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Lil Wayne meets with Donald Trump on plan for Black America days ahead of election - ABC News
Lil Wayne said that he had a "great meeting" with President Donald Trump on Thursday to discuss the Trump administration's proposed "Platinum Plan" for Black America, just days ahead of the 2020 presidential election. "Just had a great meeting with (President Donald Trump) besides what he's done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership," the rapper tweeted, along with a photo of himself with Trump. "He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done." The meeting between the president and the rapper took place at the Trump National Doral Miami resort, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere confirmed to ABC News on Thursday. As a business mogul, Trump was an icon in hip-hop music for more than three decades and rappers, including Lil Wayne, hailed his wealth and power in hundreds of lyrics, but once he jumped into the political ring in 2015, he was fervently rejected by the hip-hop community. Lil Wayne, who name dropped Trump in songs like "Racks on Racks," rapping, "get money like Donald Trump," voiced support for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. He did not indicate whether he is voting for Trump in 2020. Lil Wayne's meeting with the president comes after rapper Ice Cube repeatedly defended his role in advising the Trump administration on the proposed plan. Intense backlash was leveled against the NWA legend earlier this month after Trump adviser Katrina Pierson revealed on Twitter that he advised the campaign. Ice Cube, who has been a vocal critic of Trump, famously releasing a song titled "Arrest the President" in 2018, said that he did not endorse anyone in 2020, but had spoken with both the Trump and Biden campaigns after releasing his "Contract With Black America" in July. Arguing that "Black progress is a bipartisan issue," the rapper urged politicians to back the 13-point document, which is described as "a blueprint to achieve racial economic justice" and touches on a wide range of issues, including finance, police, criminal justice and education reform. Lil Wayne and Ice Cube's conversations with the Trump campaign come as the Democratic Party and presidential nominee Joe Biden grapple with criticism from progressives and conservatives -- including presidential candidate and hip-hop star Kanye West -- that its politicians have been taking Black voters for granted for decades and have not done enough to earn it by working to uplift Black communities. West, who is running for president under the newly formed Birthday Party, had battled backlash from fans over the past few years after he voiced support for the president and famously met with him at the Oval Office in October 2018. Several operatives who have been prominently involved in the Republican political world have been linked to West's presidential bid, raising questions about West's motives to run. After announcing his presidential bid, West walked back his support for Trump during an interview with Forbes over the summer, saying, "I'm taking the red hat off, with this interview." He also acknowledged that his presidential bid could bleed out Biden's Black voters saying, "To say that the Black vote is Democratic is a form of racism and white supremacy." ABC News' Ben Gittleson contributed to this report.
Coronavirus live updates: El Paso County imposes curfew as hospitals and ICUs fill up - ABC News
France's public health agency said Sunday that it had confirmed another 52,010 cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the highest daily increase the country has seen since the start of the pandemic. However, Dr. Jean-Francois Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the French government on the pandemic, told France's RTL radio on Monday morning that, in reality, the country may have an estimated 100,000 new cases per day due to undiagnosed cases and asymptomatic infections. Delfraissy said that France is in a "very difficult, even critical, situation." As of Sunday afternoon, France's public health agency had confirmed a total of 1,138,507 cases with 34,761 deaths. More than 12,000 patients remained hospitalized with COVID-19, including at least 1,816 in intensive care. The European nation has the fifth-highest tally of diagnosed cases, after the United States, India, Brazil and Russia, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. ABC News' Ibtissem Guenfoud contributed to this report.
