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Trump Will Declare National Emergency Over Coronavirus at News Conference Friday Afternoon

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President Donald Trump will hold a news conference Friday afternoon at 3 PM ET, during which he will announce he is declaring a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, as Bloomberg News’ Jennifer Jacobs reports:

Trump cheerily tweeted “Topic: CoronaVirus!” when announcing his news conference earlier Friday.

The President has been under fire from all sides over his mismanagement of the national health crisis. But he is now under fire not only for incompetent mismanagement but over new reports that he worked to intentionally diminish the ability of medical professionals to test for coronavirus in a deliberate attempt to keep the number low which he thought would help his re-election campaign.

Democrats have been urging Trump to declare a national emergency, and earlier today The New York Times blasted Trump for not having yet done so:

This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

Image: Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen via Flickr

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FDA Changes Gay Blood Ban From 12 to 3 Months of No Sex Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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The Food and Drug Administration has changed its ban on LGBTQ people donating blood, now requiring men who have had sex with men to abstain from sex for three months instead of 12 months before donating blood or plasma.

Plasma donations from those who have coronavirus antibodies are especially vital right now, as this popular HuffPost story shows, given the current pandemic. There are also shortages of blood across the nation.

The FDA’s “loosened” guidelines, which are now in effect due to “the public health emergency related to COVID-19,” are not necessarily permanent. They cover a lengthy list of people who should not donate blood. In addition to men who have had sex with a man or men within the past three months, it recommends a ban of those who fall in to the following categories:

Women with “a history in the past 3 months of sex with a man who has had sex with another man in the past 3 months,” donors with a “history in the past 3 months of syphilis or gonorrhea, or treatment for syphilis or gonorrhea,” donors with a “history in the past 3 months of a tattoo, ear or body piercing,” donors with a “history in the past three months of exchanging sex for money or drugs,” and donors with a “history in the past three months of non-prescription injection drug use.”

The ban on gay men is unscientific and discriminatory, given the ability to test for HIV infection, and given that men who have sex with women can still acquire HIV.

For example, a man who is married to a woman but has random or anonymous sexual encounters regularly with other women is fully eligible to donate blood. A man who is married to a man in a monogamous relationship still cannot.

Calling the new guidelines “imperfect,” GLAAD, which has been working on eliminating the gay blood ban since 2015 issued a statement from its President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis saying, “LGBTQ Americans can hold their heads up today and know that our voices will always triumph over discrimination.”

“This is a victory for all of us who raised our collective voices against the discriminatory ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood. The FDA’s decision to lower the deferral period on men who have sex with men from 12 months to 3 months is a step towards being more in line with science, but remains imperfect. We will keep fighting until the deferral period is lifted and gay and bi men, and all LGBTQ people, are treated equal to others.“

Anthony Michael Kreis, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Chicago-Kent College of Law tells NCRM, “I’m glad that the FDA has liberalized their policy, but it does not really address the concerns about the stigma of blood donations and sexual orientation. Is there a good public health justification for excluding HIV-negative men in monogamous same-sex relationships? Is there a science-based rationale for excluding gay and bisexual men who are HIV-negative and using PrEP? These are important questions that need to be answered in the coming weeks because each raise significant questions about what’s driving this policy— the fit seems to be overbroad and, as a consequence, needlessly stigma-perpetuating.”

 

Image by Peltier Chevrolet via Flickr and a CC license

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Anti-LGBTQ Hate Groups Spike As Trump Embraces Their Leaders – White House Issues Thin Statement Rejecting Responsibility

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Anti-LGBTQ hate groups are rapidly growing across America, a result, the Southern Poverty Law Center says, of President Donald Trump’s leadership, including his embrace of those groups. The White House in response has issued a thin statement denying any responsibility or blame – while not even offering to make any changes or to help with the growing danger.

While overall, active hate groups of all types fell slightly in 2019 from 1020 to 940, there was a “sharp expansion,” a nearly 43% increase, in anti-LGBTQ hate groups, the SPLC reports, warning that the “Trump administration has demonstrated a clear willingness to embrace their leaders and their policy agenda.”

