeated coronavirus. You can read the Bloomberg report here.
The US witnessed a major political development on Tuesday when Trump called off negotiations with Democratic lawmakers on a coronavirus relief stimulus package, pushing it to until after the elections on November 3. This comes hours after US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell called for greater spending to avoid damaging the economic recovery in the country. Stocks tumbled drastically after Trump tweeted: “I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business.” Reuters has more on this story.
More White House staff are discovering that the Trump administration’s lax attitude towards the use of face masks and social distancing rules to curb coronavirus are now hitting close to home, with more staff members testing positive for the infection. The lastest is Stephen Miller, White House senior advisor and a member of Trump’s inner circle. Like his other colleagues, Miller claimed that he had repeatedly tested negative for five days, before testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday. The Reuters report can be read here.
Trump has been pushing for the release of a coronavirus vaccine before November 3, in hopes that it may improve his chances of winning the elections. However, The New York Times reported that on Tuesday, the US Food and Drug Administration released new guidelines for coronavirus vaccine developers, a move that White House officials had previously been trying to block. In what seems like a reversal on their own stance, officials have now proceeded with authorising these guidelines that would make it unlikely for vaccine developers to create a vaccine in time for the elections.
Despite these vaccine guidelines being approved by his own administration, Trump tweeted his displeasure, claiming that the new guidelines “were a conspiracy against his re-election prospects.” You can read The New York Times story here.
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The Vice Presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and his Democratic opponent Kamala Harris is scheduled to be held on Wednesday evening. The New York Times reported that Pence’s aides have been resisting plans for the vice president to sit behind plexiglass dividers during the debate. Organisers had reportedly wanted the dividers as safety measures to curb coronavirus, particularly following the diagnosis of Trump and many in his inner circle who had contracted the infection. But on late Tuesday evening, reports said that Pence’s team had agreed to the installation of these dividers.
The New York Times reported Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, saying that their team did not want the vice president to appear on national television seated behind the plastic barriers. According to the Times report, Short had said: “We don’t think it’s needed…There’s no science to support it. The tables are 12 feet apart, and each participant is tested. It’s important for the American people that the debate go forward.” You can read The New York Times report here.
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