Indiana University student killed by stray bullet on 1st visit to New York City - ABC News
A 20-year-old Indiana college student was struck and killed by a stray bullet on a trip to New York City, a place he had dreamed of visiting since seeing Spider-Man as a child, his parents said. Ethan Williams, a student at Indiana University in Bloomington, died early Saturday morning when he was hit by the errant bullet while sitting on a stoop of a home he and his traveling companions had rented, police said. "He has a massive massive heart, he loved people a lot. There's [an] irony to me that that was the life that was taken. You know, the life of someone that wanted to give his life back to helping people," his father, Jason Williams, told ABC station WABC-TV in New York. The shooting unfolded about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday as Ethan Williams was sitting on the front stoop of the Airbnb rental home in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, police said. Witnesses told police they heard at least seven shots and Jason Williams said his son was hit once in the chest. Ethan Williams was taken to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. New York Police Department officials said they do not believe Williams was the intended target. He was pretty much killed instantly from the stray bullet that went down the street," Jason Williams said. Police said Sunday that no one has been arrested in the killing and that investigators are interviewing witnesses and reviewing surveillance video in an effort to identify the person responsible. They need to understand that their actions have consequences beyond the moment," Susan Williams told WABC of the person who killed her son. "Turn yourself in, do whats right. Let our family have peace." Williams was a sophomore at Indiana University and was studying to become a filmmaker, his parents said. They said Ethan Williams was in New York to work on on a short documentary with a film crew. The Williams said it was their son's first trip to New York City and that he had worked over the summer and saved up money to pay for the trip. When Ethan was a little guy, 3 or 4 years old, he saw Spider-Man and he fell in love with New York, Jason Williams said. Susan Williams added, "His hope was always to go to graduate school in New York. That was the dream." The parents said their son graduated from high school with four honors diplomas and traveled to Africa to do missionary work. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said Ethan Williams was also a charter member of the Mayor's Youth Council of Indianapolis, a group of students that explore critical issues such as homelessness, hunger and gun violence. "The news that Ethan was killed ... in New York City is a tragic reminder that the scourge of gun violence is a national crisis, cutting short the promising future of far too many of our young people," Hogsett said in a statement. "These are issues that Ethan was passionate about, and we owe it to him to continue these important conversations. My thoughts are with his family and friends during this heartbreaking time.''
Pope names US Archbishop Wilton Gregory 1st African American cardinal - ABC News
Pope Francis on Sunday elevated Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Wilton Gregory, to cardinal, making him the first African American appointed to the red-hat conclave. The 72-year-old Gregory, who led the Roman Catholic Church's response to an internal sexual abuse scandal in the early 2000s, was one of 13 new cardinals named by Pope Francis during his noontime prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. The cardinal nominees will be installed during a ceremony on Nov. 28. "With a very grateful and humble heart, I thank Pope Francis for this appointment which will allow me to work more closely with him in caring for Christs Church," cardinal-elect Gregory said in a statement following the news from the Holy See. In naming the selections, the pope elevated several archbishops from developing countries, including Cuba, the Congo and Guatemala. Nine of the new cardinals are younger than 80, a requirement to be allowed to vote on a successor to the pontiff. The pope said the new crop of cardinals have all shown dedication to "the missionary vocation of the Church that continues to proclaim the merciful love of God to all men and women of the earth." The new appointments will expand the College of Cardinal's from 120 to 128 electors, who hail from 68 countries. The elevation of Gregory to cardinal will make him the highest-ranking African American prelate in the nation. The historical appointment came two years after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a pastoral letter condemning what it called an accumulation of episodes of violence and animosity with racial and xenophobic overtones" and imploring the Catholic church to practice what it preaches in regards to racial equality. In June, Francis denounced the sin of racism and identified George Floyd, a Black man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25, as the victim of a tragic killing. We cannot close our eyes to any form of racism or exclusion while pretending to defend the sacredness of every human life, the pope said at the time. Gregory, who was born and raised in Chicago, was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago in May 1973, according to his biography on the Archdiocese of Washington website. He served as the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Belleville, Illinois, from 1994 to December 2004, when Pope John Paul II appointed him archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Gregory was elected president o the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2001 and under his leadership, the bishops implemented the "Charter of Protection of Children and Young People" that laid out five principles for responding to a sex abuse crisis involving Catholic clergy and conceded they had been remiss in protecting children from pedophile priests. During his tenure in Atlanta, Gregory came under criticism for spending $2.2 million in church money earmarked for charity to build a Tudor-style mansion for the archbishop's residence. He made national news in 2014 when he sold the mansion and used the proceeds for pastoral work, a move in keeping with the austere priorities set by Pope Francis. Pope Francis appointed Gregory as the seventh archbishop of the Archdiocese of Washington on April 4, 2019. Earlier this year, Gregory issued a statement rebuking a visit by President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump to the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C., for a photo op. I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree," Gregory said. Washington D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory, left, greets parishioners following Mass at St. Augustine Church in Washington, June 2, 2019. Washington D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory, left, greets parishioners following Mass at St. Augustine Church in Washington, June 2, 2019. His statement came just days after protesters outside the White House were tear-gassed and forcibly removed so Trump could walk to a vandalized St John's Episcopal Church and pose for photos holding a Bible. St. Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth," Gregory's statement added. "He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace."
