This piece was originally published in the August 10, 2020 edition of CAP Action’s daily newsletter, the Progress Report. Subscribe to the Progress Report here.
“Donald Trump has blood on his hands.”
— Kristin Urquiza, whose father died of coronavirus
Kristin Urquiza is all too familiar with the devastating impact the coronavirus has had on millions of families. She’s lived it herself.
More than 162,000 Americans like Kristin’s father have paid for Trump’s failed coronavirus response with their lives.
IN THE NEWS
- Just days after the U.S. surpassed 5 million confirmed coronavirus cases, Trump and his Republican friends in the Senate took on a new pet project: Pushing for the college football season to proceed, whether it’s safe or not. This push comes in the wake of the Big Ten conference’s announcement this morning that they plan to cancel the 2020 college football season due to safety risks posed by the worsening pandemic. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) responded with a letter in which he tried (and failed) to justify his desire for a normal season. “Many of you think that football is safer than no football,” he mused. Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), who recently used her leverage as a WNBA team investor to intimidate players speaking out about the killing of Breonna Taylor, echoed Sasse’s sentiment. Trump soon caught word of the situation, tweeting that he, too, wants the games to go on. “Play college football!”
- Trump has often been vocal about how athletes should conduct themselves, whether they should be able to voice their opinions on the systemic killings of people who look like them, and why they shouldn’t kneel during the National Anthem. This time, however, Trump getting his way could mean serious safety risks for players, the majority of whom are Black. As if wealthy white Republicans pushing for a non-essential activity to proceed in the middle of a pandemic with no regard for players’ safety wasn’t bad enough, it’s even worse when you consider that Black Americans are already contracting and dying from coronavirus at a disproportionately high rate compared to their white counterparts.
- If Trump hadn’t fumbled the pandemic response and ignored the advice of experts for the past six months, we would be staring down a very different kind of fall right now. Schools might have been able to safely reopen without the sort of outbreaks we’re beginning to see in Georgia, the state Sen. Loeffler represents. The true irony of Senate Republicans calling for college football to resume is that they enabled the conditions that got us to this point. The reason we’re not in a safe enough place to resume normal operations is Trump’s failed coronavirus response — and the silence and complicity of people like Sasse and Loeffler.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- Trump issued an executive order on Saturday that would cut the $600 weekly unemployment assistance by at least $200 at a time when Americans need it most. But there’s a catch. The order aims to require states to pay $100 a week in unemployment assistance to a given recipient before the full federal supplement kicks in. The federal payment will be even lower for those receiving less than $100 in state aid, even though they might be the ones who most need this additional support. For people who rely on this aid to stay afloat, unable to find work while the virus runs wild, federal support could mean the difference between having a roof over their heads and not knowing where their next meal will come from. A third of renters are expected to miss their August rent payments, and federal and state eviction freezes are set to expire soon if they haven’t already.
- Nearly 100,000 children tested positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks of July, according to a study from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. This news does not bode well for the thousands more schools set to reopen in the coming weeks. Still, Trump continues pressing the idea that schools need to reopen for in-person classes this fall, despite no sign of a national strategy for ensuring that can be done safely. He recently claimed that kids are “virtually immune” from the virus, a baseless suggestion not backed by scientific evidence. On the contrary, we’re beginning to learn that children, much like adults, can experience painful long-term effects after surviving the virus. White House officials told The Daily Beast that school outbreaks like those in Georgia are “inevitable.” The truth is, they could likely be prevented with the right plan in place. Trump, however, shows no interest in making that happen.
- The United States Postal Service has long been underfunded. Now, it’s facing another threat: Louis DeJoy, the Trump-appointed Postmaster General who Democrats say is working against the agency’s own interests. DeJoy and his wife are major Trump donors who hold between $30.1 and $75.3 million in assets in USPS competitors and private sector shipping companies which directly threaten the survival of the USPS. This weekend, in a Friday night massacre of sorts, DeJoy unexpectedly reassigned or displaced at least 23 career postal executives. This shakeup comes after DeJoy banned postal workers from making extra trips or working overtime to finish their routes, resulting in widespread delays in mail delivery across the country. Congressional Democrats are demanding an investigation into DeJoy’s conduct as they scramble to restore the USPS ahead of November’s election — an election that will rely heavily on mail-in voting.
WHAT WE’RE READING
- Black women are getting hit by two pandemics: coronavirus and racism by Chabeli Carrazana (19th)
- Ensuring Domestic Violence Survivors’ Safety by Robin Bleiweis and Osub Ahmed (CAP)
- Biden’s Disability Plan Could Close the Equal-Pay Loophole by Sarah Katz (The Atlantic)
- America’s Authoritarian Governor by Amanda Mull (The Atlantic)
- Expanding the Supply of Affordable Housing for Low-Wage Workers by Michela Zonta (CAP)
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