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The New York Times called ‘Anonymous’ op-ed author Miles Taylor a Trump ‘senior official.’ Was that accurate? - The Washington Post
The author’s self-reveal raised questions about whether his role was overhyped by the description.
Was it really accurate to describe the author as a senior official? Was the anonymity granted by his book publisher and the New York Times justified? And given his role in implementing one of the administrations cruelest policies, was he really the righteous whistleblower he portrayed himself to be? Miles Taylor, the 33-year-old former chief of staff to Kirstjen Nielsen when she headed the Department of Homeland Security, disclosed on Twitter that he wrote the column entitled I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration, which the Times published in September 2018. Book by Anonymous describes Trump as cruel, inept and a danger to the nation In recent months, Taylor, who resigned from the administration last year, has become a prominent anti-Trump pundit on CNN. He is also the co-founder of a group called the Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform, which supports former vice president Joe Bidens presidential campaign. Taylors 900-word piece for the Times described in general terms efforts by White House staffers, including himself, to respond to Trumps amorality and impulsiveness, which he wrote had resulted in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back. The column enraged Trump; he took to Twitter to call the unknown writer gutless and demanded, for reasons of national security, that the Times must turn him/her over to the government at once. Anonymous followed up with a book-length essay addressing the same themes as his Times column. Entitled A Warning, it reached the top of the nonfiction bestseller list last November. Neither the Times nor Taylors publisher, Twelve Books, revealed his identity, describing him only as a senior official. The phrase senior administration official is not a formal job category; its often used as shorthand by White House officials and journalists to describe a range of people who have delivered information for publication on background, meaning without being identified. Taylor was an adviser in the Department of Homeland Security at the time his op-ed was published in the Times. He was later promoted to chief of staff to Nielsen and remained in that job from February to November of last year. He worked on a number of important administration initiatives, including construction of the border wall, the family separation immigration policy, and a program requiring migrants to stay in Mexico. At times, he spoke to reporters in background briefings, during which reporters were permitted to describe him only as a senior administration official the standard description for such briefings. But in Taylors case, the phrase was crucial to lending his column and book gravitas. Some guessed that Anonymous might be a Cabinet official, a prominent top adviser like Kellyanne Conway or even Vice President Pence. The guessing game that surrounded Anonymous fueled interest in his column and book, much as anonymity drove interest in the 1996 novel Primary Colors, a roman à clef about President Bill Clinton that was later revealed to have been written not by a White House insider but by Time magazine columnist Joe Klein. Did Taylor who was a DHS policy adviser when the Times published his op-ed, qualify as a senior official? I would not describe him as a senior administration official, said Joe Lockhart, who served as press secretary in the Clinton administration. In his definition, senior administration officials are assistants to the president, Cabinet officials, and the principals and deputies in the national security apparatus. Thats what I think of when I read that term, and thats what I think a lot of other people think, he added. Jonathan Karl, chief Washington correspondent for ABC News, acknowledged that the term is a blurry one. But he said he doesnt think anybody when they read the anonymous op-ed thought it was someone who was an adviser to a Cabinet secretary who had very little contact with the president himself. Olivia Nuzzi of New York Magazine said that the times shes used that attribution its been the product of a negotiation with a source. Its so vague as to be meaningless, which is why sources want it, but thats also why it can feel like a deceit for the reader when they learn who youre actually talking to. In the case of an anonymous author, the prospect of who it might be creates more interest than who it really is, said Lockhart. Going public ends the game. People play the game because it is fun and interesting and its like anything the more hype and speculation, the higher propensity for disappointment. Both the Times and Twelve Books declined to comment on how they labeled Taylor. We take seriously our obligations to protect sources, Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said. Many important stories in sensitive areas like politics, national security and business could never be reported if our journalists violated that trust. In this case, she said Taylor had waived his right to confidentiality; she confirmed that Taylor was the author, but had no further comment. James Bennet, the Times editorial page editor who oversaw the Anonymous column, resigned from the newspaper over the summer amid a separate tempest, the publication of a column by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that urged military intervention to quell civic protests following the police killing of George Floyd. He could not be reached for comment. Taylor himself defended his use of anonymity in a Medium post on Tuesday. Issuing my critiques without attribution forced the President to answer them directly on their merits or not at all, rather than creating distractions through petty insults and name-calling, he wrote. I wanted the attention to be on the arguments themselves. At the time I asked, What will he do when there is no person to attack, only an idea? We got the answer. He became unhinged. And the ideas stood on their own two feet. But Taylors role in implementing Trumps highly controversial family-separation policy while he worked for Nielsen may undermine his own integrity in the eyes of critics. Under the policy, U.S. immigration agents took children away from adults who crossed the southern border, housing them in separate facilities. Amid an international outcry, Trump reversed course and rescinded the policy in mid-2018. But even today, its effects linger. Some 545 children who were separated from their parents under the program still have not been reunited with their parents, lawyers appointed by a federal judge reported last week. About two-thirds of those parents were deported to Central America without their children, according to the attorneys.
‘Stop doing that, or this interview will end’: How the smackdown took over cable news in 2020 - The Washington Post
Even typically neutral anchors have adopted a stern, sharp-edged approach with slippery Team Trump interview subjects. It’s made for some compelling TV news.