Teenage suspect allegedly plotted to kill Joe Biden: Federal prosecutors - ABC News
A 19-year-old man charged with possession of child pornography last September was arrested with a cache of guns and explosive materials, a recent court filing reveals, and investigators discovered that he had allegedly traveled within four miles of former Vice President Joe Biden's home after he had posted a meme online asking, "should I kill joe biden?" Alexander Hillel Treisman was first arrested in May after employees at a bank in Kannapolis, North Carolina, reported his abandoned white van in the parking lot, which led to the discovery by the police of several weapons and contraband inside, according to a court filing by the U.S. Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. Officers observed weapons including an AR-15 style rifle, a canister of explosive material, and other ammunition boxes, federal prosecutors said. They also found more than $500,000 as well as several more firearms and "drawings of swastikas and planes crashing into buildings," according to the court filing. Treisman was arrested soon after and the police and FBI initiated an investigation that uncovered that Treisman had a major interest in terrorist attacks and mass shootings, and had traveled around the country purchasing weapons in various states, according to federal prosecutors. On Treisman's devices, investigators found that in April he posted a meme with the caption, "should I kill joe biden?" followed by a timeline of internet searches in May where he sought information on Biden's home address, state gun laws, and night vision goggles, the court filing said. Investigators also found that he had traveled to a Wendy's restaurant within four miles of Biden's home and "wrote a checklist note ending with 'execute,'" according to the filing. Additionally, the FBI uncovered "a total of 1,248 videos and 6,721 images of child pornography content ... in addition to 637 videos and images of child pornography containing sadism and/or masochism content," the filing said. The Daily Beast first reported the court filing Thursday afternoon. Kannapolis police arrested Treisman on May 28, according to federal prosecutors. The filing said that a day after his arrest, there was a jailhouse call between Treisman and his mother, Kimberly Treisman, "in which she suggests that [he] should 'jump bail.'" The filing states that Treisman has no previous criminal history and that his counsel told the FBI he was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at age 12, though he denied any having any mental health conditions in his initial interview with law enforcement. It's not immediately clear why Treisman has not yet been charged with additional federal crimes other than possession of child pornography. ABC News has reached out to the U.S. Attorney's office in the Central District of North Carolina for comment. Treisman's attorney did not immediately return messages from ABC News requesting comment.
Coronavirus live updates: Chris Christie speaks out after contracting COVID-19 - ABC News
A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 1 million people worldwide. Over 38.9 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The criteria for diagnosis -- through clinical means or a lab test -- has varied from country-to-country. Still, the actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some national governments are hiding or downplaying the scope of their outbreaks. Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the virus has rapidly spread to every continent except Antarctica. The United States is the worst-affected country, with more than 7.9 million diagnosed cases and at least 217,700 deaths. California has the most cases of any U.S. state, with more than 868,000 people diagnosed, according to Johns Hopkins data. California is followed by Texas and Florida, with over 837,000 cases and over 744,000 cases, respectively. More than 190 vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are being tracked by the World Health Organization, at least 10 of which are in crucial phase three studies. Of those 10 potential vaccines in late-stage trials, there are currently five that will be available in the United States if approved.
Trump embraces idea behind 'herd immunity' as Fauci calls concept 'total nonsense' - ABC News
President Donald Trump has in recent weeks increasingly aligned himself with ideas espoused by scientists pushing "herd immunity" to combat the novel coronavirus, a concept lambasted by public health experts as "dangerous" and called "ridiculous" by the federal government's foremost infectious disease official, Dr. Anthony Fauci. Since Saturday, the president has repeatedly criticized "unscientific lockdowns" -- falsely portraying public health experts as supportive of harsh restrictions -- and argued against coronavirus-related limits on American society by repeating his months-old mantra, "The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself." And since his own bout with the virus, Trump has made claims about his own supposed "immunity" standard campaign speech fare. "I'm immune and I can't give it to you," he boasted Wednesday" -- even though scientists do not fully understand how strong immunity may be or how long it might last. "Remember, when you catch it, you get better, and youre immune," he said in a Fox News interview last week, despite the lack of conclusive research and the the fact that hundreds of thousands have died after contracting it. While he has largely avoided using the phrase "herd immunity" to describe the policies he has furthered, the president's views reflect those of a small subset of scientists with a powerful ally in the White House, Dr. Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist with no background in infectious diseases who has supplanted Fauci and other top federal public health officials as one of Trump's top medical advisers. The scientists argue that the United States should seek to achieve "herd immunity" to COVID-19 by allowing the natural spread of the virus through the population, while keeping only "vulnerable" groups -- like the elderly -- protected. Eventually, they say, enough people will get sick and recover -- and potentially become immune to reinfection, at least for some period of time -- that the rate of spread will diminish. In this Sept. 24, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump arrives on stage during his, 'The Great American Comeback Rally', at Cecil Airport on Sept. 24, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. In this Sept. 24, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump arrives on stage during his, 'The Great American Comeback Rally', at Cecil Airport on Sept. 24, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. But a broad consensus of mainstream public health experts flatly rejects this idea, arguing it would lead to many millions of deaths