May 21, 2020

Call him Dr. Moose.

Moose is an 8-year-old therapy dog at Virginia Tech's Cook Counseling Center. Raised by Guiding Eyes for the Blind in New York, he was adopted by Dr. Trent Davis, a counselor and coordinator of Virginia Tech's Animal-Assisted Therapy program. Moose started working on campus six years ago, and during his time at Virginia Tech, has participated in more than 7,500 individual and group counseling sessions and over 500 outreach events, helping students with anxiety and trauma and serving as an ambassador for mental health awareness.

To thank Moose for everything he has done to bring comfort to students, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in veterinary medicine last Friday from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. He's used to getting accolades — in 2019, Moose was named an Animal Hero by the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association. When he's not working with students, Moose can be found playing tug of war, swimming, or eating. Catherine Garcia

11:41 a.m.

President Trump made an unprompted prediction of what George Floyd, the man killed last week in the hands of Minneapolis police, would think about the protests over his death.

After a call for "equal justice under the law," Trump vaguely said "we all saw what happened last week. We can't let that happen." "Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that's happening for our country," Trump continued. "This is a great day for him, it's a great day for everybody."

Floyd's death in police custody has sparked international protests against police brutality, particularly against black people. Trump has promised and implemented military action to curb protests, even when most of them have remained peaceful. On Monday, law enforcement used crowd deterrents, including pepper spray and smoke bombs, to clear protesters off of Washington, D.C.'s streets so Trump could take a photo in front of a church. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:14 a.m.

After Friday's unexpectedly positive May jobs report, President Trump's campaign is mocking the "doomsday economists" whose predictions didn't pan out — despite that group including Trump's economic advisers.

The Trump campaign put out a statement on Friday celebrating the report from the Labor Department showing the unemployment rate declined to 13.3 percent and the economy added 2.5 million jobs, a shocking result when economists forecasted the unemployment rate would rise to almost 20 percent with more than eight million jobs lost.

"Doomsday economists had predicted a loss of 8.5 million jobs in May, but the economy roared back and added 2.5 million jobs instead, thanks to President Trump's leadership and the solid foundation his policies have laid," a statement from campaign manager Brad Parscale said.

Trump also called out the inaccurate predictions in a Rose Garden press conference celebrating the numbers, describing what he called the "greatest miscalculation in the history of business shows."

But Kevin Hassett, White House economic adviser, was forecasting a grim May jobs report too, having suggested that the unemployment rate would soar to 20 percent or more. In an interview with CNN less than two weeks ago, he said he expected the unemployment rate to be "quite a bit higher" in May than in April, possibly "north of 20 percent."

Additionally, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow warned last month after April's report that "the numbers for May are going to be also very difficult numbers," predicting that the economy starting to reopen wouldn't have an effect for "a while." Brendan Morrow

10:49 a.m.

As protests against police brutality have spread across the nation in the wake of the killing of George Floyd last week, nowhere have tensions between demonstrators and the Trump administration been higher than on the president's own doorstep. On Friday, the city of Washington, D.C., made it abundantly clear which side it's on, writing "Black Lives Matter" in 35-foot-tall letters on a two-block stretch of city street just north of the White House:

Notably, the paint being used to write the message is the same as what is used "to draw traffic lanes," Aaron Mehta of Defense News reported. "This ain't washing away anytime soon."

The message comes a day ahead of "what's expected to be a large demonstration on Saturday," DCist reports, as well as "in the wake of days of political fights between Mayor Muriel Bowser and federal officials over a security perimeter centered at the White House." Additionally, on Friday, Bowser sent a letter to Trump asking him to remove "extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from our city," noting that "the protestors have been peaceful, and last night, the Metropolitan Police Department did not make a single arrest."

The local chapter of Black Lives Matter spoke out against the mural going up on the city streets, calling it a "performative distraction from real policy changes." The message is meant "to appease white liberals while ignoring our demands," the group added. "Black Lives Matter means defund the police." Jeva Lange

10:05 a.m.

Friday morning's stunning job report is already being celebrated by the White House as unemployment unexpectedly fell to 13.3 percent in May. But even as forecasters have scrambled to understand how their predictions were so far off, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman stressed on Twitter that "whatever happened, these numbers should make you more, not less, pessimistic about the economic outlook."

Huh? As Krugman goes on to explain, the seemingly encouraging job report could actually "reinforce the White House inclination to do nothing and let emergency aid expire."

That's alarming to Krugman and other analysts because what May's job numbers do seem to prove is that the Payroll Protection Program, which encouraged small businesses to keep workers on payroll during the pandemic, was instrumental in helping bring back workers in May. "U.S. unemployment [is] at 13 percent [with] trillions in government aids," wrote The Washington Post's Jeffrey Stein. "What happens when huge infusion runs dry in July?"