Harlow was having none of it. You speak for the president so were going to stick on that topic. ... How much federal income tax did the president pay in 2016 and 2017? Morgenstern called the Times story a smear. But he refused to get specific about his claim that Trump had paid millions in taxes and kept bringing up Hunter Biden. Harlow kept pushing and chiding (Im asking the questions here), and when he accused the Times of writing the story in coordination with Democrats as a political hit, she laid down the law. Brian, she demanded, stop doing that, or this interview will end. Stop attacking the press. The 10-minute run-in quickly trended on Twitter and blossomed like dandelions across Facebook feeds. CNN clipped and posted it on its website. Suddenly, Harlow was the journalism hero of the day or at least until another of her colleagues would have the chance to make another Trump spokesperson squirm on live television. In the months leading up to the 2020 presidential election, the spokesman-and-surrogate smackdown has become a popular cable-news ritual. Once reluctant to brand transparently false statements as lies, or betray frustration with their interview subjects, even the most traditionally neutral anchorpeople now seem eager to join the fray or perhaps compelled into it by the slippery interview stylings of the Trump White House and campaign staff. How cable-news chyrons took on a life of their own in the Trump era On Sunday, it was CNNs Jake Tapper taking on Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, who admitted: Were not going to control the pandemic. (Why arent we going to get control of the pandemic? asked Tapper). Last week, it was MSNBCs Hallie Jackson cutting short campaign spokesman Hogan Gidleys claims of widespread voter fraud and evasions on another question (Nope, okay, I guess theres no answer to that question, Jackson said when Gidley ducked). In August, it was CNNs Erin Burnett challenging presidential adviser Peter Navarro on his dubious claims about the healing power of hydroxychloroquine (Youre an economist, not a scientist, she said). A month earlier, another CNN host, Brianna Keilar, dueled with Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh (after Murtaugh told her repeatedly to hold on a second, Keilar responded, I cant hold on a second when youre not being honest). An earlier Keilar-Murtaugh interview resulted in Murtaugh excusing Trumps comments about asking underlings to slow [coronavirus] testing down as a joke and Keilar pushing back: 120,000 dead Americans, millions unemployed. ... Do you think thats funny? A good smackdown gives a TV journalist a chance to look tough and skeptical and in command of the facts, while giving left-of-center viewers the enjoyable catharsis of watching a prevaricating Trump surrogate fighting against inconvenient facts. For many, the approach is long overdue. Given the Trump administrations record on dissembling, disinformation and attacking the news media, its vital for journalists ... to ask specific questions and follow up when White House officials dodge them, says Chris Bury, a veteran ABC News correspondent who is now on the faculty of DePaul University in Chicago. Sometimes these showdowns generate actual news as happened Sunday, during Tappers interview of Meadows. The two sparred about the coronavirus crisis until Meadows admitted that the Trump administration has no intention of trying to contain the virus. It helps that Trump and his surrogates have provided so much raw material for aggressive TV interviewers to push back on for the past four years. But the volume of confrontational clips is a relatively new development in the medias relationship with this White House. In early 2017, Kellyanne Conways coinage of the phrase alternative facts during an appearance on NBCs Meet the Press to deflect criticism of the White Houses preposterous claim that Trump had drawn record-breaking inauguration crowds didnt even draw much of a retort from interviewer Chuck Todd. The political theater of Kayleigh McEnanys scripted walk-offs Yet tensions were soon sparked in the White House briefing room, where a confrontational style of asking questions emerged, notably from Jim Acosta, CNNs White House correspondent. I dont believe reporters are supposed to be the story, Acosta wrote in his memoir last year, acknowledging his reputation for TV-friendly clashes. [But] do we absorb Trumps attacks? Or do we push back and stand up for ourselves? Acosta determined that Trump represented a new kind of president, one that required a different kind of playbook for journalists. The White House, in turn, accused Acosta of showboating; for a brief period in 2017, then-press secretary Sean Spicer banned live TV and audio of his briefings, reportedly to diminish the impact of these kinds of clashes, and Acosta himself was briefly banned in 2018. Now, nearly four years into the Trump administration, theres a growing feeling among TV journalists that they need to be seen as pushing back, said Mark Lukasiewicz, dean of the school of communication at Hofstra University and a former producer and news executive at NBC and ABC. You cant let [an interview subject] dissemble on the air. Even Wolf Blitzer, not exactly a bombthrower, got into the act this month when he confronted (and appeared to blame) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for stalled negotiations over a massive pandemic-relief bill. Blitzers insistence that Pelosi was being stubborn and inflexible in the negotiations elicited a testy response from her. Which of course propelled the interview to viral glory. Sometimes, attempts to channel the prosecutorial verve of the late 60 Minutes legend Mike Wallace turn into hot air, Lukasiewicz added, generating more heat than light. Many critics rolled their eyes after Navarro, whose White House role is as an adviser on trade policy, told CNN New Day anchor John Berman in one particularly sparky interview that he was qualified to challenge infectious-disease expert Anthony S. Fauci on medical treatment for the coronavirus because Im a social scientist but continued to get booked on the network again and again. Ive never understood the point of shows where a network invites world-champion liars onto its air, commentator David Frum, an editor for the Atlantic, recently tweeted, and then the host righteously denounces them for world-champion lying. In fairness, networks often have little choice. Obliged to offer the Trump Teams point of view, they are often stuck interviewing the White House or the campaigns appointed representative some of whom have lackluster credibility with journalists. How breaking news got panelized: On cable, journalists and pundits increasingly share space. Before Tapper interviewed Trump campaign surrogate Lara Trump last week an exchange that he cut off early after the two repeatedly talked over each other he made it clear to viewers that the presidential daughter-in-law was far from his first choice for a discussion about the coronavirus. We requested members of the [coronavirus] task force, including Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, the HHS secretary, the CDC director, the head of NIH, the head of the FDA, the presidents doctor, or the chief of staff, the national security adviser, the White House communications director, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, the secretaries of State or Treasury or Defense, and so on, he began. The White House declined to make anyone from the Trump administration available. CNNs representatives declined to comment. Do these high-pitched interviews also make for good journalism? Do they leave viewers better informed or merely entertained by the gladiatorial spectacle? The Harlow-Morgenstern interview, for example, gave viewers little new information, Bury says, but it left an indelible impression that of a representative of the Trump White House ducking an important question about Trump. In this case, the segment was long enough for viewers to see the dance play out, he said. Yet these conflict-laden interviews may also be immeasurably corrosive, fuel for the partisan divide, says Tom Bettag, the much-decorated executive producer of Ted Koppels Nightline who is now part of the University of Marylands journalism faculty. People watch train wrecks, Bettag said. People watch food fights. People pass conspiracy theories on Facebook. People follow Trump tweets with a certain oh-my-God fascination. But that has nothing to do with good journalism. It has nothing to do with serving the purposes of democracy.
