MIKE PENCE TO VISIT BOB LUDDY'S PRIVATE SCHOOL WEDNESDAY: Vice President Mike Pence is expected to visit the Triangle on Wednesday, two days after President Donald Trump toured a local facility involved with manufacturing a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a letter sent to families of Thales Academy. Bob Luddy, founder of the Thales Academy private schools, sent a letter to families at the Apex campus to say that Pence would make a “short visit” to the school, according to the letter provided by ABC11, The News & Observer’s newsgathering partner. “The U.S. Department of Education is promoting school choice in every way possible. Vice President Mike Pence has long been an advocate of school choice, which he promoted as governor in his home state of Indiana,” Luddy wrote. Thursday, the Raleigh campus of Thales Academy was informed that a visiting staff member had tested positive for COVID-19, The N&O reported.
PARENTS FILE LAWSUIT AGAINST NC'S PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS: Seven North Carolina parents filed a lawsuit Monday in Wake County Superior Court claiming that the state’s school voucher program is unconstitutional, in part because it provides funding to schools that discriminate against students or their families on religious grounds. The lawsuit, filed with support from the North Carolina Association of Educators and the National Education Association, challenges the state’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, which pays $4,200 per year toward tuition at private schools. The program has been controversial since it was launched in 2014. Supporters say it gives parents more choice in educating their children. Opponents say it siphons millions of tax dollars away from public schools each year and requires little accountability from private schools that receive the funds. The complainants in the suit are parents of children who attend public schools in Durham, Wake, Cumberland and Randolph counties. According to the suit, all of them pay taxes in the state and have school-age children who cannot attend certain private schools with the help of a state voucher because their religious beliefs, identity or sexual orientation would cause the children to be barred from admission or expelled.
TRUMP TALKS SOME NONSENSE ABOUT CORONA AND ECONOMY: Trump spoke exclusively with WRAL News following his tour of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Morrisville, which is manufacturing a potential vaccine developed by Maryland-based Novavax. That firm is one of several with drugs in clinical trials as vaccine candidates. "Vaccines and therapeutics, therapeutically we can solve the problem," he said. "We are having tremendous success." Trump predicted that a vaccine would be approved by the end of the year and will be "distributed in record time." Despite massive viral outbreaks in Florida, Texas, Arizona and some other states recently, he said he believes states are doing well in combating the virus and that their caseloads will drop rapidly in the coming weeks. When asked whether, in hindsight, he would have attacked the pandemic differently, Trump didn't cite anything he would have changed. Instead, he ticked off a list of accomplishments, from halting flights from China early on to providing protective gear to states from a national stockpile. (He actually intercepted a flight from China so he could steal the PPE from the Governor who paid for it)
RICHMOND MAYOR SAYS WHITE SUPREMACISTS INFILTRATED BLM PROTESTS TO CAUSE VIOLENCE: City police arrested 23 people over the weekend after demonstrations for social justice turned violent on Saturday and Sunday nights, interrupting more than three weeks of largely peaceful protests. Officials blamed outsiders for an escalation that saw about $100,000 in damage to windows at Virginia Commonwealth University, a city dump truck set ablaze and one man caught on video firing a gun into the ground in a confrontation with protesters. “There were white supremacists marching under the banner of Black Lives Matter, attempting to undermine an otherwise overwhelmingly peaceful movement towards social justice,” Mayor Levar Stoney said Sunday at a news conference. Stoney displayed a photo of a plywood sign painted to say “Black Lives Matter” that he said a white supremacist had carried as a shield. “The mission is simple,” Stoney said Sunday. “To undermine the months of peaceful, community-driven protests that this city has seen.”
CONGRESS SET TO GRILL AG BARR ON FEDERAL TROOPS, TRUMP'S CRIMINAL HENCHMEN BEING RELEASED: Attorney General William P. Barr will travel to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for his first congressional testimony in more than a year, and lawmakers are prepared to press for explanations on the federal response to nationwide protests of police killings of Black Americans and the handling of criminal cases involving President Trump’s allies. The hearing before the House Judiciary Committee is certain to be tense and likely one of the final congressional oversight showdowns of Mr. Trump’s first term. Mr. Barr plans to come out swinging. In a prepared opening statement released Monday night, he aggressively defended the federal response to the protests and accused Democrats of demonizing him because he believed the Trump-Russia investigation was misguided. More recently, he has become a face of the Trump administration’s pledge to surge federal agents into Democratic-led cities like Portland, Ore.; Chicago; and Kansas City, Mo., where, the White House says, protests have descended into violence, including against federal buildings. The federal intervention — the details of which remain hazy — is quickly becoming another flash point in the monthslong cultural reckoning over systemic racism, and it appears to be a key campaign strategy by Mr. Trump who is trying to stoke a sense that Democrats are leading the country into chaos.