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White House ‘concocted a positive feedback loop’ to mislead Trump into thinking he’s doing an excellent job on coronavirus: report

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White House senior advisors Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump stand behind the president in the Oval Office (Twitter)

President Donald Trump’s chaotic White House resulted in “a lost summer” in the battle against coronavirus, according to a new in-depth report by The Washington Post.

The newspaper interviewed “41 senior administration officials and other people directly involved in or briefed on the response efforts” for the story, with multiple former officials offering anonymous quotes.

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The report explains the skepticism of science and experts by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

“Meadows is not alone in being skeptical of medical expertise, part of the politics-first, science-second attitude that has become pervasive inside the White House this summer — and which has been championed foremost by Trump,” The Post noted.

“If the administration’s initial response to the coronavirus was denial, its failure to control the pandemic since then was driven by dysfunction and resulted in a lost summer,” the newspaper explained.

“Under mounting pressure to improve the president’s reelection chances as his poll numbers declined, the White House had what was described as a stand-down order on engaging publicly on the virus through the month of June, part of a deliberate strategy to spotlight other issues even as the contagion spread wildly across the country,” The Post reported. “It was only in July, when case counts began soaring in a trio of populous, Republican-leaning states — Arizona, Florida and Texas — and polls showed a majority of Americans disapproving of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, that the president and his top aides renewed their public activity related to the virus.”

The controversial White House coronavirus model has awful news for Trump as the election approaches.

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“Yet the virus rages coast to coast, making the United States the world leader, by far, in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths. An internal model by Trump’s Council on Economic Advisers predicts a looming disaster, with the number of infections projected to rise later in August and into September and October in the Midwest and elsewhere, according to people briefed on the data,” the newspaper reported. “The forecast has alarmed the president and his top aides, even as some have chosen not to believe it, arguing that some previous projections did not materialize.”

According to a former administration official, White House chaos is “an unmitigated disaster.”

Amid the dysfunction, aides have found a way to trick Trump into thinking he’s an effective leader.

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“What’s more, with polls showing Trump’s popularity on the decline and widespread disapproval of his management of the viral outbreak, staffers have concocted a positive feedback loop for the boss. They present him with fawning media commentary and craft charts with statistics that back up the president’s claim that the administration has done a great — even historically excellent — job fighting the virus,” the newspaper explained.

The newspaper quoted a “senior administration official involved in the pandemic response.”

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“Everyone is busy trying to create a Potemkin village for him every day. You’re not supposed to see this behavior in liberal democracies that are founded on principles of rule of law. Everyone bends over backwards to create this Potemkin village for him and for his inner circle,” the official explained.

The newspaper flushed out who makes up that inner circle.

“Although Fauci, Birx and other medical professionals sit on the coronavirus task force, many of the more pressing decisions lately have been made by the smaller group that huddles in the morning and mostly prioritizes politics. The cadre includes Meadows, senior adviser Jared Kushner and strategic communications director Alyssa Farah,” the newspaper reported.

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2020 Election

Jaime Harrison says ‘I am living rent free in Lindsey Graham’s head’ — and he might be right

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Jaime Harrison, the Democrat challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham, on Monday said that his upstart campaign is panicking the incumbent.

Harrison was interviewed on MSNBC by "The Last Word" anchor Lawrence O'Donnell, who noted the most recent polling shows a tied race.

"Have you experienced any extra fund-raising surge over the weekend?" O'Donnell asked.

"Well, Lawrence, we have gotten tremendous support and we really appreciate it," Harrison replied.

"Do you believe you have the resources and the campaign team and the ground troops you need in South Carolina to actually pull this off?" O'Donnell asked later in the interview.

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2020 Election

Outrage against Dianne Feinstein as potential Judiciary chair comes out against Senate reform

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) received harsh criticism on Monday after coming out against Senate reform of the filibuster.

“I don't believe in doing that. I think the filibuster serves a purpose," Feinstein argued.

"It is not often used, it's often less used now than when I first came, and I think it's part of the Senate that differentiates itself," Feinstein falsely claimed.

https://twitter.com/sahilkapur/status/1308169580658012160

Feinstein is in line to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee if Democrats regain the Senate, despite never attending law school or having ever tried a case.

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2020 Election

Lindsey Graham announces embattled Sen. Joni Ernst will vote for whomever Trump nominates to replace RBG

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The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday announced that GOP members of the body would be united in voting for whomever President Donald Trump nominates to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The nominee’s going to be supported by every Republican in the Judiciary Committee," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, as reported by The Washington Post's Aaron Blake.

https://twitter.com/AaronBlake/status/1308223330357518336

If Graham is correct, that would mean that Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) would be backing the nomination, despite trailing Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield.

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