Here's a look at the Charlotte ballroom where the #GOPConvention will soon gavel in. The RNC told its delegates to expect to wear a mask in the convention center. The city of Charlotte requires face coverings in all buildings & facilities owned by the city.
Per poolers in the room, not everyone is wearing masks. Each attendee was told to acquire a negative COVID test before coming to Charlotte & each received a test from community health partners upon arrival in Charlotte. There are about 336 delegates gathered + 60 RNC staffers.
Update: Once the program officially got underway, all delegates put on their masks, from the vantage point of reporters in the room.
In the continuing trend of holding task force briefings away from the White House: VP Pence leads one now from the Dept. of Education. Members of the group have taken questions on coronavirus from reporters six times in the last two weeks. President Trump has not participated.
Attending today's briefing: Dr. Birx, Sec. DeVos, Sec. Azar, Sec. Scalia, CDC Dir. Redfield, Adm. Giroir. Dr. Fauci is not present.
Dr. Birx urges Americans in hotspots to wear masks, stop going to bars and if people are gathering in homes, she stressed they should revert back to phase one guidelines, which is 10 people or less
The White House is set to host its largest event since the start of the pandemic tonight for the 4th. There are chairs/tables set up for hundreds on the South Lawn. Social distancing "will be observed," per a spokesman, & facial coverings will be offered, though not required.
Few masks spotted so far as hundreds arrive for the “Salute to America” event at the White House.
Spotted: WH Counsel Pat Cipollone & Adm. Brett Giroir on the South Lawn
VP Pence, Adm. Giroir, Sec. Azar, Surgeon General Adams & Commissioner Hahn sharing the latest on coronavirus at the US Public Health Service Commissionned Corps HQ in Rockville, Maryland. Dr. Birx is traveling in Arizona & Dr. Fauci is not here for this task force briefing.
VP Pence: "The American people deserve to know that we're in a much better place today" due to testing/supplies
Dr. Fauci earlier: "We are now having 40K+ new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100K a day if this does not turn around & so I am very concerned"
Everyone wore masks on their way to the podium & VP Pence continued to encourage Americans to wear face coverings when social distancing isn't possible. This is a change from Friday's briefing. Pence made the new plea more emphatically Sunday in Dallas and is now repeating it.
Dr. Fauci to Ryan Zimmerman (!) of the world champion @Nationals: "We're not ready to just jump back into normality by any means"
Dr. Fauci: "Next fall, next winter, it's not gonna be a miracle where all of a sudden we wake up and it's gone... We will see this again and again until we really stick the nail in the coffin of this outbreak by a vaccine"
Brooklyn bred Dr. Fauci with extremely important information: "I love the Nats."
Says he couldn't make it to any of the post-season games last year but watched them all. Zimm suggests he now has a pretty good ticket hookup if needed.
The Trump campaign is starting its first virtual panel in the age of coronavirus tonight with Lara Trump, Kayleigh McEnany and Chris Carr. The broadcast opened with a video montage of lawmakers and leaders praising the president's pandemic response, set to music.
About 8K people are tuned in on Facebook & it's streaming on other platforms as well. Campaign officials shared their own experiences working from home one moment & slammed Dems the next. "Nancy Pelosi is shamelessly using this moment," Chris Carr said.
The Trump campaign livestream seems to be experiencing some technical difficulties now. The audio has dropped entirely.
Pres. Trump invoked the Defense Production Act a week ago but there has been consistent confusion & mixed messaging on whether it is being utilized to produce medical equipment needed for the coronavirus pandemic. Private companies are doing so on their own, per the White House.
Trump tweet on March 18: "I only signed the Defense Production Act to combat the Chinese Virus should we need to invoke it in a worst case scenario in the future. Hopefully there will be no need, but we are all in this TOGETHER!"
Trump at briefing on March 19: "I've done it. Yeah, if we find that we need something, we will do that & you don't know what we've done. You don't know whether or not we've ordered. You don't know if we've invoked it. You don't know what's been ordered, what's not been ordered."
For the first time in 2020, the Trump campaign has not announced any upcoming rallies for the weeks ahead but it maintains it is "proceeding normally" amid coronavirus fears. When asked at the CDC whether he'd considered not having rallies, the president said: "No, I haven't."
Democratic candidates Biden and Sanders have continued to hold large events in recent days. The Biden campaign tonight said it "will continue to closely follow guidance offered by federal and local public health officials on the types of events we hold and how we execute them."
Dr. Fauci to @chucktodd today: "If we continue to see the community spread go up, I think you need to seriously look at anything that's a large gathering. Again, I have to underscore... particularly if you're an individual who has an underlying condition and are vulnerable."
During off-camera White House briefing, FDA Commissioner Hahn acknowledges “confusion” in coronavirus testing, says situation is evolving “hour by hour.”
Latest: 72 state & local public health labs in 48 states have successfully verified & are using COVID-19 diagnostic tests
As of last night, 1.1 million tests have been sent to non-public health labs, per Dr. Hahn, who adds another million expected to be sent by Monday. There’s a particular focus on highest-risk areas like Washington state and California.
