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► President Trump is backtracking from a proposal to quarantine New York, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut. On Sunday, he also backed off of his plan to “re-open” the country by Easter (thanks in part to experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci). As Philip Rucker writes for The Washington Post:
Trump beat a hasty retreat on Sunday, announcing from the Rose Garden just before dusk that the federal government’s stringent social distancing guidelines, set to expire on Monday, would be extended through April 30.
More still — as the number of coronavirus deaths in the United States surpassed 2,400, nearly 1,000 of them in New York alone — the president acknowledged that the silent enemy was gaining ground.
Trump said his decision was driven by the science, but he may have been moved more by the personal — seeing body bags carried out of the hospital near his Queens boyhood home and learning that a friend was now in a coma — judging by the emotion with which he spoke about both.
Trump said he was convinced by data modeling presented to him by two physicians advising him on the pandemic — Anthony S. Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Deborah L. Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator — that the death rate in this country probably will not peak for another two weeks.
Chris Cillizza of CNN has more on Trump’s Sunday Rose Garden press conference:
As the number of those sickened and killed by the virus has soared, Trump has increasingly used these press briefings as a chance to vent his frustrations — at governors, the media and anyone else he can think of.
What he did on Sunday night was, somehow, worse — coarser, more detached from reality — than what he has done before. I went through the transcript of the briefing and pulled out the lines you need to see.
As CNN reports in a separate story, Trump said a number of untrue things on Sunday:
On two occasions during Sunday’s coronavirus briefing, President Donald Trump falsely denied he had said words he had said publicly last week.
When PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor noted that the President had said he did not believe that governors actually need all the equipment they claimed they did, Trump said, “I didn’t say that” — even though he said precisely that on Fox News on Thursday.
Later, when CNN White House Correspondent Jeremy Diamond noted that Trump had said he wanted governors to be “appreciative” of him, and that “if they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump said, “But I didn’t say that” — even though he said precisely that at the Friday briefing.
President Trump says that coronavirus cases will peak in the United States in mid-April…though he has provided no information or data to support that claim.
► Dirt ≠ people. Despite what Colorado Republican lawmakers would have you believe, representing large parcels of land is not the same as representing large numbers of people. These same Colorado Republican lawmakers are shaking their fists at Gov. Jared Polis and other public health officials for ordering people in non-essential industries to stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19. The average person does not agree with House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and friends.
As Aurora Sentinel editor Dave Perry writes:
There’s no arguing the point that this is going to be bad — really, really bad. But Neville, Sonnenberg and others simply can’t grasp the difference between really, really bad and much, much worse.
Having to keep businesses shuttered for months rather than weeks is worse. Having to watch people die in their cars outside hospitals because no one can treat them is far, far worse.
It’s not debatable. It’s common sense.
Common sense did not prevail in Colorado Springs this weekend as Republicans held a drive-thru county convention. On Sunday, TABOR Daddy Doug Bruce held a “You’re Not the Boss of Me” Picnic in Colorado Springs that was attended by a whole half-dozen people.
► The Colorado legislature did not reconvene today as lawmakers had initially hoped when the session was suspended two weeks ago. There’s still no good answer on whether the legislature can reconvene and hold a session beyond the 120-mark in early May.
If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…
SERIOUSLY, THERE WILL BE NON-CORONAVIRUS NEWS MOMENTARILY…
► The Justice Department is investigating stock trades made by at least one Member of Congress just at the coronavirus outbreak was starting to rage in the United States. From The Washington Post:
The investigation is being coordinated with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and is looking at the trades of at least one lawmaker, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
As head of the powerful Intelligence Committee, Burr received frequent briefings and reports on the threat of the virus. He also sits on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which received briefings on the pandemic.
In mid-February, Burr sold 33 stocks held by him and his spouse, estimated to be worth between $628,033 and $1.7 million, Senate financial disclosures show. It was the largest number of stocks he had sold in one day since at least 2016, records show.
► Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post takes another look at Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) and his persistent refusal to approve any piece of coronavirus relief legislation.
► Troops from Fort Carson in Colorado Springs will help with coronavirus response efforts in Washington state.
► The ICE detention facility in Aurora reports that two staffers have tested positive for COVID-19.
