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The South is about to be swamped with COVID-19 patients because GOP governors listened to Trump: columnist

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President Donald Trump listens during a phone conversation with Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto on trade in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on August 27, 2018. (AFP / Mandel Ngan)

With COVID-19 hot spots “erupting across the South,” one New York Times columnist warned on Saturday why things are going to get worse.

Margaret Renkl “covers flora, fauna, politics and culture in the American South” for the newspaper’s opinion section.

Renkl noted that Nashville’s efforts to close down were hampered by Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s inaction.

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“Even after the Nashville Board of Health voted unanimously to shut the honky-tonks down, several bar owners said they would not comply unless ordered to do so by the governor of Tennessee,” she noted.

“Such orders have been slow in coming here, and in nearly every other state in the American South. Tennessee governor Bill Lee was slow to end the legislative session and send members of the Tennessee General Assembly home to their districts, slow to close public schools, slow to suspend church services, slow to shutter restaurants and gyms,” she explained.

Renkl explained why coronavirus has become a partisan touchstone in the South.

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“Viruses are not partisan. Science itself is not partisan. Nevertheless, Covid-19 has become a partisan issue here in the South because our governors have followed the lead of both the president, who spent crucial early weeks denying the severity of the crisis, and Fox News, which downplayed concerns about the pandemic as Democratic hysteria. That’s why every governor who has issued a deeply belated shelter-in-place order is a Republican,” she explained.

Read the full column.


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2020 Election

Bill Barr stunt was an ‘in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign’ by DOJ: election law expert

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The scandal over the Department of Justice hyping 9 ballots in Pennsylvania as proof of Donald Trump's conspiracy theories about voting by mail was an Bill Barr stunt was an "in-kind contribution" an election law expert explained in the Los Angeles Times on Friday.

UC Irvine law and political science professor Rick Hasen explained the scandal in Pennsylvania in a new op-ed.

"The controversy that bubbled up on Thursday over nine mishandled ballots in Luzerne County, Pa., illustrates the danger ahead. Even before the Department of Justice issued its announcement, President Trump and his team were complaining that mail-in ballots from military voters cast for him were being thrown into the trash, a claim fitting into his narrative — unsupported by the facts — that massive voter fraud will be used to take a November victory away from him. ABC News reported that Atty. Gen. William Barr briefed Trump on the case before it was publicly announced," Hasen explained.

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2020 Election

Trump official removed after illegally serving 424 days as head of the Bureau of Land Management: report

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Yet another Donald Trump official has found himself in trouble with the law for running a federal agency without Senate confirmation.

"federal judge ruled Friday that the Trump administration's leading steward of public lands has been serving unlawfully and has blocked him from continuing in the position. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris said U.S. Bureau of Land Management acting director William Perry Pendley served unlawfully for 424 days without being confirmed to the post by the U.S. Senate," the Associated Press reported Friday.

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Dennis Quaid to star in Trump’s $300 million ad campaign against COVID ‘despair’: report

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Americans should expect to see more of actor Dennis Quaid during television commercial breaks, according to a new report by Politico.

"The health department is moving quickly on a highly unusual advertising campaign to 'defeat despair' about the coronavirus, a $300 million-plus effort that was shaped by a political appointee close to President Donald Trump and executed in part by close allies of the official, using taxpayer funds," Politico's Dan Diamond reported Friday.

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