Hope Hicks returned to the White House to pull Trump across the finish line. Then coronavirus hit.

Two days later, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a national pandemic.

Since then, the virus has claimed more than 212,000 American lives, tanked the economy and forced millions out of their jobs or school, imperiling the president’s reelection prospects. But it may never have been more palpable for Trump than the moment last week when Hicks took ill — closely foreshadowing his own sickness.

Hicks is rarely seen — her disdain for the spotlight is matched by her loyalty to the man who loves nothing more. But for the president she is ever-present. Whatever her title, her unspoken job description has been to prevent reality from intruding on him. She has managed his moods and counseled him on nearly everything, from the most substantive to the trivial. Until last week, she spent more time with him than almost anyone else outside his family.

“She is trusted because she isn’t driving her own policy agenda. She is looking out for him,” said former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who has worked closely with Hicks. “It’s so important for him to have a voice in the room that’s not trying to do anything other than be strictly helpful to him. She is a confidante, an adviser and a strategist.”

But when a reporter broke the news of Hicks’s coronavirus diagnosis last week, it exposed a contagion at the White House that has presented Trump with his biggest challenge at the defining moment of his presidency. It has placed exactly the kind of scrutiny on Hicks that she abhors and put her movements at the center of a conversation about the president’s handling of the nation’s most deadly pandemic in a century.

This story is based on interviews with 12 current and former administration officials or others close to Hicks, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak about her and her recent diagnosis.

Hicks had tested negative last Wednesday, the morning after Trump’s first debate with Joe Biden, but she started feeling unwell at a rally in Duluth, Minn., that night. She quarantined herself on Air Force One on the return trip, discreetly enough that other staffers did not know she was ill. When the plane landed, she exited from the rear entrance.

The next morning, Hicks reported for work at the White House and tested positive for the coronavirus. She returned home to begin isolating — but told only the president and a small circle of senior staff, including chief of staff Mark Meadows. Many colleagues, including one aide who had been near her during her potentially contagious period, were enraged when they only learned about it several hours later through the gossip vine or White House contact tracers; two said they would have curtailed their contact with other people and taken a test immediately had they known sooner. Several aides said they suspected there might be a positive case in the West Wing when co-workers started wearing masks, but by the time they learned

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Trump claimed, without justification, that new tighter FDA vaccine guidelines were a ‘political hit job,’ hours after the White House approved them

a man wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump removes his mask upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images

© Win McNamee/Getty Images
President Donald Trump removes his mask upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images

  • Trump claimed the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) tougher guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine developers are a “political hit job” on him.
  • The White House approved the new regulations on Tuesday.
  • The FDA says that before vaccine makers submit an emergency-approval application they should follow trial participants for at least two months after a final dose.
  • These stricter guidelines will most likely prevent any vaccine being approved before the presidential election on November 3 — a deadline Trump had hoped vaccine makers could hit.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump has accused the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of launching a “political hit job” on him, hours after the White House accepted the regulator’s stricter guidelines for coronavirus vaccine developers.

Trump has consistently said he hopes to have a vaccine ready before election day, but the new FDA guidelines will make it difficult for any COVID-19 vaccine to be approved before the November 3 vote. 

He lashed out at the FDA in a tweet on Tuesday evening, tagging commissioner Stephen Hahn.

He did not offer any evidence for his claim the new guidelines were motivated by politics.


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The tougher guidelines were cleared by the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday after a two-week hold-up, during which they were reportedly blocked by senior White House officials, including Mark Meadows, chief of staff.

In the guidelines, the FDA said that before vaccine makers submit an emergency-approval application they should monitor trial participants for a minimum of two months after their final dose in phase-three clinical trials. The agency also expects vaccine developers to document five cases of severe infection in volunteers who took the placebo instead of the vaccine.

Four vaccines have entered the final stage of testing in the US, including one from Pfizer and one from Moderna. The two companies kicked off their trials in July.

Volunteers usually receive their second dose less than a month after their first, but two months of monitoring make it unlikely that either company will have have enough data before November.

Moderna’s CEO said on September 30 that the firm wouldn’t be able to submit an application for emergency approval until late November at the earliest, as it wouldn’t have enough safety data, per the Financial Times.

Coronavirus has claimed more than 210,000 lives in the US so far, and infected more than 7.5 million people.

Among those that have been infected is Trump himself: He tweeted on October 2 that he and Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus. After being flown to Walter Reed Medical Center, he received two experimental treatments to fight the infection. He has since returned to the White House, where staff are reportedly anxious about catching COVID-19 from him, per multiple

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8-year-old hit by stray bullet in Garden Valley: ‘He won’t be the same’

The young victim was airlifted to Boise for treatment, but is now recovering at home.

