Coronavirus Roundup: First Night of DNC Focuses on Administration's Pandemic Missteps
There's a lot to keep track of. Here’s today’s list of news updates and stories you may have missed.
The first night of the all-virtual Democratic National Convention on Monday focused heavily on criticizing the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic and contrasting the response to what former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive nominee, would do if elected. “He was a terrific vice president. He knows what it takes to rescue an economy, beat back a pandemic and lead our country," said former First Lady Michelle Obama. Here are some other recent headlines you might have missed.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is publishing a book in October about his relationship with the Trump administration and experiences during the early onset of the pandemic when his state was an epicenter, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday. “Our collective strength is exercised through government,” Cuomo said during his convention speech on Monday evening. “It is in effect our immune system and our current federal government is dysfunctional and incompetent. It couldn’t fight off the virus. In fact, it didn’t even see it coming.”
President Trump tweeted on Monday he rejects the Pentagon’s proposal to cut military health care by $2.2 billion over the next five years. Politico reported on Sunday that Defense officials were looking to do so as part of Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s crosscutting budget review. “Two senior defense officials say the effort has been rushed and driven by an arbitrary cost-savings goal, and argue that the cuts to the system will imperil the health care of millions of military personnel and their families as the nation grapples with Covid-19,” said the report.
The Election Assistance Commission will host a virtual roundtable on Wednesday to discuss challenges for overseas voters and individuals with disabilities during the pandemic. State and local election officials, and representatives from the U.S. Postal Service, the Federal Voting Assistance Program, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and U.S. Access Board will attend. “We are committed to providing information and best practices to the elections community to ease the burden of addressing the issues that COVID-19 has presented to successfully administering elections,” said the commission.
Senior administration officials and President Trump have been giving Deputy National Security Adviser Matt Pottinger a hard time for wearing a mask in front of the president shortly after the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, according to a report. “Some of those close to Trump viewed Pottinger’s mask-wearing as an indication that the deputy national security adviser was publicly challenging the president, one of those senior officials said,” The Daily Beast reported on Monday. White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah disputed the reporting.
Michael Bars, National Security Council director of strategic communication, was detailed to the White House communications team to be a senior adviser for coronavirus messaging, Politico reported on Monday.
Miles Taylor, who served in Homeland Security Department leadership from 2017 to 2019, announced on Monday he is endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden for president based on what he saw working for the Trump administration. “Trump has also damaged the country in countless ways that don’t directly involve national security but, by stoking hatred and division, make Americans profoundly less safe. The president’s bungled response to the coronavirus pandemic is the ultimate example,” Taylor wrote in The Washington Post. “In his cavalier disregard for the seriousness of the threat, Trump failed to make effective use of the federal crisis response system painstakingly built after 9/11.”
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, said on Monday that the United States’ lockdown should have been more like Italy’s, so it could have better contained the coronavirus. In Italy “people weren't allowed out of their houses, they couldn't come out, but once every two weeks to buy groceries for one hour and they had to have a certificate that said they were allowed,” she said. “Americans don't react well to that kind of prohibition."
Today’s GovExec Daily podcast episode discusses how technology can be used to avoid and detect financial fraud, such as with the coronavirus relief funds.
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