September 21, 2020

Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R) was heckled on Monday by supporters of President Trump, who objected to Husted mentioning wearing masks.

Husted spoke at a Trump rally outside of Dayton, and came onstage sporting a red mask with "Trump 2020" printed on the front. "I'm trying to make masks in America great again," he said to jeers. Husted pulled out another mask that said "MAGA," which did nothing to get the crowd on his side — instead, the boos continued and one person shouted at him, "Get off the stage!"

"Hang on, I get it," Husted responded. "You don't like it. But when you go in a grocery store where you have to wear one ... just listen up! All right, I get it. But if somebody tells you to take it off, you can at least say you're trying to save the country by wearing one of President Donald Trump's masks."

It wasn't just the idea of wearing masks to protect others that got the crowd riled up — when Husted mentioned Gov. Mike DeWine (R), who made masks mandatory in most indoor areas, that opened him up to another round of boos. DeWine and Husted are co-chairs of Trump's campaign in Ohio, and when Trump later mentioned the governor during his speech, some jeering could be heard. Trump called DeWine "a real good friend of mine," and promised the audience, "He's opening up." Catherine Garcia

3:30 p.m.

Tim Burton is ready for a new show that sounds both creepy and kooky.

The director is looking to make a brand new live-action Addams Family TV series, Deadline reported on Thursday. His show would reportedly be set in the present day and would "be from the perspective of Wednesday Addams," exploring "what the world would look like to her in 2020," Deadline says.

This would be the first major live-action television project for Burton, who believe it or not has somehow not made several Addams Family movies already, and he’s reportedly looking to potentially direct every episode. It would also be the latest iteration of the Addams Family since the 2019 movie, which is getting a sequel set for next year, although that one was animated.

Multiple potential buyers are said to be interested in the Burton series including Netflix. We can only assume one of them will buy the project up in a snap. Brendan Morrow

2:18 p.m.

It looks like Hollywood has actually, finally succeeded in making an Uncharted movie.

Tom Holland on Thursday revealed the first image of himself as Nathan Drake in Uncharted, the upcoming movie based on the popular Indiana Jones-esque video game series for Playstation. He mostly looks the part, though for this film, he's far younger than the Nathan players know from the games.

Getting this adaptation off the ground sure hasn't been easy, to say the least, and the film has repeatedly replaced its director a downright comical number of times over the years. Uncharted seems to be all set now for a release in 2021 — though don't put it past Sony to get in one more director shake-up before then for good measure. Brendan Morrow

Opinion
1:18 p.m.

Will President Trump replicate his 2016 success with white evangelical voters in 2020? If he doesn't, he's likely to lose — and a prominent, conservative evangelical pastor just published a forceful argument against downplaying the president's destructive, unrepentant, and very public habits of sin.

Four years ago, exit polls famously showed 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump. That number isn't the best data we have on this — later, better sampling put it in the mid-70s — and it's somewhat misleading for a number of reasons, including that it measures Trump support among voters, but many white evangelicals (like Americans more broadly) didn't vote for anyone in 2016.

Still, even with those qualifications, it's undeniable that white evangelicals were and still are a major Trump bloc. In fact, Pew Research Center data released this month shows a near-identical proportion of white evangelicals who intend to vote are backing Trump and doing so more enthusiastically than in 2016: They're now more likely to be for Trump than against his opponent.

That's the context in which John Piper, a Minneapolis pastor well-known among evangelicals for his uncompromisingly conservative, Reformed theology, published a "long-overdue article" arguing that "the deadly influences of a leader" are felt through his character as much as his policy. Without naming either major party candidate, Piper argued Trump's unrepented "boastfulness, vulgarity, immorality, and factiousness are ... nation-corrupting" sins just as capable of inflicting harm as the "bad judges, bad laws, and bad policies" of a Democratic presidency. These evils "move out from centers of influence to infect whole cultures," he wrote. "The last five years bear vivid witness to this infection at almost every level of society."

This resolute refusal to "[treat] as minimal the destructive effects of the spreading gangrene of high-profile, high-handed, culture-shaping sin" stands in sharp contrast to many other evangelical leaders' recent election commentary — particularly California pastor John MacArthur's statement that "any real, true" Christian will vote for Trump. Piper's perspective is a welcome one, and in a few weeks we'll learn if it's more the exception or the rule. Bonnie Kristian

1:12 p.m.

As promised, President Trump has leaked his entire 60 Minutes interview days before it's scheduled to broadcast.

After Trump was apparently unhappy about an interview with Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes this week, on Thursday, he released his own footage of the conversation before the network could air it. The 37-minute video posted to Trump's Facebook page opens with Stahl promising the president will "get fairness" but asking Trump, "You're okay with some tough questions?" Trump responds, "No, I'm not."

