This article titled “US officially begins withdrawal from World Health Organization amid pandemic – as it happened” was written by Maanvi Singh in San Francisco (now), Joanna Walters in New York and Martin Belam (earlier), for theguardian.com on Wednesday 8th July 2020 00.13 UTC
- The US officially notified the World Health Organization that it would withdraw. The United Nations Foundation said that the Trump administration’s “move to formally withdraw from WHO amid the greatest public health crisis that Americans and the world have faced in a century is shortsighted, unnecessary, and unequivocally dangerous”.
- Trump is pushing for schools to reopen in the fall despite there being no plan of how to do so safely for children, teachers and administrative staff. Trump tweeted: “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!”, as local officials across the country began pausing or scaling back their re-openings due to the surge in infections.
- Mary Trump, the niece of the president, dissects what she says was Donald Trump’s emotionally abusive childhood, in her new book out next week. In a copy obtained by The Guardian, she writes that neglect from his parents – his mother because of health problems and his father because of being a “high functioning sociopath” fuels Donald Trump’s outrageous behavior now, and threatens “the world’s health, economic security, and social fabric
- Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top public health official on the coronavirus task force, said on Monday that America’s grasp of the pandemic was “really not good”. In contrast to the president, who continued to insist that the pandemic would die down soon, Fauci said “we are still knee-deep in the first wave” of infections.
Associated Press: Congress created virus aid, then reaped the benefits
At least a dozen lawmakers were both authors and beneficiaries of one of the biggest government programs in US history, reports the Associated Press.
Government data, released this week after the Trump administration faced pressure from Congress and outside groups, has revealed the names of some loan recipients who benefited from the 9bn Paycheck Protection Program, meant to help smaller businesses keep staff employed during the pandemic.
The list includes names of both Democrats and Republicans and traces money that flowed to hotels, car dealerships, casino companies, fast food franchises and political consultants.
Members of Congress and their families are not barred from receiving loans under the program, but observers say it could undercut public trust in the federal government’s response to the pandemic just as Congress debates another round of coronavirus relief.
“It certainly looks bad and smells bad,” said Aaron Scherb, a spokesperson for the watchdog group Common Cause.
Updated at 1.11am BST
Mario Koran here in California, picking up the blog from my colleague Maanvi Singh to close out the day.
Steny Hoyer, majority leader of the US House of Representatives, has weighed in on Trump administration’s move to formally withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization, calling the decision “self-defeating and dangerous”.
“To withdraw the United States from the World Health Organization (WHO) at the height of a global pandemic that has already killed more than 133,000 Americans is self-defeating and dangerous”, wrote Hoyer in a statement.
“Not only will this withdrawal hurt global efforts to develop and deploy critical vaccines, but it will also remove our ability to have a say in the operations and future of that organization, yielding much influence to China.”
The statement echoes one made in earlier in the day by Elizabeth Cousens, president of the United Nations Foundation, who said the “move to formally withdraw from WHO amid the greatest public health crisis that Americans and the world have faced in a century is shortsighted, unnecessary, and unequivocally dangerous.”
In an interview with Greta Van Susteren, Donald Trump insisted that despite what the leading public health official on the coronavirus task force says, the US is in a “good place” in managing the pandemic.
In two, three or four weeks’ time, “I think we’re going to be in very good shape,” Trump said, despite evidence to the contrary, adding that he disagreed with Fauci and touting his travel restrictions, enacted against the advice of health experts.
Updated at 1.09am BST
Five states and the District of Columbia are suing US education secretary Betsy DeVos over a rule she issued that would divert to private schools money that Congress provided to help public schools.
California, Maine, New Mexico, Wisconsin, DC, and Michigan have joined a lawsuit over how pandemic relief money is distributed to schools.
“Michigan kids cannot afford for Betsy DeVos to be playing politics with their education,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel of Michigan.
DeVos lashed out at school districts who wouldn’t commit to reopening in the fall despite the surge of cases across the country, deriding leaders who wouldn’t accept the risks of opening schools.
Updated at 1.13am BST
Updates from around the world: Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for Covid-19; WHO acknowledges ‘evidence emerging’ of airborne spread of Covid-19; WHO warns crisis is accelerating:
Updated at 12.55am BST
Lawrence Gostin, the director of the WHO’s Collaborating Center on National & Global Health Law, said Trump’s decision to withdraw from the global health agency was “among most ruinous presidential decisions in history”.
He added that the move would counterproductively benefit China, leaving the country to fill the leadership gap left by the US.
More than 5,600 companies in the fossil fuel industry have taken a minimum of bn in coronavirus aid from the US federal government, according to an analysis by Documented and the Guardian of newly released data.
The businesses include oil and gas drillers and coal mine operators, as well as refiners, pipeline companies and firms that provide services to the industry.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) on Monday released the data under pressure for further transparency, including from journalism outlets that had sued demanding the public records.
The bn figure is probably far less than the companies actually received. The SBA did not disclose the specific amounts of loans and instead listed ranges. On the high end, fossil fuel companies could have received up to .7bn. At least 475 fossil fuel companies received at least m, according to the data the SBA released that it collected from banks.
This analysis only includes loans over 0,000, because the SBA did not disclose which companies received smaller loans.
The administration has already begun looking for other channels to spend the 0m it pays annually in WHO membership dues and voluntary contributions. It is unclear what will happen to US officials who work with the global health body.
Jeff Merkley, the top Democrat on the Senate foreign relations subcommittee that oversees multilateral institutions, called the move “a huge win for China and a huge blow to the American people”.
