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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Ricin suspect linked to White House package to appear in NY court Tues

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Here’s the latest for Monday September 21st: Trump says he’ll pick new Supreme Court justice soon; Ricin suspect arrested on US-Canada border; Tropical Storm Beta lashes Texas coast; National Cathedral tolls bell for coronavirus victims.

AP Domestic

A woman suspected of mailing a package containing the poison ricin to the White House is now expected to appear in a New York court Tuesday, following her arrest at the U.S.-Canada border, authorities said.

The suspect was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo on Sunday and is expected to face federal charges in connection with the package which was intercepted in the past week, a law enforcement official said.

The letter is believed to have been mailed from Canada.

An earlier court appearance, originally scheduled for Monday, is now set to take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday. 

In a weekend statement, the FBI described the missive as “a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility.”

Mail addressed to the White House is screened at an off-site location.

Ricin explained: Just how deadly is it, how does it kill?

Ricin, a poison drawn from the husks of castor beans, has surfaced in other plots targeting President Donald Trump, President Barack Obama and other officials. According to the Centers for Disease Control, exposure to ricin through inhalation, ingestion or injection can lead to death.

In 2018, a federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment against a Utah man, alleging that he threatened Trump and other administration officials in letters, some of which contained the natural ingredients used to make ricin. 

In that case, a series of suspicious letters were addressed to Trump, then-Defense Secretary James Mattis, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and others.

In 2001, following the the 9/11 attacks, another form of bio-terrorism shook the country when letters containing anthrax were sent to congressional and media offices.

Those attacks killed five people and sickened more than a dozen others.

A microbiologist at the Army’s elite infectious disease laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland, Bruce Ivins, committed suicide in 2008, as federal authorities were preparing to charge him in the attacks.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/09/21/ricin-suspect-linked-white-house-package-appear-ny-court/5851373002/

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Ricin suspect linked to White House package to appear in NY court

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A person holds seeds of the castor oil plant (Ricinus communis) containing the deadly poison ricin, on June 14, 2018 in Berlin. – A Tunisian man arrested in Germany is suspected of trying to build a biological weapon using the deadly poison ricin that occurs in castor beans, prosecutors said, stressing however there was no indication of any “concrete attack plans”. Ricin — a poison that is produced by processing castor beans — has no known antidote and is one of the world’s most lethal toxins. (Photo by Jens Kalaene / dpa / AFP) / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read JENS KALAENE/AFP/Getty Images) (Photo: JENS KALAENE, AFP/Getty Images)

A woman suspected of sending a package containing the poison ricin to the White House is expected to appear in a New York court Monday, following her arrest at the U.S.-Canada border, authorities said.

The suspect was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Bridge border crossing near Buffalo on Sunday and is expected to face federal charges in connection with the package which was intercepted in the past week, a law enforcement official said.

The letter was believed to have been mailed from Canada, the official said. 

In a weekend statement, the FBI described the missive as “a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility.”

Mail addressed to the White House is screened at an off-site location.

Ricin explained: Just how deadly is it, how does it kill?

Ricin, a poison drawn from the husks of castor beans, has surfaced in other plots targeting President Donald Trump, President Barack Obama and other officials. According to the Centers for Disease Control, exposure to ricin through inhalation, ingestion or injection can lead to death.

In 2018, a federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment against a Utah man, alleging that he threatened Trump and other administration officials in letters, some of which contained the natural ingredients used to make ricin. 

In that case, a series of suspicious letters were addressed to Trump, then-Defense Secretary James Mattis, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and others.

In 2001, following the the 9/11 attacks, another form of bio-terrorism shook the country when letters containing anthrax were sent to congressional and media offices.

Those attacks killed five people and sickened more than a dozen others.

A microbiologist at the Army’s elite infectious disease laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland, Bruce Ivins, committed suicide in 2008, as federal authorities were preparing to charge him in the attacks.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/09/21/ricin-suspect-linked-white-house-package-appear-ny-court/5851373002/

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