Seven arrested after fights erupt between pro-Trump caravan and protesters in Manhattan - The Washington Post
Police said seven people had been taken into custody following a verbal fight that turned physical in Times Square.
As of Sunday night, five men and two women had been taken into custody for disorderly conduct following a verbal dispute that turned physical, a New York Police Department spokesman told The Washington Post. Rudolph W. Giuliani, the presidents lawyer and the citys former mayor, said he was driving down Fifth Avenue when he saw a group of anti-Trump demonstrators confronting the caravan near the southeastern corner of Central Park. He continued following behind the group for about 20 blocks, as videos captured Giuliani being screamed at by protesters through an open car window. They were assaulted by a bunch of goons, Giuliani told The Washington Post in an interview, noting that he did not see any physical fights but heard the people on the street yelling expletives. Giuliani said he saw one protester grab an American flag and a Trump/Pence 2020 banner hanging from a vehicle before fleeing into the park. The car also appeared to have been scratched up, he said. In videos of the scene posted to Twitter, a group of people appear throw eggs, curse and give the middle finger to cars passing by with Trump banners and American flags. Another video, which appears to have been filmed further west along 42nd Street, a group chanted, New York hates you, at a group holding Trump flags while marching down the street.
White House signals defeat in pandemic as coronavirus outbreak roils Pence’s office - The Washington Post
With Nov. 3 just nine days away and coronavirus cases surging in many states, the new White House outbreak spotlighted the administration’s failure to contain the pandemic.
With the election a little over a week away, the new White House outbreak spotlighted the administrations failure to contain the pandemic as hospitalizations surge across much of the United States and daily new cases hit all-time highs. The outbreak around Pence, who chairs the White Houses coronavirus task force, undermines the argument Trump has been making to voters that the country is rounding the turn, as the president put it at a rally Sunday in New Hampshire. Further complicating Trumps campaign-trail pitch was an extraordinary admission Sunday from White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that the administration had effectively given up on trying to slow the viruss spread. Were not going to control the pandemic, Meadows said on CNNs State of the Union. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who regularly wears a mask on the campaign trail and strictly adheres to social distancing guidelines, sought to capitalize on the remark. This wasnt a slip by Meadows; it was a candid acknowledgment of what President Trumps strategy has clearly been from the beginning of this crisis: to wave the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away, Biden said in a statement. It hasnt, and it wont. Some in the vice presidents office suggested that White House doctors should release a statement saying that Short was positive and that Pence was still okay to travel. But that idea was scuttled by Meadows and others, officials said. The outbreak in Pences orbit comes roughly three weeks after Trump was hospitalized with the virus and a number of his advisers tested positive. Officials said the new list of those infected includes the vice presidents chief of staff, Marc Short; his top outside political adviser, Marty Obst; his personal aide Zach Bauer, known as a body man, who accompanies him throughout his day; and two other staff members. Pence has been in close contact with Short in recent days, but spokesman Devin OMalley said the vice president and second lady Karen Pence both tested negative for the virus on Saturday and again Sunday and have been in good health. Some White House aides said they did not want attention on the outbreak because it would highlight the pandemic in the final week of the campaign and raise questions about the administrations handling of it. The vice president continued Sunday with his heavy travel schedule, flying to North Carolina for an evening rally in Kinston. He told aides that he was determined to keep up his appearances through the week despite his potential exposure, irrespective of guidelines, officials said. Some aides said they would have preferred tele-rallies because if the vice president is infected while on the road in the final days of the campaign, it is likely to become a major news story for several days. On Monday, Pence is expected to visit the Capitol to preside over the Senate vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) decried Pences plans to continue with his scheduled events. God help us, Schumer said in a speech Sunday on the Senate floor. OMalley said that Pence was cleared to travel in consultation with White House doctors. While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel, OMalley said in a statement Saturday night. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people stay home for 14 days following possible exposure and to socially distance at all times. The CDC allows an exemption for critical infrastructure workers who are not experiencing symptoms so long as they socially distance and cover their faces at all times. Meadows defended the characterization of Pences campaign activity as essential work, and said the vice president had assured him late Saturday night that he would socially distance and wear a mask except for when he is delivering remarks. National security adviser Robert C. OBrien similarly defended Pences travel decision, claiming that the vice president was following all the rules from the CDC. Essential workers going out and campaigning and voting are about as essential as things we can do as Americans, OBrien told reporters Sunday. This is a marked contrast to how the Biden campaign dealt with recent infections among the traveling entourage of vice-presidential nominee Kamala D. Harris. On Oct. 15, the morning after two people in Harriss orbit tested positive, the Biden campaign issued a lengthy statement identifying