McConnell hasn’t been to White House since early August because of lax COVID rules

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday said he has not been to the White House since August because of its lax policy on the coronavirus.

McConnell made the comments shortly after a press conference, following President Trump’s diagnosis with the coronavirus.

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Ky. walks towards the Senate floor on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Washington. 

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Ky. walks towards the Senate floor on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Washington. 

Despite being in constant communication with the president, the Kentucky Republican said he hasn’t been to the White House since August 6.

“My impression was their approach to how to handle this is different from mine and what I insisted that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” McConnell said.


He reiterated the comments at a second event later in the day, saying that he avoids going to the White House because he “personally didn’t feel that they were approaching the protection from this illness in the same way that I thought was appropriate for the Senate.”

The Senate has implemented strict safety measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including social distancing and spreading out caucus meetings and committee hearings.


President Trump announced on Friday that he and the first lady have tested positive for the coronavirus. Since then other high-level officials have also tested positive. Two of them, Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, both attended a Rose Garden event late last month where the president formally nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his pick to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Source Article

Read more

McConnell says he hasn’t been to White House since August, citing Covid-19 protocols

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday that he hasn’t been to the White House since early August, citing a difference in coronavirus protocols at the White House and in the Senate.

a man wearing glasses and looking at the camera: (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

© Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images
(Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

“I haven’t actually been to the White House since August the 6th because my impression was their approach to how to handle this is different from mine and what I insisted that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” McConnell said at a Kentucky event in response to a question about whether he believes President Donald Trump should be disclosing more information about his recent coronavirus diagnosis.


Load Error

The comments, which he more or less repeated at a second event shortly after, underscore the sharp differences in how the Kentucky Republican has approached the pandemic compared to Trump’s White House. For months, McConnell hasn’t just worn a mask, but regularly taken opportunities while on camera to urge others to do the same. And while there are a small number of senators who forgo masks on occasion, the vast majority in the chamber wear them in Washington.

The White House, McConnell said at the second event, wasn’t “approaching the protection from this illness in the same way that I thought was appropriate in the Senate.”

The Kentucky Republican is married to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who is tested regularly and has tested negative, a department spokesman told CNN last week. CNN has reached out to the department to ask when Chao was last at the White House.

Video: Biden says Trump is responsible for contracting Covid-19 (CNN)

Biden says Trump is responsible for contracting Covid-19



McConnell on Thursday made clear that he speaks frequently with the President by phone, however, and added, “I think he’s perfectly fine. He seems normal and we’ve been discussing the very issues that you all are discussing with me right now. Of course, the biggest thing we’re doing at the moment is the Supreme Court.”

The comments from the majority leader, who is up for reelection this cycle, come in the wake of the President’s Covid-19 diagnosis as well as the recent Covid diagnoses of three Senate Republicans, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

In an email to GOP senators after the positive results were made public, McConnell again reiterated the need to operate safely in the midst of the once-in-a-century pandemic, urging his members to stay healthy so they can all return when the Senate comes back into session on October 19.

“We need to lead now, with extra prudence and care, not just for our own health and well being, but to be able to perform our elected duties and to be examples to the country,” McConnell wrote in last weekend’s email, which was obtained by CNN. “Wear masks, stay distant, and come back safely on the 19th.”

The news

Read more

Rachael Ray Shares First Look at the Aftermath of Her August House Fire

Rachael Ray, Her Husband John and Their Dog Are ‘Safe’ After Fire at Their New York Home

Firefighters reportedly rushed to Rachael Ray’s house on Chuckwagon Trail in Lake Luzerne at around 8 p.m

Rachael Ray is giving fans an inside look at the aftermath of the horrific house fire that devastated her New York home last month.

On Sunday, Ray, 52, shared a clip on Instagram of what was left of her Lake Luzerne abode, promising to provide further detail and footage during the season premiere of her daytime talk show on Monday.

“This was our bedroom, and our library,” the celebrity chef shares in the short clip, as she walks viewers through the house wreckage. “And that was our bathroom and our dressing area.”

Ray, her husband, John Cusimano, and their dog, Bella, were not harmed in the fire that destroyed their home.

RELATED: Rachael Ray, Her Husband John and Their Dog Are ‘Safe’ After Fire at Their New York Home

Rachael Ray Show Instagram; Taylor Hill/WireImage

Ray previously teased that she would be discussing the devastating fire that ravaged her home on her talk show in two other Instagram posts shared last week.

In one post shared on Friday, Ray reveals that she and her husband watched their house burn down in just an hour. “It’s blood curdling, chilling from head to toe,” she shares in the video.

The clip then reveals that the segment on her talk show will also feature the fire investigator who was on the scene, alongside an interview with comedian Denis Leary, whose firefighter foundation helped Ray “prepare for the worst.”

Another Instagram post shared on Saturday shows the damage done to the home along with a statement from Ray.

“On Aug. 9th, my house burned,” the statement reads. “15 years of memories; 40 years of notebooks, drawing, thoughts, my life’s work.”

“In the years that I lived here, I learned an awful lot. In the few weeks since it burned, I think I’ve learned even more. Today, we’re going to share what’s left of our home,” she continues.

RELATED: Rachael Ray Speaks Out After House Fire: ‘Grateful for What We Have, Not What We’ve Lost’

After the fire broke out in August, a rep for the television host confirmed that Ray and her loved ones were not harmed in the destruction.

“Rachael, her husband John [Cusimano] and their dog Bella are safe,” a rep for Ray previously told PEOPLE. “The house is unfortunately damaged and we don’t yet know to what extent.”