and take an untold toll on an American populace rife with underlying medical conditions, like obesity, that make them more likely to suffer severe symptoms and die. These top experts do, though, widely agree that extreme social-distancing measures can have adverse effects on society -- physically, mentally and financially -- and, when possible, should be avoided. They say that they, too, are against total "lockdowns," but that measures like mask-wearing and limiting the size of gatherings can lower the rate of infection. "This idea that we have the power to protect the vulnerable is total nonsense, because history has shown that that's not the case," Fauci said Thursday in an interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America." "And if you talk to anybody who has any experience in epidemiology and infectious diseases, they will tell you that that is risky and you'll wind up with many more infections of vulnerable people, which will lead to hospitalizations and deaths. "So I think that we just got to look that square in the eye and say it's nonsense," Fauci said. The Trump administration has not treated it as nonsense, though. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azarmet last week with Atlas and several researchers who have endorsed the ideas behind a "herd immunity" approach without labeling it as such. Atlas himself is a paid adviser to the president. White House adviser Dr. Scott Atlas, left, met with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, not pictured, and three researchers who support ideas associated with the concept of "herd immunity," on Oct. 5, 2020. White House adviser Dr. Scott Atlas, left, met with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, not pictured, and three researchers who support ideas associated with the concept of "herd immunity," on Oct. 5, 2020. In addition to pushing for an end to coronavirus-related restrictions and insisting the country fully "open up," Trump also has repeatedly emphasized -- often with misleading statistics -- that the virus only impacts the elderly or those with pre-existing conditions. His focus on those groups jibes with "herd immunity" adherents who minimize the risk to others. In reality, thousands of younger Americans have died -- and millions have fallen ill. The White House on Monday convened a conference call for reporters in part to draw attention to the Great Barrington Declaration, an online petition that argues in favor of achieving natural herd immunity while also using "focused protection" to safeguard the most vulnerable. The authors of the open letter boasted thousands of signatories, but Sky News found that among them were "homeopaths, therapists and fake names" like "Dr. Johnny Bananas" and "Dr. Person Fakename." The Infectious Disease Society of America on Wednesday called the petition's ideas "inappropriate, irresponsible and ill-informed." In an open letter published Thursday in the leading medical journal The Lancet, an international group of top medical specialists endorsed a counter-petition called the John Snow Memorandum, which sharply opposes the natural pursuit of "herd immunity." "Uncontrolled transmission in younger people risks significant morbidity and mortality across the whole population," the authors wrote in the memorandum, which has received backing from prominent epidemiologists. "In addition to the human cost, this would impact the workforce as a whole and overwhelm the ability of healthcare systems to provide acute and routine care." No government epidemiologist or infectious disease expert was on the White House call, and when pressed, a senior administration official said the White House was not actually formally "endorsing" the petition. "Were not endorsing a plan," the official, who requested anonymity, told reporters. "The plan is endorsing what the presidents policy has been for months." Fauci told ABC News on Thursday that the Great Barrington Declaration falsely portrayed prominent public health experts as supporting "lockdowns." "That declaration has a couple things in it that I think are fooling people, because it says things that are like apple pie and motherhood," he said. "A, we don't want to shut down the country. I say that all the time. B, we do certainly want to protect the vulnerable." In a statement provided by the White House, Atlas said "we emphatically deny that the White House, the president, the administration, or anyone advising the president has pursued or advocated for any strategy of achieving herd immunity by letting the coronavirus infection spread through the community." He said the Great Barrington Declaration authors "emphasized focused protection of the vulnerable and safely ending the shutdown of schools and society." "Those specific policies are aligned with the president, who has repeatedly stated and pursued a strategy focused on saving lives by the following: aggressively protecting the vulnerable, preventing hospital overcrowding, and safely opening schools and society," Atlas said. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, testifies at a Senate Health, Education, and Labor and Pensions Committee on Capitol Hill, Sept. 23, 2020, in Washington. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at NIH, testifies at a Senate Health, Education, and Labor and Pensions Committee on Capitol Hill, Sept. 23, 2020, in Washington. But John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children's Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said the Great Barrington Declaration did, in fact, back the idea of letting the virus rip through the community -- as long as the vulnerable were protected. "It's the same thing," Brownstein, an ABC News contributor, said. "I don't see the distinction." Brownstein said the concept of "focused protection" was "theoretically exciting to think about" but was "not achievable in our population" because of the high level of underlying medical conditions in the population -- as well as the interconnectedness of society. "We know that every single person is a bridge to a high-risk person," he said. "It's just not practical to think you could put people who are high risk separate from the population." The president has for months pushed for the end of coronavirus restrictions -- including those recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal health officials -- flouting precautions like mask wearing and ignoring state and local regulations forbidding large gatherings. A close ally, Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, has also embraced the researchers pushing the ideas behind natural "herd immunity." In late September, DeSantis, a Republican, hosted a roundtable discussion with two of those who would later meet with Azar, Stanford University's Jay Bhattacharya and Harvard Medical School's Martin Kulldorff. The next day, DeSantis, a Republican, lifted all coronavirus-related restrictions in the state.
