The Fix is in…GOP Leadership Screwing the Pooch
Rep. Matt Gaetz continues to be a star among Republicans as the sophomore congressman has just outed GOP leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In an unbelievable move, House Republican Leadership is trying to negotiate away the time Republicans have to make the case for overturning the 2020 election results. The time will not be given to Democrats, but… MUST-READ
Rep. Gaetz told The Floridian that he is supposed to make the case for Michigan once the decertification of the electoral votes begins at 1 pm today.
Georgia on Everyone’s Mind…
It doesn’t look good for Republicans. Sen. Loeffler looks like she lost, and Sen. Perdue’s chances of winning are razor-thin. Democrat-leaning Chatham County closed up shop late last night and will resume this am. Will there be a ballot dump overnight?
Marco Rubio @marcorubio–The verses I tweet are usually the ones chosen by the Catholic Church for that day’s mass But the fact he thinks words written thousands of years ago are relevant to current events proves the Bible isn’t just a book, it’s the word of God AMEN.
Rep. Matt Gaetz @RepMattGaetz – Disturbing news from negotiations my colleagues and I have just had with GOP leadership: Republican leadership is contemplating taking the one hour we have to present our objections on each state and giving part of that time away to Republicans who don’t support the objections.
Congressman Greg Steube @RepGregSteube–House Democrats want to take away our Second Amendment rights – even right here in the halls of Congress. If they can take our rights here, they can take our rights anywhere. Thank you @RepBoebert for your leadership on this issue
“Republican House Leadership actively working against Trump Republicans” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – In an unbelievable move, House Republican Leadership is trying to negotiate away the time Republicans have to make the case for overturning the 2020 election results. The time will not be given to Democrats, but to Republican legislators who do not support certifying the 2020 presidential election. Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) appeared on the Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” where he divulged what leaders in his caucus are trying to do to prevent a successful objection to President-elect Joe Biden’s election result. “Based on the negotiations we’ve just been having with Republican leadership, Republican leadership is contemplating taking the one hour we have to present our objections on each state and giving part of that time away to Republicans who don’t support the objections,” said Rep. Gaetz. “ That means that all the Democrats will be fighting against us and then we’ll be using our own time so we should be using to fight for election integrity to divide among Republicans who have a different view. I don’t think that’s unified teamwork.” Once a Senator and a House member object to any specific state’s election results, legislators will then go to their respective chambers of Congress to debate. During the 2-hour debate, 60 minutes will be allotted to Republicans and 60 minutes will be given to Democrats.
“Allen West on Electoral Vote : ‘We are about to find out who the summer Soldiers and sunshine patriots are’” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Former Florida Congressman and current Texas GOP Chairman Allen West is siding with 75 million supporters of President Donald Trump in their effort to overturn the President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral vote count. Voter fraud and voting irregularities ran rampant during the 2020 election, but legal efforts to overturn the election have been dismissed in federal court. In response to Texas Politics’ request for comment regarding Republican congressman who will not support the objection effort in the U.S. Congress, Chairman West quipped that America was about to find out what certain legislators were made of. “It doesn’t matter what I say. It matters what his constituents, those who voted for him say…as well as the millions who may be in Washington DC tomorrow,” stated West. “We are about to find out who the summer Soldiers and sunshine patriots are.” West is referring to the number of so-called Conservative and Trump-supporting legislators that will not support the electoral vote objection on Wednesday. Several Texas House members will not object, but most will. Reps. Pete Sessions and Troy Nehls (both Republicans) have stated that they support the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Rep. Sessions believes that the effort will ultimately fail because of members like Roy and Crenshaw, as well as those Libertarian-leaning Republicans.
