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► Colorado is trending in the wrong direction on the coronavirus pandemic, reaching the highest number of statewide cases since May. Experts say that wearing masks in public can substantially slow the spread of COVID-19, but they are also encouraging Coloradans to avoid gathering in crowds altogether.
► As The Washington Post reports, vulnerable Republican Senate candidates such as Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner are finding themselves stuck in a corner as the Senate attempts to advance more coronavirus relief legislation despite opposition from the Trump administration:
As the Senate returns this week for a three-week sprint before the August break, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is facing competing demands from President Trump and Republican senators, including some who are up for reelection in states hit hard by the virus and are coming under withering attacks by Democratic challengers over the pandemic.
In particular, the expiration of an additional $600-per-week in unemployment insurance by July 31 is adding pressure on vulnerable GOP senators as 20 million to 30 million people remain out of work. McConnell and many other Republicans adamantly oppose extending the enhanced benefit at its current level, saying it discourages some from returning to work because they make more money by staying home…
…“We have to — together — get through this by making sure that people are able to get back to work, that businesses are able to survive, that individuals know that they’re going to be okay,” endangered Republican Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.) said in a phone interview.
► President Trump is going to resume his
regular airing of grievances daily coronavirus briefings this week. From The New York Times:
President Trump said on Monday that he is bringing back the daily coronavirus briefings that he halted in April, a tacit acknowledgment that the public health crisis that he has sought to put behind him is still ravaging much of the country.
With cases and deaths on the rise, Mr. Trump told reporters that he would probably hold the first of the new series of briefings on Tuesday at 5 p.m. He attributed his decision to revive them not to the increasing threat of the virus but to the fact that the briefings had high television ratings.
“I was doing them and we had a lot of people watching, record numbers watching in the history of cable television. There’s never been anything like it,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a previously unannounced meeting with congressional Republicans. “It’s a great way to get information out to the public as to where we are with the vaccines, with the therapeutics.”
Trump views these daily briefings as official government versions of a political rally, though he had backed off the daily events amid concerns from advisers that he was “over-saturating” Americans with Trump talk.
► President Trump sat down for an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News over the weekend. Aaron Blake sums up the incredibly-bizarre interview for The Washington Post:
Trump’s interview with Fox’s Chris Wallace was a painful affair from start to finish. Wallace is always a good and tough interviewer, unlike the Fox opinion hosts Trump frequents, and he is always prepared, but this was on another level. The interview wasn’t overly adversarial; Wallace was perfectly willing to talk about the things Trump was interested in and to play ball when Trump responded in relatively good faith. It wasn’t slanted; instead it merely raised the very factual counterpoints dealt with frequently in coverage of Trump. And it wasn’t rushed, which meant that Wallace could dig into the points Trump was making without fear of neglecting other topics he wanted to touch on.
Chris Cillizza of CNN goes through the entire interview to highlight 55 of Trump’s most crazypants quotes from the Fox News interview. Here’s two of those quotes, along with Cillizza’s analysis:
3. “But when you talk about mortality rates, I think it’s the opposite. I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.”
We don’t. We have the seventh highest coronavirus mortality rate in the world, according to Johns Hopkins. Which Wallace told Trump. Trump is using numbers from the European CDC, according to Wallace.
4. “Look, I take responsibility always for everything because it’s ultimately my job, too.”
“I don’t take responsibility at all.” — Donald Trump, March 13
► As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville appears likely to lose that title in a few months:
It is increasingly likely that Patrick Neville, the far-right leader of Colorado’s shrunken House GOP caucus, will be overthrown later this year.
Neville, of Castle Rock, has been minority leader since 2016, but Rep. Hugh McKean, a Loveland Republican, has been public about his plans to seek the job of minority leader heading into the 2021 legislative session in January. More than a dozen lawmakers and other Capitol sources say they believe McKean’s victory is all but assured.
This outcome was made much more likely on primary night in June, when a slate of Republican candidates more aligned with Neville’s vision was trounced by a group of less hard-right candidates.
If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…
Now Only Partially Coronavirus-Related…
► As Jesse Paul writes for The Colorado Sun, health officials in Colorado are dealing with threats and vandalism as they work to protect Coloradans from COVID-19:
Joni Reynolds, the head of Gunnison County’s public health department, entered kind of a routine as the coronavirus crisis descended on Colorado earlier this year: Long hours. Sleepless nights. A police escort home.
