GOP senator defends not wearing a mask at Rose Garden Supreme Court event

Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn appeared on ABC’s “The View.”

GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn, who attended the White House Rose Garden event two weekends ago now tied to at least 14 coronavirus cases, on Thursday defended her decision not to wear a mask at the event.

During an appearance on ABC’s “The View,” Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, said that while the event is a good reminder to Americans to take precautions, she was tested right before the event and behaved safely.

“I had been tested right before I went to the event I had my mask on and actually had it there on my arm when i walked into the event,” Blackburn said. “I took it off to walk into the event but you know it’s a great reminder to us wash your hands, wear gloves if you need, be certain you are using sanitizer.

PHOTO: Sen. Marsha Blackburn speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sept. 30, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sept. 30, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sept. 30, 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Blackburn, who said she has since tested negative for coronavirus, was at the White House during the event to witness Trump’s announcement of his Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Barrett’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Blackburn is a member, are set to begin on Monday.

PHOTO: Judge Amy Coney Barrett is nominated to the US Supreme Court by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on Sept. 26, 2020.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is nominated to the US Supreme Court by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on Sept. 26, 2020.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is nominated to the US Supreme Court by President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on Sept. 26, 2020.

But following the positive coronavirus tests of two Republican senators on the committee who attended the Rose Garden event, Democrats, who have consistently argued that the Senate should wait to confirm a new justice until after the next president is selected, have also argued that holding the hearings now is a safety concern.

Still, on “The

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Pence defends Rose Garden event and administration’s COVID-19 response

Vice President Mike Pence was immediately put on the defensive at the vice presidential debate with Senator Kamala Harris on Wednesday evening, as he was asked to defend the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed 210,000 Americans and infected over 7 million, including the president himself.

Pence defended President Trump’s decision to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court at a ceremony at the Rose Garden on September 26, where there was no social distancing and limited mask-wearing. Several of the attendees of the event have since tested positive for COVID-19 in addition to the president and first lady Melania Trump, including multiple White House officials.

Pence said many of the people who attended the event “actually were tested for coronavirus,” and added the ceremony was outdoors. However, the president also held an indoor reception, where very few people were photographed wearing masks.


Harris on whether she will take COVID vaccine…

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He then pivoted, saying the Trump administration trusted Americans to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines on remaining safe during the pandemic, which includes avoiding large crowds and wearing a mask in public.

“President Trump and I have great confidence in the American people and their ability to take that information and put it into practice,” Pence said. He argued that imposing a national mask mandate, as Joe Biden has suggested, would be federal overreach. “The difference here is President Trump trusts the American people to make choices in the best interest of their health.”

Harris hit back by arguing that Mr. Trump had lied to the American public by repeatedly downplaying the coronavirus.

“You respect the American people by telling them the truth,” Harris said.

Harris slammed the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, saying that the president “minimized the seriousness” of the virus from the beginning.

“The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country,” Harris argued.

Harris also responded to a question about whether she would take a coronavirus vaccine if it was made available before the election. Harris had previously said she would not trust Mr. Trump’s word on whether a vaccine is ready. However, Harris said at the debate that she would trust the word of public health professionals.

“If Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it. Absolutely,” Harris said, referring to the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases. “If Donald Trump tells us that we should take it, I’m not taking it.”

Pence said Harris’ stance on a vaccine was “unconscionable,” and said she should “stop playing politics with people’s lives.”

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Pence Defends Amy Coney Barrett Rose Garden Event Because It Was Outside And ‘Many’ Attendees Were Tested Beforehand

Topline

With Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination ceremony at the White House increasingly looking like a superspreader event of coronavirus infections, Vice President Mike Pence defended the gathering Wednesday at the vice presidential candidates’ debate, arguing that it was outdoors and attendees were tested beforehand—but there was a portion of the event held indoors and health experts say testing or being outdoors doesn’t mean attendees should disregard safety guidelines on social distancing and wearing masks.

Key Facts

Pence said “many people” at the ceremony were tested for coronavirus and “it was an outdoor event, which all of our scientists regularly and routinely advise.”

But that isn’t entirely true because there was a smaller reception inside the White House, and at both that and the outdoor gathering in the Rose Garden, most attendees failed to wear masks and gathered together in close proximity.

Health experts also say a negative test doesn’t mean people should stop social distancing or wearing masks since it can sometimes take up to a week between first exposure and a positive test result.

When asked by moderator Susan Page why Americans should follow coronavirus safety guidelines when the White House hasn’t, Pence said that Americans will choose to do the right thing if given the facts.

Crucial Quote

“That Rose Garden event, there’s a great deal of speculation about it. My wife Karen and I were honored to be there. Many people that were at that event, Susan, were tested for coronavirus and it was an outdoor event, which all of our scientists regularly and routinely advise. The difference here is that President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interest of their health,” Pence said.

Key Background

At least 11 people who attended the nomination ceremony have tested positive.

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Pence defends ‘outdoor’ Rose Garden event linked to coronavirus spread

Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday defended a Rose Garden event last month after which more than 30 people, including the president, tested positive for coronavirus.