“Chris Cuomo Mocks Rubio’s Faith, Calls Him, ‘Bible Boy’” by The Floridian’s Jim McCool – In a segment with Don Lemon, CNN’s Chris Cuomo, and brother of Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), raved about his bone to pick with Republicans, in particular, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). Watch Cuomo get personal and tear into Rubio’s faith, as Lemon cracks a soda on live television. Below is the transcript of the one minute clip: Cuomo: “…As the worst, we’ve never seen anybody [Trump] abuse the office the way he has, not in our lifetime… But the people, those who remain, the Kevin McCarthy‘s, the people in the house, the people in the senate…” Lemon: “Embarrassing, embarrassing.” Cuomo: “Um, who are enabling this, who are complicit in it. You know the man he called lying Ted, the man he called, ‘little Marco’ you know, Mr. uh, Bible Boy, you know, he’s got a bible quote for every moment, he just never speaks truth to power, or acts on any of it, in the interest of his own state, or his country. They remain, and they all know what they’re doing is bogus, they know what they’re doing on the sixth is bogus. Think about it, they say they have to do this, Don. Because the irregularities demand it. But the irregularities on that tape don’t?”
“Harris ‘Fweedom’ Story Appears Plagiarized From MLK Playboy Interview” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is apparently picking up some bad habits off her running-mate Joe Biden, this time plagiarizing her own childhood story about her family’s involvement in the civil rights movement by lifting it from a 1965 interview given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Speaking to Elle magazine for its November cover story, Harris recalled her parents’ involvement in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and recounted a story of a protest she attended as a toddler in Oakland. “Senator Kamala Harris started her life’s work young,” writer Ashley C. Ford leads the Elle article about Harris’ activism. “She laughs from her gut, the way you would with family, as she remembers being wheeled through an Oakland, California, civil rights march in a stroller with no straps with her parents and her uncle. At some point, she fell from the stroller, and the adults, caught up in the rapture of protest, just kept on marching. By the time they noticed little Kamala was gone and doubled back, she was understandably upset.” Harris then adds, “My mother tells the story about how I’m fussing and she’s like, ‘Baby, what do you want? What do you need?’ And I just looked at her and I said, ‘Fweedom.’” At the point in her story when her parents found, Harris’ account begins to strikes key similarity to a story told by the slain civil rights leader King in an interview with Alex Haley that was published by Playboy Magazine about a young girl in Birmingham, Alabama nearly five and a half decades ago.
“Bipartisan Effort To Secure TPS for Venezuelans Forges Ahead” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida lawmakers joined forces today to introduce the bipartisan Venezuela TPS Act of 2021. With this legislation, Venezuela is designated for Temporary Protected Status, which would protect an estimated 200,000 Venezuelan nationals in the United States from deportation. The TPS bill was introduced by Florida Reps. Mario Diaz Balart (R), Darren Soto (D) , and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D). The Venezuela TPS Act of 2019 passed the House of Representatives on July 25th, 2019, and Rep. Diaz Balart added that “Temporary Protected Status for Venezuelans remains a top priority for me, and it continues to be crucial to the thousands of Venezuelan nationals that have sought safety in the United States after fleeing the oppressive, murderous Maduro dictatorship.” Soto echoed in his remarks, detailing that “the whole work has witnessed Maduro’s blatant disregard for human rights, including arbitrary arrests, media censorship, imprisonment of the opposition and the use of lethal force against peaceful protestors.” Because of this, Soto asserted that “until political stability and food security are restored and economic recovery is underway, designating Venezuela for TPS is the best way to show our support to refugees in Florida and across the country.” Finally, Rep. Wasserman Schultz argued that “Venezuelans desperately need protection from the brutal Maduro regime,” and she praised the bipartisan effort “to safeguard the people who have fled this corrupt, despotic regime.”
“‘We are putting our teachers in a compromising situation’: North Florida educators disappointed in DeSantis’ comments regarding teacher vaccines” by WCTV’s Emma Wheeler – Students across the Big Bend returned to class on Tuesday after their holiday break, but that return is accompanied by some disappointing news for teachers. During a press conference on Monday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said teachers will not get priority to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. “The fact is, just based on the data, the average person under 65 in our workforce has been at lest risk than our senior population to COVID,” DeSantis said. But some local educators disagree. “They, every single day, are going in, facing germs, coming in with these children that are just unknown,” said Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Shanna. “We are putting our teachers, and have put our teachers, in a compromising situation and have told them, once the vaccine comes out that we would strongly advocate that they move up.” The Florida Education Association says, according to medical experts, teachers are included in the definition of “frontline workers,” and should be treated that way. FEA says new cases among those under 18 went up by 16% over the last two weeks, with 2,000 cases reported in just the last 24 hours. “It’s very concerning for people who are working in our schools,” said Andrew Spar, President of the FEA. “It’s concerning for parents as well. I know I am a parent, we should be doing everything possible as a state to make sure that our students and the people who work in our schools are both safe and their health is looked after.”
