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Tuesday News: Drama queen


TRUMP'S NEW CHIEF OF STAFF IMMEDIATELY TAKES TWO-WEEK VACATION: U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, who was named President Trump’s new chief of staff Friday, has tested negative for the coronavirus but will quarantine himself for 14 days “out of an abundance of caution,” his spokesman said Monday. Meadows, a Republican who represents far-western North Carolina, was tested over the weekend after coming into contact with a person at the Conservative Political Action Conference who tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, said Ben Williamson, Meadows’ chief of staff, in a tweet Monday night. “Mark Meadows was advised this weekend that now 12 days prior at CPAC, he may have come in contact with the COVID-19 positive test individual. A precautionary test came back negative & he feels great. He’ll be self-quarantined till the 14 day period passes Wednesday,” the tweet said.

Monday News: Lunatic fringe

WHEN REPUBLICAN LG CANDIDATE GAVE GUN SPEECH, HE DIDN'T OWN A GUN YET: “When are you all going to start standing up for the majority?” he asked. “And here’s who the majority is: I’m the majority. I’m a law-abiding citizen who’s never shot anybody, never committed a serious crime, never committed a felony.” A video of his speech was shared by Greensboro-area Republican Rep. Mark Walker and took off, racking up millions of views and attracting national news coverage. Robinson started getting invited to speak at gun rights rallies — including the NRA’s national convention in 2018, where President Donald Trump also spoke. When he gave his now-famous speech about protecting law-abiding gun owners, Robinson didn’t actually own a gun but did have a criminal record. However, his record is relatively minor — nothing violent and no felonies — and mostly consists of traffic offenses. He also filed for bankruptcy three times in the late 1990s and early 2000s, has been taken to court a few times over unpaid debts, and has been the subject of numerous IRS liens for failing to pay thousands of dollars in taxes, as recently as 2012.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


ECU NEEDS A CHANCELLOR WHO CARES MORE FOR EASTERN NC THAN CATERING TO POLITICIANS: It is time to get ECU back on track. It deserves a chancellor who demonstrates excellence in higher education and understands the future is made of partnerships. It deserves a leader who understands and nurtures the critical and unique relationships the university has with partners such as the non-profit Vidant Health. Vidant operates the medical center that serves as the teaching hospital for ECU’s Brody School of Medicine. It is also the hub for Vidant’s network of facilities that provide healthcare to a 29-county region in the eastern part of the state. The legislature has threatened to reduce funding to Vidant and rumors abound suggesting that UNC Healthcare is interested in buying Vidant. That talk needs to stop. Building the ECU -Vidant partnership should be a priority. And the new Chancellor should join with Vidant and fight for Medicaid expansion.

Saturday News: Failing upwards


TRUMP NAMES CONGRESSIONAL BULLY MARK MEADOWS CHIEF OF STAFF: Meadows, who has represented far western North Carolina since 2013, is one of Trump’s fiercest defenders in Congress and had been considered for the chief of staff job at other points during Trump’s tenure. Meadows announced late last year that he would not seek another term in Congress, saying he might work in the Trump administration in some capacity. That stoked rumors that he was finally poised to ascend to the position when the time was right. In a sign of Trump’s continued favoritism of Meadows, the president named the congressman to a group of House Republicans to act as a rapid response team during the Senate impeachment trial earlier this year. During those two and half weeks, Meadows boasted to reporters that no member of Congress communicated directly with Trump more than he did.

Friday News: Guilty


DAN FOREST DONOR GREG LINDBERG CONVICTED OF BRIBERY: After the verdict, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Stetzer asked that Lindberg immediately be taken into custody — a suggestion that had one of the businessman’s attorneys sitting gape-mouthed in surprise. Instead, U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn ordered that Lindberg remain under electronic monitoring and said Lindberg must notify the court of where he intends to live. He and Gray will be sentenced at a later date. The red-haired billionaire left the courtroom by a side aisle, hunched slightly under the strap of his briefcase and carrying a plastic water bottle. He and his legal team quickly walked down some stairs and out the side door of the courthouse onto Mint Street and into a waiting black Denali.