Another contentious moment was when Trump complained Stahl has a "negative attitude" after she said he "used to have bigger rallies." Stahl also repeatedly pressed Trump to explain how he'll protect pre-existing conditions if the Supreme Court ends ObamaCare, as Trump says he's hoping for, but he provided no details on the "fully developed" health care plan he claimed will be "announced very soon."

Trump ended the interview by circling back to complain about Stahl's promise of "tough questions," declaring that "I think we have enough" before walking out. CNN reported that Trump "abruptly ended" the interview and also "did not return for an appearance he was supposed to tape with Vice President Mike Pence."

Posting the footage of the interview early was in violation of an agreement Trump and the White House made with CBS to film the conversation "for archival purposes only," The Washington Post reports. CBS News said in a statement that "the White House's unprecedented decision to disregard their agreement with CBS News and release their footage will not deter 60 Minutes from providing its full, fair and contextual reporting which presidents have participated in for decades." Brendan Morrow

Opinion
1:02 p.m.

With less the two weeks to go until Election Day and the final face-to-face matchup between Donald Trump and Joe Biden looming in tonight's debate, we've entered the concluding stretch of the presidential contest, when candidates typically begin making what's referred to as their "closing arguments." What does the president want voters to have on their minds as they make their final decisions — about whom to vote for, and whether to vote at all? His campaign and its media cheerleaders evidently want them focused on the Democratic nominee's love for his only surviving son Hunter Biden.

Why in the world would Trump, his campaign, and its media cheerleaders think it would help them to raise suspicions about and even openly mock a father's affection and support for his troubled child? As Franklin Foer writes at The Atlantic, the president is "cruelly lashing Biden, not to explain the relevance of an esoteric scandal that doesn't directly indict the ethics of his opponent, but because he seems to hope that his raising the subject will induce an unbecoming outburst of emotion onstage." Trump, in other words, is a world-class jerk, and he apparently thinks that demonstrating this over and over again on a national stage will help him — because apparently he also thinks that America is filled with people who are jerky enough to be swayed by the president "engaging in a kind of psychological warfare."

Will it work? Almost certainly not. Trump demonstrated appalling levels of jerkitude in the first presidential debate, and his position in the polls has only weakened since then. I don't doubt there are some Americans — especially a certain class of American men — who think the only fitting response to a wayward child is tough love or worse (anger, the infliction of humiliation, the refusal of affection, renunciation). But my hunch is that many more Americans recoil at such cruelty, viewing it as exactly what it is: an expression of heartlessness, and in many cases the source of the child's problems rather than a solution to them.

But Trump obviously disagrees. So expect him to make another play for the jerk vote from the debate stage on Thursday night — and then expect to see his stance in the polls sink even further as we approach the election's finish line. Damon Linker

11:43 a.m.

Quibi is officially shutting down after just six months, and it sounds like the company went out on a fittingly bizarre note.

On Wednesday, the short-form streaming service announced it's already shutting down after launching in April, and according to The Wall Street Journal, "employees will be laid off and will be paid a severance." But the Journal's report also includes the odd detail that when founder Jeffrey Katzenberg discussed the news on a video call with employees, he apparently "suggested Quibi staffers listen to the song 'Get Back Up Again,' sung by actress Anna Kendrick in the animated film Trolls to buoy their spirits."

After news of the shutdown was announced publicly, Katzenberg and Quibi CEO Meg Whitman penned a letter saying that "our failure" with the company "was not for lack of trying" while offering "a profound apology for disappointing you and, ultimately, for letting you down."

The Trolls song recommended by Katzenberg includes inspiring lyrics like "if something goes a little wrong, well you can go ahead and bring it on" — although with Quibi's disastrous year, "a little wrong" may be a bit of an understatement. Brendan Morrow

9:53 a.m.

The number of Americans filing new jobless claims has declined to less than 800,000 for the first time in seven months.

The Labor Department on Thursday said that 787,000 Americans filed new jobless claims last week, a decline of 55,000 from the previous week's revised level. This was significantly below the 875,000 claims economists had been expecting, CNBC reports. It's also the first time since the middle of March that the number of claims has been below 800,000, CNN notes.

Additionally, the number of continuing claims declined by about 1 million to 8.37 million claims, according to CNBC. Thursday's report came after last week, the number of new jobless claims unexpectedly rose to the highest level in almost two months.

At the same time, CNN notes that "23.2 million Americans received some form of government jobless benefits in the week ended October 3." The number of new jobless claims has also still yet to fall below 695,000, which was the record for most claims filed in one week prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Some recovery is better than no recovery, but we want this to be stronger," Evercore ISI managing director and policy economist Ernie Tedeschi told The New York Times. "It's at risk of getting knocked off its slow momentum if we get another shock, another wave of the virus." Brendan Morrow

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