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Trump blindsided the White House with claims of an Easter coronavirus re-opening and sent Republicans scrambling: report

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President Donald J. Trump, White House photo by Shealah Craighead

In mid-to-late March, President Trump, as well as other administration officials and supporters, were still publicly warning that the economic fallout of lockdowns designed to head off the spread of coronavirus could be more damaging than the virus itself. As state governors pleaded with the administration help them battle the outbreak, there was a race within the White House to convince Trump to back off his Easter deadline to reopen the economy, according to a report from Vanity Fair.

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Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman says that a Republican working with the coronavirus task force told him that although administration officials discussed the deadline internally, they never expected Trump to announce it publicly.

The aftermath of Trump’s hasty deadline “consumed the West Wing during the critical week that governors were pleading with the White House to deliver medical supplies before hospital systems began to collapse,” Sherman writes. “Dr. Fauci, Senator Lindsey Graham, and others raced to convince Trump that an Easter opening would be a cataclysmic error that could cost millions of lives.”

Ultimately, the warnings of Trump’s medical advisors finally began to break through.

Trump has since notably changed his tone, and the shift was influenced by several factors, both personal and political. “Trump learned that his close friend, 78-year-old New York real estate mogul Stan Chera, had contracted COVID-19 and fallen into a coma at NewYork-Presbyterian. … Trump also grew concerned as the virus spread to Trump country.”

Read Sherman’s report over at Vanity Fair.

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Groups plan vigil outside Supreme Court and national solidarity events to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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National advocacy groups joined together Saturday to organize a candlelight vigil outside the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.—and encourage solidarity events across the country—to honor the legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday after a long battle with cancer at the age of 87.

"She gave all she could, with literally all she had. Now it's our turn," says a Facebook event for the D.C. gathering, hosted by Women's March, Planned Parenthood Action, Demand Justice, and UltraViolet. "Tonight, join us in front of the U.S. Supreme Court at 8 pm ET" or "in solidarity at your local courthouse."

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Belarus opposition to march after police crackdown

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Belarusian authorities on Sunday brought military trucks and barbed wire into central Minsk ahead of a planned opposition march, a day after police detained hundreds of women demonstrators.

The opposition movement calling for an end to the regime of authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko has kept up a wave of large-scale demonstrations every Sunday since his disputed win in August 9 polls.

The latest opposition protests were set to begin at 2 pm local time (1100 GMT), with opposition social media calling for demonstrators to gather in central Minsk as well as in other cities.

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Activists accuse Italy of halting ship rescue mission

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Rights activists on Sunday accused Italian authorities of blocking migrant rescue ship Sea-Watch 4 from leaving port and resuming its emergency mission in the Mediterranean.

After an inspection on the safety of the vessel to operate in high seas, Italian authorities placed the ship under an administrative blockade, said the German activist groups Sea-Watch and United4Rescue, as well as Doctors without Borders.

It is currently docked in Palermo in southern Italy.

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