GARDEN VALLEY, Idaho — A boy is recovering after being shot by a stray bullet in Boise County Friday night.

According to the Boise County Sheriff’s Office, the shooting happened at 11 p.m. Friday at a home in Garden Valley. The bullet struck the 8-year-old in the hand and neck, the sheriff said.

The injured child, LJ, was airlifted to a hospital in Boise for treatment, and later released to recover at home. The boy’s wound is not believed to be life-threatening.

“He won’t be the same, but he’s doing alright right now,”  Jason Petrick, LJ’s father said. “His mother told me the other day that right now he’s scared of getting shot again and that really hurts.”

Deputies investigated the shooting with help from Idaho State Police, and ultimately charged 41-year-old Brandon L. Nelson with injuring another by careless handling and discharge of firearms. The misdemeanor charge is punishable by up to six months in jail.

Nelson is the neighbor of LJ’s father. Petrick told KTVB, he would like to see a more reasonable charge for Nelson and that he be held responsible.

“If you’re drunk and driving a car, no matter what the circumstances are, if you kill someone you’re going to prison for a long time, if you’re drunk and playing with a gun you’ve taken pretty much the same responsibility, you’ve taken your life and other people’s life into your hands,” Petrick said.

KTVB reached out to Boise County Sheriff’s to find out if Nelson was under the influence when this happened. In a statement, the Sheriff said, “we are not releasing anymore information pending the outcome of the investigation.” 

Further charges are being reviewed in the case, and the investigation is ongoing. 

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Woman Hit By Stolen Truck On Sidewalk Outside Boston Public Garden

BOSTON (CBS) – A woman walking on the sidewalk was hit by a stolen pickup truck just outside the Boston Public Garden Thursday afternoon.

It happened at the corner of Boylston and Charles Street South. The woman was unresponsive after the crash. A nurse and a doctor rushed to help her before she was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

“I heard the screeching of the wheels,” witness Donald Saarela said. “I looked up and I saw the black truck go across the sidewalk. It hit everything and everything just started flying in the air. A lady started screaming.”

“She was under the debris,” Saarela said.

“She was on the ground. Her face was down,” witness Britt Locklin said. “There was just so much blood you couldn’t see her face really.”

According to WBZ-TV I-Team sources, the truck was stolen shortly before the crash. Sources said it belonged to a firefighter who left the truck running outside the Boylston Street fire station a few blocks away. Someone jumped into the truck, and took off down Boylston, before crashing through the gate of the Public Garden.

Witnesses say the driver simply walked away.

“He just got out and just walked across to the other side of the Common, like, as if nothing happened,” Locklin said.

a car parked in the grass

© Provided by CBS Boston

The truck crashed through the gate of the Public Garden, hitting a woman. (WBZ-TV)

Police are reviewing surveillance video and asking witnesses to come forward with any information they have.

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Waukesha Blotter: Skateboarder Hit By Car; Halloween Decor Popped

WAUKESHA, WI — Police in Waukesha responded to a number of calls on Tuesday and Wednesday including a report of a delivery driver taking photos of young girls playing, a man violating a mask mandate and a young skateboarder struck by a car.

Here’s what went down in Waukesha:


At 11:53 p.m., a caller told police his Halloween inflatable had been popped and damaged. He saw a juvenile riding away on a scooter. Police reported the person spoke to the kid’s father, who agreed to pay for the damaged decoration.

At 10:04 p.m., police were called to the 300 block of Wisconsin Avenue when a man was asked to leave for not wearing a mask. The man told police he was trying to educate employees on laws around the mask mandate. Staff asked the man to leave.

At 5:01 p.m., a crash between a car and a kid on a skateboard was reported in the 160 block of Randall Street. Police said the kid left the scene on foot, bleeding from the head. Police later located the skateboarder.

Around 3:15 p.m., a person called police to report a Fedex driver got out of his truck, told a group of young girls “Oh you guys look cute; I’m going to take a picture of you” and photographed them with his phone. Police report Fedex will investigate.

At 6:11 a.m., a person called police to report teens were having toilet paper wars at an apartment complex in the 1300 block of Fleetfoot. Police said the teens agreed to clean up the property.

At 5:19 a.m., A caller near Victoria Drive and W Sunset Drive reported three juveniles were seen toilet papering a home. Police said the daughter of the family living in the home was involved in a toilet paper war. “They were not upset and will clean up later,” the police blotter noted.

Just after midnight, a resident on Lombardi called police after having a verbal argument with his neighbor over her “letting the dogs out all hours of the day.”