“By pulling out of the WHO, President Trump is strengthening Chinese leadership and power, both within the WHO and more broadly within the international community,” Merkley said. “Cutting the United States out of the WHO in the middle of the worst global pandemic in a century makes Americans more vulnerable. By abandoning the efforts to control the virus abroad, we’re ensuring that far more Americans will get sick, either through foreign travelers coming to the US, or through Americans traveling abroad.”
Republican members of Congress have also urged Trump to keep the US inside the WHO to support reform. The administration has received almost no support for withdrawal from US allies, with the exception of the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, who confirmed he had tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday.
Updated at 11.13pm BST
Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic challenger for the presidency, said he would return the US to the WHO once elected.
In a live-streamed news conference with Alabama senator Doug Jones, Antony Fauci, the top public health expert on the coronavirus task force, said that to tout the falling death rate of coronavirus was to tout a “false narrative” – even as Donald Trump did just that.
US communities reopened “a bit too soon, sometimes jumping over some of the checkpoints”, Fauci said – leading to the spike in cases the country is facing today.
Hi there, it’s Maanvi Singh, reporting from the west coast.
First, a timeline of the US withdrawal from the WHO:
- The US moved to quit after more than 70 years of membership to the 194-nation organization.
- In April, Donald Trump halted funding for the WHO after accusing the organization of becoming a puppet of China.
- On 18 May, Trump sent the WHO a letter, threatening to withdraw the US if it didn’t commit to reforms within one month.
- Less than two weeks later, he announced the US would quit the WHO.
- The UN confirmed that the US would leave the WHO on 6 July 2021, after giving a one-year notice as required by a 1948 joint resolution of Congress that obliges the US to pay financial support to the international agency.
Updated at 10.39pm BST
Today so far…
It’s been such a lively day we forgot to bring you a middle of the day summary of the news. Sorry about that. Handing over to my west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, now, who will take you through events in US political news in the coming hours.
Here are the main items from today:
- The United Nations Foundation said that the Trump administration’s “move to formally withdraw from WHO amid the greatest public health crisis that Americans and the world have faced in a century is shortsighted, unnecessary, and unequivocally dangerous”.
- Donald Trump is pushing for schools to reopen in the fall despite there being no plan of how to do so safely for children, teachers and administrative staff.
- The US has formally informed the United Nations that it intends to pull out of the World Health Organization, the global public health body under the UN’s umbrella.
- Atlanta mayor KLB says Governor Kemp blocked her plan to mandate face masks in the city.
- Mary Trump, niece of the president, dissects what she says was Donald Trump’s emotionally abusive childhood to explain such traits as bullying, lying, self-aggrandizement, narcissism, in her new book, out soon, but already in the Guardian’s sticky hands.
- New York State announced a penalty of 0m to be paid by Deutsche Bank in a settlement for legal failures in its handling of money for Jeffrey Epstein, the late financier and sex offender who’s former amour Ghislaine Maxwell is now in prison facing charges related to conspiracy, trafficking and sex abuse.
- America’s top public health expert and lead non-political name on the White House coronavirus task force, Anthony Fauci, followed up numerous warnings about the ongoing major risks of coronavirus with the stark assessment that the US is “still knee deep in the first wave of the pandemic”.
Updated at 11.28pm BST
UN-linked body calls US plan to quit WHO ‘shortsighted’ and ‘dangerous’
There has been no response from the World Health Organization yet to the formal notice given by the US to the United Nations today, also informing Congress, that it will officially withdraw from the WHO, which comes under the UN umbrella.
However, the president of the United Nations Foundation, a charitable body set up by CNN founder Ted Turner to support UN causes, Elizabeth Cousens, said in a statement that the Trump administration’s “move to formally withdraw from WHO amid the greatest public health crisis that Americans and the world have faced in a century is shortsighted, unnecessary, and unequivocally dangerous.”
The WHO was founded in 1948 by the United Nations and is the premier global public health body.
Meanwhile, the director-general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned this afternoon that the coronavirus outbreak is “accelerating, and we have clearly not reached the peak of the pandemic.”
At a briefing, he said: “More than six months in, the case for national unity and global solidarity is undeniable,” he said at a WHO briefing Tuesday. “We cannot afford any divisions.”
For those wishing the US to stay in the WHO, the next thing to watch will be the presidential election in November, bearing this in mind:
“The United States’ notice of withdrawal, effective July 6, 2021, has been submitted to the UN Secretary-General, who is the depository for the WHO,” a senior administration official told the New York Times.
By law the United States must give the organization a year’s notice if it intends to withdraw, and meet all the current financial obligations in the current year – although the US has been holding back funding from the WHO under the Trump administration.
Joe Biden hasn’t commented on the WHO news yet but it would be staggering if he didn’t immediately tear up all the decisions by Trump to vacate the US’s role in and funding for the WHO, if he wins in November. If that happens, plenty of time to reverse all this after his inauguration in January, 2021.
Updated at 9.59pm BST
More from White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx.
She said a few moments ago that the United States and other countries could have had a stronger initial response to Covid-19 if China had been more forthcoming about key features of the virus.
At a panel held by the Atlantic Council, a US think tank, Birx said the United States would have been more focused on identifying Covid-19 patients without symptoms if China has shared information about the frequency with which Covid-19 patients, particularly young people, are asymptomatic, Reuters reports.
“I have to say if we had known about the level of asymptomatic spread, we would have all looked at this differently,” Birx said at the panel.
“That’s usually the initial countries’ responsibility … and I think that did delay across the board our ability to really see or look for this.”
Birx said that public health officials had originally assumed that only 15 to 20% of Covid-19 patients are asymptomatic when in fact that number is at least 40%.
“We were looking for people with symptoms. We should have looked for anyone who would have been exposed,” she said.
Such points are important, but seem less important than America’s six lost weeks of downplaying the threat of the virus and then showing inadequate leadership from Washington on down on testing and supplies of medical equipment for hospitals and their workers.
