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Trump’s European travel ban exempts countries where 3 of his golf resorts are located: report

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During a ten-minute coronavirus-related speech from the Oval Office on Wednesday night, March 11, President Donald Trump announced that a month-long European travel ban would be going into effect: residents of 26 European countries will not be allowed to entered the United States. The U.K., however, is exempt from the ban, and Politico’s Ryan Heath notes that the ban excludes nations “where three Trump-owned golf resorts are located.”

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The 26 countries affected by the travel ban, Heath explains, are located in “a visa-free travel zone known as the Schengen Area.”

“The United Kingdom, which is home to Trump Turnberry and Trump International Golf Links, and Ireland — which is home to another Trump-branded hotel and golf course at Doonbeg — do not participate in the Schengen Area,” Heath observes. “Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania are also not part of the Schengen Area. All three of the resorts are struggling financially.”

During his Wednesday-night speech, Trump tried to blame Continental Europe, in part, for the spread of coronavirus. Many pundits and Trump critics, including Joe Scarborough and Rachel Maddow, have found the exemption for the U.K. to be peculiar — as some countries in Continental Europe have had fewer deaths from coronavirus than the U.K., which consists of four different countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (the Republic of Ireland is a separate country from Northern Ireland and is not part of the U.K.).

The Trump Administration, discussing the European travel ban, asserted, “The Schengen Area has exported 201 covid-19 cases to 53 countries. Moreover, the free flow of people between the Schengen Area countries makes the task of managing the spread of the virus difficult.”

Residents of the 26 Schengen countries affected by the ban will not be allowed to fly directly to the U.S. while the ban is in effect. But as Heath notes, there is a way around that — albeit an inconvenient one.

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“Residents of the 26 Schengen Area countries are also free to live and work in the United Kingdom, meaning they could fly to the United States from a British airport as long as they hadn’t spent time within the Schengen countries in the last 14 days.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel have been highly critical of Trump’s decision. In a joint statement, they asserted, “The Coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent — and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action. The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation.”

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On the minds of Black Lives Matter protesters: A racist health system

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ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, when he decided to protest, William Smith, 27, used a red marker to write a message on the back of a flattened cardboard box: “Kill Racism, Not Me.”

As he stood alone, somber, he thought about George Floyd, a fellow black man whom he’d watched die on video as a Minneapolis cop kneeled on his neck eight days earlier. “Seeing the life leave his body was finally the last straw that broke the camel’s back for me,” he said.

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A historian details Trump’s surprising and peculiar relationship with America’s Puritan legacy

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Whatever one feels about it, the ‘Trump phenomenon’ is often described as the US version of a populist trend that has impacted on many areas of contemporary global politics.  However, despite the global political similarities, Donald Trump’s success is also rooted in a peculiarly American experience, since a very large and influential part of his support base lies among Christians of the so-called ‘evangelical right’.

The presidential inauguration, in 2017, featured six religious leaders, more than any other inauguration in history.  Since then many evangelical leaders have (controversially) claimed that God has placed Trump in the White House, despite his character flaws, because he is the man who will get God’s work done at this – in their  view – critical point in US and world history. As a result, the influence of evangelical Christians on American politics has never been more pronounced. From the appointment of Supreme Court judges to US relations with Israel, from support for ‘The Wall’ to abortion legislation, the power of this extraordinary lobby is seen in the changing politics and policies of the nation. A veritable culture war appears to be occurring over the future direction of the USA; a battle for the ‘soul of America’.

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White House decided to violate social distancing guidelines for journalists because it ‘looks better’: reporters

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President Donald Trump held a press briefing in the White House Rose Garden on Friday — and according to an official statement from the White House Correspondents Association, the event was inconsistent with the administration’s own social distancing guidelines.

WHCA President Jonathan Karl explained: “Today, the White House press office positioned seating for the president’s Rose Garden’ ‘news conference’ in a way that violated the federal government’s guidelines on social distancing and needlessly put reporters’ health at risk.”

WHCA statement on today’s press conference—at which Trump took no questions—where seats were initially placed far apart but were moved closer together before the event started. The press office told WHCA that decision was made because "it looks better.” pic.twitter.com/KEXbHxfLh5

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