April 6, 2020

President Trump is very excited about hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19, frequently touting it as a "game changer," and he isn't alone in his enthusiasm. His economic adviser Peter Navarro, who reportedly sparred with top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci about hydroxychloroquine, told Fox & Friends on Monday morning he would "bet on President Trump's intuition on this." Other boosters Trump is apparently listening to include his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Dr. Mehmet Oz, the controversial television personality.

At Sunday night's press briefing, Trump said he hopes doctors use the drug, "because I'll tell you what, what do you have to lose?" He added: "I may take it. I'll have to ask my doctors about that." When a reporter asked Fauci about hydroxychloroquine, Trump stepped in and shut it down.

Most health officials and medical scientists, like Fauci, are unconvinced about the malaria drug's effectiveness at treating the coronavirus, noting that the evidence so far is anecdotal and contradictory. "I think we've got to be careful that we don't make that majestic leap to assume that this is a knockout drug," Fauci said on Friday's Fox & Friends. Hydroxychloroquine also has heath risks, including cardiac arrest in some cases.

Giuliani has been pushing hydroxychloroquine on Twitter, his podcast, and, he tells The Washington Post, in one-on-one calls with Trump. He said he has no financial stake in hydroxychloroquine. After watching Dr. Oz repeatedly tout the drug on Fox News, Trump said he wants to speak with Oz and told health officials it would be "a good idea" if they did, too, The Daily Beast reports. At least one official, Medicare administrator Seema Verma, spoke with Oz privately.

In mid-March, Reuters reports, "Trump personally pressed federal health officials" to green-light hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment, and "shortly afterward, the federal government published highly unusual guidance informing doctors they had the option to prescribe the drugs, with key dosing information based on unattributed anecdotes rather than peer-reviewed science." When asked about its guidance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Trump's coronavirus task force had requested the document. Peter Weber

2:32 p.m.

Part of Lyon has been locked down by authorities after a Greek Orthodox priest was shot while closing his church in the French city on Saturday. Police are still searching for the alleged shooter who fled the scene.The priest, a Greek citizen, is being treated for life-threatening injuries in a local hospital, The Associated Press reports.

The motive behind the attack is unclear, and the French anti-terrorist unit is not investigating the shooting, though it does come at a heightened moment in France. Just two days ago, three people were killed at a Catholic Church in Nice in a knife attack. French President Emmanuel Macron called that incident an "Islamist terrorist" attack. Two weeks before that, a Parisian school teacher was beheaded by an 18-year-old man, who was reportedly angered by the teacher showing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad in class. Since then, the French government has said it will deploy soldiers to protect several sites across the country, including places of worship. Read more at BBC and The Associated Press. Tim O'Donnell

1:50 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence is not considered a favorite to emerge as the Republican Party's next presidential nominee. Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that the suggestion prompted laughter from several sources, while multiple GOP strategists expressed doubt to The Washington Post recent, as well.

Mike Lindell, the Minnesota campaign chair for President Trump, said it will simply just "be harder for a career politician to be president going forward," but Alex Conant, who served as a campaign spokesman during Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-Fla.) 2016 presidential run, thinks Pence's ties to the Trump administration could mean the vice presidency will remain the apex of his political journey.

"Trump could be our party's Iraq War," Conant told the Post. "I wonder if four years from now we are nominating someone who had nothing to do with the Trump era."

While Conant's larger point may stand, his historical comparison confused some observers, who argued that the Republican Party's "Iraq War" was, in fact, the Iraq War. Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

1:09 p.m.

Slovakia has launched a program to test the country's entire population for COVID-19 over the next two days. Around 45,000 medical workers, army, and police are being deployed to collect samples at around 5,000 testing sites. The effort will utilize antigen tests, which give quick results, but are often less accurate than PCR tests, which require lab analysis.

The ambitious plan is not without critics. While Prime Minister Igor Matovic said it would save "hundreds of lives" and "will be our road to freedom," President Zuzana Caputova called it "unfeasible," noting that there are not enough trained health workers to carry it out effectively. And the Slovak Association of General Practitioners warned that the "mass concentration of millions of people" at testing sites could in fact contribute to the coronavirus' spread.

