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    Republicans used to laud ‘personal responsibility’. Not with Covid | David Litt

    OpinionCoronavirusRepublicans used to laud ‘personal responsibility’. Not with CovidDavid LittThe Republican party is encouraging Americans to make objectively selfish, harmful choices – then using the tools of government to shield them from accountability Fri 30 Jul 2021 06.13 EDTLast modified on Fri 30 Jul 2021 15.35 EDT“It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions,” declared Ronald Reagan at the 1968 Republican National Convention.By the time he became president 12 years later, this idea – that individuals can be trusted to act wisely and should be held accountable when they don’t – was firmly entrenched in Republican rhetoric. Reagan even included “personal responsibility” in his list of America’s bedrock values, right up there with faith in God, honesty, and caring for others.But those days are long over – and the conservative movement’s nationwide anti-vaccination effort proves it. Political parties are large; there are plenty of responsible Republican voters, and a handful of responsible Republican politicians. But the conservative movement no longer argues that individuals are better than the government at promoting the greater good. Instead, the movement encourages its members to make objectively selfish, harmful choices, then uses the tools of government to shield them from accountability when they do.Republicans have become the party of personal irresponsibility.In most cases, it’s difficult to say with certainty that a given choice is “responsible.” But getting a Covid vaccine is not one of those cases. Getting vaccinated costs individual Americans essentially nothing – the vaccine is free, widely available, and proven safe and effective.The costs to society from Americans not getting vaccinated, however, are enormous. A larger unvaccinated population means more deadly infections among the unvaccinated and immunocompromised; it means more taxpayer dollars spent on hospitalizations, and higher health insurance premiums for everybody; it means far less certainty for small businesses desperate for the pandemic to be over so they can re-open for good.Many people have gotten the vaccine out of self-interest: they’d rather not get Covid. But even for those unconcerned by the health risks of contracting the disease, the vaccine presents a straightforward choice: take an action that benefits one’s community, or reject the idea – expressed so frequently by Reagan – that supporting one’s community is something individuals ought to do? As far as personal responsibility goes, it’s the perfect test.Which is why it’s shocking that the conservative movement has gone to such great lengths to ensure its supporters fail that test. Fox News has hosted a parade of discredited anti-vaxxers. At both the state and local level, Republican lawmakers have invited conspiracy theorists to testify before their committees, amplifying their messages. Even Mitch McConnell, who to his credit has personally encouraged constituents to get their Covid shots, has refused to publicly condemn the misinformation rampant in conservative media or speak out against his fellow Republican lawmakers, like Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green, who encouraged Americans to “Just say no” to the vaccine.The conservative movement hasn’t just adopted pro-choice rhetoric when it comes to vaccines. It’s gone further, encouraging people to make the choice that is clearly harmful to society at large. It’s debatable whether those who remain unvaccinated because of misinformation are to blame for trusting the wrong sources. But it’s undeniable that the right-wing media and lawmakers peddling misinformation are acting recklessly – and that the entire country is worse off as a result.Republican politicians are also using the tools of government to undermine accountability, or even transparency, when it comes to vaccinations. Texas passed legislation forbidding businesses in the state from requiring proof of vaccination. Montana prohibited employers, including medical facilities, from requiring vaccination as a condition of employment. Under pressure from Republican legislators, Tennessee’s health department suspended outreach to children about not just the Covid vaccine but all childhood vaccinations.In this new, topsy-turvy definition of individual liberty, some Americans are free to put their neighbors at risk, while other Americans are barred by the government from trying to keep their own employees, customers, and even children safe. Deciding whether to get the vaccine or remain unvaccinated is technically still a choice – but the Republican party is doing everything it can to make choosing the latter easier than choosing the former.America is now reaping what the Republican Party sowed. Covid cases are soaring and deaths are up, leaving the CDC with no choice but to recommend reimposing mask mandates in much of the country – mostly to protect the unvaccinated from the potential consequences of their actions. The vaccine is the clearest example yet that the conservative movement is actively promoting, and celebrating, selfish choices.But vaccines aren’t the only example of the party of personal irresponsibility at work. Republican lawmakers have either remained silent about or defended Donald Trump’s history of tax cheating, and recently rejected increasing IRS enforcement, ensuring that other wealthy Americans are more likely to get away with not paying taxes, too. The Republican Party once promoted “responsible gun ownership” – now, Republicans in Texas and Tennessee have passed laws allowing concealed-carry handguns without permits or training. Missouri’s Republican governor promised to pardon Mark McCloskey, an attorney who threatened peaceful Black Lives Matter marchers with a firearm, if he were convicted of a crime. McCloskey has since parlayed his dangerous display of recklessness into conservative celebrity and a Senate run.Perhaps most alarmingly, a culture of irresponsibility and unaccountability has taken root among Republican elected officials. Our democratic process gives politicians enormous leeway to make choices that harm democracy: they can pass voter suppression laws; remain in office amid a prostitution scandal; or attempt to cover up an armed anti-government insurrection. But just because officials can do all these things doesn’t mean they should. And it is far from guaranteed that American democracy will survive if they do.Republicans, particularly Washington Republicans, like to tell themselves that they remain the party of Ronald Reagan – of small government, lower regulation, and faith in the individual. But it’s time for voters and politicians alike to acknowledge the new reality of American politics: the disagreement between the parties is no longer over how best to promote the general welfare; it’s over whether promoting the general welfare is worth doing at all. The Republican Party’s fall from goodness, its devolution from a party that extolled personal responsibility and accountability to a party that extols reckless disregard for one’s fellow Americans, is one of the most important trends shaping the country.And as we’re too often reminded these days, reversing that trend is a matter of life and death.
    David Litt is an American political speechwriter and New York Times bestselling author of Thanks Obama, and Democracy In One Book Or Less. He edits How Democracy Lives, a newsletter on democracy reform
    TopicsCoronavirusOpinionUS politicsRepublicanscommentReuse this content More

