Trump suggests military and police to blame for staff getting COVID-19

  • President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 just hours after his aide and close adviser Hope Hicks did.
  • Speaking to Fox News’ Sean Hannity Thursday evening, Trump suggested that members of the military or law enforcement may be responsible for giving Hicks the coronavirus.
  • “It’s very hard when you’re with soldiers, when you’re with airmen, when you’re with the Marines, and the police officers,” he said. “When they come over to you, it’s very hard to say ‘stay back, stay back.’ You know, it’s a tough kind of situation.”
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Just a few hours before he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19, President Donald Trump suggested that interactions with the military and police were to blame for a member of his staff falling ill.

After news broke Thursday evening that senior aide and presidential adviser Hope Hicks had tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling with the president, Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that she might have caught the virus from a member of the military or someone from law enforcement.

“She wears masks a lot, but she tested positive,” Trump told Hannity, before explaining that he and the First Lady had gotten tested because they spent a lot of time with Hicks.

“It’s very hard when you’re with soldiers, when you’re with airmen, when you’re with the Marines, and the police officers,” he continued. “When they come over to you, it’s very hard to say ‘stay back, stay back.’ You know, it’s a tough kind of situation. It’s a terrible thing.”

“It is very very hard when you are with people from the military or from law enforcement and they come over to you,” Trump said. “They want to hug you, and they want to kiss you because we really have done a good job for them.”

“You get close, and things happen. I was surprised to hear with Hope, but she’s a very warm person with them,” he said. “She knows there’s a risk, but she young.”

Hicks frequently comes in contact with active-duty military who fly the president’s aircraft, serve as ceremonial guards and greet him and top officials when he visits their bases. The president did not mention a specific instance when troops recently hugged Hicks. It’s extremely unlikely for a service member in uniform to breach protocol with a hug, especially during a pandemic.

Early Friday, Trump announced on Twitter that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19.

It remains to be seen if the president will attempt to use the military or law enforcement as a possible explanation for his own positive test.

Trump has repeatedly downplayed the severity of COVID-19, a virus that has infected millions in the US and claimed the lives of 200,000 Americans.

He has also mocked political opponent and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for wearing masks and keeping his distance from supporters at events.

It is unclear where the president

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House Democrats blame GOP as asbestos ban stalls

House Democrats are accusing Republicans of holding up a bill to ban asbestos that had been expected to pass with little controversy this week.

The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act exited committee with just one no vote and was expected to sail through the voting process without amendments.

But Democratic aides on the Energy and Commerce Committee say that progress has stalled as GOP lawmakers object to a provision that assures the legislation would have no impact on ongoing litigation over injuries tied to use of talcum powder.

“Everyone should be able to support a ban on this known carcinogen, which has no place in our consumer products or processes. More than 40,000 Americans die every year from asbestos exposure, but Republicans are willing to look the other way,” Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said in a statement.

“Republicans walked away from this opportunity to ban asbestos merely over language that prevents shutting the courtroom door. This raises serious questions about the sincerity of their intentions.”

Republicans on the committee did not respond to request for comment from The Hill.

Asbestos, tied to lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis, is still used in a surprising number of products despite its dangers, largely within the automotive sector along with other industrial uses. 

The bill bars the production, use and importation of asbestos, implementing a ban on the substance within a year of the its passage, with a few narrow exceptions.

The legislation would amend the Toxic Substances Control Act, which doesn’t deal with the cosmetic uses of asbestos being challenged in court.

A number of women have waged successful battles in court, arguing their ovarian cancer was linked to the use of asbestos-laced baby powder.

Democratic aides say they added the so-called savings clause “to make sure nothing in the bill would block the minority women who are primarily bringing suits over harm from cosmetic talc.”

The legislation moved ahead in Congress after the Environmental Protection Agency moved last year to restrict asbestos but stopped short of banning it outright.

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House Republicans blame Chinese cover-up for coronavirus pandemic

Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday released their final report investigating China’s actions related to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, accusing Beijing of covering up the virus threat and faulting the World Health Organization for failing to push back. 

The 96-page report builds on interim findings released in June by Republicans, and largely backs President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Trump dismisses climate change role in fires, says Newsom needs to manage forest better Jimmy Kimmel hits Trump for rallies while hosting Emmy Awards MORE‘s argument that the COVID-19 pandemic could have been prevented if not for the actions of China.

