Highlights from NYT's big COVID story:

1) After Atlas arrived in August and said COVID deaths were overstated, Trump "often [told] aides that the real number of dead was no more than 10,000."

He dismissed about 95% of attributed deaths as fake news. /1 nyti.ms/3hEjRCj
2) Azar, Kushner, Hicks, and pollster Tony Fabrizio lobbied Trump to wear and promote masks. They showed him evidence that masks worked and that Republicans supported mask mandates.

Who talked Trump out of it? Meadows and Stephen Miller. They told him, "The base will revolt." /2 Image
3) In multiple meetings, Trump explicitly opposed testing on the grounds that it exposed infections, thereby making him look bad and hurting his reelection chances. In debate prep, He told Kushner, "I’m going to lose. And it’s going to be your fault, because of the testing." /3
In an Aug. 19 meeting, Trump complained to Kushner that the U.S. was testing too much: “You’re killing me! This whole thing is! We’ve got all the damn cases. ... I want to do what Mexico does. They don’t give you a test till you get to the emergency room and you’re vomiting." /4
4) Birx, Fauci, Hahn, and Redfield made a pact to "stick together if one of them was fired for doing ... the right thing."

5) Some aides indicated that "John McEntee, the president’s personnel chief," found Atlas by "Googling for a Trump-friendly doctor who would be loyal." /5
There's much more in the @nytimes story. It's consistent with what the @washingtonpost reported on Dec. 19. Many thanks to @shearm, @maggieNYT, @noahweiland, @SharonLNYT, and @MarkMazzettiNYT for all the work they put into it. Read the whole thing at nyti.ms/3hEjRCj /END

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More from @saletan

5 Dec 20
The GOP is in the grip of insurrectionists. It's controlled by a president who's trying to overthrow an election, and a base that's rallying in streets to threaten coups and civil war.

The match hasn't been struck yet. But here are some warning signs. /1 bit.ly/33LEpDd
The president has demanded direct intervention in the election:

- Millions of votes for Biden, because they were counted outside the view of GOP partisans, must be nullified
- “the results of the individual swing states must be overturned ... immediately.” /2
Trump is rejecting Biden's legitimacy:

“Biden can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous ‘80,000,000 votes’ were not fraudulently or illegally obtained”

Biden “cannot be considered ‘president’” and should be called “presidential occupant” /3
Read 9 tweets
29 Nov 20
"Close the bars and keep the schools open," says Fauci on @ThisWeekABC. "The default position should be to try... to keep the children in school or to get them back to school. ... If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not really very big at all."
.@margbrennan: "Are you asking governors to close the bars to keep schools open? Is that your advice?"

Birx doesn't say yes. She says where cases and hospitalizations are high, the first places to close are those "where people cannot wear masks," i.e., "bars and... restaurants."
Birx emphasizes masks, not closures. "What we do know works is mask mandates," she says in response to the question about bars. In states, cities, and counties that mandated masks, "We can see a really significant difference in not only cases but hospitalizations and fatalities."
Read 4 tweets
27 Nov 20
"Don’t talk to me that way! You’re just a—you’re just a lightweight! ... I’m the president of the United States! Don’t ever talk to the president that way!”

Today at the White House, Trump had one of the saddest meltdowns you'll see by a public figure. /1 bit.ly/33kyGE1
Trump rejected the election:

"It was a rigged election, 100%."
"This election was a fraud."
"Joe Biden did not get 80 million votes."
"I got 74 million, but there were many ballots thrown away. So I got much more than that."
"At the highest level, it was a rigged election." /2
Trump claimed *millions* of votes were fraudulent:

"687,000 fraudulent votes cast in PA."
"I won [GA] by hundreds of thousands of votes."
"We have tens of thousands votes more than we need in all cases."
"You’re gonna find fraud of hundreds of thousands of votes per state." /3
Read 7 tweets
2 Nov 20
This comparison of Monmouth's final PA polls shows how samples have been adjusted to avoid a 2016 surprise. 2016 weighting on left, 2020 on right.

Dems are down from +11 to +2. And education weighting is added to ensure 64% are non-college.

Biden leads anyway, by 5 to 7 points.
Links to the docs:

2016: monmouth.edu/polling-instit…

2020: monmouth.edu/polling-instit…

Search for "weight."

Kudos to @MonmouthPoll for publishing its methodology and crosstabs in such detail. Most pollsters don't.
Left: Siena poll of PA, late Oct. 2016.
Right: Siena poll of PA, late Oct. 2020.

Party ID in the sample went from D+5 to D+3.

Non-college went from 56% to 60%.

Gender shifted from 54-46 female to 52-47.

Clinton led 46-39. Biden, in the more difficult 2020 sample, led 49-43.
Read 4 tweets
31 Oct 20
Vote. If you do, Trump is gone. These numbers explain why.

1) Biden leads by 5 in PA. He leads by 8 to 9 in MI and WI. That’s bigger than Clinton's leads at this point.

Even if Trump gets the same surge he got in 2016 in those states, Biden wins them. bit.ly/2GihLtI
2) In 2016, Trump did NOT surge in FL, GA, or AZ. His margin ended up just the same as the margin in polls four days before the election.

Biden is leading those states by 2.1, 1.6, and 3.1. He doesn't have to win them. But if he gets one, that's insurance in case he loses PA.
3) Unlike Clinton, Biden is above 50% in MI, WI, and PA. Trump can't just pick up undecideds. He has to take vote share from Biden.

Biden is also closer to 50% in FL, NC, GA, and AZ than Clinton was. He has an extra 2.5 points in those states, on average. bit.ly/2GihLtI
Read 4 tweets
25 Oct 20
Excerpts of @MarkMeadows' jaw-dropping CNN interview:

1) He says WH is focused on limiting deaths, not spread. "We’re not going to control the pandemic," he says. "What we need to do is make sure that we have... vaccines or treatments to make sure that people don’t die" from it.
2) @MarkMeadows derides Biden for promoting masks: “This president is leading, while Joe Biden is sitting there suggesting that we’re going to mandate masks.”

”What is Joe Biden’s plan for the pandemic?” Meadows asks later. ”He’s going to wear two masks, like he does every day?”
3) Meadows argues that masks aren't "the answer," since experts admit they wouldn't make schools perfectly safe.

He suggests mask science is dubious because WH virus officials Fauci and Birx, "the people you like to tout," changed their views. (They now strongly urge mask use.)
Read 6 tweets

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