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    ‘You don’t have to die’: Biden urges Americans to get vaccinated and calls for incentives – live

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    5.19pm EDT
    17:19

    China’s talks with Taliban could be a positive thing, US says

    5.03pm EDT
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    Today so far

    4.48pm EDT
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    Biden outlines vaccination incentives and mandate for federal workers

    4.37pm EDT
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    ‘You don’t have to die’: Biden pleads with unvaccinated Americans to get their shot

    4.19pm EDT
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    Federal employees will be required to provide vaccination status, White House confirms

    3.42pm EDT
    15:42

    Biden calls on states to offer $100 payments to newly vaccinated Americans

    2.29pm EDT
    14:29

    Senate unanimously passes $2.1bn Capitol security funding bill

    Live feed

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    5.29pm EDT
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    Jessica Glenza

    President Biden announced a list of mandates and incentives to get more Americans vaccinated against Covid-19 as hospitals across the country see a new surge of coronavirus cases in a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” driven by the highly contagious Delta variant.
    “We are not fully out of the woods yet,” said Biden, and later that hospital wards filled with individuals battling Covid-19, 99% of whom are unvaccinated, are “unnecessary, avoidable and tragic”.
    New cases are not expected to lead to the same level of deaths and hospitalizations seen last winter, because 190 million Americans have had at least one shot. However, new modeling has sparked concern, as forecasters predicted 60,000 more Americans could die by mid-October, adding to the more than 609,000 who have already died.
    Among Biden’s announcements, he said federal government workers will be required to attest they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 vaccine or get tested at least weekly for Covid-19. A similar standard will apply to federal contractors. The plan mirrors a vaccine mandate for health workers in New York City’s public hospitals announced last week.
    Biden also said he would call on the Department of Defense to determine when Covid-19 vaccines should be added to required shots for the military; said the federal government would reimburse employers who give employees paid time off to get a vaccine; and that local governments should use stimulus funding to give $100 incentives to Americans who get newly vaccinated.
    “It’s time to impose requirements on key groups to make sure they’re vaccinated,” said Biden. He later said he would like to see employers “move in that direction” of mandating vaccines.
    The justice department has said vaccine mandates are legal, they have a history that goes back to the Revolutionary War, and have been required for years for some workers and schoolchildren for diseases such as influenza and measles.

