Trump wraps up his briefing with a number of pats on the back for himself about the great job he thinks he is doing.
Trump is asked about a Newsweek article that called into question, falsely, Kamala Harris’s citizenship.
The article was reminiscent of the “birther” conspiracy theories around Barack Obama when he ran for president, and Trump helped circulate. Trump calls the article’s author a “brilliant lawyer” but says“I know nothing about [the article]”. He adds that Harris’s citizenship is not “something that bothers me” and he wont pursue the matter.
Harris is a US citizen and was born in Oakland, California.
Trump says “we’ve done it right” when it comes to Covid-19. He says the US, which has the most deaths in the world from Covid-19, is doing “very well” on Covid-19.
Trump is asked if the postmaster general is purposely cutting postal services to hurt mail-in voting.
Trump says DeJoy is “trying to streamline the postal service and make it great again”. Again, Trump has admitted admitted last week that he opposed aid for the USPS because he believed extra money would help the delivery of mail-in ballots.
Trump is asked about allegations the US postmaster general, a Trump supporter, is damaging the US Postal Service in order to hurt mail-in voting, something Trump opposes.
He says Louis DeJoy is a “brilliant businessperson” and blames Democrats for failure to get funding sorted for the USPS.
Trump admitted last week that he opposed Democrats’ demand for $25bn in government aid to the USPS because he believed it would support the delivery of mail-in ballots.
To reporters’ questions. Trump is asked about the US’s failure to get an embargo against Iran for arms extended. “We’ll be doing a snapback of sanctions” against Iran, says Trump.
It’s not exactly clear what the point of this briefing is, apart from for Trump to tell America how great a job he thinks he is doing, while he trails Joe Biden in the polls.
Talking of Biden, he says China “will own the United States” if Biden becomes president. He then says he wants college football to come back after several large conferences cancelled their seasons due to Covid-19. He then gives an in-depth analysis of the Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. It’s true that Trevor Lawrence is very good at football, but quite how Trump’s scouting report helps the thousands of people who have had their lives devastated by Covid-19 is beyond me.
He then takes a shot at the NBA, which has allowed players to kneel during the anthem. He then returns to Lawrence, who he reminds us is good at football (FACT CHECK: Lawrence is indeed good at football).
Trump is early to the podium, which must be a first.
He says there has been a “steep decline” in Covid-19 cases across the US over the last week. The man who once suggested injecting disinfectant could be a good cure for Covid-19 then says Americans should use “common sense” treatments for the virus. He insists on calling the Covid-19 the “China virus” as is his tiresome and racist custom.
He also says that the US economy is experiencing the “fastest” recovery in history. He says retail spending is at an “all-time”. Economists have said that the US economy is far from back to normal and won’t be for some time.
“Jobs for more-skilled workers in business/professional services are making little headway overall and are declining in computer services, management and advertising,” Sophia Koropeckyj, economist at Moody’s Analytics, wrote in an investor note earlier this week. “These are the secondary effects of the stressed economy.”’
There was relatively good news on the jobs front. The latest figures from the US labor department showed 963,000 people filing claims after 20 weeks of claims above 1m. Claims still remain historically high. Before the pandemic, claims were averaging about 200,000 a week and the previous record for claims was 695,000, set in 1982.
Republican senator Lindsey Graham said the United States security council made a “major mistake” when it rejected a US request to extend an arms embargo against Iran on Friday. Only two countries – the US and the Dominican Republic – voted for the motion, while 11 abstained and two voted against.
“The United Nations Security Council overwhelmingly rejected an extension of the Iranian arms embargo. This was a major mistake by the UN. It also makes a major conflict with Iran much more likely as they build up their military arsenal,” tweeted Graham on Saturday.
Among those who abstained were traditional allies of the US such as the UK and France. Iran’s president said the result was a humiliation for the US.
“I don’t remember the US preparing a resolution for months to strike a blow at the Islamic Republic of Iran, and it garners only one vote,” Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech. “But the great success was that the US was defeated in this conspiracy with humiliation.”
Donald Trump’s scheduled 5pm press conference from his Bedminster golf club has been moved to 5.30pm (or in roughly 20 minutes), per the man himself.
It’s unclear whether it’s related to the delay, but the Secret Service tells NBC News it is investigating a small plane that violated the restricted airspace around Trump National. The plane landed as directed after US military aircraft were launched when it didn’t respond to radio.
Nine University of Oklahoma football players tested positive for coronavirus after returning from a break in preseason camp.
Head coach Lincoln Riley said he was “disappointed” by the news in a Zoom call with media on Saturday.
“We did conduct a Covid test as planned with our players last night, got the results this morning we had nine players tested positive for Covid. We had a couple of other that have been isolated due to contract tracing,” Riley said. “Disappointed by the news. We’ve done such a tremendous job this entire time. You know when (you) give players time, there is risk in that. This isn’t the NBA, we don’t have a bubble. We all have to continue to work to do a better job by all accounts. We’re still confident in the plan that we have.”
The entire program had returned only one positive result since the start of workouts on 1 July until Riley announced the one-week break on 8 August. The coach gave players the option of returning home, though most stayed on campus.
An Oklahoma source told the Athletic that “the majority of those who tested positive were players that remained in the local area/community”.
The Sooners are part of the Big 12, which is one of three major conferences that said this week they intend to move forward with fall football seasons.
The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday granted emergency use authorization to Yale School of Public Health’s saliva test to detect Covid-19, after a trial on National Basketball Association players and staff.
SalivaDirect, the fifth saliva test approved by the FDA for the disease, requires no swab or collection device and uses spit from people suspected of having the coronavirus, the agency said.
FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn called the test “groundbreaking” in its efficiency and in being unaffected by crucial component shortages.
SalivaDirect is seen as a cheap, simpler and less invasive testing method that requires no extraction of nucleic acid and can use several readily available reagents.
The NBA has used the test in a program involving asymptomatic players, coaches and staff from various teams, after partnering with Yale in June, the school said in a separate statement.
“We simplified the test so that it only costs a couple of dollars for reagents, and we expect that labs will only charge about $10 per sample,” Nathan Grubaugh, assistant professor at Yale School of Public Health said.
The FDA said the test could lower the risk to healthcare workers from collecting samples as it is self-collected under the observation of a healthcare professional.
Number of daily US coronavirus tests drops in threat to contain pandemic
The number of known coronavirus tests administered daily in the United States has fallen for the first time in an alarming trend that threatens to undermine the nation’s efforts to contain the pandemic.
An estimated 733,000 people have been tested each day this month on average, down from nearly 750,000 in July, according to the independent Covid Tracking Project.
“We’re clearly not doing enough,” said Dr Mark McClellan, the director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under former US president George W Bush, told the New York Times.
Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed the United States is the “envy of the world” when it comes to testing, which public health experts have described as an essential measure toward reining in the coronavirus in absence of a vaccine.