Tuesday News: Blowhard

TRUMP'S THREAT TO MOVE RNC QUESTIONED BY CHARLOTTE REPUBLICAN: President Donald Trump threatened Monday morning to move August’s Republican National Convention from Charlotte if the state is not able to commit to “full attendance” at the convention. Charlotte City Council member Ed Driggs, a Republican, questioned Trump’s authority to pull the convention himself. Charlotte’s contract is with the GOP’s Committee on Arrangements. He said he doubted that any other city could put together a convention now given the two-year process Charlotte has undertaken, including arranging a venue, hotel space and related contracts. Driggs noted that the City Council already accepted a $50 million federal security grant for the convention in April. “I think this is the kind of thing that happens in politics, where, and particularly the president is known for dramatic gestures,” Driggs said. “I don’t know whether that tweet by him is supported by the Republican Party and all the people with whom we have been in negotiation for a couple of years.”

SCSJ FILES VOTING RIGHTS LAWSUIT TO EASE PANDEMIC VOTING: The 72-page suit declares the state's absentee ballot and voter registration rules unconstitutional, saying people can't be forced to choose between voting and protecting their health. Among other things, it calls for a longer registration period and contact-less drop boxes for absentee ballots, in case there are post office delays. The suit is the latest in a string of legal actions that may decide the ground rules leading up to the November presidential election in North Carolina. There are more than half a dozen lawsuits pending. State lawmakers filed legislation Friday that addresses some the issues targeted by the suit, but not all of them. Allison Riggs, chief voting rights counsel for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, said that bill doesn't go far enough. “The bill filed ... is grossly inadequate and won’t moot the lawsuit, or at least not all of it," Riggs said in an emailed statement.

VETERANS REST HOME IN FAYETTEVILLE HAS COVID 19 OUTBREAK: Dozens of COVID-19 cases and two deaths are being reported at the North Carolina State Veterans Home in Fayetteville. Cumberland County health officials have confirmed 36 cases at the nursing home, which is up from 19 cases just this past Thursday. "I think they let their guard down," said Linda Hillman, whose father was one of the residents at the facility to get the coronavirus. "I think they felt like all the other rest homes were getting it, no one was getting it here." Hillman said the home told her about patients being tested on May 6 and the facility held a parade for residents May 8. "A parade--where all the patients were outside, side by side in their wheelchairs, no masks on, no practicing six foot social distance," Hillman said. The nursing home for veterans has a full-contract with PruittHealth. A statement on its website said, "The company has continued to implement enhanced infection control protocols, including increasing cleaning frequency, postponing communal activities, ceasing visitation and screen staff and patients daily.” PruittHealth says the facility is in ‘Alert Code Red Status', meaning all visitors and nonessential workers are prohibited from visiting. Information on cases at the facility can be found on PruittHealth’s website​.

COVID 19 IS CONTINUING TO PLAGUE MEAT PROCESSORS: Tyson Foods, the largest meat processor in the United States, has transformed its facilities across the country since legions of its workers started getting sick from the novel coronavirus. It has set up on-site medical clinics, screened employees for fevers at the beginning of their shifts, required the use of face coverings, installed plastic dividers between stations and taken a host of other steps to slow the spread. Despite those efforts, the number of Tyson employees with the coronavirus has exploded from less than 1,600 a month ago to more than 7,000 today, according to a Washington Post analysis of news reports and public records. A May report from CoBank, which specializes in serving rural America, warns that meat supplies in grocery stores could shrink as much as 35 percent, prices could spike 20 percent and the impact could become even “more acute later this year” as the knock-on effects on the U.S. agriculture supply chain are felt. Grocery stores have been able to partially meet consumer demand thanks to meat already in the supply chain in March, when the pandemic broke out, but the report said those supplies were quickly being used up. With an April 28 executive order encouraging meat plants to reopen, the Trump administration has said the food supply must be weighted equally with safety. Over the past month, more than half of the 30 meat processing plants that had shuttered because of the coronavirus have reopened.