the individuals and detailing their contact with Harris and other staffers, their activities in the days leading to their positive tests and the dates of Harriss most recent negative tests. Though Harris had not been in close contact with either person as defined by the CDC at that time she suspended her travel through that weekend. When asked Sunday about Pences decision to continue campaigning in person despite the fresh outbreak among his team, Harris told reporters: He should be following the guidelines. Were doing it. I think we have modeled the right and good behavior, and they should take our lead. The latest outbreak underscored the absence of some basic health safety protocols at the White House and at Trump and Pences campaign events, where the two and their aides routinely flout CDC recommendations and state or local health guidelines. They do not wear masks with any regularity, nor do they practice social distancing. Aboard Air Force Two, where Pence and his team have spent considerable time in recent weeks jetting among campaign stops, officials often do not wear masks. Meadows and Short have been among the more strident skeptics of coronavirus restrictions inside the administration, aides said, and have played down the threat of the virus and the push for health safety precautions in the White House. The first member of Pences circle to be recently diagnosed with the virus was Obst, a longtime adviser who helps manage the vice presidents political affairs from outside the government. Obst tested positive Tuesday, after flying aboard Air Force Two with Pence, according to two administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly discuss internal deliberations. Short, who tested positive for the virus on Saturday afternoon, has told other people he believes he contracted it from Obst. Bauer tested positive while in isolation, which the aide began on Tuesday after having close contact with Obst, one of the officials said. Two other people in Pences office also have tested positive. Meadows tried to keep details about the infections within Pences orbit under wraps and opposed the vice presidents office releasing such information, according to two officials. It was not until Saturday evening that Short and Obsts infections were first reported by the media. Meadows acknowledged that he had sought to suppress information about the outbreak in his CNN interview. Sharing personal information is not something that we should do, not something that we do actually do unless its the vice president or the president or someone thats very close to them where theres people in harms way, Meadows told anchor Jake Tapper. New coronavirus cases in the United States reached an all-time high on Friday and hospitalizations have soared, surpassing the mark set during the summer as cases spiked across the Sun Belt in particular. Cases this fall have been rising rapidly in a number of Republican-leaning states and counties, according a recent analysis of health data by Harvard University scientists. Campaigning over the weekend, Trump tried to present an alternate reality. At a rally Sunday in Londonderry, N.H., Trump said the pandemic would soon end thanks to a potential vaccine, which he said was going to be delivered fast. That will quickly end the pandemic its ending anyway, Trump said. Were rounding the turn, but the vaccine will get it down fast, because we want normal life to resume. Normal life. We just want normal, normal life. Trump also had hoped to divert attention from the pandemic in his final stretch of campaigning, though the new outbreak at the White House could upend that strategy. At a rally Saturday in North Carolina where scores of maskless attendees stood shoulder to shoulder Trump played down the dangers of the virus and predicted that the news media would stop covering the pandemic after Election Day. Turn on television: covid, covid, covid, covid, covid. A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they dont talk about it covid, covid, covid, covid, Trump said. By the way, on November 4th, you wont hear about it anymore. The president was referring to a hypothetical plane crash. Far more than 500 people have been dying each day in the United States of the coronavirus. In Arkansas, where the coronavirus infection rate and hospitalizations are on the rise, Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said Trumps message about the country rounding the turn conflicts with the reality on the ground in Arkansas, which he described as very concerning. Everyone knows that we are going through a very difficult crisis and its going to likely get worse as we go into the winter, Hutchinson said Sunday on CBS Newss Face the Nation. Hutchinson also took issue with Trumps reluctance to wear a mask or strongly endorse that others do so, despite saying he is okay with mask usage. It makes it confusing, he told anchor Margaret Brennan. I mean, hes made it very clear that wearing a mask is important. I saw him wear a mask going into the polls yesterday, but obviously with the rallies, there is confusing messages there. Biden has made the pandemic the centerpiece of his campaign pitch and has tried to hammer Trump for mishandling the crisis. I told him at the debate, were not learning how to live with it. Were learning how to die with it! And its wrong, Biden said Saturday at a drive-in rally in Bristol, Pa., an outer-ring suburb of Philadelphia. The event had all the markings of a Biden campaign event in this era and was a visual contrast to Trumps rallies. He spoke to rows of cars in the parking lot of Bucks County Community College, which allowed attendees to remain socially distanced. Biden and his wife, Jill, took the stage wearing face masks but removed them at the lectern. I dont like the idea of all this distance, but its necessary, Biden said, as drivers honked in response. What we dont want to do is become superspreaders. Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.
Italy imposes harshest coronavirus restrictions since spring lockdown as second wave sweeps Europe - The Washington Post
National rules in several countries suggest a growing belief that regional restrictions might not be enough to beat back covid-19.