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to multiple local outlets that firefighters rushed to Ray’s house on Chuckwagon Trail in Lake Luzerne at around 8 p.m. and Sheriff Jim LaFarr told KRQE that there were no injuries.

Hours before the fire erupted at her home, Ray shared photos of their meal during an outing with friends.

RELATED VIDEO: Rachael Ray Is ‘Focusing on Gratitude’ After House Fire — According to Rachael Ray in Season’s Editor in Chief

Read more

House Democrats’ campaign arm raises over $22.6 million in August

House Democrats’ campaign arm raised more than $22.6 million in August as the party works to defend its hold on the lower chamber.

a screen shot of a computer: House Democrats' campaign arm raises over $22.6 million in August

© Greg Nash
House Democrats’ campaign arm raises over $22.6 million in August

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) said in a statement shared first with The Hill that it currently has $104.7 million cash on hand – nearly $35 million more than it did at the same point in 2018 – and has raised $248.8 million so far this cycle. Last month was the DCCC’s best August on record, surpassing its last record for the month by more than $7 million.

Of the total haul last month, $17.2 million came from grassroots donations, and $8.2 million came from phone and mail-based fundraising efforts. The average online contribution last month was $23.

“The grassroots are fed up with Washington Republicans’ attacks on their health care, especially during a pandemic – and they’re responding with an unprecedented investment in protecting and expanding the House Democratic majority,” DCCC Chair Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) said.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the DCCC’s GOP counterpart, has not yet released its August fundraising. At the end of the July, the DCCC had more than $30 million cash on hand as the NRCC.

The fundraising haul shows the DCCC is in a stronger financial situation than at the same point in 2018, the year in which the “blue wave” handed Democrats majority of the House. The group had nearly $70 million on hand heading into September 2018, and prognosticators say the party is expected to hold onto the chamber this year.

The DCCC has continued funneling its money into a ramped-up advertising campaign to boost incumbents and Democratic challengers in some of the tightest districts in the country. The group announced last month it was reserving a total of $3.8 million worth of ads in six House districts and followed up Tuesday with $2.6 million in ads in nine more.

Prior to Tuesday’s reservations, the DCCC had reserved $36 million in airtime in television markets that cover 31 Republican-held districts, as well as 42 of the most vulnerable Democratic lawmakers.

The DCCC’s August haul is another indicator Democrats up and down the ballot are ramping up their fundraising as Election Day nears. Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign announced last week that it and the Democratic National Committee pulled in a combined $364.5 million in August, setting a new monthly record.

President Trump’s reelection campaign has not disclosed its August haul yet, and reports have suggested it is facing a fundraising crunch. The president said Tuesday he will invest his own money in his reelection campaign if he deems it necessary, though campaign manager Bill Stepien also said that money will not be a problem down the stretch.

Continue Reading

Source Article

Read more

Why Planet Fitness and Floor & Decor Holdings Jumped Double Digits in August, but Camping World Fell 20%

What happened

Shares of construction-oriented retailer Floor & Decor Holdings (NYSE: FND) rose 11% in August according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Gym company Planet Fitness (NYSE: PLNT) had an even better showing, rising 16.5%. However, all retail names didn’t do nearly that well, with recreational vehicle and outdoor specialist Camping World Holdings (NYSE: CWH) off by roughly 20.5% in the month. 

August represents an interesting turn of events when you step back and look at the earnings of each of these three retail names. To help put that in perspective, however, it helps to examine the price performance of the stocks between January and August. Over that eight month span Camping World Holdings was up 97%, Floor & Decor was up 44%, and Planet Fitness was down nearly 19%. For reference, the S&P 500 index was up 8.5% over the same period. 

An arm pointing to graph on computer screen

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Planet Fitness is easily the biggest turnaround of the three when it comes to stock price. That makes complete sense given the impact of COVID-19 on its business. The company’s gyms were at the center of the pandemic storm, noting that the coronavirus is easily spread in group settings with a lot of heavy breathing going on. Not surprisingly, its gyms were shut down, cutting off revenue across its business. When it reported second-quarter earnings in early August the numbers were terrible, with revenue off by roughly 78% over the same quarter in 2019. Earnings fell to a loss of $0.36 per share compared to a profit of $0.41 per share in the previous year. Investors, however, had been expecting bad news. The focus, instead, was likely on the fact that the company had reopened 1,477 of its 2,059 gyms. Moreover, those numbers actually included 21 new gyms, as Planet Fitness is continuing to expand despite the current headwinds. Investors clearly think the future will be much brighter than the recent past, which is not at all an outlandish assumption given how bad things got during the shutdown.  

Floor & Decor reported earnings in late July and it, too, was hit by the impact of COVID-19. Sales were down by 11% in the quarter compared to 2019, with adjusted earnings off by nearly 62%. Like Planet Fitness, that bad news was largely expected. The news on the reopening front, meanwhile, was pretty good, as the company was able to reopen all of its locations in June. Furthermore, comparable-store sales growth was 7.7% in June, after a series of poor relative showings during the shutdown because shuttered stores don’t generate any sales. July’s strong number, however, showed that demand has picked up quickly as the retailer reopened its stores. Floor & Decor also announced it was increasing its new store opening plans for 2020 from 11 to 13 and reaffirmed its plans to expand its store base by roughly 20% in 2021. In other words, given the COVID-19 setback, Floor & Decor is still doing fairly well overall. One thing

Read more