The Sept. 26 event where President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to serve on the Supreme Court was outdoors, one tactic routinely touted by scientists to mitigate the virus, Pence said.

“That Rose Garden event, there’s been a great deal of speculation about it,” Pence said at the vice presidential debate. “My wife and I were honored to be there. Many people there were tested for coronavirus, and it was an outdoor event which all of our scientists regularly and routinely advise.”

Few people at the event were wearing masks and there was little distance between people. Some guests interacted at gatherings both inside and outside the White House before and after the event.

“President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interests of their health,” Pence continued. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris consistently talk about mandates, and not just mandates with the coronavirus, but a government takeover of health care.”

Since the event, which is widely referred to as a “superspreader” gathering, a number of attendees and top administration staff have tested positive, including the president and his wife, Melania Trump, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, adviser Kellyanne Conway, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), to name a few.

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White House defends Trump, says he is ‘projecting an image of strength’ amid battle with coronavirus

The White House is defending President Trump as he fights coronavirus, saying that he is “projecting an image of strength” and wants Americans to get back to “normal life safely.”

The president returned to the White House on Monday evening after being discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and is continuing to receive treatment for COVID-19.

TRUMP, FIGHTING CORONAVIRUS, SAYS HE IS ‘LOOKING FORWARD’ TO DEBATE ON OCT. 15

Upon arriving at the White House from Marine One on Monday evening, the president walked out onto the Truman Balcony overlooking the South Lawn, removed his face mask, and saluted military officers as Marine One departed the grounds. Critics took swings at the president, claiming the move was irresponsible.

“At times like this, in these moments, it is highly important for the commander in chief to express confidence to our domestic population, and it is very important, to our allies and adversaries,” White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah said on “America’s Newsroom” Tuesday, adding that the president is “projecting an image of strength.”

Farah also addressed the president removing his mask, despite a White House photographer being on the balcony with him.

“This was a brief interaction,” she said. “Our photographers, we know, when we work with the president, wear your mask and keep your distance.”

“The world and the American people needed to see their president strong and leading,” Farah said.

Farah added that the president’s focus is “working to defeat” COVID-19, while also making sure therapeutics and potential vaccines reach the American public.

“On this date, you are the most likely to survive and get treatment for the coronavirus because of this president’s leadership,” Farah said.

“The president’s message is clear: while taking safe mitigation practices, Americans need to get back to ordinary life,” Farah added, saying “businesses are closing and people cannot make ends meet.”

TRUMP DISCHARGED FROM WALTER REED, RETURNS TO WHITE HOUSE TO CONTINUE FIGHTING COVID-19

“The president wants us to get through coronavirus, to be safe and be smart, so we can get back to normal life,” she said. “His point is, we can’t do this forever. We can’t keep the nation locked down.”

Meanwhile, Farah was asked about a report published Tuesday by the Associated Press, which suggested White House staff are angered by the outbreak of coronavirus within the White House.

The president, last Friday, just before 1 a.m., announced that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19, after White House adviser Hope Hicks also tested positive. Since then, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and director of Oval Office Operations David Luna have also tested positive.

Farah pushed back on the report, saying that she doesn’t “give much credence to anonymous sources.”

“We feel comfortable working here, we are taking precautions in the West Wing, we need to be washing our hands, wearing masks when we can’t socially distance,” Farah said. “That is not representative of the vibe in the White House … If anything, the team

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White House Defends Trump’s Drive-By Greeting: ‘Appropriate Precautions Were Taken’

The Daily Beast

Photos Show Why Miami Public Schools Could Be the Next Ron DeSantis Coronavirus Debacle

MIAMI—Last week, a few days before Donald Trump revealed he came down with COVID-19, Karla Hernandez-Mats went on a coronavirus safety fact-finding mission in South Florida schools ahead of their reopening on Monday.The president of United Teachers of Dade, the local teachers union, Hernandez-Mats said she and her colleagues conducted surprise inspection visits at 17 Miami-area schools that suggested administrators were still scrambling to put safety measures in place.At Miami Springs Senior High, one of the 17 schools inspected, administrators initially refused to allow her colleague, United Teachers of Dade First Vice-President Antonio White, to enter the building and called a police resource officer on him, the union officials told The Daily Beast.“When administrators act like that, their schools are usually not prepared,” White said in an interview. “That was the case at Miami Springs.”COVID-Skeptical Florida Guv Outdoes Himself, Lifts All Restrictions on Restaurants and BarsFor instance, the school appears to be supplying teachers with alcohol-free hand sanitizer, which may be ineffective in killing coronavirus, the union officials said, providing The Daily Beast with a photo of just that. (The Centers for Disease Control’s COVID-19 guidance recommends people use hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent ethanol-based or 70 percent isopropanol-based.) Union officials also provided photos showing decals marking 6-foot distance requirements that were already peeling off the sidewalks near the school’s entrance, and desks arranged in such a way that does not allow for 6-foot social distancing.Reached by phone, Miami Springs principal Torossian said he was unaware of police being called on the union official and referred further questions to the school district’s media relations department. Spokeswoman Jacquelyn Calzadilla did not specifically address what had occurred at Miami Springs, but she said “our school site administrators are working around the clock to ensure a safe return to the schoolhouse for our students and employees.”The flap illustrates the daunting task facing the public school system in Miami-Dade County, which has been the epicenter of Florida’s COVID-19 outbreak for most of the pandemic. More than 10,000 teachers and 133,000 students begin filing into 340 schools this week on a staggered schedule. This after the Miami-Dade School Board voted to resume in-person learning under pressure from Florida Education Commissioner Richard Cocoran, a Gov. Ron DeSantis appointee who threatened to cut the school district’s funding if classes did not resume by early October.Miami-Dade’s daily positivity rate rolling average for the 14 days ending on Oct. 4 stood at 4.78 percent, just below the 5 percent positivity rate that the World Health Organization recommends maintaining for two weeks before lifting shelter-at-home and social distancing protocols. During the same 14-day period, Miami-Dade reported 5,456 new cases, bringing its total to 172,205.School reopenings have been a mess of infection, quarantine, and closure across America in recent weeks. But conversations with teachers, labor leaders, and experts in South Florida painted a picture of Miami schools as a new guinea

