This piece was originally published in the July 15, 2020 edition of CAP Action’s daily newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.
“What a terrible question to ask. So are white people.”
— Trump, when asked last night by a reporter why so many Black people in America are still being killed by police
15 of the top 25 worst coronavirus epicenters in the world are U.S. states.
The 12th worst outbreak in the world? Georgia, where Trump is headed today for another dangerous mid-pandemic visit where he’ll announce the rollback of major environmental protections.
IN THE NEWS
- As part of Trump’s visit to Atlanta today, he announced the rollback of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a policy which requires federal agencies to review the environmental, economic, social, and health impacts of a project before construction begins. Rolling back environmental review is reckless and dangerous, especially in the midst of a global public health crisis. With communities sidelined, corporations can take the reins and speed up their development process without a requirement to disclose conflicts of interest, consider the impact on climate change, or offer alternative approaches. NEPA serves as a platform for vulnerable communities to make their voices heard and stop pollution in their own backyards, and stripping away these protections will give corporate polluters a green light to exploit vulnerable communities and put Americans’ health and safety at risk. Trump’s announcement will have a disproportionate impact on Black and brown communities, which have borne the brunt of environmental racism and systemic injustice for far too long.
- Trump went on a racist tirade to the press last night during which he spouted off a number of lies about Joe Biden and repeated his defense of the Confederate flag. When CBS reporter Catherine Herridge asked Trump why so many Black Americans are still being killed by police, Trump told her it was a “terrible question” to ask. “So are white people,” he continued. “More white people, by the way.”
REALITY CHECK: Black people in America are killed by police at a disproportionately higher rate than their white counterparts. According to the Washington Post, white people are killed by police at a rate of 13 deaths per million, compared with 31 deaths per million for Black people.
- Despite Trump’s rambling, bigoted speech last night being widely interpreted as a political event, it was held in the Rose Garden, a location historically reserved for official White House business. “That was not a press conference,” tweeted CNN’s Jim Acosta afterwards. “It was a campaign rally disguised as a press conference.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- A disturbing new report from Politico outlines how Trump quietly rolled back training requirements for nursing home staff as the pandemic began to surge in the United States. Back in March, as the coronavirus spread through a Kirkland, Washington nursing home, Trump took the side of industry and waived a 75 hour training requirement for nurse’s aides, opting instead to require just 8 hours of online training. Health care workers and unions are pushing back against the change, arguing that the complicated nature of working in a nursing home requires thorough training. As one union representative noted, “putting someone brand new into the care setting with COVID is a recipe for disaster.” More than 55,000 nursing home residents and staff have died from the coronavirus, accounting for a whopping 40% of all coronavirus deaths in the country.
- As Trump and Betsy DeVos continue their push for schools to reopen without adequate funding or a plan to keep them safe, teachers are growing increasingly worried. Some teachers are starting to write their wills, while others are simply retiring rather than risk their own well-being by returning to the classroom without a comprehensive safety plan in the midst of a pandemic. According to AARP, 1 in 4 teachers in the U.S. have risk factors that put them at heightened risk for serious illness if they become infected with the coronavirus. Teachers come to work to help kids learn, not to risk their lives on the front lines of a global public health crisis or be bullied by Trump for his political gain. Rather than the inevitable empty gesture of branding teachers as heroes while sending them, unprepared, into a potentially dangerous environment, Trump and DeVos need to start taking the coronavirus seriously and listening to teachers — before it’s too late.
- For the latest on Trump’s botched pandemic response, check out BLINKING RED, CAP Action’s running timeline of how the Trump administration ignored warnings, misled the public, and made the coronavirus crisis worse.
WHAT WE’RE READING (AND LISTENING TO)
- 4 Actions Colleges Can Take To Address Police Brutality by Viviann Anguiano (CAP)
- Black Behind the Wheel by Ron Stodghill (New York Times)
- Toward Equitable Treatments for Women’s Health During Coronavirus and Beyond by Jamille Fields Allsbrook, Osub Ahmed, and Nora Ellmann (CAP)
- Listen to this week’s episode of The Tent, where CAP’s Daniella Gibbs Léger, Ed Chung, and Jesse Lee discuss how the pandemic could affect students returning to school this fall and how it shapes polling in the 2020 general election. Later, they’re joined by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka to talk about public safety, police reform, and the pandemic.