A wave of threats over her efforts to keep her community safe amid the pandemic made her fear for her safety. There were also suspicious packages left outside her house and sent to her office, both of which were unsettling but weren’t dangerous.
“References to Nazism. Calling me Mrs. Hitler,” Reynolds said, recounting the contents of the hate mail she received. “Calling me vile names — curse words. Threatening harm to me, my family, my home. Assuring they would remove me from my job and take ‘all my worldly possessions.’”
Public health officials in every corner of Colorado have become the target of threats, vandalism and even attack ads in newspapers and on the radio as a result of their handling of the pandemic.
► CBS4 Denver reports on ongoing protests outside the ICE immigration facility in Aurora.
► Colorado Public Radio tries to fact check claims from the Trump administration that 900,000 jobs were “saved” in Colorado because of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP):
It’s simply too early to say how jobs were impacted, leading to a flawed approach to interpreting the data, he said. The program is being run by the SBA, which hasn’t started accepting applications for forgiveness, according to [Tom] Terry. Information from that phase of the program will likely be available at the end of 2020, at the earliest, he said…
…In response to questions from CPR News about how the Colorado SBA calculated its job numbers, the district office said the “data is from summary information captured from PPP applications, as provided by clients and entered by lenders.”
“Approximately 900,000 jobs were reported, which was documented in SBA’s June 30 report summarizing PPP’s impact on Colorado small businesses and organizations,” a representative from the Colorado district office said in an emailed statement.
Meanwhile, as CBS4 Denver reports, some Coloradans are still waiting for their federal stimulus checks.
► Ernest Luning reports on senior staff hires in Colorado for Democrat Joe Biden’s Presidential campaign.
► Regular readers of “The Big Line” won’t be surprised by this news: Colorado’s CO-6 is being shifted by national pundits from “Likely Democratic” to “Solidly Democratic.” Incumbent Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) is a heavy favorite over former GOP State Party Chairman Steve House.
► We’ve definitely reached the point in which oil and gas lobbying interests in Colorado have completely given up on making halfway-credible arguments.
► Musical artists are boycotting Greenwood Village because of the city’s ridiculous decision to pre-emptively excuse police officers from bad behavior. Musicians and protestors are gathering tonight in Greenwood Village to draw attention to the city’s tone-deaf ordinance.
► As 9News explains, protests related to the Black Lives Matter movement did NOT actually lead to a surge in coronavirus cases.
► Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” over the weekend, Gov. Jared Polis called the nationwide testing response to COVID-19 “a complete disgrace.”
► Experts are warning of a dire economic situation in the United States if Congress fails to take significant action on relief packages.
► Spoiler Alert: That’s House Minority Leader Patrick Neville in the screenshot below:
Pro-police folks tried to hold a #BackTheBlue rally in Denver and were met with opposing speech from BLM protesters. This screengrab from @michellemalkin’s live stream gives you an idea how that went. (Bonus points if you can ID the guy in orange.) #copolitics pic.twitter.com/wkWDxV9T7E
— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) July 20, 2020
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Former game show host and right-wing nutter Chuck Woolery was re-tweeted by President Trump last weekend when he went on a diatribe about how “everyone is lying” about the seriousness of COVID-19. A few days later, Woolery deleted his Twitter account after learning that his son had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
► It looked last week like Kanye West was not actually a candidate for U.S. President, but apparently he’s really making a go of it. West held a campaign event in South Carolina on Sunday that was beyond strange; Kanye quite clearly needs professional help to deal with whatever it is that swirls around inside his head.
► The Washington Post deems Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) to be completely full of shit about trying to preserve protections for pre-existing conditions:
Just like President Trump, these Republican senators say they support coverage guarantees for patients with preexisting health conditions. And just like Trump, their records show the opposite.
The president’s doublespeak — voicing support for these protections while asking the Supreme Court to strike them down — is spreading into some battleground Senate races this year.
It’s a classic case of buyer beware: Look under the hood of what Daines, Gardner and McSally are selling, and you’ll find a car without an engine. [Pols emphasis]
► The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) apparently has no problem with running awful political advertisements in Colorado.
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