At 10:56 p.m., a caller told police a man was seen slumped over the steering wheel of his car at a gas pump in the 900 block of Fleetfoot. Police said the man was barely breathing and taken to Waukesha Memorial Hospital by EMS.

At 8:48 p.m., a person in the 1500 block of Big Bend Road reported hearing crying, screaming and banging. Police investigated and determined no argument had occurred.

At 8:09 p.m., a person reported her boyfriend had been stealing money and jewelry from the caller. Police said the boyfriend is a known felon. The caller canceled her call and closed the complaint saying she was no longer “sure” he stole from her.

At 7:48 p.m., a caller told police a person had slashed all four tires on his vehicle. The caller said he had the incident on video. Police notified the county.

At 6:20 p.m., a person on Moreland reported a man was being belligerent

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Olive Garden parent takes a COVID-related hit in key markets but here’s why analysts are upbeat



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Darden Restaurants

Olive Garden and other pieces of the Darden Restaurants Inc. business have taken a hit from the coronavirus pandemic, but upbeat analyst groups are raising their price targets after the company took measures, like simplifying menus, in order to adjust.

Darden (DRI) reported fiscal first-quarter sales of $1.53 billion, down from $2.13 billion last year and just below the FactSet consensus for $1.56 billion. Olive Garden same-restaurant sales were down 21.1%. Sales at Olive Garden were down 27.7% to $788.2 million, sales at Longhorn Steakhouse fell 16.3% to $376.8 million, and fine dining sales sank 38.9% to $83.1 million.

“Overall, capacity restrictions continue to limit their top-line sales, particularly in key high-volume markets like California and New Jersey where dining rooms were closed for the majority of the quarter,” said Chief Executive Eugene Lee on the earnings call, according to FactSet.

Read: Beyond Meat, Incogmeato, Impossible Foods up ante in plant-based meat market

Lee notes that Olive Garden has 100 restaurants in California alone. Overall, what’s going to make a difference to same-restaurant sales in the near future will be increased capacity.

“We need to get California back,” Lee said. “We need some other areas to increase their capacity from 25% to 50%. Once you get past 50%, as long as the six-foot rule is in place, you’re still not going to really be able to max out your dining rooms.”

Even getting the bar area back in certain area is an improvement, he said.

The “best” Olive Garden in the company’s lineup, the Times Square location in New York City, is a $15 million location, Lee said. Now that restaurant is only pulling in $2,500 per day.

On Sept. 30, indoor restaurant capacity up to 25% will be allowed.

“[T]his is going to probably be hard for you to believe but we have one restaurant that cost us 50 basis points in comps. That’s the Times Square Olive Garden,” said Lee. “You wake up every day and you’re $300,000 short just in that one restaurant.”

Still, Darden shares closed up 8.1% on Thursday. The stock is down 11.3% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index (SPX) has edged up 0.8% for the period.

“Like many restaurant companies, Darden has used the pandemic as an opportunity to reset its cost structure, streamline operational processes, and eliminate unpopular items from the menu,” writes KeyBanc Capital Markets analysts led by Eric Gonzalez.

See: Kraft Heinz stock upgraded twice with analysts upbeat about ongoing business transformation

“While capacity limitations might mean Olive Garden’s sales recovery lags the industry, Darden’s cost-cutting measures continue to outperform expectations, and we see a more favorable margin structure in the future.”

KeyBanc rates Darden stock overweight with a price target of $108, up from $102.

Darden’s Chief Financial Officer Ricardo Cardenas said on the call that streamlining the menu “more than offset” the cost of additional to-go packaging.

A number of research groups raised Darden’s price target, including

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‘Home Improvement’ star Patricia Richardson explains why she left hit series

Patricia Richardson, who once starred as beloved matriarch Jill Taylor on “Home Improvement,” said she has no regrets leaving the hit series behind.

“The reason I turned down the ninth year of ‘Home Improvement’ was that I was a single parent and away from my kids too much,” the 67-year-old recently told Closer Weekly.

“I left the show, and I have to put my children first since then,” added Richardson, who is a real-life mom to 33-year-old son Henry Baker, as well as 27-year-old twins Roxanne and Joseph Baker. “That’s why I’ve kept quitting the business: to be with them.”


The magazine added Richardson also turned down the $30 million offer to care for her ailing parents.

Patricia Richardson today. — Getty

Patricia Richardson today. — Getty

“I also passed up on another show that won, like, 30 Emmys,” she said. “But I don’t mean to sound like, ‘Oh, I sacrificed this huge thing for my children,’ because it’s what I wanted. Granted, it’s what they needed, but it was also what I needed because I missed them terribly. ‘Home Improvement’ had much longer days than most sitcoms. Because I was involved in all the writing, I was away from them more than I wanted and felt I missed so many things.”