INSIDE TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN TO ATTRACT BLACK VOTERS: Nearly every week this spring, President Trump’s re-election team has held one of the most peculiar events of the 2020 online campaign: “Black Voices for Trump Real Talk.” It’s a dizzying effort by Mr. Trump’s black advisers to put their spin on his record — often with a hall-of-mirrors quality, as they push false claims about opponents while boosting a president who retweets racist material. The most recent session, on Saturday night, was one of the most head-spinning yet. For an hour on a livestream, three black Republicans tried to portray former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as a racist, while ignoring decades of racially divisive behavior by Mr. Trump, from his remarks on the Central Park Five to birtherism to Charlottesville. Katrina Pierson, a campaign adviser, led the discussion from her living room, wearing a white sweatshirt with a recent gaffe by Mr. Biden printed in block letters: “#YouAintBlack.” Another adviser, Ken Blackwell, the former mayor of Cincinnati, had a message for Democrats, saying, “Don’t believe your eyes and ears, that’s what they’re telling black folks.” The Trump campaign has been eager to court black voters, hoping to chip away at some of the overwhelming support Democrats enjoyed from them four years ago, when Mr. Trump won just 8 percent of African-American votes. His advisers often highlight the administration’s work on criminal justice reform and financial support for historically black colleges and universities as twin planks of their appeal. Using gimmicks like campaign swag emblazoned with the word “Woke,” Trump campaign officials are aiming for black millennials who they think may have no cultural or personal affinity for Mr. Biden, a 77-year-old white Democrat.



Living in Charlotte

Would not be upset if Trump and his band of idiots went somewhere else. We're struggling here is the virus and bringing even a smaller convention to Charlotte will be a mistake we will regret.


Trump "blindsided" GOP convention organizers

CNN is reporting that Trump completely "blindsided" the organizers of the convention and other members of his own party with the Charlotte tweet.

According to CNN, Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, said that the RNC is moving "full steam ahead" with the convention — although she stressed that it must be an in-person event.

McDaniel asserted, "We do not think at this time we have to switch to an alternative plan, but of course, we will monitor circumstances and adjust accordingly. We will not be holding a virtual convention."

Pence went on "Fox and Friends", saying they might move the convention to Texas. The Dallas Morning News noted:

Dallas was a runner-up to Cleveland for the 2016 GOP convention, and hosted Republicans in 1984, when they nominated President Ronald Reagan for a second term at the Dallas Convention Center. Under Mayor Mike Rawlings, the city decided not to compete for either party’s 2020 convention.

The convention is three months away. Good luck with that.

The Charlotte Observer's editorial board is urging Cooper this morning to "call Trump's bluff".

But if the president wants a guarantee right now, Cooper should call his bluff with the only answer he can provide right now: No.

The alternative – giving an unqualified nod to the convention – is untenable. No one, including Trump and Cooper, knows what COVID-19 will look like late this summer. It’s possible North Carolina could see the kind of coronavirus progress that allows for a large-scale indoor event to be safely held here. It’s just as possible that loosening restrictions in May and June could result in a spike of infections in July and August, and that the convention will be unsafe for Charlotte and its global guests.

One thing is certain about COVID-19: it’s inadvisable to predict what the virus will look like a few weeks out, let alone a few months. With North Carolina just now tip-toeing into reopening, there’s no way officials can smartly estimate the risks of a full arena and packed Uptown in August.

We also know this: Trump has shown a willingness to downplay or ignore the danger of COVID-19 from the start. He repeatedly said it was “under control” in its early stages. He’s encouraged states to reopen even as his own public health officials said otherwise. If Cooper gives Trump the RNC guarantee he wants now, there’s likely no COVID spike bad enough to persuade the president to call things off on his own. That would be a political disaster for the governor, and it would be a public health catastrophe for Charlotte.