June 17, 2020

The Lincoln Project released its latest ad against President Trump on Tuesday, a 45 second spot focusing on his health that begins with a woman intoning, "Something's wrong with Donald Trump."

The Lincoln Project is a political action committee formed by current and ex-Republicans who don't want to see Trump re-elected. Their previous ads have broached topics Trump is sensitive about, including the crowd size at his inauguration and how he "dodged the draft" during the Vietnam War.

This new ad delivers the deepest gut punch yet. Titled "#TrumpIsNotWell," it features a montage of Trump seemingly struggling with drinking a glass of water and walking down a ramp, as well as footage of him going up the stairs to Air Force One with what appears to be toilet paper under his shoe. The narrator calls Trump "shaky" and "weak," and says White House reporters should be covering Trump's "secretive midnight run to Walter Reed Medical Center." It's clear to everyone, the ad concludes, that now is the time "we talk about this: Trump is not well."

Some people have argued that because Trump has mocked a disabled reporter and calls former Vice President Joe Biden "Sleepy Joe," frequently intimating he is cognitively impaired, Trump's own health is fair game and people should speculate away. Rebecca Cokley, director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the liberal Center for American Progress, disagrees. In an op-ed for The Washington Post published Tuesday, Cokley wrote that when people who do not have medical degrees diagnose Trump with various health issues, it hurts those who are actually disabled.

"Every single professional with a disability I know has been questioned privately and publicly about whether their 'condition' hinders their ability to do their job," Cokley said. "This is a universal truth and fear for any individual across physical, mental, intellectual, sensory, and chronic illness communities." A person's ability to "use a ramp or drink from a glass of water has no bearing on whether someone can fulfill the essential functions of a job," she added, and instead, the focus should be on Trump's policies and actions while in office. "The ableism that pervades society makes it easy to argue that someone is a failure because they're disabled, not because they're evil, unethical, and unqualified," Cokley said. Catherine Garcia

8:35 p.m.

The first Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses could reach vaccination sites as early as Tuesday, White House officials said on Sunday.

About 3.9 million doses have been shipped, and more than 16 million more will be sent out by the end of March. With Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine receiving authorization for emergency use on Saturday, the United States now has three vaccine options, with all of them safe and effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death, a senior administration official told USA Today.

In the U.S. clinical trial, Johnson & Johnson's vaccine had a 72 percent efficacy rate, and was almost 100 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths. "Having different types of vaccines available for use, especially ones with different dosing recommendations and storage and handling requirements, can offer more options and flexibility for the public, jurisdictions, and vaccine providers," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. "Getting vaccinated with the first vaccine available to you will help protect all of us from COVID-19." Catherine Garcia

8:21 p.m.

The 2021 Golden Globes didn't get started on the best note from a technical perspective, with audio difficulties almost derailing the very first acceptance speech.

Daniel Kaluuya won the Golden Globe for best supporting actor in a film for his performance as Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah. He was up against some tough competition, including Sacha Baron Cohen for The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Leslie Odom Jr. for One Night in Miami.

But after presenter Laura Dern read Kaluuya's name, the Globes cut to him, only for his audio not to be working. From there, the Golden Globes broadcast very nearly moved on without Kaluuya accepting the award at all, with Dern explaining, "As you can see, we unfortunately have a bad connection."

Fortunately, though, the issue was soon fixed, and Kaluuya was able to accept remotely after all. "Alright, we fixed it!" co-host Amy Poehler later celebrated.

Despite Kaluuya's win, Judas and the Black Messiah was one of a number of films with Black ensembles that was left out of the Golden Globes' best picture categories this year, in addition to Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods and Regina King's One Night in Miami. The group that hands out the awards, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, faced heavy criticism for this, especially after it was recently revealed the organization doesn't have a single Black member — a fact Poehler and Tina Fey repeatedly called out in their opening monologue. Brendan Morrow

7:47 p.m.

Iran's foreign ministry on Sunday said the country will not participate in an informal meeting with the United States and European powers to discuss reviving the nuclear deal.