Organizers of a growing Facebook advertising boycott said they saw “no commitment to action” after meeting with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg earlier today.
More than 900 advertisers have signed on to the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign, organized by social justice groups including the Anti-Defamation League and Free Press, to pressure the world’s largest social media network to take concrete steps to block hate speech and misinformation.
“Facebook approached our meeting today like it was nothing more than a PR exercise,” Free Press co-chief executive Jessica González said in a statement, Reuters reports.
“But boycott coalition leaders and advertisers understand that the #StopHateForProfit effort is about the lives, safety and freedom of our communities.”
The campaign, which calls for advertisers to pause their Facebook advertising for the month of July, has outlined 10 changes it wants to see from Facebook, including allowing victims of severe harassment to speak with a Facebook employee and giving refunds to brands whose ads show up next to offensive content that is later removed.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As the news came about the formal US withdrawal from the WHO, the White House coronavirus coordinator, Deborah Birx was speaking at a Atlantic Council roundtable with a group of ambassadors.
She was not asked about the withdrawal. In her remarks, Birx sought to explain the relentless rise of infections in the US.
“It [initially] hit really very much in the northeast, Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans, and much of the rest of the country was spared. And I think many of the governors and mayors thought they would be forever spared from this…
“And I think none of us really anticipated the amount of community spread that began in our 18-to-35 year old age group and I think that this is an age group that was so good and so disciplined through March and April, but when they saw people out and about on social media, they all went out and about.”
Birx also pointed out how richer countries had higher death rolls.
“I don’t think any of us thought that 80% of the cases would be in high income and upper middle income countries and almost all the mortality, probably 90% of the mortality is in upper middle and upper income countries, probably due to our great co-morbidities,” she said.
“We have a lot of hypertension, diabetes and obesity in the United States and I think it’s really pointed out how we have to become a healthier nation together.”
Here are some paradoxical pieces from the Guardian about Birx.
And, from the start of the outbreak in the US.
Reactions are coming in on the Trump administration formally giving notice that the US will withdraw from the World Health Organization.
Donald Trump had flagged his intention in late May during a Rose Garden presser at the White House.
California Democrat and former presidential candidate Eric Swalwell isn’t mincing words.
Here’s what this health scientist had to say.
Trump demands schools reopen
Donald Trump is pushing for schools to reopen in the fall and is hosting White House events on the topic today, despite a steady increase in coronavirus infections across the country and rising hospitalizations in many states.
Trump tweeted: “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!”, as local officials across the country began pausing or scaling back their re-openings due to the surge in infections.
Florida yesterday issued a sweeping executive order for children to return to school this fall, despite sharply rising new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations there, Reuters writes.
Business and conservative groups have urged safe school reopenings as important for getting their parents back to work and reviving the US economy, although there is no blueprint yet for what a safe reopening looks like, either for children or teachers and admin staff.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Robert Redfield noted today that the CDC never recommended closing schools.
“We need to reopen the schools. We can do this safely. We need to commit to it and we need just to get it done,” Redfield said
Most working parents of school-age children have been helping or supervising their kids home-schooling for months via online teaching, but they depend on in-person instruction on school premises to allow them to work without such a burden.
But an alarming surge in new infections in the United States as it has rushed to open up, especially among younger people going out to socialize without masks or distancing, has raised concerns about the increased risk of spread by children to vulnerable adults at home as well as to older teachers and school staff.
Cases are rising in 31 states and there is a surge of hospitalizations of more serious cases in some places, especially Florida, Arizona and Texas.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said it was too soon to decide on schools given the nature of the resurgent outbreak.
If Trump wants schools to reopen, he should call for masks to be worn nationwide, she told CNN, calling mask wearing “a simple, cost effective” solution to mitigate virus spread.
Protective gear for doctors and nurses in short supply again
The personal protective gear that was in dangerously short supply during the early weeks of the coronavirus crisis in the US is running low again as the virus resumes its rapid spread and the number of hospitalized patients climbs.
A national nursing union is concerned that gear has to be reused, The Associated Press reports.
A doctors association warns that physicians’ offices are closed because they cannot get masks and other supplies.
And Democratic members of Congress are pushing the Trump administration to devise a national strategy to acquire and distribute gear in anticipation of the crisis worsening into the fall.
“We’re five months into this and there are still shortages of gowns, hair covers, shoe covers, masks, N95 masks,” said Deborah Burger, president of National Nurses United, who cited results from a survey of the union’s members. “They’re being doled out, and we’re still being told to reuse them.”
When the crisis first exploded in March and April and New York City became the world hotspot for Covid-19, the situation was so desperate that nurses turned plastic garbage bags into protective gowns.
The lack of equipment forced states and hospitals to compete against each other, the federal government and other countries in desperate, expensive bidding wars.
In a letter to Congress last week, the health department in DuPage County, Illinois, near Chicago, said all hospitals in the county are reusing protective gear “in ways that were not originally intended and are probably less safe than the optimal use of PPE.”
The DuPage County department is a supplier of last resort that steps in when facilities have less than two weeks’ worth of gear. As of Monday, it had only nine days of some supplies at the current request level. A rise in new infections could make the supply go much faster.
The American Medical Association wrote to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress calling for a coordinated national strategy to buy and allocate gear.
Updated at 7.48pm BST
Donald Trump announced in April that the US was halting funding for the World Health Organization, saying he didn’t trust the UN body and, essentially, accused it of being too cozy with China and being duped by the People’s Republic over the seriousness of the Covid outbreak when it emerged in Wuhan, China, last year.