The World Health Organization reported new daily case records worldwide three days in a row last week, with new infections reaching more than 465,000 on Saturday. Almost half of those cases were in the organizations Europe region. The United States set a new record Friday with more than 82,000 confirmed new infections. The pandemic is spreading rapidly again, even faster than at the start of it more than half a year ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned in her weekly video podcast. In Russia, sick people often treat themselves. Thats not helping in the coronavirus fight. Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, called trends in both the United States and Europe deeply troubling. Unless the U.S. and Europe take decisive action to stop the spread of the virus, we could easily see case numbers that eclipse pre-lockdown levels, she told The Washington Post. If case numbers get too large, it may be too difficult to meaningfully slow the virus using measures other than shutdowns. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the new restrictions as the country reported a record 21,273 cases on Sunday. Beginning Monday, restaurants and bars will be required to close by 6 p.m., and gyms, pools and movie theaters must shut down entirely. The restrictions are the fourth round of tightening this month in Italy, and the most severe since the country lifted its nationwide lockdown in May. Despite a months-long shutdown in the spring, when the country suffered thousands of deaths, an overloaded health-care system and bodies piling up in hospital wards, its clear the fight is far from over. Italy had 1,208 covid-19 patients in intensive care on Sunday more than on March 9, when Conte announced the lockdown. These are difficult days, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said Sunday, according to the Associated Press. The curve of contagion is growing in the world. And in all Europe the wave is very high. We must react immediately and with determination if we want to avoid unsustainable numbers. Covid-19 surge in Belgium leads to shortage of doctors, teachers and police Europe appeared to beat back infection rates during the summer. But as economies have reopened and colder weather pushes people indoors, several countries are now reporting case numbers that are eclipsing records set in the spring. Numbers have soared in the Czech Republic, which in recent days has requested additional ventilators from an emergency European stockpile, closed its borders to tourists and imposed a new lockdown. The country recorded 12,472 new cases on Saturday; more than 250,000 people in the country of 10.7 million have now contracted the virus. Spain, which flattened its spring curve with a three-month-long lockdown that started in March, announced new national restrictions Saturday. Under a new state of emergency, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez imposed a national nighttime curfew, banned gatherings of more than six people and gave regional governments the authority to restrict movement. In a speech Friday, he warned of tough months to come. [Ireland is first European country to reimpose a lockdown amid a coronavirus resurgence] The sweeping national rules in several countries suggest a growing belief that initial efforts by European leaders to avoid reimposing economically punishing lockdowns in favor of regional restrictions focusing on virus hot spots might not be enough. On Thursday, Ireland became the first European country to go back under national lockdown. Increased testing could account for some of the surge in case numbers. The numbers of hospitalizations and deaths have not returned to the levels of the spring in many countries. But hospitalizations, too, are on the rise. Poland turned its largest athletic stadium into a field hospital to free up capacity just days before the countrys leader tested positive for the virus. Spains hospitalizations jumped in the past two weeks by 20 percent nationally and 70 percent in Catalonia, according to Reuters. Britain to infect healthy volunteers with coronavirus in vaccine challenge trials Belgium, which has the second-highest infection rate in the European Union after the Czech Republic, reported that its hospital occupancy increased by 87 percent in the past week, as the virus has taken a toll on the countrys health-care workers, teachers and police. Europes Center for Disease Prevention and Control warned Friday that while death rates remain low because transmission has been mostly among younger people, that could swiftly change. With high levels of community transmission, the protection of medically vulnerable individuals becomes more difficult and, it is inevitable that more individuals who are not considered medically vulnerable will develop severe disease, the group wrote in a rapid risk assessment report. Loveday Morris in Berlin and Chico Harlan in Rome contributed to this report. Covid-19s first wave largely missed southern Italy. The second wave is hitting it hard. Pubs, central to cultural life in Northern Ireland, close to control covid-19 Coronavirus cases hit records in Europe, surpassing U.S. numbers
Experts offer tips for navigating the holidays during the pandemic - The Washington Post
Smaller, shorter gatherings are safer, but also consider waiting until next year
Do: Limit in-person gatherings in size and duration. The more people involved, and the longer the event, the greater the risk. Dont: Participate in a holiday gathering if you have symptoms or believe you have been recently exposed to the coronavirus. Do: Pay attention to the coronavirus infection rates in your community and in places from where out-of-town guests are coming. When planning to host a holiday celebration, you should assess current COVID-19 levels in your community to determine whether to postpone, cancel, or limit the number of attendees, the CDC states. As the holidays near, the coronavirus is spreading rapidly, putting families in a quandary Do: Understand who has increased risk of a severe outcome from covid-19. That includes older adults and those with chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. The CDC recommends that people at increased risk of severe illness participate remotely, rather than in person, in holiday gatherings involving people from outside their household. People who live or work with someone at increased risk should also not participate in such gatherings, the CDC advises. Do: Get together outside rather than inside if possible. If forced to be indoors, try to open windows and maintain good air circulation. Do: Wear a mask, stay at least six feet apart and practice good hand hygiene. Do: Bring your own food, drinks and utensils to gatherings. Do: If kids go trick-or-treating and reach into a common bowl of candy, make sure they use hand sanitizer afterward. People leaving candy can leave it wrapped in individual bags by the sidewalk. Dont: Assume that if you wear a mask you do not need to be physically distanced. Interventions such as masks, distancing and hand-washing are meant to supplement one another to reduce risk of infection. Dont: Assume that you are not infectious if you feel healthy. The coronavirus can be spread by people who are asymptomatic. Do: Talk with family members and friends in advance to create a plan that everyone can abide by and be comfortable with. Be prepared to decline invitations. Think long term: The pandemic wont last forever. Dont: Just wing it.