The report accuses China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of destroying evidence, suppressing information about the virus spread and failing to notify the world of the first cases of the disease and under obligations of International Health Regulations. 

“In sum, the COVID-19 global pandemic could have been prevented if the CCP acted in a transparent and responsible manner,” the report states.

Ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulEngel subpoenas US global media chief Michael Pack Russia continues Navalny probe, wants to send additional investigators to Germany Pompeo says ‘substantial chance’ Navalny poisoning was ordered by senior Russian official MORE (R-Texas) repeated GOP calls for the resignation of WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for the global health body’s response to the pandemic and its failure to censure China over its handling of the virus. 

“It is crystal clear that had the CCP been transparent, and had the head of the WHO cared more about global health than appeasing the CCP, lives could have been spared and widespread economic devastation could have been mitigated,” McCaul said in a statement. “Revealing the truth is just the first step; we must hold both the CCP and WHO Director General Tedros accountable for the suffering they have allowed the world to endure.”

The report is being released weeks before a presidential election where Trump’s handling of the pandemic is expected to be on voters minds. 

Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll GOP set to release controversial Biden report Can Donald Trump maintain new momentum until this November? MORE has heavily criticized Trump’s actions, saying he has not listened to science and has given mixed messages on social distancing and the wearing of masks that could have reduced COVID-19’s effect on the nation. Polls show a majority of voters disapprove of how Trump has managed the pandemic.

Trump on Monday gave himself an “A+” on the his job performance on the coronavirus and has repeatedly cast the pandemic as a problem created by China. 

The U.S. is poised to record more than 200,000 deaths from the disease, a mark that could be hit any day.

The GOP report says China destroyed what could have been crucial evidence of the outbreak of the disease by

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House committee final report says Boeing, FAA failures to blame for deadly 737 MAX crashes

Paul Njoroge lost his entire family in March 2019, after Ethiopian Air Flight 302 crashed shortly after takeoff in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“I stay up nights thinking of the horror they must have endured,” Njoroge told lawmakers in a hearing on the incident last summer.

His mother-in-law, wife and three young children were flying on a Boeing 737 MAX and were victims of the second fatal accident involving the aircraft. Just months earlier, Lion Air 610, also a MAX, crashed into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta, Indonesia. Both crashes resulted in the deaths of 346 people.

“As the pilots struggled to keep the plane flying for six minutes, the terror that my wife must have experienced with little Rubi on her lap, our two young children beside her crying for daddy, and my mother-in-law feeling helpless beside her,” Njoroge said. “The six minutes will forever be embedded in my mind.”

PHOTO: Debris lays piled up just outside the impact crater at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, March 11, 2019.

Debris lays piled up just outside the impact crater at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, March 11, 2019.

Debris lays piled up just outside the impact crater at the crash site of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, March 11, 2019.

Days after the crash in Ethiopia, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure launched its investigation into the design, development and certification of the MAX family of aircraft and what exactly led to the two fatal crashes. On Wednesday, almost a year and a half later, lawmakers released a scathing report which concluded technical design flaws, faulty assumptions about pilot responses and management failures by both Boeing and the FAA led to the collisions.

The findings, released Wednesday by Democrats on the committee, come as civil aviation authorities and airline flight crews from the U.S., Canada, Brazil, and the E.U. meet in London this week to review Boeing’s proposed training for 737 Max flight crews. This marks a significant milestone in the eventual ungrounding of the plane that has been modified for over a year.

“Boeing has now acknowledged some of these issues through its actions,” the report states. “Unfortunately, Boeing’s responses to safety issues raised in the 737 MAX program have consistently been too late.”

What happened?

Investigators found that both crashes were tied to a software called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). MCAS was designed to help stabilize the 737 MAX after heavier, re-positioned engines placed on the aircraft caused the plane’s nose to point too far upwards in certain circumstances.

In both crashes, incorrect data from a faulty sensor caused MCAS to misfire, forcing the plane to nose down repeatedly, even as pilots struggled to regain control and gain altitude. MCAS was not mentioned in the pilot manual.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that the pilots in both crashes were bombarded with multiple alarms and alerts in the cockpit before the planes crashed. The blaring alarms likely caused further confusion and made an already stressful situation worse, according to the NTSB.

PHOTO: House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) delivers opening remarks during a hearing about the Boeing 737 MAX airplane on Capitol Hill, May 15, 2019.

House Transportation

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