    Updated
    at 5.45pm EDT

    5.19pm EDT
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    China’s talks with Taliban could be a positive thing, US says

    Emma Graham-Harrison

    The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has said that Beijing’s interest in Afghanistan could be a “positive thing”, after China gave a warm and very public welcome to a senior Taliban delegation.
    Nine officials from the militant group, which is eager for political recognition to bolster the impact of its military victories across much of Afghanistan, met China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, in the coastal city of Tianjin on Wednesday.
    Photographs showed Wang welcoming Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar , the Taliban’s co-founder and head of its political commission, with open arms, then sitting down for talks with the Taliban delegation.
    China hosted Taliban representatives in 2019, and is thought to maintain unofficial links with the group through its ally Pakistan.
    Wang said the withdrawal of American and Nato troops, which will be officially completed by the end of August, “marks the failure of the US policy toward Afghanistan”. He called the Taliban “an important military and political force in Afghanistan”, and urged the group to make progress in peace talks.
    Although the US might once have fiercely resisted Chinese attempts to increase their influence inside Afghanistan, now Washington’s priority appears to be staving off a collapse into full civil war.
    Read more:

    5.03pm EDT
    17:03

    Today so far

    Joe Biden’s speech on vaccination efforts has now concluded, and that’s all from me for today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.
    Here’s where the day stands so far:

    Biden outlined his administration’s latest efforts to vaccinate more Americans against coronavirus. Among other initiatives, the Biden administration is urging states to offer $100 payments to newly vaccinated residents and requiring federal workers to get vaccinated or receive regular coronavirus tests. “People are dying and will die who don’t have to die. If you’re out there unvaccinated, you don’t have to die,” Biden said moments ago.
    Biden has called on Congress to extend the eviction moratorium, which is set to expire at the end of July. While federal aid is available to renters who will not be able to make rent, housing advocates have said the aid has been slow, and many Americans are at-risk of eviction.
    The US economy grew 6.5% in this year’s second quarter. The figure was lower than what analysts had expected, though bottlenecks in the supply chain of certain goods is a likely explanation.
    The Senate unanimously passed a $2.1bn bill to bolster funding for Capitol security and help relocate Afghans who have assisted the US military. The White House has already indicated that Biden will sign the bill, which will provide much-needed funds for the US Capitol Police and reimburse the National Guard for their Capitol mission in response to the January 6 insurrection.
    The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, said that he’s gotten the support from all 50 Democratic senators to advance the reconciliation bill, which would fund many of Biden’s “human infrastructure” proposals. The bill’s price tag is currently $3.5tn, although some moderate Democrats have indicated they want a less costly package.

    Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

    4.48pm EDT
    16:48

    Biden outlines vaccination incentives and mandate for federal workers

    Joe Biden outlined the new initiatives his administration is launching to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated against coronavirus.
    As previously announced, the president noted his administration is urging state, local and tribal governments to provide $100 payments to newly vaccinated residents.
    Biden acknowledged those incentives may frustrate some of the millions of Americans who are already fully vaccinated, but he emphasized the entire country would benefit from these efforts.
    “Here’s the deal: if incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them,” Biden said.
    The president also confirmed that his administration is asking all federal workers and on-site contractors to attest to their fully vaccinated status or submit to regular coronavirus tests.
    “With incentives and mandates, we will make a huge difference and save a lot of lives,” Biden said.

    4.37pm EDT
    16:37

    ‘You don’t have to die’: Biden pleads with unvaccinated Americans to get their shot

    Joe Biden delivered yet another urgent plea to unvaccinated Americans, encouraging them to get their shot as quickly as possible.
    “Make no mistake: vaccines are the best defense against you getting severely ill from Covid-19,” Biden said.
    The president acknowledged there have been some breakthrough infections among vaccinated Americans, but he emphasized that those cases remain rare and almost all involved mild symptoms.
    Biden credited the vaccines with a lower rate of coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths even as cases rise because of the spread of the Delta variant.
    “People are dying and will die who don’t have to die. If you’re out there unvaccinated, you don’t have to die,” Biden said. “This is not about red states and blue states. It is literally about life and death.”