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Trump administration defends census decisions in 2 courts



Amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, census worker Ken Leonard wears a mask as he mans a U.S. Census walk-up counting site set up for Hunt County in Greenville, Texas, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/LM Otero)


© Provided by Associated Press
Amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, census worker Ken Leonard wears a mask as he mans a U.S. Census walk-up counting site set up for Hunt County in Greenville, Texas, Friday, July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Trump administration attorneys were in courts on both coasts Tuesday, fighting over when the 2020 census would end and how the data would be used for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets.

In the nation’s capital, Trump administration attorneys asked a panel of three judges to dismiss a challenge to a memorandum from President Donald Trump seeking to exclude people in the country illegally from being counted in apportionment, the process for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets.

In San Jose, California, Trump administration defended a decision to target ending the 2020 census on Oct. 5, even though a federal judge had cleared the way last week for the head count of every U.S. resident to continue until the end of October.

Tuesday’s virtual court arguments in the District of Columbia were part of the latest hearing over the legality of Trump’s July memorandum. Arguments already have made heard in federal cases in Maryland and New York, where a three-judge panel blocked the presidential order earlier this month, ruling it was unlawful.

The New York judges’ order prohibits Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose agency oversees the U.S. Census Bureau, from excluding people in the country illegally when handing in 2020 census figures used to calculate apportionment. The Trump administration has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and asked for the judges’ order to be suspended during that process. The judges on Tuesday denied that request.

The New York judges didn’t rule on the constitutionality of the memorandum, merely saying it violated federal laws on the census and apportionment, leaving open the door for the judges in the nation’s capital to rule on other aspects of the president’s memorandum. Other lawsuits challenging the memorandum have been filed in California, Maryland and Massachusetts.

One of the aspects the judges indicated they may consider is whether the Census Bureau will have to use statistical sampling to determine how many people are in the country illegally since there is no citizenship question on the 2020 census that could help answer that. The Supreme Court has ruled that statistical sampling can’t be used for the apportionment count.

To help figure find out that number, Trump issued another memorandum last year, directing the Census Bureau to use federal and state administrative records to find out the citizenship status of every U.S. resident. The Census Bureau hasn’t yet made public how it will use those records to come up with a method for answering that question.

Under questioning from the federal judges, federal government attorney Sopan Joshi said the Census Bureau had no intention of using statistical sampling.

The Washington lawsuit was brought by a coalition of cities and public interest groups, who argued the president’s order was part of

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Cat defends itself after dog enters garden in Roosevelt Avenue, Chatham

An injured cat called Oscar gave the performance of a lifetime when he fought off a dog running amok on his home turf.

CCTV footage shows the feline defending himself while sitting atop a water butt after a dog came charging into the garden Oscar had been lounging in, which is next door to his Roosevelt Avenue home in Chatham .



Watch: Oscar rushing to safety as the dog enters the garden

Neighbour Sue Cooper, whose cameras captured the skuffle on Monday, said: “He usually comes up here, he spends a lot of time in my garden. Dogs can kill cats and this dog was after this cat.”

Oscar was hit by a car two years ago, leaving one of his legs badly injured.

Mrs Cooper has herself lost two cats in road accidents in the area, and used to foster for charity Cats Protection.

The footage shows the dog, which resembles a black Labrador, jumping over a small fence into Mrs Cooper’s garden, splashing about in her pond and barking at the cats, before Oscar defends himself.

Th canine also goes into another garden and runs in the road.

Watch: Oscar continues to fight off the persistent canine

The dog was in and out of Mrs Cooper’s land for about three minutes. She believes it was being taken for a walk but was not on the lead.

She said: “It is in and out of the pond and wrecks plants. I find it extremely distressing to watch. It could have been run over, it could have caused an accident.”

Escaped animals, unusual finds and news from the RSPCA can all be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Chatham

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