10 things you need to know today: June 2, 2020

Trump threatens to use the military to stop looting, autopsies rule George Floyd death a homicide, and more 

Demonstrators in Washington
(Image credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

1. Trump threatens to deploy military to quell violence

President Trump warned on Monday that he would dispatch troops to restore order in states that don't stamp out violence that has erupted across the country during protests over police brutality. "We are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country," Trump said in the White House Rose Garden. Earlier, Trump criticized governors as "weak," and told them in a phone call that they should use force to "dominate" protesters outraged about the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis police custody. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) reportedly told Trump his rhetoric was "inflammatory," and was "making it worse." Dozens of cities have imposed curfews after days of peaceful protests and, in some cases, looting and arson.

The Washington Post

2. Autopsies determine George Floyd's death a homicide

The Hennequin County, Minnesota, Medical Examiner's office released a report Monday concluding that the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody, was a homicide. The report said Floyd's heart stopped during the minutes when police restrained him, with one officer's knee on his neck. The medical examiner's office found no indication that Floyd, 46, died of asphyxiation or strangulation, suggesting existing medical conditions, including coronary artery disease, were contributing factors. Earlier in the day, the results of a private autopsy done for Floyd's family also found he died by homicide, but contradicted the official report by concluding that Floyd died at the scene from "asphyxiation from sustained pressure" on his neck and the weight of two officers on his back.

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USA Today The New York Times

3. Officers tear-gas peaceful protesters ahead of Trump photo op

Federal law enforcement officers used tear gas and flash grenades to disperse peaceful protesters at Lafayette Square across from the White House on Monday so President Trump could walk to the historic St. John's Church to pose for photos. Trump stood in front of the church, boarded up after a Sunday fire, and held up a Bible after a speech in which he threatened to deploy the military anywhere authorities don't end looting and violent protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington said she was "outraged" that Trump used a Bible and a church, "without even asking us, as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our church stands for."

The Washington Post The New York Times

4. Obama urges protesters to demand specific police reform

Former President Barack Obama published a blog post Monday on Medium saying that the ongoing nationwide protests against police brutality "represent a genuine and legitimate frustration over a decades-long failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system." He condemned "the small minority of folks who've resorted to violence," saying they were "putting innocent people at risk" and "detracting from the larger cause." Obama called on people to push for change by voting in national, state, and local elections. "If we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn't between protest and politics," he wrote. "We have to do both." Obama said protesters should organize to identify specific demands for criminal justice and police reform to avoid getting a response that is merely "lip service."

Medium NPR

5. Protests continue across U.S. despite curfews

Protests over the death of a black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis police custody continued around the United States on Monday night despite a growing number of local curfews, and a threat by President Trump to deploy the military to restore order. Most of the protests were peaceful, but violence broke out in several cities. Demonstrators torched a strip mall in Los Angeles and looted stores in New York City. In St Louis, Missouri, four officers were being treated in hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. "Officers are still taking gunfire downtown & we will share more info as it available," St Louis Police tweeted. In Minneapolis, George Floyd's brother, Terrence Floyd, pleaded for protesters to be peaceful, saying that destruction is "not going to bring my brother back."

Reuters The Associated Press

6. Manufacturing activity inches above 11-year low

A key indicator of U.S. manufacturing rose slightly in May, climbing above an 11-year low in the latest sign that the economy is starting to recover from the coronavirus downturn as businesses gradually reopen. The Institute for Supply Management reported Monday that its index of U.S. factory activity rose to a reading of 43.1 in May, up from 41.5 in April. Anything under 50 indicates a contraction in manufacturing. "Today's report on the manufacturing sector represents good news that hints the economy is turning the corner as the states reopened in May," said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York. "It will not be a quick recovery for sure, but at least the worst is over."


7. CBO: Coronavirus to reduce economic growth by $7.9 trillion through 2030

The Congressional Budget Office on Monday released new projections on the financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, predicting that the economy will grow by $7.9 trillion less than previously expected over the next decade. That represents a 3 percent drop from the previous estimate. The drop reflects business closures and declines in consumer spending, although the impact will be softened by the more than $2 trillion in emergency spending approved by Congress. The report on the damage to the economy came after White House officials confirmed last week that they would not release updated economic projections this summer in an annual budget review. The pandemic drove unemployment up from 3.5 percent in February to 14.7 percent in April.

Fox News The Washington Post

8. 5 dead as new Ebola outbreak hits Congo

A new outbreak of the Ebola virus has killed at least five people in northwestern Equateur province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, UNICEF said Monday. Six cases have been detected in the western city of Mbandaka, about 620 miles from eastern North Kivu province, where an ongoing outbreak has killed more than 2,000 people since 2018. In that area by the Uganda border, armed conflict has hampered containment efforts. Health officials say there have been new cases in the earlier outbreak over the last 21 days, which is the Ebola incubation period. If there are no new cases over 42 days public health officials will be able to determine whether that outbreak is over.

The Hill Reuters

9. Facebook employees protest Trump posts

Facebook employees staged a virtual "walkout" and vented frustration via Twitter over Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's decision to leave up President Trump's posts perceived as a call to shoot looters. Twitter demoted a Trump tweet that said, "when the looting starts the shooting starts," and posted a warning saying the tweet ran counter to Twitter policies against glorifying violence. Zuckerberg explained in a Friday Facebook post that he was leaving the post up because Facebook tries to "enable as much expression as possible unless it will cause imminent risk of specific harm." One of the frustrated Facebook employees, design manager Jason Stirman, said he "completely disagrees with Mark's decision to do nothing about Trump's recent posts, which clearly incite violence ... There isn't a neutral position on racism."

The Associated Press

10. U.N. report: Taliban maintains links to Al Qaeda

The Taliban has continued to support Al Qaeda, contrary to the terms of a peace agreement with the Trump administration, according to a report released Monday by the United Nations Security Council. The report said the Taliban, particularly its Haqqani network, and Al Qaeda's Islamist terror network "remain close, based on friendship, a history of shared struggle, ideological sympathy, and intermarriage." Zalmay Khalilzad, the Trump administration's special envoy for Afghanistan, said he had not yet seen the report, but believed the information within it did not extend beyond March 15, two weeks after the peace agreement spelling out plans for a U.S. withdrawal was signed. "We believe that there is progress" toward a Taliban split with Al Qaeda, he said.

The Washington Post

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.