But as of Thursday night, the Post was reporting that President Trump's recovery plan "largely amounts to optimism that as pandemic restrictions are loosened, the nation's economy will turn the lights back on by itself." As the Post goes on to explain, Trump is hesitant to offer states further aid, and opposes extending the soon-to-expire $600 unemployment bonus for laid-off workers.

White House economic adviser Stephen Moore seemed to confirm Krugman's fears. "There's no reason to have a major spending bill," he said in response to Friday's job numbers. "The sense of urgent crisis is very greatly dissipated by the report."

Not everyone shares the opinion that the job report lets the federal government off the hook. "The jobless rate, even if it declines, I believe is going to stay extremely high through the end of the year," former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen told the Post. "It's absolutely essential to have another package that will extend unemployment benefits beyond the summer. That's going to be tremendously needed." Jeva Lange

9:57 a.m.

The economy is finally brushing up.

In a twist that shocked many of the nation's top economists, the U.S.'s May jobs report released Friday showed the country added 2.5 million jobs last month, lowering the unemployment rate from 14.7 percent to 13.3 percent. A large chunk of that gain stemmed from the health care industry, which regained 312,000 jobs between April and May. Around 244,000 of those jobs stemmed singularly from dentists' offices, making that industry responsible for a full tenth of May's jobs gains.

As freelance business reporter Matthew Zeitlin noted, pretty much all of the job gains last month came from temporarily laid off workers heading back to work. The number of unemployed people on temporary layoff decreased by 2.7 million to 15.3 million in March, but the number of permanent job losses rose by 295,000 to 2.3 million in May.

University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers called the shrinking temporary job losses the "good news" of the May jobs report. And while there's still some "bad news" in permanent job loss, it seems clear that the overall unemployment "hole isn't getting any deeper." Kathryn Krawczyk

8:22 a.m.

Attorney General William Barr has declared a loose collective of anti-fascist activists to be domestic terrorists. Events haven't substantiated his claim.

Barr announced Sunday that FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) were working with state and local partners to nab "violent radical agitators who have hijacked peaceful protest and are engaged in violations of federal law," singling out "antifa another other similar groups" as agents of "domestic terrorism." On Wednesday, prosecutors in Las Vegas said the JTTF had arrested "three alleged members of the 'Boogaloo' movement" — generally far-right anti-government extremists — on terrorism charges, alleging they planned to use Molotov cocktails and other explosives to trigger violence at George Floyd rallies.

Twitter said Monday it had suspended a fake antifa account, @ANTIFA_US, that on Sunday urged fellow "Comrades" to "move into the residential areas ... the white hoods ... and we take what's ours." The account was linked to the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, Twitter said. Donald Trump Jr. and conservative sites like Red State and Hot Air amplified the fake antifa tweet, and Fox News claimed Wednesday that armed antifa rioters were "coming to the suburbs," citing one anonymous "government intelligence source."

False rumors spread on Facebook and Nextdoor that buses filled with thousands of antifa agitators were coming to loot "white neighborhoods." Facebook said Tuesday it suspended fake accounts tied to the white nationalist Proud Boys and American Guard groups that had masqueraded as antifa organizers asking members to bring weapons to the protests.

Barr and President Trump have fanned the flames, blaming antifa "terrorists," without evidence, for the looting and vandalism at the fringes of peaceful protests. There may be more than just politics at play, Bryan Bender writes at Politico.

Trump has threatened to send active-duty soldiers to cities under the 1807 Insurrection Act. If governors oppose him sending in the Army to enforce state laws, Trump could deploy troops only to enforce federal laws, Claire Finkelstein, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, tells Politico. "That might set up: 'We couldn't get these federally declared terrorists under control so we have to call out the military to quell the civil unrest on grounds of federal terrorism law,'" she said. "The more the attorney general can identify a federal interest in what is basically a state law matter — destruction of property, failure to abide by curfews — they potentially orchestrate a basis." Peter Weber

8:09 a.m.

In a notable change from 2014, a clear majority of Americans in a new poll say George Floyd's killing was not an isolated incident but part of a larger racial injustice problem.

In an ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Friday, when asked if they believe Floyd's death "is an isolated incident or a sign of broader problems in the treatment of African Americans by police," 74 percent of respondents said it's a sign of broader problems, with just 26 percent believing it to be an isolated incident.

ABC notes this is a "significant shift" from December 2014, when a similar question in an ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 51 percent of Americans saw the recent deaths of Michael Brown, a black man shot by a white police officer, and Eric Garner, a black man who was put in a chokehold by a white police officer, as isolated incidents, while only 43 percent said they were signs of a larger problem.

In the new poll released on Friday, in fact, a majority of whites, blacks, Hispanics, Democrats, Republicans, and independents were all on the same page that Floyd's death is part of a larger problem, ABC reports, whereas in 2014, 60 percent of whites saw the deaths of Brown and Garner as isolated incidents.

The ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted by speaking to a random national sample of 706 adults from June 3-4. The margin of error is 4.3 percentage points. Read more at ABC News. Brendan Morrow

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