France recalls ambassador from Turkey after Erdogan says Macron needs ‘mental’ treatment - The Washington Post
The beheading of history teacher Samuel Paty has set off a national reckoning in France and aggravated tensions with Turkey.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the country was withdrawing Ambassador Herve Magro from its NATO ally because of a hateful and slanderous propaganda against France, testifying to a desire to stir up hatred against us and our heart as well as direct insults against the President of the Republic, expressed at the highest level of the Turkish state. France mourns teacher Samuel Paty as government mobilizes against Muslim groups In the week since the attack in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, Macrons government has ordered a crackdown on Muslim organizations it accuses of fomenting terrorist violence, and defended the caricatures of Muhammad as emblematic of the French values of secularism and free expression, even if theyre deeply offensive to many of Frances own Muslim citizens, among its largest minority populations. History teacher Samuel Paty, 47, was teaching a lesson on free speech when he shared the images with his class. As France mourned his death, it projected the caricatures onto government buildings in cities including Toulouse and Montpellier. The governments response has emerged as a flash point in Frances increasingly troubled strategic relationship with Turkey, which offered no public solidarity with France in the aftermath of the killing. Over the past year, the two governments have sparred over the civil war in Libya and Turkish claims to energy deposits in the eastern Mediterranean. What is the problem of this person called Macron with Muslims and Islam? Erdogan asked during a speech to members of his political party on Saturday. Macron needs treatment on a mental level. What else can be said to a head of state who does not understand freedom of belief and who behaves in this way to millions of people living in his country who are members of a different faith? The spat has been accompanied by calls online and from some Muslim countries to boycott French products. Gruesome details emerge in beheading of French teacher who showed students Muhammad cartoons Its the first time Frances government has withdrawn its envoy from Turkey, Macrons office said. National security analysts saw the decision as a significant escalation but also as inevitable, given Erdogans rising hostility to France in recent months over Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean. At some stage, if you dont react, you lose credibility, and I think we had pretty much reached that stage, said former presidential adviser François Heisbourg, a senior adviser at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. On the state-to-state level, it has given a new edge to the rhetorical aspects of the relationship between Turkey and France. But what has changed is that the French, who until now took Turkish insults in stride, clearly have decided that the insults themselves would carry a penalty. Others saw two combative and strong-willed leaders who both stood to gain from a showdown in the headlines. This is the dream fight for both of them, said Asli Aydintasbas, a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. In each other, Macron and Erdogan have found the ideal enemy. This spat works for both leaders in some strange fashion, both domestically and in terms of the influence they are trying to project abroad. Erdogans jabs at Macron help rally members of his political base who are sympathetic to religious and nationalist appeals focused on foreign threats, she said. They can also bolster his credentials as a leader to the wider Sunni Muslim world. And they reflect his perception of a wider threat from what he sees as an anti-Turkey axis in the Arab world, with French allies such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates forming the core of that axis. Macron outlines new law to prevent Islamic separatism in France For Macron, calling out Erdogan was low-hanging fruit, given the geopolitical competition between the two governments and the French leaders desire to fend off right-wing, anti-Islamist challengers at home. France is clearly worried about Turkeys influence over Muslim communities in Europe and Erdogans particular brand of Islam, Aydintasbas said. When you hear French officials, they equate Turkey with Islamism. Paty was killed by an 18-year-old Russian-born Chechen who had been in contact with a Muslim parent offended by Patys lesson. Assailant Abdoulakh Anzorov was shot to death by police a short time later. The attack has triggered a national moment of reckoning in France, traumatized by a string of Islamist terrorist attacks in recent years. In September, France began the long-awaited trial of 14 alleged accomplishes in the deadly 2015 attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Two brothers affiliated with al-Qaeda killed 12 journalists after the newspaper had published caricatures of Muhammad. A hijab for Muslim runners? In France, thats a scandal. A pillar of French identity is its state secularism, or laïcité, which enforces the strict neutrality of the state and guarantees the liberty of conscience among citizens the freedom to believe or not to believe. But on a cultural level, beyond the parameters of the law, French politicians have in recent years begun to interpret state secularism as a means of cracking down on public indications of Islam in society, frequently the Muslim headscarf. The raw emotions over Islam in France have surfaced again in the governments response to the beheading. In a television interview last week, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin attacked the existence of ethnic food aisles in supermarkets, and Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has criticized what he called Islamo-leftism in French universities. In an interview published Saturday with Frances Journal du Dimanche, Blanquer called for France to fight against an intellectual framework from American universities that essentializes communities and identities and threatens to undermine our republican model. Teacher in Paris suburb decapitated, allegedly after showing cartoons of prophet Muhammad in class With the Charlie Hebdo trial underway, does Je suis Charlie still resonate in France? Two stabbed in Paris knife attack outside former Charlie Hebdo offices
Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, tests positive for the coronavirus - The Washington Post
Short has traveled extensively with the vice president and been in close contact with him. Pence tested negative for the coronavirus Saturday.