► Denver7 reports on a new state relief fund that is taking applications:
The state of Colorado has set up a relief fund to help small businesses, nonprofits, local governments, school districts and more in the wake of the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Gov. Jared Polis announced that the Help Colorado Now fund, which was established last week, began accepting its first grant applications Thursday.
So far, nearly $8 million has been donated to the fund from businesses and individuals who want to help. Mile High United Way, in coordination with the Governor’s Office, will disperse all funds.
► Social distancing will end at some point, but how do we make that transition? Vox.com talks with scientists about the best way forward…when we can finally move forward.
► Spring Break is officially ending for many of Colorado’s largest school districts. 9News looks at how Denver-area districts are going to implement remote learning plans.
► The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is scrambling to locate some 8,000 medical beds in Colorado in preparation for an increase in coronavirus cases.
► As Colorado Public Radio reports, medical workers on Colorado’s Eastern Plains are trying to figure out how best to coordinate rural resources.
► According to survey data collected by the State of Colorado, young people in our state are still not grasping the severity of the coronavirus outbreak.
► The Bustang is in park. RTD is suspending its longer city-to-city bus services.
► Stop reading those forwarded e-mails and text messages telling you to avoid taking ibuprofen or else the coronavirus will kill you. Here’s the truth.
HERE IT IS: POLITICAL NEWS THAT IS (MOSTLY) NOT ABOUT CORONAVIRUS…
► Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is not going to end his campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination, despite the fact that it is statistically-unlikely that he can catch frontrunner Joe Biden. As The Washington Post reports, some Democrats are worried about a repeat of 2016:
The judgment Sanders makes about his fate and the direction taken by his supporters could be among the most consequential decisions of the race, determining whether Democrats speak with one voice against a president who is already aimed at November, or squabble for months more.
Although Sanders has long pledged to do all he can to help the eventual nominee defeat President Trump, Democrats are still haunted by the last grueling battle, which didn’t end after it became clear that Clinton would be the nominee, and instead stretched into the summer convention and beyond. Then, as now, an impassioned band of Sanders supporters voiced their displeasure loudly and widely, sometimes echoing the harshest attacks of Trump and his allies with little reproach from Sanders…
…Sanders recently said he wants to debate Biden in April. His team announced it is expanding digital organizing efforts ahead of the New York primary, which on Saturday was moved from April 28 to June 23. And Sanders has signaled a strong desire to use his campaign megaphone to advocate for liberal policies like Medicare-for-all — which allies said are more crucial than ever because of the public health crisis.
► Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is viewing the revolution a bit differently these days. From Politico:
Of the half-dozen incumbent primary challengers Justice Democrats is backing this cycle, Ocasio-Cortez has endorsed just two. Neither was a particularly risky move: Both candidates — Jessica Cisneros in Texas and Marie Newman in Illinois — were taking on conservative Democrats who oppose abortion rights and later earned the support of several prominent national Democrats.
Ocasio-Cortez’s reluctance marks a break with the outsider tactics of the activist left, represented by groups like Justice Democrats. This election cycle, the organization is trying to boot not just conservative Democrats but also some liberal Democrats and to replace them with members who are more left-wing. In other words, to replicate what it pulled off against Rep. Joe Crowley in 2018 by recruiting Ocasio-Cortez.
Ocasio-Cortez’s shift coincides with turnover among top aides in her congressional office — replacing some outspoken radicals with more traditional political professionals — along with a broader reckoning on the left on how to expand Sanders’ coalition after his failure to significantly do so in the presidential primary. Some progressives have questioned whether Sanders should have softened his anti-establishment rhetoric and tried to build bridges with mainstream Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 rather than betting big on turning out disaffected and first-time voters.
Trump said he would discuss oil with Putin, as well as trade, potentially the situation in Venezuela and the coronavirus pandemic.
► Mesa County Republicans held their version of a county assembly over the weekend.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► At least you probably don’t pay any attention to Jerry Falwell Jr.
► Darwinism is at work in Louisiana — but it’s not fair to neighbors.
► In which President Trump suggests — as always, with with no evidence — that health care workers may be misusing their emergency medical supplies. Maybe we shouldn’t have sent all those masks to China, eh?
► As Gov. Jared Polis reminds us, the coronavirus pandemic is not a vacation. And if we all do our part to continue social distancing measures, we could save tens of thousands of lives in Colorado.
► The Tokyo Olympics have been officially rescheduled to start on July 23, 2021.
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