The European Union offered to hold the talks, but this is "not the time" for such a gathering, spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said. Under former President Donald Trump, the U.S. abandoned the 2015 nuclear deal, and reimposed economic sanctions. Iran refused to renegotiate and instead began ignoring its commitments under the deal.

Tehran has said in order for there to be talks, the U.S. must lift sanctions, which the U.S. has ruled out. A White House spokesperson said on Sunday the U.S. will consult with the other countries that signed the nuclear deal — the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany — to determine "the best way forward." Catherine Garcia

5:08 p.m.

Just a few weeks after leaving office, former President Donald Trump was back in the spotlight on Sunday.

At the beginning of his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, he asked the enthusiastic crowd if they missed him already before telling them that he'll "continue to fight right by your side."

He then dismissed reports that he was thinking about breaking off from the Republican Party and striking out on his own. "I am not starting a new party," he said, claiming the idea was "fake news." Instead, Trump predicted the GOP will "unite and be stronger than ever before." Tim O'Donnell

4:30 p.m.

Unsurprisingly, former President Donald Trump won the Conservative Political Action Conference's 2024 presidential straw poll Sunday, and he did so handily, garnering 55 percent of the vote. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was the only other potential candidate to reach double digits at 21 percent.

It's unclear if Trump will run, but many Republicans, including some of Trump's fiercest critics, think he is the overwhelming favorite for the nomination right now if he does enter the ring. So, CPAC conducted a second poll without Trump. DeSantis led the way in that one at 43 percent, followed by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) at 11 percent. Meanwhile, former Vice President Mike Pence, who declined an invitation to the conference in Orlando, didn't gain much traction.

The polls, of course, come with many caveats attached. The election is a long way away, straw polls aren't the most reliable predictive method, and the CPAC conference is not necessarily representative of the larger Republican Party, which many analysts consider to be at a Trump-inspired crossroads right now. It's also worth noting that DeSantis' strong showing may be partly tied to the conference taking place on his home turf. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

2:28 p.m.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Sunday defended President Biden's response to a United States intelligence report that directly linked Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but questions over whether the administration went far enough seem likely to remain.

The Biden administration announced sanctions on dozens of Saudis involved in Khashoggi's killing, but did not include any direct penalties on the crown prince. Psaki said "historically" presidential administrations have not imposed sanctions on leaders of foreign governments with whom the U.S. has diplomatic relations. "We believe there are more effective ways to make sure this doesn't happen again," she told CNN's Dana Bash, adding that the White House wants to leave room to work with Riyadh on areas where the two governments agree.

Bash seemed unconvinced by Psaki's explanation, questioning if Biden's response really holds the crown prince accountable, and she wasn't alone. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that Biden deserves "credit" for the sanctions that were announced and acknowledged it's a challenging situation for the new administration, but said "there ought to be something additional" focused on Salman. Portman's fellow Ohioan Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) agreed further steps are needed to hold the Saudi royal family accountable, though he told a skeptical Chuck Todd on NBC's Meet the Press that he doesn't think Friday's sanctions represent the final say on the matter. Tim O'Donnell

1:40 p.m.

There are now three COVID-19 vaccines with approval from the Food and Drug Administration, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, said people shouldn't overthink which one to get.

Making the network rounds on Sunday, Fauci repeatedly assured audiences all three were highly "efficacious," even though the trial numbers from Johnson & Johnson's recently-authorized single-dose shot appear less impressive than the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech candidates. He explained that while it's understandable that someone might prefer to wait until a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine is available based on the numbers, the candidates really haven't been compared head-to-head.

Fauci said multiple times Sunday that he would take the Johnson & Johnson shot without hesitation. Fauci did acknowledge he's already been fully inoculated with the Moderna vaccine, but told CNN's Dana Bash that "if I were not vaccinated now, and I had a choice of getting a J & J vaccine now or waiting for another vaccine, I would take whatever vaccine would be available to me as quickly as possible."

Fauci wasn't alone in encouraging people to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine; former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb also said he would take it, explaining the trial data was indeed "quite strong." Tim O'Donnell

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