Marty Obst, one of Pences top outside political advisers who has traveled with the vice president in recent days, tested positive for the virus earlier this week, according to two officials familiar with his diagnosis. A third person in Pences circle, a member of the vice presidents staff, has also tested positive, according to one of the officials. The White House has not disclosed that staffers name. Both Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the coronavirus Saturday, and the vice president is continuing his travel schedule of campaign events, according to Pence spokesman Devin OMalley. Pence released a schedule late Saturday that indicates he will travel to North Carolina on Sunday. Today, Marc Short, Chief of Staff to the Vice President, tested positive for COVID-19, began quarantine and assisting in the contact tracing process, OMalley said in a statement. Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for COVID-19 today, and remain in good health. OMalley added: While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel. Marc Short to serve as Vice President Pences chief of staff as White House gears up for 2020 campaign Short has traveled extensively with Pence and has been in close contact with his boss, and he has regularly been seen without a mask. Pence aides did not immediately respond to questions about when Short and Pence were last in contact. Short was at work Friday and told colleagues there would be aggressive travel in the days leading up to the election, though he will now probably be isolating through Election Day. On Saturday, Short was said to have been experiencing symptoms, according to two administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private matter. Short declined to comment. Obst helps manage Pences political affairs from outside the government and recently traveled with the vice president aboard Air Force Two. He was also in close contact recently with Short. Obst tested positive for the virus earlier this week, but the White House did not disclose his infection at the time, according to an official with knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private matter. Obsts infection was first reported Saturday evening by Bloomberg News. Obst did not respond to a request for comment. As the vice presidents chief of staff, Short has played a lead role on the White House coronavirus task force, which Pence chairs, and has been one of the more skeptical voices inside the West Wing about the threat of the virus. He has advocated against shutdowns and other restrictive measures that public health officials say are necessary to slow the spread of the virus. Pence argued this summer in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that there would not be a second wave of the virus. Former Pence aide says she will vote for Biden because of Trumps flat-out disregard for human life during pandemic One of the vice presidents top staffers, Olivia Troye, who was on the coronavirus task force, quit the administration and said last month that she would support Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden because of the Trump administrations handling of the virus. She alleged that White House officials, including the vice presidents office, have downplayed the threat of the virus and overtly politicized the governments pandemic response.
Jerry Jeff Walker, Texas troubadour who wrote ‘Mr. Bojangles,’ dies at 78 - The Washington Post
He wrote his classic song about a man he met in jail, then helped define the “Texas outlaw” style of music.
He was an old man with years of sorrow behind him, a homeless street performer who had once been a dancer at minstrel shows and county fairs throughout the South. Like Mr. Walker, he didnt go by his real name. He said he was called Bojangles, after Bill Bojangles Robinson, a renowned vaudeville and film dancer who died in 1949. Mr. Walker used the encounter as the basis for his song Mr. Bojangles: I knew a man Bojangles and hed dance for you In worn-out shoes Silver hair and ragged shirt and baggy pants The old soft shoe Mr. Walker recorded the song in 1968, but it did not become a hit. By the early 1970s, with four albums and 10 years of struggle, he was ready to give up on the music business. He was leaving New York and was on his way to Florida for a fresh start. A friend of mine was driving and I was asleep in the back seat, he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1994. Somewhere in South Carolina, he woke me up and asked me didnt I write that song Mr. Bojangles. I said yeah, and he said, I tell you what. For the last couple of hours its been on this station, and this one, and this one. He hit the button, and there it was again. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band recorded a version of Mr. Bojangles that reached No. 9 on the Billboard pop chart in 1971. It soon became recognized as a standard and was recorded by artists as varied as Nina Simone, Harry Belafonte, Dolly Parton, Sammy Davis Jr., Bob Dylan, Whitney Houston and George Burns. Mr. Walker, who went on to become a formative figure in what is known as Texas outlaw music and more generally Americana music, died Oct. 23 at a hospital in Austin. He was 78. He had complications from throat cancer and other ailments, said his wife, Susan Walker. For years, Mr. Walker had a reputation as a hard-living, rough-edged performer who drank heavily, used drugs and partied all night. He was also known for his generosity, helping to launch the career of Jimmy Buffett and performing the songs of other writers. Mr. Walker called himself a Gypsy Songman the title of both an early song and his 1999 autobiography. One of his first albums, Driftin Way of Life, was something of a musical self-portrait, as he wandered from Greenwich Village, where he was part of the same folk music crowd as Dylan and Joan Baez, to New Orleans to Key West, Fla. He rode a motorcycle across Canada, then was on his way to California when he stopped in Austin in 1971 and stayed for good. The Austin outlaw music scene he helped launch came to include Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Townes Van Zandt. Mr. Walker formed a group called the Lost Gonzo Band, evoking the untamed spirit of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. In 1973, he and his band released the album Viva Terlingua, which has influenced generations of country and roots musicians, from Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle to Lucinda Williams and Robert Earl Keen. Recorded in the virtual ghost town of Luckenbach, Tex., Viva Terlingua practically defined the new Texas sound, combining elements of country, rock and folk music with a touch of sagebrush poetry. Mr. Walker contributed five songs to the album, including Wheel, a heartfelt ballad about the death of his grandfather. The best-known songs, though, were by other writers, including Guy Clarks cinematic Desperados Waiting for a Train, Ray Wylie Hubbards honky-tonk anthem Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother and Gary P. Nunns London Homesick Blues, about a Texan stranded in England who longs to go home with the armadillo, good country music from Amarillo and Abilene. By the late 1970s, Mr. Walkers life of constant excess was catching up to him. He owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes, and his second marriage was about to fall apart. I did set out to be a little notorious, he told the Houston Chronicle in 2005. I always