Further, France 24 reports that some citizens are wary, with one man saying the government is "threatening people." Participation is not mandatory, but people who fail to produce a negative test certificate if stopped by police could face heavy fines.

Slovakia's coronavirus infection rate is below the European Union average, but like many of its neighbors numbers are on the upswing. Read more at France 24 and BBC. Tim O'Donnell

11:46 a.m.

President Trump has seemingly made life difficult for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is hoping to see the GOP retain its majority in the upper chamber this election cycle, The Washington Post reports.

The committee's director Kevin McLaughlin, per the Post, explained last week that Trump is "losing Arizona" where "we think that he and [Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.)] are very intrinsically tied together." With Trump down, McSally's Democratic challenger, Mark Kelly, is viewed by both sides as the favorite to take the seat.

In Georgia, another state in which the presidential race and not one, but two Senate races are tightly contested, NRSC strategists believed the Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, was polling at 50 percent at one point, which they reportedly found "terrifying."

Even in a state like Alaska which has reliably voted Republican for president since 1964, the NRSC reportedly found that Trump was actually losing at one point this month. Although that seems to be an unlikely result once the ballots are in, it did force the party's campaign arm to spend more on Sen. Dan Sullivan's (R-Alaska) re-election bid there. "You should've seen those [polls] three weeks ago when we had the president down," McLuaghlin said, explaining that Trump's drop sunk Sullivan, as well. "I mean it's not because of Dan Sullivan. I'm just telling you." Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

10:33 a.m.

Sean Connery has died, his family confirmed Saturday. He was 90. A cause of death wasn't immediately known, but Variety notes it was believed the actor had been unwell for some time.

The Scottish-born Connery was well-known for his James Bond portrayal and is considered one of the best actors to take on the iconic role. Indeed, a Radio Times United Kingdom poll revealed Connery as the country's favorite Bond after he took home 56 percent of the vote. But his movie career spanned decades and included several other memorable parts in films like The Name of the Rose and The Untouchables, for which he won a BAFTA and an Oscar, respectively.

In a statement, Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said Connery "was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond" and his "gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent ... is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series." Read more at Variety and CNN. Tim O'Donnell

8:01 a.m.

The United States on Friday set another daily coronavirus infection record, tallying more than 99,000 new cases in a 24-hour period. That is also the highest single-day figure for a country since the pandemic began, surpassing India's previous mark of 97,894 cases.

This week, with the presidential election swiftly approaching, many states recorded their worst seven-day stretch of new infections, and 16 reported daily records Friday. The current wave is more widespread than previous ones and does not have an epicenter, though South Dakota and North Dakota are ranked first and second in recent cases per capita, and there are several other hot spots in the Midwest.

The rise in hospitalizations and deaths may be less striking than the case numbers, but both are trending upward, The New York Times reports. More than 46,600 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Friday, a 25 percent increase over the past two weeks, and more than 970 people died. Over the past week, the average number of fatalities per day was around 800, up from 700 a month ago.

Overall, the U.S. surpassed 9 million infections, which still leads the world, but it's far from the only country struggling with the virus. Belgium became the latest European country to announce a new national lockdown Friday, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering one for England next week. Read more at The Washington Post and The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

October 30, 2020

President Trump made another visit to the swing state of Wisconsin on Friday evening, bringing some unfounded theories and repetitive rants along with him.

For starters, Trump celebrated reports that Democratic nominee Joe Biden wasn't driving Black voter turnout, framing it in a way that made it seem like he was happy about the disenfranchisement. "The Black vote is not turning out for him," Trump said of Biden. "They're not showing up to vote and others aren't either."

Biden's team is worried that he's failed to drive Black and Latino voters to the polls, Bloomberg reports. But far less believable — in fact, actually false — is Trump's claim that Biden will send the U.S. back to the 18th century. "There will be no heating in the winter, no air conditioning in the summer, and no electricity whenever the hell you want it," Trump claimed, for some incomprehensible reason.

Meanwhile Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), whom Trump ranted about despite not even being in her state, was having none of it. Kathryn Krawczyk

See More Speed Reads