Thursday News: Deluge of disinformation


TILLIS ATTACKS CUNNINGHAM WITH SANDERS, BUT CAL VOTED FOR BUTTIGIEG: Tillis, 59, has embraced President Donald Trump fully, called out his Democratic challengers as socialists and radical and is seeking to make sanctuary cities and illegal immigration a top issue. “I want to keep working with President Trump to create jobs, boost wages, secure winning trade deals, rebuild our military, improve health care for veterans, combat sanctuary cities, and confirm well-qualified judges to the federal bench,” Tillis said in a statement Tuesday night. His first ad highlights Sen. Bernie Sanders more than former Vice President Joe Biden, who won North Carolina on Tuesday and is in a tight race with Sanders for the nomination. The ad also replays several times Cunningham’s commitment to support his party’s ticket. Cunningham voted for former candidate Pete Buttigieg for president.

Wednesday News: So long, Tillis

CAL CUNNINGHAM WINS DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY FOR U.S. SENATE: Former N.C. state Sen. Cal Cunningham defeated state Sen. Erica Smith in the Democratic primary election for U.S. Senate and will face incumbent Republican Thom Tillis in a race that could decide which party controls the chamber. Cunningham, a lawyer and former Army prosecutor from Lexington, was declared the winner by The Associated Press at about 8:40 p.m. Smith, a high school teacher and engineer from Northampton County, was seeking to become the first black U.S. senator from the state. Cunningham was holding steady at about 57% of the vote to 35% for Smith when AP called the race. Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller, Raleigh physician Atul Goel and Steve Swenson of Bunnlevel trailed in the single digits.

Tuesday News: The Bidening...


DEM MODERATES BOW OUT AND BLESS UNCLE JOE: The sudden exits of moderates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar from the 2020 race, along with a stream of endorsements from elected officials and party leaders across the country indicate a clear effort to bolster the former vice president after his dominant victory in Saturday’s South Carolina primary. Tuesday’s series of contests — including primaries in 14 states, the American Samoan caucus and the start of Democrats voting from abroad — is the most significant single day on the nominating calendar, with 1,357 delegates up for grabs. And establishment Democrats have fretted for weeks that an inability to unify before this delegate bounty is dispersed could leave Sanders with an insurmountable advantage. Biden, who was endorsed by Klobuchar, Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke Monday evening, is still almost certain to be trailing Sanders in the delegate race once all Super Tuesday’s votes are counted. But the size of his delegate deficit will be the most crucial number to determine whether he can eventually overtake Sanders as the calendar extends to more favorable electoral turf later in March and into April.

Monday News: Farewell, Pete


BUTTIGIEG DROPS OUT OF DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY: The decision by the first openly gay candidate to seriously contend for the presidency — and among the youngest ever — came just a day after a leading rival, Joe Biden, scored a resounding victory in South Carolina. That sparked new pressure on the party's moderate wing to coalesce behind the former vice president. “The truth is the path has narrowed to a close for our candidacy if not for our cause,” Buttigieg, 38, told supporters in South Bend, Indiana. “We must recognize that at this point in the race, the best way to keep faith with those goals and ideals is to step aside and help bring our party and country together.” He didn't endorse any of his former rivals, though he and Biden traded voicemails on Sunday. Buttigieg has spent the past several weeks warning that nominating progressive leader Bernie Sanders to take on President Donald Trump would be risky.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


WANT TO SAVE NC'S RURAL HOSPITALS? EXPAND MEDICAID NOW: This is no mystery. Expanding Medicaid means there are fewer patients whose care isn’t compensated. Hospitals that get paid for the care they give more patients will have better financial performance. Doctors who know they will get paid for the services they deliver will be more willing to practice in rural areas. This is not complicated. So why does the political party that rules the General Assembly continue to stubbornly keep North Carolina among the minority of states – just a dozen – that refuse to expand Medicaid even though it is almost entirely paid for by the federal government. Those are taxes North Carolinians have already paid. Our North Carolina dollars are helping keep rural hospitals open in other states while hospitals, many in eastern North Carolina counties like Beaufort, Washington and Halifax have closed. These concerns should be front-and-center to the General Assembly’s leaders – particularly Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore – who have seen hospitals in their own districts close or threatened with ceasing operation.


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