At the time, my colleague David Smith reported, Trump was widely condemned for putting countless lives at risk over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The US president in mid-April said funding would be on hold for 60 to 90 days pending a review of the WHO’s warnings about the coronavirus and China. He accused the global body of “severely mismanaging and covering up” the threat, even though it declared a public health emergency on 30 January – after which he continued to hold rallies, play golf and compare the coronavirus to the common flu.
Critics were stunned at the move to cut money from a critical UN agency during a global pandemic. António Guterres, the UN secretary general, declared now was “not the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the World Health Organization or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus.
Now the US will officially withdraw from the organization, although the process will take a year, we understand.
Also, my colleague Julian Borger wrote this insightful piece.
Updated at 7.53pm BST
United States officially pulls out of World Health Organization
In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration has made formal its stated intention to pull out of the WHO, the global public health collective that comes under the umbrella of the United Nations.
Updated at 7.18pm BST
Atlanta mayor: US reopened ‘too aggressively’
Atlanta major Keisha Lance Bottoms was asked this morning if Georgia had been too swift with its lifting of restrictions imposed to curb coronavirus.
She said yes – and more.
“I think we were too aggressive in opening up,” she told ABC.
“Now, the city has taken a phased approach…our numbers are still extremely high but I think the fact that they are not higher is because we have been very thoughtful as a city, with buy-in from our Fortune 500 companies, which are large job centers.”
She said the state had rushed its reopening and coronavirus infections are surging.
“It was too aggressive, it was too soon and we are paying for it not just in Georgia but across the country and people are paying for it with their lives,” she said.
According to a local report in Georgia, as of yesterday there have been 2,878 deaths in from Covid-19 in Georgia, with the state’s earliest reported death on March 5.
Fewer people are dying at the moment, a daily average of 16 deaths, around half the average daily toll in most of June.
But the numbers of new infections has more than doubled.
Over the last 14 days, the average daily increase in newly confirmed cases was 2,224 new cases a day in the state.
Over the previous 14-day period, the average daily increase in newly confirmed cases was 935.
Updated at 7.37pm BST
Atlanta mayor says governor blocked move to mandate masks
More from the interview on ABC TV this morning of Keisha Lance Bottoms, mayor of Atlanta, who not only has tested positive for coronavirus, although so far has only mild symptoms, but has had to deal with a surge in gun violence on some of the city’s streets over the weekend, when 31 people were shot and five died, including an eight-year-old.
She was asked if she agreed with Georgia governor Brian Kemp’s decision to declare a state of emergency in Georgia last night – which allows the state leader to use options such as unleashing emergency funds, asking the federal government for emergency help and utilizing the National Guard – the military reserve units in each state.
“No,” she said. He had not asked the mayor if she thought the National Guard was needed in Atlanta. She did not think it was and that local and state police would suffice in keeping order.
In contrast, she said she was specifically thwarted by the governor in her attempts to make the wearing of face coverings in public compulsory in the city, to try to slow the spread of Covid-19.
“I asked Governor Kemp to allow us to mandate masks in Atlanta and he said “No”,” she said.
Fauci: ‘Science will get us through this’
Anthony Fauci, the top public health expert on the White House coronavirus task force, has not only warned that the US is still “knee deep” in the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak, but said it is because “we never came down to baseline [ie drove infections down] and now are surging back up.”
He said young people need to listen to public health warnings that they are not “invulnerable to serious consequences” of the virus. Even healthy people in their 20s and 30s could end up sick for a long time and, more dangerously, sicken those who are more vulnerable.
“They are propagating the outbreak, Fauci said in an interview via social media with his departmental boss, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins.
He finished on a galvanizing note.
“We have already suffered through a lot of pain, a lot of economic and personal pain and inconvenience.”
But “science will get us through this,” he said. “Hang in there, it will end.”
It’s hard to know how Fauci keeps calm and carries on when he is so frequently undermined by his inexpert, willfully misleading bosses Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
Whether Fauci privately screams “I told you so” into a cushion of an evening and shadow boxes to psych himself up in the morning to tackle another day of trying to stem the tide of information from the rest of the White House is anyone’s guess.
Fauci told US states and cities not to reopen for business until they had had two weeks of declining new cases of coronavirus and had greatly expanded testing for the virus as well as ensuring there was enough hospital capacity and medical supplies to meet local needs.
He was ignored by many governors of states that are now hastily reversing some of their reopenings that they steamrollered through in haste without meeting any of Fauci’s guidelines.
And now, as Fauci pointed out last night, the US is setting records on Covid, such as a world high of new cases in a day, last week when the US confirmed more than 55,000 new infections on Thursday, and states such as Florida, Arizona and Texas – among the loudest flouters of warnings to be cautious – are seeing alarming rates of infection and the hospitalization of serious cases.
This despite Vice President Mike Pence, head of the White House coronavirus task force, hailing “truly remarkable progress” on the pandemic – when the scientists keep telling us it is nowhere near under control in the US.
And Donald Trump repeatedly saying versions of “it will disappear” and it’s mostly harmless, which are 100% incorrect facts.
Updated at 6.09pm BST
Brazil’s leader Bolsonaro has coronavirus
Like Donald Trump and Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson (who ended up in intensive care with Covid-19), Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has also infamously scoffed at the pandemic as it began ripping through his country.
Well, Bolsonaro just announced he tested positive for coronavirus.
My colleague Tom Phillips, reporting from Rio, notes that Bolsonaro, 65, has repeatedly trivialized the pandemic and flouted social distancing, even as Brazil became the second-worst-hit country after the United States, with more than 65,000 deaths and 1.6m confirmed cases.
The US has seen 130,430 deaths so far and 2.9m cases, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.
The UK has suffered 44,321 deaths and has 287,000 cases.
Here’s the amazing Johns Hopkins tracker.
