September 24, 2020

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday said he will soon resume talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) about another coronavirus relief package.

Mnuchin told the Senate Banking Committee that he has "probably spoken to Speaker Pelosi 15 or 20 times in the last few days" on a continuing resolution to extend government funding, and "we've agreed to continue to have discussions about the CARES Act." He also asked Congress to give him the authority to distribute $130 billion in unused Paycheck Protection Program funds to provide loans to small businesses hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The deadline to apply for PPP loans was Aug. 8.

Pelosi told reporters that she will "hopefully soon" start negotiations with Mnuchin, and for now is talking with her caucus and leadership. "We'll see what we're going to do," she said. "But we're ready for a negotiation. That's what we're ready for."

Top Democrats spent Thursday working on a $2.4 trillion relief package that could be used in negotiations or be voted on as a stand-alone package sometime soon, a senior Democratic aide told The New York Times. The House approved a $3.4 trillion rescue measure in May, which Republicans said was bloated and had no chance of passing the Senate. Catherine Garcia

5:51 p.m.

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

4:27 p.m.

Taylor Swift is ready to make President Trump the head of the last great American dynasty.

Swift made her biggest political statement yet on Friday, allowing her song “Only the Young" to be used in a campaign ad for Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris. The spot comes from Rep. Eric Swalwell’s (D-Calif.) Remedy PAC, and promotes turnout among younger voters.

After the voice of Harris asks "Why are so many powerful people trying to make it so difficult for us to vote?" Swift's politically active tune from her Netflix documentary kicks in. Democratic voters cry after Trump's election, #MeToo protesters march, and then Republican men flash across the screen as Swift sings "their hands are stained with red." "They aren't gonna help us, too busy helping themselves," Swift continues over images of Amy Coney Barrett, burning wildfires, and closed businesses. But then Swift breaks into a triumphant chorus as children march for Black lives, gun control, and the United States Postal Service.

"They've marched for years on these issues," Swalwell explained to CNN. "The song calls on people to run, and essentially run to the polls." The ad comes at the end of Swift's most activist year yet, after her Netflix documentary revealed how she fought her management tam to raise her political voice. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:53 p.m.

President Trump has a disturbing and downright false explanation for why America's coronavirus deaths are continuing to rise.

While rallying in Michigan on Friday, Trump once again took aim at the U.S.'s coronavirus case and death counts, which are indisputably the highest in the world. But Trump didn't quite get the indisputable part of all that, claiming that doctors are only driving up death counts to make money.

A lot of COVID-19 deaths have also been attributed to other causes, or comorbidities, which some have taken to mean they aren't real COVID-19 deaths. Trump purported Friday that in Germany, those comorbidity deaths aren't treated as COVID-19 — which isn't true; Germany just had a very effective testing plan to curb coronavirus spread.

But in the U.S., "our doctors get more money if somebody dies from COVID," Trump said to nods and agreement from the crowd. So doctors apparently claim "everybody dies of COVID-19" to drive numbers up, Trump said, with no proof whatsoever — and to the disgust of doctors who heard it.

Early in the pandemic, hospitals did receive more money from an insurer or Medicare if they were treating a person with COVID-19 — it was part of the coronavirus relief legislation Trump signed. But doctors are most definitely not trying to boost their paychecks as they fight a deadly, super contagious pandemic, the American Medical Association made clear. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:27 p.m.

A new survey conducted by The Week Junior and YouGov found that kids are paying attention to politics — and they want their leaders to take education, health care, and protecting the environment seriously.

Conducted online from Sept. 18-30, the Junior Voices survey polled 701 children ages 8-14 from across the United States and had a margin of error of ± 3.7 percent. Respondents were asked about everything from the qualities they want to see in leaders to the first thing they would do if elected president. The Week Junior Editor-in-Chief Andrea Barbalich said their responses show "this generation of children is very aware of and engaged with what's happening in the world."

The top four issues the children said they'd like to see the next president focus on were protecting the Earth (49 percent), making sure people have access to health care (46 percent), improving high school and college education (43 percent), and ensuring equality for all (42 percent).

