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Trump’s new anti-mask rhetoric is the last gasp of a ‘flailing campaign’: Paul Krugman

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Paul Krugman -- CNN screenshot

In a column for the New York Times, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman pondered why Donald Trump is once again ramping up his anti-mask rhetoric at a time when his health care advisors are urging the public to keep wearing the protective coverings. He then concluded it is nothing less than a cynical political maneuver by the president that will likely lead to more deaths.

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Earlier this week the head of the CDC urged Americans to keep using masks, saying it was their best defense against becoming infected with COVID-19 only to have the president undercut that message on the same day.

Posing the question, “What is it with Trump and face masks?” Krugman suggested that — to the president’s way of thinking, the masks are a symbol of his failure to contain the pandemic which, in turn, is one of the leading factors for why he is losing in the polls to former Vice President Joe Biden.

“The case for masks doesn’t rest merely on detailed scientific research that laypeople may find hard to understand. At this point it’s also confirmed by the lived experience of regions that suffered severe coronavirus outbreaks but brought them under control, ” he explained. “In short, anti-mask agitation isn’t really about freedom, or individualism, or culture. It’s a declaration of political allegiance, driven by Trump and his allies.”

Rhetorically asking why the president has made the simple request for people to wear masks into a partisan issue, Krugman said it is merely “the efforts of an amoral politician to rescue his flailing campaign.”

“The economy’s partial snapback from its plunge early this year hasn’t given Trump the political dividends he hoped for. His attempts to stir up panic with claims that radical activists are going to destroy the suburbs haven’t gained traction, with voters generally seeing Joe Biden as the better candidate to maintain law and order,” he suggested. “So his latest ploy is an attempt to convince people that the Covid-19 threat is over.”

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Calling wearing masks, “the simplest, most sensible of public health precautions,” Krugman said that doesn’t work into Trump’s political calculations which means, “this ploy probably won’t work. But it will lead to a lot of unnecessary deaths.”

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2020 Election

Trump’s attacks on voting ‘backfired and only inspired people to march early to the polls’: report

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Clark County Registrar of Voters Joseph Gloria has had three decades of election experience in Nevada, but had never seen a "perfect storm," as he called it, like this before. With all hands on deck for this election cycle, Gloria helped put together an entire mail-in voting system in less than 90 days to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m as comfortable as I can be because I have an excellent staff,” Gloria said. “We learned some things in the primary and are feeling good about this cycle, but unfortunately we have people at the national level who are encouraging people to do things that disrupt the polling place and make it a challenge for us to process votes.”

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2020 Election

Watch Kamala Harris laugh out loud when 60 Minutes asks her if Trump is racist

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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) laughed when asked if President Donald Trump was racist during a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday evening on CBS.

"Do you think the president is racist?" Nora O'Donnell asked.

"Yes, I do," Harris replied, with a laugh. "Yeah, I do."

"You can look at a pattern that goes back to him questioning the identity of the first Black president of the United States," she said, referring to the racist "birther" conspiracy theory he pushed against Barack Obama.

"You can look at Charlottesville, when there were peaceful protesters and on the other side neo-Nazis and he talks about fine people on either side," she continued. "Calling Mexicans rapists and criminals? His first order of business was to institute a Muslim ban?"

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2020 Election

Lesley Stahl takes Trump to task for still not having a health care plan as 60 Minutes airs interview

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CBS News' Lesley Stahl took heat from President Donald J. Trump for asking him "tough questions" during their interview for 60 Minutes and the train wreck will air Sunday night in primetime.

But in the meantime, there's this:

Lesley Stahl: But you're okay with some tough questions?

President Donald Trump: No, I'm not. I mean--

Lesley Stahl: (LAUGH) You're not okay with tough questions?

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