Senate Republicans Denounce White House’s Offer for Coronavirus Relief

Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, a Republican, warned that accepting a bill with Ms. Pelosi’s support would amount to a “death knell” for the party’s ambitions to retain its majority in the Senate and would “deflate” the Republican base, reflecting longstanding concerns among senators eager to protect their credentials as fiscal hawks and stave off primary challengers in the next election cycle.

Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, declared that accepting a Democratic push to expand elements of the Affordable Care Act would be “an enormous betrayal” of Republican voters. Republicans have also voiced concerns that the health care provisions Democrats have pressed for could result in the use of federal funds for abortions, a characterization Democrats dispute.

“I don’t get it,” Senator Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, said of the administration’s efforts to reach a sweeping bipartisan deal with House Democrats, echoing the sentiments of multiple senators.

Ms. Pelosi, for her part, informed Democratic lawmakers that she found elements of Mr. Mnuchin’s proposal to be inadequate, writing in a letter on Saturday that “this proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back.” After scaling down House Democrats’ original $3.4 trillion proposal to $2.2 trillion, she has been unwilling to accept much less than that.

“When the president talks about wanting a bigger relief package, his proposal appears to mean that he wants more money at his discretion to grant or withhold,” Ms. Pelosi wrote, adding “at this point, we still have disagreement on many priorities.” She ticked off a number of unresolved issues, including what she said was insufficient funding for unemployment benefits, child care, and state and local governments, and “reckless” liability protections that Republicans have insisted are a priority.

She said she was waiting for specific language from the administration about several provisions, including a national strategy for testing and tracing to contain the spread of the virus. It remained unclear whether she and Mr. Mnuchin would speak over the weekend.

Moderate Republicans, particularly those who are facing tough re-election races, are among the few senators who have voiced support for a bipartisan coronavirus deal and expressed few reservations about the pice tag. A handful of those senators, on a private call with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, pushed for action on a bipartisan deal, particularly after Mr. Trump briefly withdrew negotiators from talks and gave Democrats political cover for failure to reach an agreement.

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The White House press secretary declines to explicitly denounce white supremacy, saying the president has already done so.

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, repeatedly refused to denounce white supremacy on Thursday, insisting that President Trump had already done so and angrily accusing the media of refusing to accept his answer.

In a series of remarkably heated exchanges with reporters, even by the standards of the Trump White House, Ms. McEnany said that Mr. Trump has “always denounced any form of that” and read from past quotes from the president in which he condemned bigotry and racism, including “the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups.”

But she would not explicitly condemn white supremacy from the briefing room lectern or specifically denounce the Proud Boys, a far-right group that Mr. Trump said should “stand back and stand by” during Tuesday’s presidential debate with Joseph R. Biden Jr.

When Ms. McEnany was asked why the Proud Boys, an extremist organization that embraces violence and hate against minorities, was celebrating Mr. Trump’s debate comments, she once again declined to denounce the group and noted that the president on Wednesday had clarified that the group should “stand back” and let law enforcement do their jobs.

Under repeated questioning by reporters from CBS, Fox News, CNN and other organizations, Ms. McEnany lashed out, blaming journalism organizations for publicizing the Proud Boys in their stories. She told a CNN reporter that “truth is of no moment” to the cable network and complained when a CBS News reporter interrupted her.

“It’s quite funny that the media goes haywire about interrupting and debates and then chooses to pursue that very same tactic themselves,” Ms. McEnany said. “This is a White House briefing: You ask a question and you give me time to answer.”

The president has — as Ms. McEnany said — at times denounced the K.K.K. and other hate groups. But he has often done so under pressure, and only as part of a broad condemnation against violence in which he quickly attacks left-wing groups as the bigger threat to the country.

In the debate, Mr. Biden said that antifa, a left-wing movement that has perpetrated violence, was “an idea,” different from specific right-wing hate groups, citing recent testimony by Christopher A. Wray, the director of the F.B.I., who described antifa as an “ideology or movement” rather than an organization.

Ms. McEnany mocked Mr. Biden’s answer on Thursday.

“Ideas do not target police officers. Ideas do not burn down buildings. Ideas do not kill innocent Americans. Organizations do,” she said. “And Democrats should condemn that shameful group in the same manner President Trump continues to condemn white supremacy.”