    4.29pm EDT
    16:29

    Joe Biden is now delivering his remarks on his administration’s ongoing efforts to vaccinate more Americans against coronavirus.
    Biden began by noting that the US is now seeing a surge in coronavirus cases among unvaccinated Americans because of the Delta variant, which is more highly transmissible than the original variant.
    “We need some straight talk right now,” the president said. “Because there’s a lot of fear and misinformation in the country, and we need to cut through it — with facts, with science, with the truth.”

    This Week
    (@ThisWeekABC)
    Pres. Biden gives remarks on the COVID pandemic: “We need some straight talk right now. Because there’s a lot of fear and misinformation in the country, and we need to cut through it—with facts; with science; with the truth.” https://t.co/ZHmyyZGIxU pic.twitter.com/Ml5RyyQ8YL

    July 29, 2021

    4.19pm EDT
    16:19

    Federal employees will be required to provide vaccination status, White House confirms

    The White House has just released a fact sheet outlining the initiatives Joe Biden will announce in his speech on vaccination efforts this afternoon.
    As expected, the Biden administration is requiring all federal employees to “attest to their vaccination status” or comply with restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus in government offices.
    “Anyone who does not attest to being fully vaccinated will be required to wear a mask on the job no matter their geographic location, physically distance from all other employees and visitors, comply with a weekly or twice weekly screening testing requirement, and be subject to restrictions on official travel,” the fact sheet says.
    The rule applies to all federal workers and on-site contractors, which accounts for about 4 million people. The White House is urging all private employers to develop a similar model.
    Biden will also call on the Pentagon to “look into how and when they will add Covid-19 vaccination to the list of required vaccinations for members of the military”.
    The blog will have more details coming up, so stay tuned.

    Updated
    at 4.42pm EDT

    4.05pm EDT
    16:05

    Ouch, that’s got to hurt: Jill Biden will undergo a procedure at Walter Reed medical center today to remove an object that became lodged in her foot last weekend.
    Michael LaRosa, the first lady’s spokesperson, said in a statement provided to the White House press pool: “Last weekend, prior to her two official events in Hawaii, the First Lady stepped on an object on the beach which became lodged in her left foot. She will undergo a procedure today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to remove the object. The President will join her.”
    The first lady visited Hawaii over the weekend after traveling to Tokyo for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

    Updated
    at 4.19pm EDT

    3.52pm EDT
    15:52

    New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, has already followed the treasury department’s advice, announcing yesterday that anyone who goes to a city-run vaccination site for their first dose of the vaccine will receive $100 starting Friday.

    NYC Mayor’s Office
    (@NYCMayorsOffice)
    STARTING FRIDAY:Get your first dose of the #COVID19 vaccine at a City run site and you’ll get $100. It’s that simple.➡️ https://t.co/V1jusyFv1K https://t.co/etaipgbCtd pic.twitter.com/w7V1nKrk9S

    July 28, 2021

    On Monday, De Blasio also announced a vaccine mandate for all of New York’s roughly 340,000 city employees. Starting 13 September, all city workers – including public school teachers, police officers and firefighters – will need to show proof of vaccination or receive weekly coronavirus tests.
    Joe Biden is expected to soon announce a similar mandate for federal workers when he delivers his speech on the White House’s vaccination campaign.

    Updated
    at 4.20pm EDT

    3.42pm EDT
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    Biden calls on states to offer $100 payments to newly vaccinated Americans

    Joe Biden is set to soon deliver a speech on his administration’s efforts to vaccinate more Americans against coronavirus, and the treasury department is now previewing one of those initiatives.
    The department released a statement urging state, local and tribal governments to use funds they received from the American Rescue Plan to offer payments to newly vaccinated residents.
    “For these governments and the communities they represent, no task is more urgent than turning the tide on the pandemic, and there is no better tool than vaccination. This is why Treasury is encouraging state, territorial and local governments to use the funds to enhance their vaccination efforts, including by providing individual vaccine incentives,” the statement says.
    “Today, the President is calling on state, territorial, and local governments to provide $100 payments for every newly vaccinated American, as an extra incentive to boost vaccination rates, protect communities, and save lives. Treasury stands ready to give technical assistance to state and local governments so that they may use the funds effectively to support increased vaccination in their communities, and Treasury will partner with the Department of Health and Human Services throughout this effort.”
    Biden’s speech is scheduled to start in about 20 minutes, so stay tuned.

