A president for billionaires

This piece was originally published in the October 8, 2020 edition of CAP Action’s daily newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.

Photo by Aditya Vyas on Unsplash

“What Mike Pence adds to the ticket is that he lies in a calm voice.”

Julián Castro, reacting to last night’s debate

If Trump repeals the Affordable Care Act, billionaires win and working families lose.

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  • Last night’s vice presidential debate went roughly as expected. Mike Pence lied, talked over his (Black, female) opponent, and gave a slightly quieter version of Trump’s performance from last week. At one point, he called it a “great insult” for Biden and Harris to even acknowledge the undeniable presence of systemic racism in law enforcement. Asked about Breonna Taylor’s murder and its questionable handling by Kentucky Attorney General and Trump ally Daniel Cameron, Pence said he trusted the system, then pivoted to complaining about “riots” and “looting.” This is more of the same from an administration that rarely even pretends to care about the lives of Black Americans.
  • It’s unclear when, or even if, we’ll have another debate this year. The Commission on Presidential Debates announced this morning that the next debate, which was to be held in Miami, Florida next week, would be virtual to account for concerns over Trump’s active case of COVID-19. Trump seemingly didn’t like that idea. Within minutes, he said that he wouldn’t be participating. There have since been a number of schedule shifts, and there are sure to be more. We’ll keep you posted once it’s settled, but as of now, it’s looking like there’s no debate next week.
  • Trump tweeted a video last night in which he essentially gives an infomercial for one of the therapeutics he’s receiving as part of his COVID-19 treatment. In the clip, a maskless and presumably still contagious Trump touts an antibody cocktail that’s not fully approved or widely available, falsely calling it “a cure” for the coronavirus, which he says he contracted as a “blessing from God.”
  • Trump just so happens to have recently held stock in Regeneron, the company that produces the drug. Regeneron’s CEO is also a member of Trump’s golf club. As he touts his own treatment, Trump’s condition is still not clear. His staff continues to conceal the date of his last negative coronavirus test and won’t provide substantive details on the timeline of his illness.

Don’t miss this week’s edition of What’s Trending?, where we break down how progressives navigated last week’s chaotic debate on Facebook. Sign up here to get it in your inbox next week.


  • Nearly a dozen teachers have died from the coronavirus since the start of the school year. As the fall approached, there were reports of teachers writing their wills, retiring early, and taking extreme measures to protect themselves from the dangers of the coronavirus. Now, we’re watching their fears play out in real time. Many of these deaths are the tragic fallout of leaders not stepping up to protect students, families, and teachers.
  • Thirteen people were charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The U.S. attorney overseeing the case called the men “violent extremists.” According to the FBI, one of the accused said the governor “has no checks and balances at all” and that “all good things must come to an end.” Following Whitmer’s decisive handling of Michigan’s coronavirus response, she’s become a popular target for sexist, misogynistic attacks from anti-government extremists in her state — with Trump’s support. In a statement this afternoon, she called Trump “complicit” in the extremists’ plot.
  • A jarring report from The Marshall Project and NBC News confirms what advocates have long suspected: As the coronavirus spread throughout the country this spring, federal wardens denied 98% of compassionate release requests from federal inmates. Of the 10,940 people who applied for compassionate release from March through May, just 156 requests were approved. This means thousands of incarcerated people, including many who were medically vulnerable, were forced to remain in federal prisons despite the widely-known fact that many of these facilities are breeding grounds for COVID-19. Some, like Marie Neba, died as a result.


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