EletiofeCoronavirus US live: Trump hits back at 'grossly incompetent'...

Coronavirus US live: Trump hits back at ‘grossly incompetent’ Obama after critical remarks

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Donald Trump joined NBC’s broadcast of the made-for-TV skins game involving Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson against Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff, saying he hopes golf can get “back to normal” as soon as next month.

“We really want to see it back to normal so when we have all these thousands, tens of thousands of people going to your majors and going to golf tournaments, we want them to be having that same experience,” Trump said in an interview with NBC’s Mike Tirico. “We don’t want them having to wear masks and be doing what we’ve been doing for the last number of months. Because that’s not getting back to normal.”

He added: “We want to be back to normal where you have the big crowds, and they’re practically standing on top of each other and they’re enjoying themselves, not where they’re worried. … But in the meantime, they do the social distancing, and they practice that. And they’ve been doing really well. The country is ready to start moving forward.”

McIlroy, the world No 1, made headlines earlier this week when he criticized Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, saying: “We’re in the midst of something that’s pretty serious right now and the fact that he’s trying to politicize it and make it a campaign rally and say we’re administering the most tests in world like it is a contest – there’s something that just is terrible.”

On Sunday, Trump didn’t take the bait when Tirico raised McIlroy’s name as being among those he’s played golf with and what they discuss on the course.

“A lot of them are very political, actually,” Trump said. “Some like my politics very much, and probably some don’t. I guess the ones that don’t, I don’t get to see as much.”

A Roman Catholic priest in the Detroit area is making headlines after using a squirt gun to shoot holy water in a bid to maintain social distancing.


Photos posted on social media by the St Ambrose Church show the Rev Tim Pelc shooting water into a car window as it stopped by the steps of the church on Easter. He wore a mask, face shield and rubber gloves as further precautions against spreading the coronavirus.

The photos of the priest at the church in Grosse Pointe Park have inspired memes online. One shows the 70-year-old priest amid the fires of hell directing the squirt gun at devil-like figures.

Pelc told BuzzFeed News for an article over the weekend that he was a little concerned about how the Vatican might react when the photos of him squirting holy water began circulating widely on the internet. But, he said, “I haven’t heard anything yet.”

The photos received attention when they were first posted by St Ambrose Parish on Facebook last month, but have since gone viral on Twitter and Reddit.

Joe Biden’s campaign has released a statement criticizing Eric Trump for ‘reckless’ comments that the coronavirus will “magically” disappear after Election Day.

The president’s son framed the coronavirus as a “very cognizant strategy” to undermine his father’s reelection prospects on Saturday in an appearance on Jeanine Pirro’s Fox News program.

Aaron Rupar
(@atrupar)

Eric Trump on his dad being unable to hold rallies b/c of a pandemic that has killed nearly 90k Americans: “After Nov. 3, coronavirus will magically all of the sudden go away & disappear & everybody will be able to reopen. [Dems] are trying to deprive him of his greatest asset.” pic.twitter.com/9ZGQw9H3JC

May 17, 2020

“They will milk it every single day between now and November 3rd and, guess what, after November 3rd, coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen,” Trump said. “They’re trying to deprive him of his greatest asset, which is the fact that the American people love him, that fact that he is relatable, the fact that he can get out there and draw massive crowds.”

The Biden campaign issued a response on Sunday afternoon attributed to Kate Bedingfield, the deputy campaign manager and communications director:


We’re in the middle of the biggest public health emergency in a century, with almost 90,000 Americans dead, 1.5 million infected, and 36 million workers newly jobless, so for Eric Trump to claim that the coronavirus is a political hoax that will ‘magically’ disappear is absolutely stunning and unbelievably reckless. The simple fact is that President Trump ignored the threat of the coronavirus for months and has mishandled the response at every step since — destroying the strong economy he inherited from the Obama-Biden administrations and leading to countless unnecessary deaths. Trump’s campaign knows he can’t run on that dismal record so they’re desperate to do whatever they can to throw up a smokescreen to try to conceal his historic mismanagement of this crisis.

Nancy Pelosi warned Sunday that Donald Trump might have broken the law by firing the inspector general of the state department on Friday night.

The house speaker made the remarks on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday morning, according to my colleague Tom McCarthy.


“The president has the right to fire any federal employee, but the fact is if it looks like it’s in retaliation for something that the IG, the inspector general is doing, that could be unlawful,” said Pelosi.

“They’re supposed to show cause,” she said. Democrats in Congress have opened an investigation of the dismissal, with the ostensible power to subpoena documents and call witnesses to testify.