    Updated
    at 4.20pm EDT

    3.25pm EDT
    15:25

    Well, this is moving quite quickly. The House has already taken up the $2.1bn Capitol security funding bill that passed the Senate this afternoon.

    House Press Gallery
    (@HouseDailyPress)
    The House is debating for up to 40 minutes @rosadelauro motion to suspend the rules and concur with the Senate amendment H.R. 3237 – emergency supplemental bill.

    July 29, 2021

    However, Republican congressman Chip Roy has just introduced a motion to adjourn the session, which will slightly delay the final vote on the security bill. Stay tuned.

    3.20pm EDT
    15:20

    Meanwhile, over on Capitol Hill, the House will vote today on the $2.1bn Capitol security bill that unanimously passed the Senate this afternoon.

    Craig Caplan
    (@CraigCaplan)
    House today plans to debate & vote on Senate-passed $2.1B US Capitol security/Afghan relocation emergency supplemental spending bill “upon receipt of the papers” per Hoyer. House will consider bill under suspension of the rules w/40 mins for debate,no amdts & 2/3rds vote to pass. pic.twitter.com/p7PxnpTIXj

    July 29, 2021

    The office of the House majority leader, Steny Hoyer ,has just said the chamber will consider the bill under suspension of the rules, meaning the legislation will need a two-thirds majority to pass.
    The White House has already indicated that Joe Biden will sign the bill if it passes the House. Stay tuned.

    Updated
    at 4.21pm EDT

    3.02pm EDT
    15:02

    Karine Jean-Pierre avoided providing specifics on the expected vaccine mandate for federal workers, but she argued the White House has a responsibility to set the best standards for their employees.
    As the largest employer in the US, the federal government has “an obligation to be good stewards of the workforce and ensure their health and their safety”, the deputy press secretary said.
    “We’re taking action to protect the federal workforce so that they can continue to execute on the hard and important work of government,” Jean-Pierre said.
    She also argued that the steps the federal government is taking are not all that dissimilar from action initiated by other workplaces across the country.

    Updated
    at 4.21pm EDT

    2.54pm EDT
    14:54

    White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre would not provide any details on Joe Biden’s speech this afternoon about the administration’s vaccination efforts.
    Using one of press secretary Jen Psaki’s favorite answers, Jean-Pierre told reporters: “I don’t want to get ahead of the president.”
    Biden is scheduled to deliver his speech in about an hour, and the president is expected to announce a coronavirus vaccine mandate for all federal employees.

    Updated
    at 4.22pm EDT More

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    ‘Such a moron’: Pelosi heaps disdain on McCarthy for criticizing mask guidance

