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Obama shuts down Texas Lt. Gov. Patrick: I didn’t ‘make up’ data on cops’ racial profiling

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President Barack Obama on Thursday responded to critics who charged he has not done enough to show support for law enforcement officers after two years of protests against incidents of violence by police against the black community.

Obama faced several pointed questions during a town hall broadcast on television network ABC exploring the emotionally charged issues surrounding policing and racial discrimination in the United States.

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The divide between police and the black community was brought into stark focus last week when a man, angry about killings by police of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, shot and killed five police officers in Dallas at a demonstration.

Obama, the nation’s first black president, has repeatedly condemned violence against police officers. After the Dallas shootings, he urged the country to come together.

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, a Republican who called Black Lives Matters protesters “hypocrites” after the Dallas shooting, urged Obama to do more to support police, including illuminating the White House with blue lights.

“I would ask you to consider being careful not be too quick to condemn the police without due process, and until the facts are known,” Patrick said.

Obama told Patrick he has been “unequivocal” in his support for police. “I think it’s already been expressed. I’ll be happy to send it to you, in case you missed it,” he said.

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But Obama also said that data shows disparities in how African-Americans are treated by police.

“We have to address that honestly,” Obama said. “This is not just stuff I make up.”

During the town hall, Obama addressed broad questions about race relations in questions from Cameron Sterling, whose father was killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Diamond Reynolds, whose fiance died in Minnesota.

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But he also heard from Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn, who expressed frustration with the distrust between the black community and his officers, and Teri George, the mother of a Baltimore police officer injured during riots last summer.

“It just seemed like nobody was there to protect him,” George told Obama.

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John Minster, a Republican student at DePaul University, asked Obama why he had commented on the “potential racial aspect” of high-profile police shootings before waiting for the cases to work their way through the legal system.

“Why always look at these situations through the prism of race?” Minster asked.

Obama said it was part of his role as president to try to calm the nation after shootings sparked national anger.

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“I’m not suggesting that I always get that fine line perfectly – but if I don’t say anything at a time when people feel hurt, angry, there are protests, there are flare-ups, then I wouldn’t be doing my job,” he said.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Bill Rigby)

Watch the exchange between Obama and Patrick in its entirety below.

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Trump is deploying national guardsman to provide pandemic support without any health benefits: report

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The National Guard are an essential part of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and thousands of them have potentially been exposed to infected civilians, making it a particularly dangerous and important time to serve.

But according to The Daily Beast, the guard has been deployed in a way that prevents them from being eligible for the military's health care system.

"The approximately 20,000 guardsmen who have been called up to help states around the country deal with the spread of the coronavirus are federalized on what’s called Title 32 status, which puts them in command of their various state governors but with the federal government paying costs," wrote senior national security correspondent Spencer Ackerman. "But according to the National Guard’s advocates and the U.S. governors’ association, the guardsmen are activated on orders that last 30 days. That puts them one single day shy of the requirement allowing the military health insurance system known as TRICARE — think of it as Medicare For All In Uniform — to cover them."

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Vaccine researchers grew ‘alarmed’ as Trump’s CDC wasted weeks of their time with a flawed coronavirus test: report

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According to a report from the Washington Post, in the early days as health officials became concerned about the possibility of the COVID-19 pandemic blossoming out of China, researchers sat and wasted days they could have used to start developing a vaccine because they were assured by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that a testing kit was on its way.

As it turned out, that test was flawed.

Relying on emails and interviews, the Post is reporting, "On a Jan. 15 conference call, a leading scientist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assured local and state public health officials from across the nation that there would soon be a test to detect a mysterious virus spreading from China. Stephen Lindstrom told them the threat was remote and they may not need the test his team was developing 'unless the scope gets much larger than we anticipate,' according to an email summarizing the call."

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Lawmakers need to step up and stop Trump from ‘killing Americans’ with his ‘incompetence’: Ex-prosecutor

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On Saturday, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner excoriated President Donald Trump's mismanagement of the national health care system on Twitter — and called on elected leaders to "stop letting Trump kill Americans."

Trump’s mixture of incompetence and exploitation for political purposes of our national health emergency is costing lives. The most pressing question at this moment is: at what point do our elected politicians stop letting Trump kill Americans?

— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) April 4, 2020

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