Aviation staffer who has flown with Biden in recent days tests positive for COVID-19 - ABC News
The Biden campaign has announced that someone who flew with former Vice President Joe Biden to Ohio on Monday and Florida on Tuesday has tested positive for COVID-19. The positive result was discovered through contact tracing that the campaign undertook following the positive diagnosis of Sen. Kamala Harris communications director and a non-staff flight crew member. "Around noon on Thursday, October 15th, we learned - as part of our contact tracing of the crew member on Senator Harris plane that tested positive for COVID last night - that an administrative member of the Aviation company that charters Vice President Bidens aircraft tested positive for COVID-19," Campaign Manager Jen OMalley Dillon wrote in a statement. However, the campaign says that Biden and the member who tested positive did not have any passing or close contact during the flight and he is not required to isolate. Vice President Biden was not in close contact, as defined by the CDC, with this individual at any time. In fact, the Vice President did not even have passing contact: this individual was over 50 feet from VP Biden at all times, entered and exited the aircraft from a rear entrance, and both the individual and the Vice President wore masks for the entire flight. Given these facts, we have been advised by the Vice Presidents doctor and the campaigns medical advisors that there is no need for the Vice President to quarantine, she wrote adding that "no additional precautions are indicated for the Vice President." The Biden campaign announced earlier Thursday that he had tested negative for COVID-19, the eighth time the campaign has released negative test results for the former vice president. Harris and her husband also tested negative for coronavirus on Thursday, according to an aide, but she will not return to in-person campaigning until Monday after her communications director tested positive Wednesday night. The campaign's statement said the crew member who tested positive previously tested negative three times since Oct. 4, most recently on Oct.11. "The person was contacted as part of our contact tracing on Thursday morning, reported symptoms, sought a test for COVID-19, and was positive. A second test confirmed the positive result around noon today," according to the statement.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, police Officer Jacob Hancher fatally shot in line of duty - ABC News
A Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, police officer was killed and another was wounded when they responded to a domestic incident and came under attack by a gunman who died at the scene, authorities said. Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock identified the slain officer as Jacob Hancher, who was sworn in as a police officer less than a year ago after serving as a department community service officer for four years. "He was a dedicated public servant, who upheld his oath to protect this community and made the ultimate sacrifice," Prock said at a news conference early Sunday. "He cared about the people he served (and) served with, and absolutely loved the Myrtle Beach. I ask of you today to please keep Jacob, his family and his fellow officers in your prayers." Myrtle Beach police officials said the shooting erupted around 10 p.m. Saturday in an area of motels and private residences about two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), which is leading the investigation, issued a statement on Sunday saying Hancher and another officer were responding to a domestic call when the shooting erupted. "Following the exchange of gunfire, the suspect was discovered deceased," reads the statement. A second officer was wounded in the gunfight and taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the statement. It was not immediately clear if the alleged gunman, whose name was not released, was shot by the officers or died from a self-inflicted gunshot. No further information was released about the deadly confrontation. Neighborhood residents told The Sun News of Myrtle Beach that they heard multiple shots fired in the gun battle. Hancher is the first Myrtle Beach police officer killed in the line of duty in 18 years, and the 37th officer involved in a shooting in South Carolina in 2020, according to the statement from SLED. In 2019, there were a total of 45 officer-involved shootings in South Carolina, including one involving a Myrtle Beach police officer, officials said. A preliminary report from the FBI shows that Hancher was the 38th U.S. law enforcement officer feloniously killed in 2020. During the same time period in 2019, 33 officers were feloniously killed. The FBI report shows that at least eight officers killed this year were the victims of an ambush and two others died in unprovoked attacks. Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune posted a statement on Facebook about the shooting, saying, "I am humbly asking for your heartfelt prayers for our MBPD. They need our community to show them love, support and strength." In addition to being a police officer, Hancher served as a volunteer member of the Horry County, South Carolina, Fire Rescue Department, the agency said in a Twitter post. "Our hearts go out to Hancher's family, friends, loved ones, law enforcement colleagues and fellow team members here at HCFR during this difficult time," the fire department's statement reads. Hancher was also a member of the Catholic Church of St. James in Conway, South Carolina, church officials said in a statement posted Sunday morning on Facebook that included a photo of Hancher. Church officials said Hancher was part of a contingent that traveled to Honduras in 2017 to do missionary work. "For those who were able to serve alongside him, they learned of his kindness and selfless service," reads the statement from officials at the church. "We are deeply saddened by his passing. We ask for your prayers for his family, friends, and fellow officers who are mourning his loss." Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also posted a message of condolences on Twitter, saying he was just in Myrtle Beach on Friday speaking with a group of police officers. "The cops need our support now more than ever," Graham said. "I've never known a more difficult time to be a police officer."