How a bully can shape a bully
Mary Trump writes of “displays of narcissism, bullying, grandiosity” as part of her uncle Donald’s personality traits, stemming from neglect by his parents – his mother because of health problems and his father because of being a “high functioning sociopath”.
The blog is going to pivot away from this story for a bit and capture some of the other US politics-related news, because my colleague Martin Pengelly will keep readers thoroughly updated via his account of Mary Trump’s new tell-all family book.
It’s not officially due out until later this month, and the family has tried unsuccessfully to block it, but we’ve seen it already….read on:
It’s worth noting that Mary Trump has turned the psychologist’s spotlight on Donald Trump as a relative, while those who work as professional analysts traditionally avoid psychiatric or psychological public comment/analysis on the mental health of the President of the United States.
Updated at 5.02pm BST
Mary Trump explains how Donald Trump learnt to lie
Mary Trump’s own father, Fred Jr, died when she was 16. Fred Jr had an alcohol dependency and died of an alcohol-related illness in 1981.
This has often been cited as a reason Donald Trump doesn’t drink alcohol.
Mary Trump’s depiction of Fred Trump, father to brothers Fred Jr (aka Freddy), Robert (who went to court to block the book, but has evidently failed), and Donald (Potus) describes a brutal man who forged sons who were psychologically battered and became inveterate liars in a cracked family.
Trump, a doctor of clinical psychology, writes that her father, Freddy, lied as a means of survival in the face of relentless bullying by Fred Sr, while for Donald Trump “lying was primarily a mode of self-aggrandizement meant to convince other people he was better than he actually was”.
Updated at 4.41pm BST
Book by Donald Trump’s niece says president was ‘destroyed’ in youth by his bullying father
The tell-all book due out shortly from Mary Trump, the niece of the president, tells of a family divided by trauma.
The Trump family failed to block the book after court efforts failed to stop publisher Simon & Schuster printing and distributing it, even though a restraining order was ongoing against Mary Trump herself, the daughter of Donald Trump’s late oldest brother.
Mary Trump describes in her book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man that Donald Trump effectively suffered “child abuse” from his bullying father, writing that the patriarch “destroyed” his son by damaging his “ability to develop and experience the entire spectrum of human emotion”.
The behavior caused the young Donald to forever be in need of his father, Fred’s, approval, which all too rarely came, and shaped the former real estate tycoon and now president’s craven need for approval by others, whether relatives, partners, colleagues or world leaders.
The Guardian has obtained a copy of the book and will publish details this morning.
Updated at 4.19pm BST
Deutsche Bank’s mea culpa
In response to the news that New York state has sanctioned Deutsche Bank, the bank put out a statement by a spokesperson.
We acknowledge our error in onboarding Epstein in 2013 and the weakness in our processes, and have learnt from our mistakes and shortcomings. Immediately following Epstein’s arrest, we contacted law enforcement and offered our full assistance with their investigation.
It goes on to mention Danske Estonia and FBME.
The Department of Financial Services factual findings on Danske Estonia and FBME, like our own internal investigation, identified various deficiencies in our oversight and monitoring of the banks that used our clearing services. There was no intentional effort by anyone within the bank to facilitate unlawful activity…while the settlement reflects our upmost [sic] cooperation and transparent engagement with our regulator, it also shows how important it is to continue investing in our controls and enhancing our anti-financial crime capabilities.
In the settlement agreement and 0m penalty for Deutsche announced this morning by New York, financial services superintendent Linda Lacewell added that suspicious financial actions by Epsetin “should have prompted additional scrutiny in light of Mr. Epstein’s history, including:
- payments to individuals who were publicly alleged to have been Mr. Epstein’s co-conspirators in sexually abusing young women;
- settlement payments totaling over million, as well as dozens of payments to law firms totaling over million for what appear to have been the legal expenses of Mr. Epstein and his co-conspirators;
- payments to Russian models, payments for women’s school tuition, hotel and rent expenses, and (consistent with public allegations of prior wrongdoing) payments directly to numerous women with Eastern European surnames; and
- periodic suspicious cash withdrawals — in total, more than 0,000 over approximately four years.
This substantive failure was compounded by a series of procedural failures, mistakes, and sloppiness in how the Bank managed and oversaw the Epstein accounts.”
Updated at 4.44pm BST
New York imposes 0m penalty on Deutsche Bank over Jeffrey Epstein link
The superintendent of financial services in New York state’s Department of Financial Services, Linda Lacewell, announced this morning that Deutsche Bank (Deutsche Bank AG, its New York branch, and Deutsche Bank Trust Company America – collectively “Deutsche Bank”), per press statement, has agreed to pay 0m in penalties for “significant compliance failures in connection with the Bank’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein”, the late, disgraced sex offender, as well as correspondent banking relationships with Danske Bank Estonia and FBME Bank.
This agreement marks the first enforcement action by a regulator against a financial institution for dealings with Epstein, the department announced.
Investigations into Epstein were clearly about a lot more than trafficking girls, and details are likely to emerge further as the summer goes on. Everyone is waiting to see what Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s former girlfriend and confidant, will tell investigators now that she is in custody in New York, having been arrested by the FBI in New Hampshire last weekend.
Lacewell’s statement continued:
Banks are the first line of defense with respect to preventing the facilitation of crime through the financial system, and it is fundamental that banks tailor the monitoring of their customers’ activity based upon the types of risk that are posed by a particular customer.In each of the cases that are being resolved today, Deutsche Bank failed to adequately monitor the activity of customers that the Bank itself deemed to be high risk.
In the case of Jeffrey Epstein in particular, despite knowing Mr Epstein’s terrible criminal history, the Bank inexcusably failed to detect or prevent millions of dollars of suspicious transactions.”
