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Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell tried to talk Trump out of shutdown standoff explaining there was ‘no way to win’: Report

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Senior Republicans tried to talk President Donald Trump out of his planned standoff over the border wall, the Washington Post reported in a deeply sourced article about the start of the shutdown published Saturday afternoon.

According to the report, Trump was “warned repeatedly about the dangers of a shutdown but still opted to proceed.”

Among the GOP officials who tried to talk Trump out of the standoff were Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI).

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McConnell “told the president that he had no leverage and that, without a clear strategy, he would be ‘boxed in a canyon,'” the report says. McConnell pointed out that even if Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wanted to make a deal with Trump her caucus would forcefully oppose it.

“Then-House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) talked with Trump by phone for 45 minutes the day before the shutdown, warning that he saw no way to win as he paced in a Capitol hallway just outside a conference room where House Republicans were meeting. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned about the perils of a shutdown during the Christmas season,” the report says.

Trump’s own aides are “freaking out,” the report says.

“Current and former aides said there is little strategy in the White House, and people are frustrated,” the report reads.

Read the full report here.

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Only 5,500 rapid COVID-19 tests touted by Trump are being deployed — for the entire country: report

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by Rachana Pradham

A coronavirus test made by Abbott Laboratories and introduced with considerable fanfare by President Donald Trump in a Rose Garden news conference this week is giving state and local health officials very little added capacity to perform speedy tests needed to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That’s a whole new ballgame,” Trump said. “I want to thank Abbott Labs for the incredible work they’ve done. They’ve been working around-the-clock.”

Yet a document circulated among officials at the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency this week shows that state and local public health labs were set to receive a total of only 5,500 coronavirus tests from the giant manufacturer of medical devices, diagnostics and drugs, according to emails obtained by Kaiser Health News.

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Maddow reports Florida governor is letting ‘coronavirus-denialist megachurch guy’ hold huge services

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On Sunday, the River Church in Tampa was packed with parishioners despite the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic.

The following day, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister arrested Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne for violating the county's social distancing rules.

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Here’s how Christian Nationalists have shaped the federal government’s response to coronavirus

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On Thursday, appearing on the Slate radio show "The Gist" with Mike Pesca, journalist Catherine Stewart outlined some of the ways the Christian Right is responsible for the federal government's disastrous response to coronavirus.

"The coronavirus pandemic is real wrath-of-God type stuff, isn't it?" said Pesca. "Well, there are some people who are waiting for this, who are ready for this, and who, quite scarily, have been tasked with the response."

"It's a complex question, and I think that Christian Nationalism, which is what we're dealing with here, is not a religion," said Stewart. "Many evangelicals are doing very positive things, many religious people are doing a lot of positive things in this situation with the coronavirus. But Christian Nationalism is not a religion, it's a political ideology that cloaks itself in religious rhetoric. And it's a movement that put Trump in power."

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