Trump family, aides flouted Cleveland hotel mask mandate ahead of debate - ABC News
Hours before they were seen watching Tuesday's presidential debate without masks in violation of safety protocols, members of President Donald Trump's family, campaign staff and White House team also flouted a mask mandate at a hotel frequented by visitors to Cleveland Clinic. Trump and his traveling entourage spent several hours ahead of the debate at Cleveland Clinic at the InterContinental Suites Hotel Cleveland, one of several hotels near or on the campus of the world class medical facility, and used by people traveling to the clinic for work and medical procedures. ABC News spotted Eric and Lara Trump, White House adviser and the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien -- who has since tested positive for COVID-19 -- walking around the hotel lobby without masks, perusing the snack shop and a buffet that appeared to be set aside for the White House group. Secret Service officers posted in the building's lobby and elevators during the president's time on site were all wearing masks as well as other campaign officials seen on site earlier in the day. And the hotel had been enforcing its mask requirement and mandatory temperature checks on guests and hotel staff in the days leading up to the debate. Trump arrived at the hotel after his debate walkthrough at 4:46 p.m. on Tuesday, and departed for the debate site at 8:27 p.m., nearly four hours later, according to notes from the White House reporters traveling with the president. A hotel spokesperson told ABC News that the White House group was "in a dedicated space within the hotel and had limited to no interaction with hotel colleagues or other guests." However, one of the dedicated spaces set aside for White House and campaign staff was stationed in the main area near the hotel restaurant and was accessible to hotel guests. "Our thoughts are with all Americans who are impacted by COVID, including the President and the First Lady. While members of this group were not overnight guests at our property and on site only briefly, we have taken the necessary steps to maintain hygiene standards in the hotel, including enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures," a hotel spokesperson said, adding that the hotel is following guidance from "relevant" health authorities and remains open to guests. The hotel did not respond to follow-up questions about why members of the Trump traveling group were allowed to walk around public spaces in the hotel without masks on, or whether any guests or staff have been formally notified about the president's travel, or offered testing in the wake of his positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Its unclear if anyone was infected, or if anyone has self-quarantined. The hotel confirmed to ABC News on Saturday that masks are mandatory in the indoor public areas. Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, two days after the debate, according to the White House. Stepien received his positive diagnosis Friday evening. Senior White House aide Hope Hicks, who traveled with the president to Cleveland, tested positive Thursday morning. A person infected with COVID-19 can be contagious several days before experiencing symptoms, said Dr. Nasia Safdar, an infectious disease expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health and medical director of Infection Control at UW Hospital and Clinics. "There's no question that the White House staff should have followed mask-wearing mandates," Dr. Leana Wen, a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and a former Baltimore health commissioner, told ABC News. "That said, there is minimal risk to passing someone or sharing an elevator with them, because of short time of exposure." Cleveland Clinic required debate attendees to obtain a negative PCR test result from the hospital within 72 hours of the debate, though both the Trump and Biden campaigns were responsible for testing everyone traveling to the debate with both candidates on Tuesday, the Clinic said in a statement. "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace, who moderated the debate, said on Fox News on Friday that organizers relied on "an honor system" to ensure the campaigns didn't bring any infected people into the debate site. The Trump campaign and White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.