With respect to the case of Jeffrey Epstein, the Bank failed to properly monitor account activity conducted on behalf of the registered sex offender despite ample information that was publicly available concerning the circumstances surrounding Mr. Epstein’s earlier criminal misconduct. The result was that the Bank processed hundreds of transactions totaling millions of dollars that, at the very least, should have prompted additional scrutiny in light of Mr. Epstein’s history.”
Updated at 4.44pm BST
Atlanta mayor describes ‘perfect storm of distress in America’
Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was also asked on ABC this morning about a rise in gun violence on the streets of parts of Atlanta over the weekend as well as other cities in the US, especially Chicago and, notably, New York, Philadelphia, and elsewhere.
Several very young children have been killed or wounded by stray bullets as shooting broke out in some troubled urban areas, including an eight-year-old girl, Secoriea Taylor, who died in Atlanta while sitting in the car with her mother.
“It’s just this perfect storm of distress in America,” Lance Bottoms said.
People are obviously anxious and angry about the coronavirus pandemic, loved ones are dying, people are losing their jobs, I think there is a lot of frustration, a lot of angst and I think that the rhetoric that comes out of the White House does not help at all.
It doesn’t give people much hope and it’s all converging together and we are seeing it happen and spill out onto the streets of Atlanta and across America.
On top of that, the cases that we have all witnessed of police brutality – it has all come together in a violent way.
Updated at 3.52pm BST
Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is not sure if her coronavirus symptoms are “on the way up or on the way down” after she announced yesterday that she tested positive for Covid-19.
She said some very interesting things in the interview, so stand by for subsequent posts.
But on coronavirus, she, her husband and one of their three children have tested positive. The other two children are getting tested today.
Lance Bottoms asserted that she could continue doing the job of running Atlanta at the moment.
“I feel okay, George,” she told ABC’s Good Morning America anchor George Stephanopoulos.
She said she has “the same headache that I’ve had during stressful times and allergy season.”
She was alerted to her husband’s sickness by the fact that he “slept from Thursday to yesterday” but is now feeling better.
Of her own infection she said: “I hope it won’t get any worse, I have a ‘low positive’ [diagnosis] so it’s either on the way up or the way down.”
She will now be “quarantining and the other things they recommend you do.”
“I don’t know what the president means by that” – health expert.
Donald Trump has tweeted this about the coronavirus this morning, mentioning a piece from the right-leaning Washington Times.
Moments later, Ashish Jha, professor of global health at the Harvard school of public health and Dean of the Brown University school of public health, was on CNN refuting that.
“I do not know what the president means by that, we do not have the lowest mortality rate,” he said.
Measuring the percentage of people who die per infected person, he said, his response to the president’s tweet was a simple “No”.
Jha also pointed out that the US has the highest confirmed death toll in the world from coronavirus, at 130,310 this morning, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The number of confirmed cases is on the brink of three million, also an unwanted world record.
The number of daily deaths in the US has been falling lately, which is obviously good news. Many more younger people are becoming infected in the new surges of coronavirus now hitting at least 40 out of 50 states, especially across the south and west, and they are less likely to die.
But other factors to take into account are that the death rate lags the infection rate and we are not yet seeing the infection statistics from those who may have been sickened over the July Fourth holiday weekend, when many stayed home but many others were seen out and about in crowded situations without social distancing or masks.
Updated at 2.52pm BST
America is ‘knee deep in first wave’ of coronavirus – Fauci
The US’s top public health expert, Anthony Fauci, the top federal scientist on the White House coronavirus task force, has warned that the US situation in the pandemic is “really not good” as new cases surge in the vast majority of states, especially the south and west.
“We are still knee deep in the first wave” of the Covid-19 outbreak, he has warned.
He pointed out in an interview via social media last night with National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins that the US has “record breaking” numbers, absolutely not the records the US wants to be breaking or show that the nation is “leading” the world in its handling of the virus, as White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany asserted yesterday.
According to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University, which the Guardian relies on most of all, the US has lost 130,310 people to Covid-19 and is just about to cross the threshold of three million cases, with 2.98m current cases as of this morning.
Updated at 5.47pm BST
More than one person on social media has pointed out that the two lead stories on today’s Miami Herald front page neatly encapsulate the US approach to the coronavirus. On the one hand, ordering schools to re-open. On the other, bars and restaurants that had been re-opened to get the Florida economy going, having to close again because of the latest Covid-19 surge.
Updated at 2.07pm BST
With Donald Trump and Joe Biden having long ago sewn-up their nominations for the presidential election, you could be forgiven for finding the rest of the primary season a little lacklustre.
That may not be the case in New Jersey today, however, where there should be a heated five-way fight in the Democratic primary to see who will face Rep. Jeff Van Drew in the state’s 2nd District in November.
You may recall that before Christmas, Van Drew switched from being a Democratic congressman to representing the Republicans, after disagreeing with the party hierarchy over the impeachment of Trump.
Julia Manchester at The Hill has run the rule over the challengers. Read it here: The Hill – Democrats fight it out to challenge top target Van Drew
Protesters struck by car at Vauhxx Booker demonstration in Bloomington, Indiana
Pete Buttigieg has just tweeted out a link to the video of the alleged assault on Vauhxx Booker at the weekend, which authorities are currently investigating.
Buttigieg describes the incident as a “violent show of racism” that is “absolutely sickening”.
Booker, a local civil rights activist and member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, posted the video on Facebook after the men assaulted him and pinned him to a tree at Lake Monroe, south of Booker’s hometown of Bloomington.
Local media have reported that at least two protesters were struck by a vehicle last night towards the end of a protest in Bloomington demanding arrests over the attack on Booker.
