As Donald Trump's emotional breakdown continues, we've now reached the Nixon in the Bunker moment that we all knew was coming.
Most White House officials will be asked to wear masks or face coverings in public spaces on complex grounds, a move to prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading further inside the presidential compound, according to three administration officials with knowledge of a directive to be issued Monday.
The request does not apply to offices, however, and President Trump is still unlikely to wear a mask or face covering, aides say.
Here are some significant developments:
- At a Rose Garden news conference, President Trump declared that the United States has “prevailed” in terms of testing for the novel coronavirus. Later, Trump walked out after a tense exchange with two reporters.
- Democratic senators are preparing to grill top federal health officials at a highly-anticipated hearing scheduled for Tuesday on the coronavirus, with much of the questioning centered on whether the nation is ready to reopen parts of the country.
- Tesla chief executive Elon Musk announced that he would defy Alameda Country orders and reopen a factory, daring officials to arrest him and threatening to move business to Texas or Nevada.
- Even if scientists find an effective vaccine against covid-19, medical experts say there almost certainly will not be enough global supply for several years.
- China is struggling to put an end to transmission, with new cases reported in the cities of Wuhan and Shulan.
White House press corps reporters Weijia Jiang of CBS News and CNN's Kaitlan Collins were too much for Trump to handle Monday afternoon and he stormed out of the Rose Garden.
Referring to Trump’s repeated declarations that the United States is “doing far better than any other country” on coronavirus testing, CBS News’s Weijia Jiang asked the president: “Why does that matter? Why is this a global competition to you if every day Americans are still losing their lives and we’re still seeing more cases every day?”
Trump did not answer directly, instead telling Jiang, “Maybe that’s a question you should ask China.”
Jiang, who is Chinese American, responded by asking the president why he had aimed that remark specifically at her. Trump again deflected, telling Jiang that it was because she had asked a “nasty question.”
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins then approached the microphone and attempted to ask a question, noting that Trump had called on her. But the president sought to ignore her and instead called on a reporter in the back. After Collins continued pressing him, Trump quickly ended the news conference.
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much,” he said, before turning and leaving the Rose Garden.
Indeed, things are getting much worse as the days go on and Trump knows it.
Coronavirus infection rates are spiking to new highs in several metropolitan areas and smaller communities across the country, according to undisclosed data the White House's pandemic task force is using to track rates of infection, which was obtained by NBC News.
The data contained in a May 7 coronavirus task force report are at odds with President Donald Trump's Monday declaration that "all throughout the country, the numbers are coming down rapidly."
The top 10 areas saw surges of 72.4 percent or greater over a seven-day period compared to the prior week, according to a set of tables produced for the task force by its Data and Analytics unit. They include Nashville, Tennessee; Des Moines, Iowa; Amarillo, Texas; and — atop the list with a 650 percent increase — Central City, Kentucky.
On a separate list of "locations to watch," which didn't meet the precise criteria for the first set: Charlotte, North Carolina; Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Montgomery, Alabama; Columbus, Ohio; and Phoenix, Arizona. The rate of new cases in Charlotte and Kansas City represented an increase of more than 200 percent over the prior week, and other tables included in the data show clusters in neighboring counties that don't form a geographic area on their own, like Wisconsin's Kenosha and Racine counties, which neighbor each other between Chicago and Milwaukee.
So instead of one New York City/Boston megaplex sized outbreak, we'll have a dozen Charlotte, Nashville, and Omaha sized outbreaks with scores of Central City, KY (population 6,000 and an hour north of Nashville) sized outbreaks with the butcher bill rising across the US.
By the end of the month it's going to be readily apparent just how failed "reopening the economy" will be.