Sec. Azar says President Trump was “using a shorthand” when he said that “anybody that needs a test can get one” during remarks at CDC Friday. “What he meant to say,” Azar explained, is they are not “restricting” anyone who is determined by a medical professional to need testing.
Greetings from the Sessions primary watch party in Mobile, AL. Results trickling in slowly & the former senator/AG is expected to speak in the next hour. If no candidate gets over 50%, race heads to a 3/31 runoff. Former Auburn Coach Tuberville in other top spot right now #ALSen
Sessions speaking now: "I have some terrible news for Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer: Doug Jones' brief visit in the United States Senate is just about over."
Sessions is reading from a teleprompter and has mentioned the "Trump agenda" several times in his remarks so far: "I’m not running for fame. I’m not running for money. I’m running to lead this charge."
NEW: The Trump campaign is planning to open community centers in 15 key cities, aimed at boosting African-American support. "You’re never going to get the votes you don’t ask for," Jared Kushner said, while presenting a mock-up at Virginia HQ today: nbcnews.to/32F7COB
Kushner on the campaign pitching black voters in 2016 vs 2020: "Last time it was ‘what the hell do you have to lose?’ Now, we’re going to show them what they’ve gained from President Trump and what more they could gain if they get more four years."
Here’s what the new “Black Voices for Trump” offices could look like in Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Miami, Charlotte and Atlanta. They will be located in high-traffic areas and have a retail-style feel.
Greetings from Oakwood Church in Ames, Iowa — an educational center that tonight doubles as a GOP caucus site for 21 precincts in Story County. The space is currently full, with a line out the door. Trump Jr. expected to speak in a bit. Environment is (mini) rally-like.
One GOP caucus-goer just took in the overflowing room and said to her friends: “Who knew there were so many Republicans in Ames?!” This is a place Hillary Clinton won by about 12 points in 2016.
Standing ovation from several hundred folks here to see @DonaldJTrumpJr at Ames GOP caucus site: “Seems like we have this one covered,” he says, as compared to 2016 (when Trump came in second place here)
Greetings from Drake University, where President Trump and Vice President Pence will speak tonight. Campaign manager @parscale almost immediately references CNN Don Lemon clip and says "I am proud to be an original deplorable"
This is the first of several early state counter-programming events planned and a formal kickoff to a heavy presence from the Trump campaign in Iowa on Monday for the caucuses, where they expect to have 80 (!) surrogates across the state
Trump knocked most of the Democrats campaigning here: "Pocahontas, Bernie, Sleepy Joe, Boot Edge Edge" and then asked "Where's Mini Mike?! Where is he?"
Greetings from Doral, where the RNC is hosting its winter meeting. @GOPChairwoman says the group will have nearly 700 staff in 18 target states by February. No mention of impeachment (yet).
Although other candidates were featured in a video played mid-remarks, @GOPChairwoman McDaniel singled out Sen. Sanders in her remarks: "It’s not a stretch to say that Bernie Sanders’ political ideology is more in line with Lenin and Marx than with Lincoln and Madison... (1/2)
McDaniel continued: "What’s really scary is that his beliefs have become the mainstream in today’s Democrat Party." (2/2)
No other Democratic candidate was mentioned by name like this.
Greetings from Battle Creek, where President Trump will rally supporters in a few hours. Note the festive Christmas decorations, complete with “Keep America Great” hats as🎄🎄🎄toppers
Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad @parscale doesn't waste 10 seconds before talking about the impeachment "hoax" and "scam" at the rally. Crowd loudly booooooos. The president is on his way here now.
@parscale Vice President Pence up next. Currently playing: "My Way." Program starting 40 mins behind schedule, which will still make for remarkable split screen with DC votes. The president is expected to focus at least one third of his remarks tonight on impeachment, per WH spokesman.
Senior Trump campaign officials, including Jared Kushner, briefed reporters on all things 2020 this morning.
"I was not a Republican. Now I’m a Republican. I think the Republican party is growing now that people like me feel comfortable being part of it," Kushner said.
Kushner's take on the current Democratic presidential field: "We don’t see anyone who can put together the Obama coalition. We’re on offense everywhere and we’re very excited about that."
On impeachment, campaign manager Brad Parscale said the inquiry has "ignited a flame underneath" the president's most loyal supporters but also: "Any time he’s attacked, any time people try to lessen that he’s a legitimate president in any way, his voters fight back."
President Trump is about to kickoff his "homecoming" rally in Sunrise, Florida. How important is the state to his re-election effort? The Trump 2020 team has the country broken down into nine regions for political field staff. Florida is the only state that is its *own* region.
Trump on the impeachment "witch hunt" says polls are actually in his favor because "everybody" is signaling "that's really bullshit."
Crowd starts to chant: "BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT!"
"Doing what I do is tough," Trump says of his time in office so far, arguing "being presidential is easy."
Man leading prayer ahead of Trump rally in Lake Charles, Louisiana asks lawmakers to do “less investigating, more legislating”
And yes, hi, hello, from my second Trump rally in 24 hours. Haven't done the back-to-back events since the midterms last year...
Smaller venue tonight. This rally was a late add from the campaign because President Trump wanted to rally Republican support in the Louisiana governor’s race, hoping to force a runoff. About 20K people in Minneapolis last night and 7K expected here by start time in 90 minutes.