First Thing election special: we’re not going to control Covid, says Trump aide

Molly Blackall
·4-min read
<span>Photograph: Jonathan Drake/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Jonathan Drake/Reuters

Good morning.

Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, made the revealing admission on Sunday that his administration was not planning to control coronavirus, saying it was instead focusing on “mitigating” factors including the race for a vaccine.

It came after news broke that the vice-president, Mike Pence, was continuing to attend campaign events despite having been exposed to Covid-19, after five of his aides tested positive. Pence did not address the positive tests when he spoke at a rally in North Carolina on Sunday, but he did commit two breaches of his own administration’s public health recommendations, which would require him to quarantine for 14 days and always wear a mask around others.

The GOP ‘closely resembles autocratic ruling parties in Hungary and Turkey’

The study, the largest of its kind, found the changes were directly linked to the rise of Donald Trump
The study, the largest of its kind, found the changes were directly linked to the rise of Donald Trump. Photograph: Elise Amendola/AP

The Republican party has undergone “the most dramatic shift in an established democracy” over the past two decades to become significantly more illiberal, a study has found. In encouraging violence against its supporters and shunning democratic norms, the party has become closer to autocratic parties in Hungary and Turkey than to centre-right parties in Europe.

  • ‘If he wins, democracy is over’: From Bob Woodward to Mary Trump, authors of recent exposés on the president discuss his administration, and the future of the US under a second term of Trump.

The election is make or break for environmental efforts

Laurence Tubiana, a key architect of the Paris accords, said the election was &#x002018;of great consequence, to both the US and the world&#x002019;.
Laurence Tubiana, a key architect of the Paris accords, said the election was ‘of great consequence, to both the US and the world’. Photograph: Eva Hambach/AFP via Getty Images

Diplomats have warned that a Trump victory could cripple global environmental efforts, with the US due to pull out of the Paris climate agreement the day after the election. According to John Podesta, who advised Barack Obama on climate policy:

It would be pretty much game over for the international system if [Trump] is re-elected.

Experts say Joe Biden has the power to ramp up climate action internationally and tackle mass joblessness at home, with the green economy employing 10 times as many people as the fossil fuel industry.

  • Meat cleaver assault”: The Trump administration has leased 5.4m acres of public land, an area the size of New Jersey, to oil and gas companies, and drilling from these leases could heat the planet by the equivalent of 1,051 power plants burning coal for a year.

In other election news …

Stat of the day

More than 40% of registered voters in Texas had voted as of Friday – more than three-quarters of the total turnout from four years ago. Nearly 60 million Americans have already cast their vote, and with a week still to go this election is tipped to have the highest voter turnout for generations.

View from the right

Wall Street has thrown its weight behind Biden, donating $50m to his campaign compared with $10m for Trump, writes John Fund in the National Review. However, he claims the banks’ argument that Biden would be better for business is a fallacy, arguing that historically, the best outcome for stocks is divided control of Congress followed by Republican control of Congress.

Under Biden’s tax plan, the after-tax-return on the stock would fall to about 48% for the shareholder with 52% snatched away by the government. How is this tax scheme good for investors, good for stocks, or good for the economy?

Don’t miss this

Healthcare has become a top election issue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and one in which Biden has a 20-point lead over Trump. Jessica Glenza talks to Americans who are voting like their lives depend on it.

Last Thing: President Trump II?

Donald Trump Jr posted a snap of him posing in front of a Don Jr 2024” sign he discovered in Nevada this weekend, saying it would “make the lib heads explode”. While the president’s eldest son appeared to post this as a joke, both he and his sister Ivanka have performed well in polls regarding prospective Republican candidates for 2024.

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