Graphic video clips posted on social media appear to show a red car driving at speed with at least one person being carried on the hood.
Geoff Stewart, one of the people apparently struck, told local news outlet RTV6 what happened:
A woman driving the vehicle came up to the stop and had started revving her engine toward us and we tried to stop her and let her know that the crowd is clearing up just wait a second. But, she and her passenger both wanted to go right away so they started to push, they pushed into the woman that was with me and when she pushed again both of us went on the vehicle.
My colleague Joanna Walters, who will be taking over from me here later on today, has been looking at a holiday weekend of gun violence in the US, and talking to people about what can be done. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms made an impassioned plea for the violence to stop after an eight year old girl was shot and killed in her city over the weekend.
The Rev Gregory Livingston, a pastor and civil rights leader who moved to New York last summer after many years running an anti-violence community organization in his native Chicago, spoke of the midwest city “going through absolute madness”.
“Chicago is, woefully, a tale of two cities and across the country it’s a tale of two Americas. Chicago is a very segregated city and that legacy is part of what’s fueling this horrific violence,” Livingston told the Guardian
Researchers have also suggested there might be a potential link between the rise in violence and a surge in gun-buying during the coronavirus pandemic. 2.1 million more guns than usual were sold between March and May this year.
Here’s one from the “Well, this is awkward” files…Fox News has apologised after cropping Donald Trump out of a photo in which he appeared with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell.
In a statement Fox News said: “On Sunday, 5 July, a report on Ghislaine Maxwell during Fox News Channel’s America’s News HQ mistakenly eliminated President Donald Trump from a photo alongside then Melania Knauss, Jeffrey Epstein and Maxwell. We regret the error.”
There’s more here: Fox News apologises for cropping Trump out of Epstein and Maxwell photo
Americans trust governors more than Trump on coronavirus, poll finds
The coronavirus pandemic is placing a strain on the trust people hold in federal government, according to new figures from NBC News/SurveyMonkey weekly tracking poll.
NBC report that 7 out of 10 Americans say they trust their governors more than the president to decide when to re-open businesses in their area.
Partisanship is certainly at work again over coronavirus fears though (see 7:50). The survey finds that 63% of Americans overall said they feared that businesses were opening “too quickly”. But if you ask just Republicans, 61% said the re-openings were, in fact, too slow.
But they aren’t all backing their man in the White House. Just over half of Republicans say they trust the president’s judgment on re-opening over their governors. NBC note though that the president’s overall job rating has remained consistent throughout the pandemic at 43%.
“The suburban exodus has continued, and my gut is as long as Trump is identified as the leader of the party, that continues,” says former Republican Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, who served as chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
“You can’t afford that. [Suburbia] was the base of the Republican Party just a decade and a half ago. And there just aren’t enough rural voters to make up for those kind of losses.”
Brownstein identifies that in recent weeks, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and other party groups have publicly released or privately circulated polls showing Trump losing to Biden by substantial margins in a wide array of well-educated districts, including many that Trump carried in 2016. Brownstein notes that Republicans have dismissed the figures – but produced none of their own to refute them.
Read it here: CNN – Trump could sink the House GOP in suburbia
Axios has now completed 15 waves of surveys of the US public’s reaction to the coronavirus between 13 March and 29 June and their conclusion today is that partisanship is the main driver of behaviour when it comes to concern about the virus.
Margaret Talev’s analysis, published this morning, states that:
- Race and ethnicity are major predictors both of employment status and whether you know someone who’s tested positive for or died from the virus
- Younger, working-class, Republican-voting men take the pandemic the least seriously
There’s plenty more detail where that came from, including that the overall share of Americans feeling extremely or very concerned about coronavirus has settled at 58% after climbing, peaking, falling, and rising again during the course of the pandemic.
It’s an essential read to understand how people are thinking about Covid-19: Axios-Ipsos coronavirus poll – there is no new normal
Deputy secretary of state Stephen Biegun has arrived in South Korea for discussions on stalled nuclear diplomacy – but may find he doesn’t have as many people to talk to as he hoped.
In a statement released through North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency a few hours ago, senior North Korean foreign ministry official Kwon Jong Gun reiterated that North Korea would not take part, saying “Explicitly speaking once again, we have no intention to sit face to face with US.”
With a rhetorical flourish typical of North Korean’s pronouncements, he also criticised “nonsensical” South Korean attempts to mediate between North Korea and the US, saying: “They seem to have a bad ear or are guided by the habit of always talking in their own favour.”
Biegun’s arrival was met by a small protest near the US embassy in Seoul.
Donald Trump’s attempts at diplomacy with North Korean were recently savaged in John Bolton’s book, where Bolton suggested the president cared more about photo opportunities that would make him look good for his re-election campaign, than he cared about advancing American national interests in the region.
Government awards .6bn coronavirus vaccine contract to Novavax
Reuters are reporting that the US government has awarded Novavax a .6 billion contract to cover the testing, commercialisation and manufacturing of a potential coronavirus vaccine in the US. The aim is to deliver 100 million doses by January 2021.
It is the highest award yet from the so-called “Operation Warp Speed” White House program which is aimed at accelerating access to vaccines and treatments to fight the coronavirus.
“What this Warp Speed award does is pays for production of 100 million doses, which would be delivered starting in the fourth quarter of this year, and may be completed by January or February of next year,” Novavax Chief Executive Stanley Erck told Reuters. It will also cover the cost of running a large Phase III trial – the final stage of human testing, which could begin as early as October.
More than 140 teams of researchers are racing to develop a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine.
In another development, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc said the US government has granted the drugmaker a 0 million contract to make and supply its double antibody cocktail that is being tested against Covid-19.