thought that people would be interested in my music if I appeared to be an interesting person. He quit smoking, cut back on the drugs and drinking and took up running and bicycling with his children. Instead of traveling with an entourage on a private jet, he gave solo performances in small, intimate settings. A 1980s love song he wrote about his wife, Hands on the Wheel, reflected his newfound serenity: I looked to the stars, busted up a few bars/My life nearly went up in smoke/With my hands on the wheel of something so real/I feel like Im heading home. Mr. Walker was born Ronald Clyde Crosby in Oneonta, N.Y., on March 16, 1942. After the death of his father, young Ronnie and his mother lived with his grandparents. He was in his teens when he saw his grandfathers death in a farming accident. Almost everyone in the family played a musical instrument. His aunt, a jazz pianist, gave him his first guitar when he was 13. After high school, he briefly served in the National Guard, then went AWOL he was ultimately discharged before going to New York to play folk music. He eventually began to use the stage name of Jerry Ferris and later Jeff Walker before blending them to become Jerry Jeff Walker. He legally changed his name in the late 1960s. Mr. Walkers first marriage ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife (and manager) since 1974, the former Susan Streit of Austin; their two children, Jessie Jane McLarty and musician Django Walker; a sister; and two grandchildren. Mr. Walker released more than 30 albums, the most recent of which was Its About Time in 2018. Of the dozens of songs he wrote, none has had the staying power or emotional resonance of Mr. Bojangles. He said he was reading the poetry of Dylan Thomas and was conscious of using internal rhyme. He strummed a descending chord figure in the lilting time signature of 6/8, and the words and music came together. I just had my guitar, a yellow pad, and the memories of guys Id met in drunk tanks and on the street one gentle old man in particular, Mr. Walker told Texas Monthly magazine in 2004. It was a love song. The origin story behind the song is true: Mr. Walker kept his arrest record to prove that he was held for several days in a New Orleans jail, where an aging dancer told him about his life: He looked to me to be the eyes of age As he spoke right out ... He said the name Bojangles and he danced A lick across the cell ... He spoke with tears of 15 years how his dog And him traveled about His dog up and died He up and died After 20 years he still grieves He said I dance now at every chance in honky-tonks For drinks and tips But most the time I spend behind these county bars Cause I drinks a bit He shook his head and as he shook his head I heard someone ask please Mr. Bojangles ... dance. Many people assume that the dancer described by Mr. Walker was African American, like Bill Bojangles Robinson, but that was not the case. In his autobiography, Mr. Walker noted that because the jails were segregated in New Orleans in 1965, the Bojangles he met was an elderly White dancer down on his luck. The song has been interpreted by countless musicians, and Mr. Walker sang it at most of his performances. One of his proteges, singer-songwriter Todd Snider, recalled a night when he and Mr. Walker were the last customers at a bar in Santa Fe, N.M. After it closed, they were walking down a street at 2 a.m. when they heard someone play the opening chords to Mr. Bojangles on a banjo. This was a bedraggled guy, not a kid, Snider wrote in his book, I Never Met a Story I Didnt Like. A homeless guy, kind of crazy looking, with a harmonica around his neck, his hat on the ground in front of him, and nothing in the hat ... The guy looked up at us. He didnt know Jerry Jeff Walker was standing there. He may never have heard of Jerry Jeff Walker. They listened as the man sang Mr. Walkers masterpiece about a down-and-out street performer, and I could feel us both getting choked up, Snider wrote. He wondered if he should say something, but no, I figured if Jerry Jeff wanted to let the guy know who he was, hed tell him. The only thing Mr. Walker said was: That sounded great. He took all the money out of his pockets, put it in the street singers hat, then walked away. He never told him his name. Read more Washington Post obituaries Johnny Bush, country singer whose Whiskey River became a Willie Nelson staple, dies at 85 Mac Davis, singer-songwriter who blended country and pop, dies at 78 John Prine, Grammy-winning bard of broken hearts and dirty windows, dies at 73 of coronavirus
Venezuelan opposition figure Leopoldo López flees to Colombia - The Washington Post
López had taken refuge in the Spanish Embassy in Caracas after a failed attempt to topple President Nicolás Maduro in 2019.
"All our time and energy will be to be useful to the people in the pursuit of freedom," López tweeted Saturday. "Venezuelans, this decision has not been easy, but rest assured that you have this server to fight from any space. "We will not rest, and we will continue working day and night to achieve the freedom that all Venezuelans deserve." Few details were immediately available about how López, a former mayor in the Caracas area, made his way to Colombia, the base for some anti-Maduro groups. Guaidó, in a tweet, said López was in "international territory" but did not elaborate. "Maduro, you don't control anything," Guaidó wrote, adding that the opposition had succeeded in "mocking your repressive system" by getting López out of the embassy. María Corina Machado, an influential opposition figure, also confirmed that the 49-year-old López was out of the country. "I am very happy that Leopoldo López can meet again with his family in freedom," Machado tweeted. Two people with direct knowledge of López's whereabouts, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive opposition matter, said he was in Colombia. The Spanish news agency EFE, citing López's father, reported that López will travel to Spain, where his wife and their three children have lived since 2019. Who is Leopoldo López? Lópezs escape, first reported by Spanish newspaper El Mundo, comes six weeks before Maduro-backed legislative elections denounced by Venezuelas opposition. The elections, scheduled for Dec. 6, will expand the size of the National Assembly and could threaten Guaidós position as the chambers president a role that he has used to boost his political legitimacy. The United States and more than 50 other countries have recognized Guaidó as Venezuelas rightful leader after widespread accusations that Maduro rigged his reelection in 2018. Leopoldo needs to guarantee international support to Guaidó, said Nicmer Evans, a political analyst and former political prisoner. Leopoldo needs to be present in the U.S. and in Europe to keep the recognition of Guaidó as leader of Venezuela. Evans said López also has a chance to recover his leadership and possibly take a higher-profile role in the opposition to Maduro. López was arrested in 2014 and sentenced to almost 14 years after being found guilty of instigating anti-Maduro demonstrations. He was granted house arrest in 2017. In April 2019, López took refuge in the Spanish Embassy after helping lead a failed effort to induce the military to turn against Maduro. European mission shows growing divide with U.S. over Maduro Venezuelas broken oil industry is spilling crude into the Caribbean Venezuela says captured American mercenary plotted attacks