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Pence spent Holy Week pleading with pastors to ignore Trump’s previous call to reopen churches on Easter

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Vice President Mike Pence and other senior officials spent the lead-up to Holy Week begging pastors to ignore President Donald Trump’s previous directive.

Trump announced last month during a Fox News interview that he wanted to end lockdowns by Easter, which he later walked back, but the vice president, who is ostensibly leading the White House coronavirus task force, and other senior administration officials wanted to make sure religious leaders understood what the president wanted, reported Politico.

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“We want to both encourage them to keep the faith and to encourage them to maintain social distancing,” one senior White House official said. “Now is the time to lean into the guidance, not to lean out.”

Pence and his team organized conference calls to their evangelical allies to stress the importance of social distancing, fearing the blowback if Trump allies held Easter services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Administration officials on those calls told pastors the president was calling for national sacrifice to halt the outbreak’s spread, after some of Trump’s religious allies drew negative attention for holding church services in defiance of stay-at-home orders.

“I’ve been privy firsthand to what the White House and this president are doing,” said South Carolina pastor Mark Burns, who took part in one call, “and he is very serious about protecting Americans and slowing the spread.”


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2020 Election

Trump says he will name woman to succeed Ginsburg on Supreme Court

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With less than two months to go before the US election, galvanized Democrats are pushing back furiously on Trump's desire to 'to move quickly' on the nomination process

US President Donald Trump on Saturday said he would nominate a woman to succeed late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The president's desire to "to move quickly" on the process, despite Democrats' vehement opposition, is likely to dominate the campaigns – alongside other hot-button issues such as the coronavirus and America's ongoing racial reckoning – ahead of the November 3 election.

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Moscow slams ‘illegitimate’ US claims on Iran sanctions

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The Russian foreign ministry on Sunday condemned the unilateral declaration by the United States that UN sanctions on Iran are back in force as "illegitimate" and "unacceptable".

"The illegitimate initiatives and actions of the United States by definition cannot have international legal consequences for other countries," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Russia, a key ally of Iran, accused Washington of putting on a "theatrical performance" and insisted that the US statements "do not correspond to reality."

It accused the US of "trying to force everyone to wear virtual reality goggles" and accept its version of events, adding: "The world is not an American computer game."

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2020 Election

Democrat Teresa Greenfield leads GOP Sen. Joni Ernst in ‘Gold Standard’ poll of Iowa

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The Des Moines Register released their latest polling of Iowa on Saturday.

"Democrat Theresa Greenfield leads Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst by 3 percentage points in a Senate race that appears to be among the most competitive in the country," the newspaper reported. "With just over six weeks to Election Day, the new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows Greenfield leading 45% to 42% among likely voters. Another 3% say they would vote for someone else, 2% say they would not vote in the race and 7% are unsure."

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