The inquiry could be frustrated, however, by stonewalling by Pompeo, who blocked the testimony of state department officials during the impeachment inquiry last year.

Linick became the fourth inspector general to be ousted by Trump. Each major government agency has an inspector general, whom watchdogs regard as playing an essential role in combatting corruption.

US district judge Kiyo Matsumoto has rejected the request of convicted pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli to be let out of prison to research a coronavirus treatment.

Shkreli, the so-called ‘Pharma Bro’ who became a national figure of scorn after acquiring the rights to a life-saving Aids drug while CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals and hiking the price 5000%, is serving a seven-year prison sentence in a low-security Pennsylvania prison for lying to investors about the performance of two hedge funds he ran, withdrawing more money from those funds than he was entitled to get and defrauding investors.

Shkreli’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, had filed papers in April asking authorities to release him for three months so he could do laboratory work under supervision at his fiancée’s New York City apartment.

“Disappointed but not unexpected,” Brafman told the Associated Press.

Shkreli called the pharmaceutical industry’s response to the pandemic ‘inadequate’ and claimed that his background as a successful two-time biopharma entrepreneur would make him a valuable asset in the Covid-19 fight.

Martin Shkreli

A judge rejected the request of convicted pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli to be let out of prison to research a coronavirus treatment, noting that probation officials viewed that claim as the type of ‘delusional self-aggrandizing behavior’ that led to his conviction. Photograph: Richard Drew/AP

Updated

Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi was rather more measured than Barack Obama when she gave a commencement speech at Smith College on Saturday, although she did reference the Covid-19 pandemic.

“During this crisis and in the days, weeks and years that will follow, the world needs your leadership,” she said. “Our goal as leaders is to shorten the distance between what is inconceivable to some but inevitable to us. Because Smithies are relentless and persistent, I am confident in your ability to do so.”

Pelosi’s speech was given online due to the pandemic.

Reports of child abuse in the US are down during the pandemic, although that’s not necessarily a good thing according to CNN. Reports of abuse have seen drops of more than 20% in many states over the last few weeks, but CNN says experts are concerned that is because teachers, sports coaches and other adults are less able to see signs of abuse when children are at home during the lockdown.

“When children are no longer visible to the vast majority of people who are trained and required to report, and then you see this kind of decline, we get super concerned,” said Melissa Jonson-Reid, a professor of social work research at Washington University in St Louis, told CNN.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio has criticized residents who were seen gathering without masks outside city bars at the weekend.

“We’re not going to tolerate people starting to congregate. It’s as simple as that,” de Blasio said. “If we have to shut places down, we will.”

After a cold start to May, the weather was fine and sunny on Friday and Saturday. But the mayor said that was no excuse to break social distancing guidelines.

“If you start to form groups of people and then two, three, five and then it becomes six, it becomes 10, it becomes 15 that violates what we’re saying about social distancing and that puts lives in danger,” de Blasio said.

More than 15,000 people in New York City have died from Covid-19 so far during the pandemic.

Updated

Trump hits back at ‘grossly incompetent’ Obama

Donald Trump has given his first public response to Barack Obama’s criticism of the current administration’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is rare for a former president to rebuke a successor, but Obama did so during an online speech to graduates yesterday, although he did not name Trump.

“More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing. A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge,” Obama said during Saturday’s speech.

On Sunday, Trump was asked by reporters about Obama’s comments as he entered the White House. “Look, he was an incompetent president, that’s all I can say. Grossly incompetent,” said Trump.

The president also said he believes the US, which has recorded the most deaths from Covid-19 of any country in the world, is making progress against the virus.

“So I think we had a great weekend. We did a lot of terrific meetings. Tremendous progress is being made on many fronts, including coming up with a cure for this horrible plague that has beset our country,” said Trump. “It was a working weekend, it was a good weekend. A lot of very good things have happened.”

Updated

Bernie Sanders said he thinks his supporters will vote for Joe Biden in the November’s election despite a former aide’s warning that Biden was not consolidating Sanders supporters.

The former Democratic presidential candidate made the remarks on ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos:


In a memo released last week, former Sanders adviser Jeff Weaver said Sanders supporters were “currently unsupportive and unenthusiastic” about Biden and “there is a real and urgent need to help Biden consolidate Sanders supporters”.

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, said on ABC News’ This Week program on Sunday that Biden was “beginning” to make overtures to his supporters “And I think at the end of the day they will be voting for Joe Biden.”

“I think, at the end of the day, the vast majority of the people who voted for me who supported me will understand and do understand that Donald Trump is the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country, he is a pathological liar, he’s a racist and a sexist, a homophobe, etcetera,” said Sanders.

