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Horrifying anecdote reveals how Trump uses racism to feed his angry base — and delight White House staffers

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President Donald Trump doesn’t actually understand immigration law, according to administration officials — but he uses the issue to stoke his angry base and delight staffers.

Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen complains that her job is nearly impossible because Trump doesn’t really grasp immigration but is obsessed by it, and he regularly berates her for failing to halt the flow of migrants, administration sources told the Washington Post.

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“The president has a very rudimentary understanding of what the border is all about and how you secure it,” a former DHS staffer told the newspaper. “And she’s also not one of the border fire-eaters that have his ear right now. She’s in an impossible, no-win situation.”

The president sees anti-immigrant rhetoric as the reason he won in 2016, and the Post described how Trump speaks about Hispanic immigrants in private.

“The night before Trump delivered his first speech to Congress in February 2017, he huddled with Jared Kushner and (senior adviser Stephen) Miller in the Oval Office to talk immigration,” the newspaper reported. “The president reluctantly agreed with suggestions he strike a gentler tone on immigration in the speech.”

The president reminded Miller and his son-in-law that crowds loved his harsh tone against immigrants, and he improvised the sort of speech he believed his red-capped supporters would enjoy.

“Acting as if he was at a rally, he then read aloud a few made up Hispanic names and described potential crimes they could have committed, like rape or murder,” the Post reported. “Then, he said, the crowds would roar when the criminals were thrown out of the country — as they did when he highlighted crimes by illegal immigrants at his rallies, according to a person present for the exchange and another briefed on it later. Miller and Kushner laughed.”

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A senior White House official conceded that Trump did discuss “crowd enthusiasm for crackdowns on criminal aliens,” but denied that he made up Hispanic names for the exercise.


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Trump ignored advice to tell country the coronavirus pandemic was ‘bad and could get very worse’ in early March: report

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According to a day-by-day examination of the White House efforts to get up to speed on dealing with the growing coronavirus pandemic that has now brought the country to an almost complete standstill, Politico reports that Donald Trump was advised in early March to warn the public things were about to get worse and chose to ignore that advice.

The report notes that the final realization about the dangerous spread of COVID-19 preceded the president's rare prime time address to the nation.

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Why the novel coronavirus became a social media nightmare

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The biggest reputational risk Facebook and other social media companies had expected in 2020 was fake news surrounding the US presidential election. Be it foreign or domestic in origin, the misinformation threat seemed familiar, perhaps even manageable.

The novel coronavirus, however, has opened up an entirely different problem: the life-endangering consequences of supposed cures, misleading claims, snake-oil sales pitches and conspiracy theories about the outbreak.

So far, AFP has debunked almost 200 rumors and myths about the virus, but experts say stronger action from tech companies is needed to stop misinformation and the scale at which it can be spread online.

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Europe, US virus deaths surge as Trump reverses New York lockdown threat

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The global coronavirus death toll surged past 30,000 over the weekend as Europe and the United States endured their darkest days of the crisis.

A back-flip from US President Donald Trump on quarantining New York highlighted the panic and confusion across many parts of the world in trying to contain the pandemic, which has seen more than a third of humanity placed under unprecedented lockdowns.

More than 30,800 deaths had been reported worldwide by Sunday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally, as the virus continued to leave a devastating imprint on nearly every aspect of society: wiping out millions of jobs, overwhelming healthcare services and draining national treasuries.

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