‘Wildly irresponsible’: Former Trump aide slams president for ‘spitballing’ on cause of Beirut blasts | The Independent

Brett McGurk, a former national security official in the Trump administration as well as under former presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush, said the president’s remarks were “wildly irresponsible”.

“It’s wildly irresponsible for a president to stand at the [White House] podium and spitball about an international incident like this as hundreds of casualties are still missing or being treated,” he said on Twitter.

 

Source: ‘Wildly irresponsible’: Former Trump aide slams president for ‘spitballing’ on cause of Beirut blasts | The Independent

Victoria coronavirus cases reach single-day record as Melbourne businesses prepare to close – ABC News

Victoria has recorded 725 new coronavirus cases and 15 new deaths — the highest daily totals in the state since the pandemic began. One of the people who died was a man in his 30s, Premier Daniel Andrews said. The other people who died were three men and one woman in their 70s, three men and three women in their 80s, and three men and one woman in their 90s. Mr Andrews said 12 of those 15 deaths were linked to aged care.

Source: Victoria coronavirus cases reach single-day record as Melbourne businesses prepare to close – ABC News

Beirut Explosion: ‘I Was Bloodied and Dazed. Beirut Strangers Treated Me Like a Friend.’ – The New York Times

When I got downstairs, dodging the enormous broken window that rested jaggedly in my stairwell, my neighborhood, with its graceful old-Beirut architecture and arched windows, looked like a picture from the wars I had seen from afar — a mouth missing all its teeth. Someone passing on a motorbike saw my bloody face and told me to hop on. When we couldn’t get any closer to the hospital, our way blocked by hillocks of broken glass and stranded cars, I got off and started walking.

Trump spares only Texas and Florida in cutting funds for National Guard – POLITICO

When President Donald Trump directed late Monday that states now pick up some of the tab for the nationwide deployment of the National Guard to respond to the coronavirus, he carved out two big exceptions: Texas and Florida.

While all other states and territories will have to shell out millions to cover 25 percent of their National Guard costs starting later this month, Texas and Florida will be fully covered. The two key states, which voted for Trump in 2016 and are hotly contested this year, are struggling to contain the coronavirus surges. But other states are worse off by several metrics — including total Covid-19 cases and the percentage of people testing positive.

 

Source: Trump spares only Texas and Florida in cutting funds for National Guard – POLITICO

Deadly Beirut blasts were caused by 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, says PM Diab

Prime Minister Hassan Diab said that 2,750 tonnes of the agricultural fertiliser ammonium nitrate that had been stored for years in a portside warehouse had blown up, sparking “a disaster in every sense of the word”.

Source: Deadly Beirut blasts were caused by 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, says PM Diab

‘It was a bomb’: Trump says deadly Beirut explosion was ‘terrible attack’ – despite no evidence it was deliberate | The Independent – (never any exact answer, when he is just making things up)

When asked what evidence supported his characterisation, the president claimed that US generals told him they believed the explosions were the result of an attack.

“I met with some of our great generals and they just seem to feel that it was,” the president said. “This was not some kind of a manufacturing explosion type of event. This was a – seems to be, according to them, they would know better than I would – but they seem to think it was an attack. It was a bomb of some kind, yes.”

 

Source: ‘It was a bomb’: Trump says deadly Beirut explosion was ‘terrible attack’ – despite no evidence it was deliberate | The Independent

A Well-Connected GOP Strategist Is Helping Kanye West Get on the Ballot in Wisconsin

Just about taking away votes from Biden or because he just wants more attention…

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Kanye West has officially submitted signatures to appear on the ballot in Wisconsin, arguably the most important state on the presidential map — and those signatures were dropped off by an experienced GOP operative.

Lane Ruhland, who a local reporter recorded as she headed in to drop off the signatures that would qualify West for his presidential bid in Wisconsin on Tuesday, is one of a handful of GOP election lawyers in the state — and a former legal counsel for the state Republican Party.

Ruhland’s work for West’s erstwhile presidential campaign makes her the latest Republican operative to join up with the star, who after an extended dalliance with President Trump has now decided to run for president on his own.

The local reporter, WISN’s Matt Smith, didn’t identify Ruhland, who declined comment to him. A local Republican operative told VICE News it was Ruhland.

In a short phone conversation, Ruhland declined to comment — and hung up when pressed on whether and why she was working for West’s campaign.

“I’m going to leave any comment about the petitions, the papers and what’s going on to the campaign itself,” she told VICE News. “I appreciate your reaching out but I’ll let them comment.”

Ruhland currently works at Husch Blackwell, a national law firm. Before that, she served in a number of fairly senior roles in Wisconsin GOP circles. Ruhland most recently was director of environmental and energy policy at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, a GOP-leaning business group that often helps fund Republican candidates. Before that she was a deputy chief of staff for then-Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel (R), and from 2014-2015 was the Wisconsin Republican Party’s legal counsel.

She can be seen defending conservative principles in this speech delivered last September:

As New York Magazine first reported on Monday, West is working with Gregg Keller, an experienced GOP operative who worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign as well as a glut of downticker races. Keller is based in St. Louis, Mo., where Husch Blackwell’s main headquarters are located, and has Wisconsin ties — including a stint on former Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) presidential campaign. Ruhland served as the Romney campaign’s 2012 operations law clerk while she attended law school and served as a legal intern and policy advisor to Walker.

Keller didn’t respond to a call and text message requesting comment.

It remains to be seen exactly what West is hoping to accomplish with his chaotic and last-minute presidential bid. His one campaign appearance was meandering and semi-coherent, leading observers to question his mental health, and his nascent team has struggled to qualify him in a number of key states. 

But Republicans are hoping that if West is on the ballot he could siphon off votes from Biden, especially from Black voters. Given that dynamic, and the connections West has developed in conservative circles due to his connection to Trump, it’s not a shock that some GOP operatives seem keen to help him qualify for the 2020 presidential ballot.

Cover: Rapper Kanye West speaks during his meeting with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 11, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

As the Federal Moratorium Ends, 23 Million Americans Are at Risk of Being Evicted in Coming Months

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The enormousness of the crisis brought on by COVID-19 cannot be overstated. Cases and deaths are steadily rising in multiple states, as are unemployment numbers. Despite the continued severity of the crisis, Congress has stalled on passing a new relief bill and as the federal moratorium on evictions ends, millions of…

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Analysis: Trump whipped out the charts to make his case about coronavirus. They didn’t help

He did not understand them, so he could not make his case, which was no case – it was just a try to make him look good somehow with more than 150,000 Americans dead because of his poor performance.

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Donald Trump and Australian journalist Jonathan Swan both came prepared for their interview about coronavirus, but it was the simplest questions that highlighted the US President’s missteps, writes Kathryn Diss.