“But I think what Joe is gonna have to do – and he’s beginning to move in that direction – is to say to those working class people, say to those young people, say to those minorities, ‘Listen, I understand your situation’.”

Sanders said Biden’s message should focus on student debt relief, health insurance coverage, a living wage, climate change policy and racism in the criminal justice and immigration systems.

Biden, who has run on his record as Barack Obama’s vice-president, is regarded as a moderate who appeals to more centrist Democrats, and his policy platform has been criticized by some progressive groups who see it as overly cautious and lacking ambition.

Cuomo takes Covid-19 nasal swab test on live TV

Cuomo says the more than 700 drive-through and walk-in coronavirus testing sites throughout New York state can handle around 15,000 people per day but are currently testing about 5,000 per day. The state is launching a new website to help New Yorkers find locations near them.


Andrew Cuomo takes nasal swab coronavirus test on live TV – video

To demonstrate the process is as easy and painless as he says, Cuomo then is given a nasal swab test. The inspired bit of stagecraft takes less than a minute.

“I’m not in pain, I’m not in discomfort,” he says. “Closing my eyes was a moment of relaxation. There is no reason why you should not get the test.”

Updated

New York governor Andrew Cuomo says total hospitalizations, net change in intubations and new coronavirus cases all remain down in his Sunday briefing from Albany. The number of deaths is down to 139 in the past 24-hour period – 106 in hospitals, 33 in nursing homes – which is down from 799 at the peak.

“We’re right about where we were when we started,” he says. “We just want to make sure we never go back to where we were.”

Cuomo says western New York and the Albany region are close to meeting the final metrics for reopening, but need more contact tracers to meet the prerequisite: “That’s the only function that has to be performed for those regions to reopen.”

The Guardian’s global environment editor, Jonathan Watts, has written about the possible effect of the coronavirus crisis on the world’s airlines:

“The political moment is now” to address the climate risks posed by the aviation industry, analysts, insiders and campaigners say, as governments across the world weigh up bailouts for airlines grounded by the coronavirus pandemic.

Rescue packages need to come with green strings, such as reduced carbon footprints and frequent flyer levies, they warn, or the sector will return to the path that has made it the fastest rising source of climate-wrecking carbon emissions over the past decade.

Peter Navarro criticizes Obama

Tom McCarthy

Peter Navarro, a top economic adviser to Donald Trump, has criticized Barack Obama after the former president said the country was suffering from a vacuum of leadership on the coronavirus crisis.

“I’m glad Mr Obama has a new job as Joe Biden’s press secretary,” Navarro said on ABC News’ This Week. Biden, Obama’s former vice president, is running against Trump for president.

In a speech billed as an address to graduates on Saturday, Obama said “more than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing. A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”

Navarro responded that Obama’s administration “was a kumbaya of incompetence”. He falsely accused the former president, as Trump frequently has, of allowing “millions of manufacturing jobs” to move to China. In fact the main transfer of manufacturing jobs from the United States to China, such as it was, occurred in the early 2000s, before Obama was president.

Separately, in repetition of a reckless Trumpian line with no basis in evidence, Navarro accused China of deliberately “seeding” the world with the novel coronavirus, which Navarro calls “China virus”.

“The Chinese behind the shield of the World Health Organization – for two months – hid the virus from the world and then sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese on aircraft to Milan, New York and around the world to seed that,” Navarro said on ABC. “They could have kept it in Wuhan. Instead it became a pandemic.”

In fact Chinese scientists raised the alarm about Covid-19 in early January and published the genomic structure of Sars-CoV-2 online on 11 January so that scientists worldwide could begin fighting the virus. But the Trump administration failed to stand up widespread testing for the virus and educate the public about the looming threat, with Trump dismissing the virus as a Democratic hoax.

An uptick in racist attacks against Asian Americans in the United States has coincided with the Trump administration’s messaging blaming China for Covid-19.

Updated

Good morning, US live blog readers, we’ll bring you all the US politics and coronavirus news here today and there is a lot going on in America this weekend, so stay tuned.

Here’s what is developing so far:

  • Peter Navarro, a top economic adviser to Donald Trump, has criticized Barack Obama after the former president said the country was suffering from a vacuum of leadership on the coronavirus crisis.
  • Obama attacks Trump administration’s response to coronavirus pandemic. The former president broke with the tradition of refraining from criticism of his successor in a pair of commencement addresses on Saturday, while also highlighting the high-profile killing of Ahmaud Arbery.
  • Trump is at the presidential retreat Camp David, where he’s been up tweeting and plugging his pre-recorded interview with Fox News’s Maria Bartiromo.

Updated

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