The antiviral cocktail, REGN-COV2, is in separate clinical trials both for treating and preventing Covid-19, the company said
Michael H Fuchs, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, has written for us today addressing the scandal of the Trump administration’s reaction – or lack of it – to intelligence that suggested Russia might be paying a bounty to Taliban fighters for attacks on US military personnel.
Despite the fact that this information was known to the Trump administration for at least months, there is no indication that the president has done anything to punish Russia. The White House has not even attempted to convince the public otherwise. To the contrary, Trump has continued his obsequious behavior towards Vladimir Putin. Since the intelligence on bounties was reportedly provided to Trump in February 2020, Trump has spoken with Putin numerous times, praised Putin publicly, invited Russia to rejoin the G7 group of democracies, and announced the withdrawal of thousands of troops from Germany without consulting US allies – a giant gift to the Russian president.
Over at Politico, Marianne Levine and James Arkin have been looking at what lies in store in November for the women who represent the Republicans in the Senate. Current projections suggest the Republicans could lose nearly half of the women currently in their caucus.
Levine and Arkin suggest that out of nine Senate Republican women currently serving, four face highly competitive races in Arizona, Maine, Georgia and Iowa.
The piece goes on to say:
Both Republicans and Democrats note that the women GOP senators in competitive races are not endangered because of their gender, but because of the states they represent and the broader electoral environment facing the party. “It’s a tough alignment of the stars, because we’ve seen such progress with Republican women in the Senate and it just so happens that it’s a really tough year,” said Janet Mullins Grissom, a veteran Republican strategist.
It is an interesting read about how Donald Trump’s potential unpopularity at the polls this November could end up having a significant impact on the gender balance of the Republican party, in an area where even their critics can see that some progress had been made.
.2m bail set for driver that hit Seattle protesters, killing Summer Taylor
A judge yesterday set a .2 million bail for the man accused of driving a Jaguar on to a closed Seattle freeway and hitting two protesters, killing one and seriously injuring the other.
Dawit Kelete drove the car around vehicles that were parked on Interstate 5 to protect a group of Black Femme March demonstrators, part of the Black Lives Matter movement protesting racial inequality and police violence. The car hit two people and sped away about 1:40 a.m. Saturday, police said.
Over the weekend, a judge found probable cause to hold Kelete on an investigation of vehicular assault. But the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has yet to file charges against Kelete. It says it’s waiting for additional required information from the State Patrol.
“A charging decision is expected by Wednesday afternoon,” spokesman Casey McNerthney said.
Kelete’s lawyer, John Henry Browne, said the crash was a “horrible, horrible accident” and was not intentional. “There’s absolutely nothing political about this case whatsoever,” Browne told Associated Press. “My client is in tears. He’s very remorseful. He feels tremendous guilt.”
Kelete is originally from Eritrea and is a US citizen, Browne said. He lives with his family in Seattle, and they’re very religious, he said.
Summer Taylor, a 24-year-old veterinary clinic worker, suffered critical injuries in the incident and died Saturday night.
Diaz Love, 32, from Portland, Oregon, was left in a serious condition. “I’m alive and stable,” Love posted on Facebook late Sunday. “In a lot of pain. I cannot believe Summer was murdered. If they thought this murder would make us back down, they are very wrong. Very wrong.
Love also said: “My FB is filled with death threats, that and only being able to use one hand has me going slow. I deeply appreciate and feel all the love y’all are sending me.”
Mike Pompeo suggests US is ‘certainly looking at’ banning TikTok
Last night in a Fox News interview secretary of state Mike Pompeo floated the idea that the US might ban social networking video app TikTok.
He said “I don’t want to get out in front of the President, but it’s something we’re looking at”
Pompeo went on to link the app to other Chinese technology companies that the US has taken action over, saying:
We’ve worked on this very issue for a long time, whether it was the problems of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure… we declared ZTE a danger to American national security… with respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones I can assure you, the United States will get this one right.
Asked if he would recommend people to download TikTok, Pompeo said “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
In response to his comments, TikTok issued a statement to deny that it has never provided user data to China: “We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”
US lawmakers have previously raised national security concerns over TikTok’s handling of user data, saying they were worried about Chinese laws that require domestic companies “to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.”
Any move to shut it down in the US would undoubtedly have political ramifications, not least because many commentators have spoken about teenage TikTok activism having an impact on the attendance at Donald Trump’s disastrous Tulsa rally.
Updated at 2.27pm BST
Good morning, welcome to our live coverage of US politics for the day. Here’s a catch-up on the key points from yesterday and overnight, and a little of what we can expect today
- Joe Biden can expect a resounding win in the primary in his home state of Delaware today. New Jersey also votes – though with much of the election being conducted as vote-by-mail, results will not be known for some time
- Dr. Anthony Fauci said the country was still “knee-deep in the first wave” of the coronavirus pandemic. Cases in the US are nearing three million, with deaths in excess of 130,000
- Virginia, though, has reported that no known coronavirus-related deaths were recorded on Monday – the first time for more than three months
- The US government said it will not allow international students to enter or stay in the United States if they are enrolled in schools that are fully online during the fall semester
- A white woman who called police and falsely accused an African American man of threatening her life after he asked her to leash her dog in New York city’s Central Park is being criminally charged over the incident.
- Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said he will not attend the Republican National Convention for the first time in 40 years, citing his concerns about coronavirus. Meanwhile the Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, has pleaded with Republicans to cancel a three-day convention scheduled to be held there on 16 July.
- Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has tested positive for coronavirus, but says she has no symptoms
- Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former unpaid adviser to first lady Melania Trump, is planning an ‘explosive’ book about their friendship
I’ll be with you for the next couple of hours – you can get in touch with me at email@example.com
Updated at 11.53am BST
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