“Though Trump promised during his campaign to be a ‘real friend’ to the LGBTQ community, he has fully embraced anti-LGBTQ hate groups and their agenda of dismantling federal protections and resources for LGBTQ people.”

Far right wing Christian evangelicals, including anti-LGBTQ hate groups like the Family Research Council, have become emboldened, enjoying what they have said is “open door” access to the Oval Office.

“Anti-LGBTQ groups have become intertwined with the Trump administration, and—after years of civil rights progress and growing acceptance among the broader American public—anti-LGBTQ sentiment within the Republican Party is rising,” the Southern Poverty Law Center adds.

The White House issued a thin statement in response, refusing to accept any responsibility or blame.

“While the radical left has pushed false accusations that LGBTQ Americans are threatened, the president has hired and promoted LGBTQ Americans to the highest levels of government, including positions at the White House, Cabinet agencies and ambassadorships,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told NBC News. “He launched a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality. … And the president has made the bold declaration that we are committed to ending HIV transmissions in the United States within 10 years.”

(Note that nearly the entire statement hinges on the President appointing openly-gay Trump diehard loyalist Richard Grenell as his Ambassador to Germany, then installing him – despite his absolute lack of qualifications – as his acting Director of National Security. It was Grenell who launched the campaign to decriminalize homosexuality – which exists in name only. And Trump can say he is “committed to ending HIV transmissions in the United States within 10 years,” but his policies are likely to make the situation worse.)

The SPLC also issued another dark warning: this hate and extremism “will far outlast this administration,” and not disappear when President Trump leaves office.

“As the country continues to experience white nationalist terror, extremist ideas long believed outside of the realm of legitimate politics are penetrating deeply into the mainstream, spawning public policies that target immigrants, LGBTQ people and Muslims. The Trump administration has installed members of hate groups into government—particularly those with anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim or anti-LGBTQ animus—and put in place highly punitive policies that seemed unthinkable just a few short years ago. These political moves will far outlast this administration, as Trump and his allies in the U.S. Senate have pushed through hundreds of new federal judges, many of whom are hostile to civil rights concerns and will serve for decades.”

 

 

 

 

 

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‘Colossal Failure of Leadership’: Trump ‘Unfit’ for Pandemic, ‘Has Blood on His Hands’ Says Pulitzer Prize Winning Paper

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‘Come November, There Must Be a Reckoning for the Lives Lost’

A Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper is responding to President Donald Trump’s failure to manage the coronavirus pandemic, and is not holding back. The Boston Globe’s editorial board, far from a bastion of far left liberalism, is denouncing the nation’s President as “unfit for a pandemic.”

“Much of the suffering and death coming was preventable. The president has blood on his hands,” the Globe’s editorial board writes.

“As the American public braces itself for the worst of this crisis, it’s worth remembering that the reach of the virus here is not attributable to an act of God or a foreign invasion, but a colossal failure of leadership.”

Calling Trump “epically outmatched by a global pandemic,” the paper says the coronavirus outbreak “demanded a White House that could act swiftly and competently to protect public health, informed by science and guided by compassion and public service. It required an administration that could quickly deploy reliable tests around the nation to isolate cases and trace and contain the virus’s spread, as South Korea effectively did, as well as to manufacture and distribute scarce medical supplies around the country.”

“It begged for a president of the United States to deliver clear, consistent, scientifically sound messages on the state of the epidemic and its solutions, to reassure the public amid their fear, and to provide steady guidance to cities and states. And it demanded a leader who would put the country’s well-being first, above near-term stock market returns and his own reelection prospects, and who would work with other nations to stem the tide of COVID-19 cases around the world.”

Trump “embodies callousness, self-concern, and a lack of compass” in his “near-daily addresses to the nation.”

The Trump administration’s “critical errors” “will cost thousands if not hundreds of thousands of American lives,” and “come November, there must be a reckoning for the lives lost, and for the vast, avoidable suffering about to ensue under the president’s watch.”

Read the entire editorial here.

 

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