When asked the first thing they would do in the White House if elected president, 22 percent of respondents said they would make everyone feel safe, while 18 percent would promote equality for all, 16 percent would make sure all kids receive a good education, 13 percent would ensure everyone has health care, 11 percent would pass laws to protect the environment, and 9 percent would create more jobs.

When it comes to political leaders, 25 percent said the most important character trait is honesty, followed by empathy at 13 percent, and the ability to work with others at 10 percent.

The children surveyed are plugged in, with 77 percent saying they talk about current events with their family at least every few days and 85 percent saying it's important to learn about global events. They're also optimistic, with 78 percent saying they believe individual actions can make a positive difference in the world. They also want to be heard: 84 percent said they wish adults would listen more to kids. Catherine Garcia

3:27 p.m.

If kids could cast ballots in the 2020 election, a plurality would support Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, a new survey conducted by YouGov and The Week Junior finds.

The Junior Voices online survey polled 701 children ages 8-14 from across the United States and had a margin of error of ± 3.7 percent. When asked who they would vote for if given the chance, 49 percent of respondents said they would support Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), while 34 percent said they backed President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, 14 percent are undecided, and 2 percent would choose another candidate.

The kids also revealed the advice they would give the winner, with one saying they would remind them to "be kind to people," while another would suggest they "treat every American as if they were your family." One respondent said they would urge the winner to "please save the animals, they are more endangered than you can imagine," and another participant shared that they would ask them to "help everyone with food so no one is hungry." Catherine Garcia

2:58 p.m.

Two new polls are shoring up predictions that Democrats will sweep North Carolina's statewide races next week.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden has a 6-point lead over Trump in the typically red state, an NBC News/Marist poll of likely voters out Friday reveals. Meanwhile Democrat Cal Cunningham has a 10-point advantage over Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), suggesting he'll be one of the seats Democrats can count on to flip the Senate. And Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has the biggest lead of all: a whopping 19 points over GOP challenger Dan Forest.

A New York Times/Siena College poll out Friday was a bit more cautious. Biden received 48 percent support to Trump's 45, a point down from where the Democrat was earlier this month in the same poll. Cunningham has the same margin over Tillis, 46-43, a slight decline from where he's been over the past month.

Biden has held a modest lead over Trump in North Carolina for the past few months, leaving his chances in the swing state still uncertain. Cunningham has tended to pull in higher but still modest margins than Biden, even after he admittedly exchanged romantic texts with a woman who isn't his wife, while polls have universally given Cooper a major advantage.

NBC News and Marist surveyed 800 likely voters from Oct. 25–28, with a 4.7 percentage point margin of error. The Times and Siena College surveyed 1,034 likely voters from Oct. 23–27, with a margin of error of about 4 percentage points. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:34 p.m.

During recent protests over the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr. in Philadelphia, the U.S.'s largest police union posted what looked like a sympathetic photo. A Philadelphia police office held a Black toddler, with a caption purporting he was found "walking around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness," the National Fraternal Order of Police's Facebook post said.

But lawyer's for the boy's family say that's not what happened. Rickia Young was driving with her toddler son to pick up her 16-year-old nephew when she accidentally drove into an area where police and protesters were facing off. She tried to turn around, but police surrounded the car, smashed its windows, and threw Young and her nephew onto the street, her lawyers tell The Washington Post. The officers then pulled the toddler from the seat, video of the incident shows.

Police soon detained Young, but she had to be taken to the hospital before she could be processed because she was bleeding from her head after police threw her to the ground. Young's nephew was also injured, and the toddler was hit in the head. Young was split from her son for hours before she was released without charges. Her family found the boy in his car seat in the back of a police car, broken glass from the car's windows still in the seat, the Post describes.

The whole scene was caught on video by AApril Rice, who told the Philadelphia Inquirer watching what happened was "surreal" and "traumatic." The National Fraternal Order of Police has since deleted the post. Philadelphia police still haven't told the Young family where to find the car, along with her son's hearing aids and other belongings inside. Kathryn Krawczyk

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