“Home Improvement” told the tale of Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, a television host raising three sons with the help of his loyal co-host, his loving wife and their eccentric neighbor. It starred Tim Allen, Earl Hindman and Richard Karn, among others. The sitcom aired from 1991 until 1999.

Richardson told the publication she has fond memories of the show.

“Tim and I were always cracking each other up,” she explained. “We came up with so much of what you saw on the set every day. There was the time that Tim was throwing potatoes around at the male crew members and hit a female camerawoman in the face, so that became kind of a joke.

"Home Improvement" circa 1991. — Getty

“Home Improvement” circa 1991. — Getty

“I got hit in the head with a football more than once because it took so long for Disney to give the kids an outdoor space to play that was safe — and they weren’t that good at it! It was just a fun set, and we really were a family.”

However, Richardson admitted she wasn’t comfortable with being a celebrity during the height of the show’s popularity.


“I really hated fame,” she said. [Co-star] Jonathan Taylor Thomas and I had similar reactions — he backed off, too, and went to school. I didn’t do charity events because I was desperate for time with my kids and husband, who was always mad I was never home. Hence the divorce.

“[And] when I had to [co-host] the [1994] Emmys, it was the worst day of my life. I was terrified. I was so stupid! In theater school, nobody ever talked to us about having

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Police officer hit by car at Manor House stabbing scene

Manor Park

image copyrightJulian Osley

image captionThe officer was responding to reports of a stabbing outside Manor House station when he was hit by a car

Police are hunting for the driver of a car that hit an officer on duty at the scene of a stabbing in north London.

The officer was responding to reports of a stabbing outside Manor House tube station in Finsbury Park when he was struck by the car at about 02:30 BST.

He was not injured but was treated by paramedics for shock, the Met Police said.

Inquiries to locate the driver are ongoing and no arrests have yet been made, the forced added.

Police were called at 01:55 to reports of a stabbing at the junction of Green Lanes and Seven Sisters Road.

A 28-year-old man was taken to hospital with a stab injury.

His condition is not life-threatening and no arrest have been made, police said.

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UK house prices see biggest jump since 2016 to hit fresh high

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U.K. house prices saw their biggest growth since 2016 in August, climbing to a record high, according to Britain’s longest-running barometer of the property market. 

The Halifax House Price Index, which is run by analysis company IHS Markit, found that U.K. house prices grew by 5.2% in August compared to the same month last year. It marks the strongest annual growth in prices since the end of 2016. 

The price of the average U.K. house hit £245,747 ($324,241) – the first time on record that prices have surpassed £245,000. It represents month-on-month growth of 1.6% from July to August, a touch higher than the 1.5% growth forecasted by economists in a Reuters poll. 

Russell Galley, managing director at Halifax, said the surge in property market activity had driven up house prices as coronavirus lockdown measures eased in the summer months. 

This had been “fueled by the release of pent-up demand, a strong desire amongst some buyers to move to bigger properties, and of course the temporary cut to stamp duty,” he said in a statement. 

In July, U.K. Finance Minister Rishi Sunak announced a holiday from property tax, known as stamp duty, on properties worth up to £500,000 in an attempt to stimulate the housing market.   

However, Galley said it was “highly unlikely that this level of price inflation will be sustained,” despite a boost from these positive factors in the short-term. 

The U.K.’s macroeconomic picture should become clearer in the next few months, he added, as the government’s economic support measures wind up and the “true scale of the impact of the pandemic on the labour market becomes apparent.” 

“Rising house prices contrast with the adverse impact of the pandemic on household earnings and with most economic commentators believing that unemployment will continue to rise, we do expect greater downward pressure on house prices in the medium-term,” Galley said. 

Defying ‘economic reality’ 

Jonathan Hopper, CEO of Garrington Property Finders, said that parts of the property market were shifting from “frenetic to the frothy.”

“Two months of surging prices, in what the Halifax itself has described as a ‘mini-boom’, has powered the property market to a golden summer,” he said in a statement.

Indeed, Hopper said the data looked positive on the surface, with a growing number of homes for sale and a rebound in mortgage approvals.

In data released last week, the Bank of England said the number of mortgages approved had risen from 39,900 in June to 66,300 in July, though this was still 10% lower than the 73,700 housing loans approved in February, pre-pandemic.

Rural and coastal homes were proving particularly popular, Hopper said, with many people reassessing what they want from their home as working remotely has become the “new normal” amid the pandemic.

However, he argued that the “resulting momentum on prices is pushing the market ever more out of kilter with the wider economy” and that it could not “defy economic reality for long.”


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