    Nancy Pelosi‘Such a moron’: Pelosi heaps disdain on McCarthy for criticizing mask guidanceKevin McCarthy: mask policy a political decision by DemocratsCapitol physician reimposes mask requirement for the House Hugo LowellWed 28 Jul 2021 14.53 EDTLast modified on Wed 28 Jul 2021 14.59 EDTThe House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, on Wednesday heaped disdain on the Republican minority leader’s criticism of Congress’s new mask requirement – a reversal of policy that reflected growing number of cases and fears about the highly-transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant at the Capitol.Bipartisan group reaches agreement on ‘major issues’ of infrastructure bill, Republican says – liveRead more“He’s such a moron,” Pelosi said of the House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, after he tweeted that the mandatory mask policy was not based on science but a political decision by Democrats. (Consensus among public health officials and scientists is that masks significantly lower transmission of Covid-19, especially in indoor settings.)The unusually abrupt remark from Pelosi came as the attending physician of the Capitol reimposed the mask requirement for the House of Representatives. At least two House lawmakers and a fully-vaccinated aide to Pelosi have tested positive for the coronavirus, while the Senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee postponed a hearing after some of its members were partially exposed. The House had dropped its months-long mask policy six weeks ago in a demonstration of its optimism that the US had largely defeated the pandemic, shortly before Joe Biden declared America’s so-called independence from Covid-19.The number of Covid-19 cases has also skyrocketed across the country, and the seven-day rolling average of new infections reached 40,246 on Wednesday – around four times the level just three weeks ago – fuelled largely by vaccine holdouts and the Delta variant.Capitol physician Dr Brian Monahan said in a memo to House lawmakers and congressional aides that he was reimposing the mask policy based on new CDC guidance and the unique nature of the Capitol, where thousands of people from across the country congregate each week.“All individuals should wear a well-fitted, medical-grade filtration mask (for example an ear loop surgical mask or a KN95 mask) when they are in an interior space,” Monahan said. “For meetings in an enclosed US House of Representatives controlled space, masks are REQUIRED.”The top doctor in Congress separately dispensed the same advice for the Senate but stopped short of pushing for a mask mandate. The Senate is far smaller than the House of Representatives, and most senators voluntarily adopted masks during the pandemic.But like the measures being considered by Joe Biden to increase vaccination rates in the US, the reintroduction of the mask requirement in the House has inflamed Republicans, who have seized on such policies as a supposed egregious overreach of government power by Democrats.The House minority leader McCarthy reacted testily to Pelosi’s remark on Tuesday, again questioning the basis of the mask mandate: “If she’s so brilliant, can she explain to me where the science in the building changes between the House and the Senate,” he said.House rules say that any member who refuses to wear masks on the floor of the House chamber and in specified areas of the Capitol can be fined $500 for a first offence and $2,500 for a second, with the penalties paid out directly from their salaries.Monahan’s memo says members will not be required to wear masks when they are alone in the Capitol complex, or when they are recognised to speak on the House floor. .Still, several Republicans have already vowed to defy the mask requirement, and firebrand congresswoman Lauren Boebert caused consternation when she walked onto the House floor without a mask and threw one back at a staffer when offered her a spare, CNN reported.TopicsNancy PelosiCoronavirusHouse of RepresentativesUS politicsRepublicansnewsReuse this content More

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    The Republican backlash in Joe Biden’s America

    It might seem like a post-Trump world, but in red states across the US his most hardline supporters are setting the political agenda. How much power do they have to shape the country’s future, even with a Democrat in the White House?

    How to listen to podcasts: everything you need to know

    To a casual observer, Joe Biden’s victory in the last US presidential election, coupled with Democratic success in the Senate and the House, might have seemed to turn the page on the Donald Trump era and consign his hardline policy agenda to the past. But a huge amount of power in the US resides in its 50 state legislatures, and Republicans won a clear majority in 30 of them. In large parts of the US they are now using that power to enact a policy agenda that many observers view as being far more extreme than many voters would have supported. So why are they going ahead anyway? Rachel Humphreys speaks to David Smith, the Guardian’s Washington bureau chief, about the politics that lie behind that move to the right, and how in the era of coronavirus it will further deepen the sense that there are two vastly different Americas. Smith reflects on what threat to Biden’s agenda the state Republicans will present and whether their strategy of appeasing their base could pave the way for a new Trump run at the presidency in 2024. More

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    ‘This is how I’m going to die’: officers recount Capitol attack ordeal – live

    Key events

    Show

    11.13am EDT
    11:13

    CDC to recommend vaccinated people wear masks indoors – sometimes

    10.15am EDT
    10:15

    ‘This is how I’m going to die’: USCP officer recounts January 6

    9.56am EDT
    09:56

    Committee must uncover what happened at the White House on January 6, Cheney says

