Letters From an American

Sorry, Wrong Number

Covid-19, Trump's taxes, wildfires and the Breonna Taylor verdict

Sorry, Wrong Number

There was a thundering silence from Republicans about the tax story, while Democrats expressed alarm at the dangers of a president exposed to more than $300 million in debt. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

September 28, 2020

After last night’s news dump, today was mostly follow-up while everyone takes a deep breath before tomorrow’s presidential debates. Since last night was a late one and the morning early, I’m going to take advantage of the lack of big news to rest up for tomorrow.

First, though, a rundown of the little that hit the radar screen:

Wildfire risk in the West continues high, with more than 3.7 million acres burned in California alone and 26 dead there.

The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, was overheard talking on a plane about Trump’s new medical advisor for the coronavirus task force, Scott Atlas, a radiologist and talking head on the Fox News Channel.

“Everything he says is false,” Redfield said. Atlas’s advocacy of exposing children to the coronavirus to achieve herd immunity has made public health experts blanch. “Many of his opinions and statements run counter to established science, and, by doing so, undermine public-health authorities and the credible science that guides effective public health policy,” 78 of his former colleagues wrote in an open letter.

More than 200,000 Americans have died from Covid-19 and cases are currently rising in 21 states. Vice-President Mike Pence, who heads the White House coronavirus task force, says cases are going to continue to rise.

Meanwhile, the New York Times revealed today that, this summer, White House officials pressured the CDC to downplay the dangers of coronavirus to youngsters as the administration pushed the idea of reopening schools. White House officials actively sought to present the idea that the disease was less dangerous to children, and that the psychological damage of staying out of school would be more harmful to them than the coronavirus. While the CDC was trying to make the pros and cons of reopening schools clear, Trump said in early July that children handled the virus well, and “we want to get our schools open. We want to get them open quickly, beautifully, in the fall.”

Last night’s tax story earned Trump’s predictable angry tweets. But there was a thundering silence from Republicans about the tax story, while Democrats expressed alarm at the dangers of a president exposed to more than $300 million in debt. For ordinary Americans, even small debt can prevent obtaining a security clearance because it makes a person vulnerable to blackmail or other pressure.

After the Republican campaign’s initial reaction was to blame Democrats and “RINOs” for Brad Parscale’s suicide scare and hospitalization yesterday, it turned out today that the issue was domestic violence. A police report showed that Parscale’s wife called police when he loaded a gun. Arriving at the scene, police saw she was was badly bruised and scratched, and she “stated Brad Parscale hits her.”

The New York Times tonight issued part 2 of the story of Trump’s taxes, this time a deep dive into how The Apprentice rehabilitated Trump’s image as a wealthy businessman.

Finally, the day’s biggest news story dropped tonight, when a member of the grand jury that oversaw the Breonna Taylor case filed a motion asking the judge to release the grand jury proceedings. The motion suggests that the public statements of Kentucky Attorney General David Cameron contradict the evidence the grand jury saw. That grand jury was in charge of considering charges against the three law enforcement officers who executed a no-knock warrant on Taylor’s apartment and ended up murdering the 26-year-old emergency room technician after her boyfriend shot at the men he thought were intruders.

That’s it for me tonight, folks. I’m thinking tomorrow’s going to be newsworthy.

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Heather Cox Richardson

Heather Cox Richardson teaches American history at Boston College. She is the author of a number of books, most recently, How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America. She writes the popular nightly newsletter Letters from an American. Follow her on Twitter: @HC_Richardson.

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