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Fox News’ John Roberts angrily tells off the White House for its refusal to denounce white supremacy

The Daily Beast

Trump’s Jab on Hunter Biden’s Drug Addiction Horrifies Treatment Advocates

Even by the historically low standards of decorum and decency set by President Donald Trump’s pugilistic performance in his first presidential debate with former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday, the president’s attack on his opponent’s son for his past struggles with substance use was singular in its ugliness.“Are you talking about Hunter?” Trump said late into the debate, interrupting Biden as he reflected on his late son, Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer in 2015. “Hunter got thrown out of the military. He was thrown out, dishonorably discharged for cocaine use—he didn’t have a job until you became vice president, and once you became vice president, he made a fortune.”Trump’s callous and incorrect comments—Hunter Biden was not dishonorably discharged— about his opponent’s lone surviving son’s past drug use were clearly wielded to leave a mark, but Biden responded with defiance.“My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people we know at home, had a drug problem,” Biden said. “He’s overtaken it. He’s fixed it, he’s worked on it, and I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my son.”The moment horrified advocates for addiction treatment and recovery who told The Daily Beast that they fear Trump’s comments, and comments like them, could make it harder for the millions of Americans affected by substance use to get help.“Addiction is a medical condition that affects millions of Americans each year, irrespective of any demographic. It is a disease, not a moral or character failing,” Marvin Ventrell, CEO of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, told The Daily Beast. “It is inappropriate, harmful, hurtful, and irresponsible when a public figure or person of influence disparages people suffering from addiction.”“Pointing out a father because his son may have struggled in the past with a substance use disorder is wholly unconstructive and serves to perpetuate misconceived perceptions of addiction,” said Dr. Paul H. Earley, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). “Our nation must respond with compassion and evidence-based treatments if we want to treat addiction and save lives.”Trump’s comments, which characterized substance use as a character failure, also undercut the hard-fought understanding in the medical community that addiction is a disease, said Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, chief medical director of American Addiction Centers, which provides treatment for substance use disorders.Trump Planned to Go Feral on Biden. Now His Allies Want to Call Animal Control“The stigma surrounding mental health and addiction has been shown to be a significant barrier to treatment and prevents many people from seeking the help that they need,” said Weinstein, who called addiction “an indiscriminate, chronic, complex and relapsing brain disease.”“This disease is not the result of a moral failing, poor judgment, or weakness—it is a chronic condition that requires lifelong maintenance,” Weinstein said.Trump has a track record of making flippant comments about substance use and addiction, despite the death of his elder brother to complications related to alcoholism. In recent years

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House passes resolution to denounce Covid-19 racism toward Asian Americans

The House passed a resolution Thursday to denounce the racism toward Asian Americans that has risen as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The measure demands the condemnation of all forms of racism and scapegoating and calls on public officials to denounce any anti-Asian sentiment. While the legislation won heavy Democratic support, it also got some Republican backing, passing 243-164. Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., the resolution’s main sponsor, said the vote showed that “the House said, ‘Enough.'”

“For months, Asian Americans in my home state of New York and in communities throughout the nation have been verbally and physically attacked, spat on and shunned,” Meng said. “Enough of the demeaning usages of ‘Chinese virus,’ ‘Wuhan virus’ and ‘Kung-flu,’ especially from our nation’s leaders, such as President Trump, GOP leader McCarthy and others. Enough of the scapegoating. Enough of using the Asian American community to stoke people’s fears about Covid-19.”

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is the House minority leader.

Meng added: “The House made clear that we reject this xenophobia and violence, and I thank all who joined me in standing up to bigotry and ugliness against Asian Americans. Everybody deserves to feel safe in the country we call home.”

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The legislation, which was introduced in March, also calls for authorities to investigate and collect data about coronavirus-related hate crimes, which have continued to rise since the pandemic began. The reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate received 2,583 reports of anti-Asian discrimination nationwide over about five months. New York City alone reported more than 248 incidents of harassment and discrimination related to Covid-19 from February to April, with over 40 percent identified as anti-Asian incidents.

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said it was important for the nation’s leaders to send a clear message rejecting bigotry. She said the legislation likely passed because of the “dire nature” of the anti-Asian sentiment across the country.

But the support for an Asian American-centered issue also, in part, speaks to the importance of representation among legislators, Chu said. She said there is a record number of Asian American and Pacific Islander members of Congress, about 20.

“It is significant that it was able to be passed on, but it is also a result of the fact that we do have more representation in Congress,” Chu said. “We were able to educate our fellow members of Congress about what was going on to the Asian community with regard to these Covid-19 hate crimes and incidents.”

Chu said the support the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus got from other congressional caucuses, including those representing Black, Latino and Native American lawmakers, was fundamental in pushing back against pandemic-related racism.

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Chu said she suspects that those who voted against the measure did not want to put blame on President Donald Trump for anti-Asian American racism.

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