    9.48am EDT
    09:48

    Thompson plays graphic footage of insurrection in opening statement

    9.32am EDT
    09:32

    January 6 select committee begins first hearing

    9.13am EDT
    09:13

    January 6 select committee to hold first hearing

    Live feed

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    11.21am EDT
    11:21

    Thompson is using his questions to hit key emotional points in the testimony of the four officers. Such committee hearings are about TV too, remember – which is why Donald Trump may be unhappy that thanks to Kevin McCarthy’s choice to withdraw Republicans from the panel, he has no defenders here, beaming to screens around the country.
    Officer Dunn is asked about his experience enduring racist abuse, seeing Confederate flags among the rioters and other such issues.
    “It’s so overwhelming and disappointing and disheartening,” he says, that America contains people who would “attack you because of the colour of your skin”.
    “My blood is red, I’m an American citizen, I’m a police officer and a peace officer,” he says. “I’m here to defend everybody.”
    Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and pariah in her own party, is next up. She asks Sgt Gonell about Trump’s claims that the crowd was full of “loving” people. He is not impressed.
    “I’m still recovering from those hugs and kisses,” Gonell says, adding: “If that was hugs and kisses I wish you all go to his house and do the same to him.”
    “All of them were telling us Trump sent us,” Gonell adds, dismissing Trump’s claim leftwing demonstrators or the FBI were behind the riot.
    Officer Fanone is next to receive a question from Cheney. “The politics of that day didn’t play into my response at all,” he says.
    Officer Hodges is asked to describe his experience in seeing protesters in military and tactical gear at the Capitol. Cheney asks Officer Dunn about what police expected on 6 January. “A couple arrests, name-calling, unfriendly people,” he says – but not close to what actually happened.

    11.13am EDT
    11:13

    CDC to recommend vaccinated people wear masks indoors – sometimes

    The Washington Post reports that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will this afternoon recommend that vaccinated people wear masks indoors in certain circumstances. The paper, which tends to turn out to be reasonably well connected in the capital, says the announcement is coming at 3pm ET.
    The CDC will revise guidance issued on 13 May, which said vaccinated individuals did not need to wear masks indoors.
    As is the way of things, the administration’s view on whether mask advisories or mandates might return, as with the question of whether vaccinations should be made mandatory in any circumstances, has been a little opaque. But as press secretary Jen Psaki said yesterday, Joe Biden regards his scientific and medical advisers as his “North Star” on such matters, so here we are. Or will be, when the announcement comes later.
    The highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus has fuelled steep rises in case numbers, particularly among unvaccinated Americans and amid struggles with disinformation and resistance, particularly on the political right.
    Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, discussed the possible need to return to advising mask-wearing over the weekend. Report here.
    Speaking to the Post, Robert Wachter, chairman of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said: “Nobody wants to go backward but you have to deal with the facts on the ground, and the facts on the ground are that it’s a pretty scary time and there are a lot of vulnerable people.
    “I think the biggest thing we got wrong was not anticipating that 30% of the country would choose not to be vaccinated.
    “In June we were in this virtuous cycle, where cases were going down, people were getting vaccinated, everyone said happy days are here again, and let their guard down.”
    Some further reading, from Jessica Glenza:

    11.10am EDT
    11:10

    This is Martin Pengelly, taking over the controls from Joanie Greve for a while. In response to questions from Bennie Thompson, the committee chair, Sgt Gonell is currently describing his experiences in Iraq: “We could run over an IED and that’s it but at least we knew we were in a combat zone. Here, in our nation’s capital, we were attacked multiple times.”
    He adds that police officers were “fighting for our lives” during the assault by the Trump supporters seeking to overturn the election result.

    Updated
    at 11.10am EDT

    11.04am EDT
    11:04

    US Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, who is Black, said he was repeatedly called the “n” word as he sought to protect the Capitol from pro-Trump insurrectionists on January 6.
    “Nobody had ever, ever called me a [‘n’ word] while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer,” Dunn said, actually saying the racial slur.
    Dunn closed his testimony by expressing pride in his fellow USCP officers and encouraging them to protect their mental health as they deal with the fallout of the insurrection.
    “There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional counseling,” Dunn said.

    Updated
    at 11.04am EDT

    10.50am EDT
    10:50

    US Capitol Police officers are closely watching the January 6 select committee’s hearing as some of their colleagues testify.
    An NBC News reporter shared a photo of two USCP officers watching C-SPAN as it streamed the hearing:

    Haley Talbot
    (@haleytalbotnbc)
    As we hear the powerful stories from officers on Jan 6 can’t help but think of the entire USCP force, including those that lost their lives as a result of that day. As you walk around the Capitol today officers are glued to the hearing, watching their colleagues testify. pic.twitter.com/ljw2Br7tk3

    July 27, 2021

    10.42am EDT
    10:42

    Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges, who was nearly crushed against a door on January 6 as pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the Capitol, delivered his opening statement to the select committee. More