Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 3, 2020

Harold Maass
Protesters in NYC
Scott Heins/Getty Images


Protests against police brutality continue despite curfews

Peaceful demonstrators defied curfews Tuesday to continue protesting the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis police custody. People marched through Manhattan with little of the looting seen Monday. President Trump visited a shrine honoring Pope John Paul II, triggering a second day of criticism from religious leaders after federal security forces pushed peaceful protesters out of a park so Trump could walk to a church for a photo op. "Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings," Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory said. "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." [CNN, The Washington Post]


Biden, Bush call for healing racial wounds

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday harshly criticized President Trump's handling of protests against police brutality. The former vice president specifically criticized the Trump administration for having federal security forces drive away peaceful protesters so Trump could walk to a church to pose for photos while holding a Bible. "If he opened it instead of brandishing it, he could have learned something," Biden said. He added that if elected he wouldn't "fan the flames of hate. I'll seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued our country." Trump's campaign defended the president's actions, saying he had supported peaceful protesters while vowing to protect Americans from "violent, uncontrollable rioters." Former President George W. Bush made a rare public statement, saying it was time to "end systemic racism." [The New York Times, ABC News]


Trump says GOP moving convention out of N.C.

President Trump said Tuesday he would move the GOP's August convention out of North Carolina. He announced the decision hours after North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, rejected a request to guarantee the party would be able to fill the Charlotte arena to capacity for the Republican National Convention, despite concerns about spreading the coronavirus. "The people of North Carolina do not know what the status of COVID-19 will be in August, so planning for a scaled-down convention with fewer people, social distancing, and face coverings is a necessity," Cooper said in a letter to the Republican National Committee. Democrats have debated whether to shift some of their nominating convention online to reduce the risk of coronavirus infections in large crowds. [The Charlotte Observer, Politico]


King loses Iowa primary; Biden nearly clinches nomination

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) lost his five-way GOP primary on Tuesday to Randy Feenstra, who had the support of leading state and national Republicans who believed King's history of racist comments threatened to cost the party what should be a safe seat in November. Congress had stripped King of his committee assignments last year after he asked The New York Times, "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?" Seven states held primaries Tuesday despite ongoing coronavirus concerns, and protests against police brutality against African Americans. Former Vice President Joe Biden moved closer to clinching the Democratic presidential nomination with wins Tuesday in Indiana, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and the District of Columbia. [The New York Times, CBS News]


Minnesota files civil rights charge against Minneapolis police

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) said Tuesday that his state had filed a civil rights charge against the Minneapolis Police Department. The news, which Walz announced in a statement on Twitter, came more than a week after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died in police custody. He lost consciousness after three officers held him down for several minutes, one kneeling on his neck. Walz said the Minnesota Department of Human Rights is leading an investigation of the police department's policies and practices over the last decade, to determine whether there has been systemic discrimination. The Minneapolis School Board on Tuesday responded to Floyd's death by unanimously voting to end its contract with the police department to provide school resource officers. [CNBC, Star-Tribune]


Twitter shuts down fake Antifa account traced to white supremacists

Twitter this week removed an account that was created by a known white supremacist group but tweeted a call to violence while masquerading as a mouthpiece for anti-fascist activists, or "Antifa." Before Twitter unmasked the account, President Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., referred his 2.8 million Instagram followers to the posts to show the danger posed by Antifa, which President Trump has accused of being behind looting and vandalism during the ongoing protests against the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by Minneapolis police. Twitter said the white supremacist group's account, which only had a few hundred followers, violated the social media site's policies against creating fake accounts and inciting violence. [CNN]


Protests intensify overseas against police mistreatment of minorities

French riot police used tear gas to contain protesters in Paris on Tuesday as unrest over George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody spread overseas. Many of the French protesters took a knee and raised their fists in a peaceful, multiracial call for equal justice. A smaller number clashed with police and set fires. "This happened in the United States, but it happens in France, it happens everywhere," Paris protester Xavier Dintimille said. In Australia, thousands of people marched peacefully and chanted "I can't breathe," echoing some of the last words Floyd, an unarmed black man, said as a white officer held him down with a knee on his neck. Similar crowds demonstrated in The Hague in the Netherlands, and in Tel Aviv, Israel. [The Associated Press]


Zuckerberg reaffirms decision on Trump posts despite protest

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees on Tuesday that he would stick to his decision not to moderate or remove a post in which President Trump said "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Dozens of Facebook employees on Monday publicly criticized Zuckerberg over the post, which they said endorsed violence against people protesting the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis police custody. Twitter posted a warning over Trump's post on its platform, saying it violated the site's ban on glorifying violence. At least two Facebook employees said they were quitting over Zuckerberg's decision. "I cannot stand by Facebook's continued refusal to act on the president's bigoted messages aimed at radicalizing the American public," software engineer Timothy Aveni posted on LinkedIn. [CNBC]


NBA legend Wes Unseld dies at 74

Wes Unseld, who starred for the NBA's Baltimore and Washington Bullets (now called the Wizards) between 1968 and 1981, died Tuesday, his family said. He was 74. The family's statement said Unseld died peacefully following lengthy health battles, most recently with pneumonia. Unseld was widely regarded as one of the best defenders and passers ever to play center. He won the league MVP in 1969 when he was just a rookie, and helped the Bullets win the franchise's first and only championship in 1978, alongside fellow all-time great Elvin Hayes. Unseld, who also both coached and served as the general manager for the Bullets/Wizards for several seasons after he retired, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988. [ESPN, Washington Wizards]


Record 3rd named storm forms on 2nd day of hurricane season

Tropical Storm Cristobal formed in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, and dumped heavy rains on parts of Mexico and Central America. Cristobal was the third named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially began on Monday. The forming of Cristobal set a record for the earliest occurrence of a third named storm in a season. Previously, the earliest-ever third named storm was 2016's Tropical Storm Colin. Cristobal was approaching the coast of Campeche, Mexico, early Wednesday with top sustained winds of 60 miles per hour. The storm was expected to make landfall and push inland later in the day. [Accuweather, National Hurricane Center]