“Florida hospitals facing vaccine challenges” by WFLA’s Jake Stofan – The latest numbers published by the state show nearly 290,000 Floridians have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine rollout hasn’t been without its challenges and Florida hospitals are faced with a classic dilemma of supply and demand. A vaccine distribution site in the state capital was running smoothly Tuesday. Vaccinations had to be scheduled, resulting in shortlines and wait times. But that’s not the case everywhere. Distribution sites in multiple counties have seen long lines and a flood a of people trying to schedule appointments, causing website and phone line crashes. “Well let’s start with the positive, that so many people want to get vaccinated,” said Florida Hospital Association President Mary Mayhew. Mayhew said with less than a million doses, many of the issues come down to supply and demand. “We have 4.5 million people 65 and older and you need two doses,” said Mayhew. Hospitals are also faced with staffing challenges, as more than 7,500 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19. “Our challenge today will be the availability of a workforce. Both a workforce that can be at the bedside… as well as those who can now help to vaccinate,” said Mayhew. Hospitals are also faced with the uncertainty of when and how many doses of vaccine they may receive. “[It’s] very difficult to support the kind of logistics that you need to plan accordingly without that kind of longer-term predictability of vaccine week over week,” said Mayhew.
“Don’t fall for it: Florida health officials warn of scammers trying to charge for COVID-19 vaccine” by Click Orlando’s Jon Jankowski – Florida health officials are telling people to be careful while registering for a coronavirus vaccine and to not fall for a scam. Health officials said in Pasco County and Pinellas County, the event management site Eventbrite was used to allow seniors to register for a COVID-19 vaccine event. Officials said fake pages have popped up asking for a credit card payment in order to be registered. Florida is not the only place this is happening, officials said scams like this are also popping up across the globe.
“Southwest Florida residents travel to D.C. in support of Trump” by WINK – It looked and sounded like a Trump rally across from Oakes Farm Seed to Table Market in Collier County on Tuesday morning. That’s because about 100 Southwest Florida residents gathered there for a trip to Washington, D.C. to rally for President Donald Trump and his efforts to stay in the White House. The self-proclaimed “patriots” want their voices heard. They are joining other Trump supporters from across the country converging in the nation’s capital to rally for a Trump win during Wednesday’s congressional joint session to reaffirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win. “We’re going to DC to support President Trump,” said Drew-Montez Clark, an organizer. “Ultimately, I think if we don’t have a fair election process then this country is lost.” Clark, a Naples chiropractor, ran for Florida’s House District 80 race but lost in the primaries. “As a patriot, I have a duty to this country to stand up and speak when I think things are wrong and this is just a representation of 100 patriots from Southwest Florida who are coming up to DC to answer the call of our president to ensure that happens,” Clark said. Steven Lucas, a Collier County resident, said he is going to D.C. to “save America” and defend it against a disputed election. Trump has not conceded the race, most recently pressuring Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to find votes in Trump’s favor. No proof of election fraud has been found that has been able to overturn the result in Trump’s favor.
“DeSantis spars with CNN reporter when pressed on Florida vaccine registration issues” by WFLA’s Andrew Willis – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had a heated exchange with a CNN reporter Monday when she pressed him on vaccine registration issues across the state. The governor was at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami as Florida counties began administrating their share of the coronavirus vaccine. The demand has been so high, that county websites and phone lines have been overwhelmed to the point of malfunctioning. CNN reporter Rosa Flores asked DeSantis if he was aware that the counties were not prepared for the onslaught of traffic they received on their websites and phone lines in response to the vaccine rollout. Flores said she was interrupted before she could finish her question. High demand for vaccine appointments crashes Tampa Bay sign-up sites, jams phone lines “Governor what has gone wrong with the rollout of the vaccine that we’ve seen phonelines jammed, websites crashing, and also–” “It’s a lot of demand, I mean I think at the end of the day– Excuse me. Excuse me!” The two then began talking over each other. “If I could finish my question,” Flores said. “You just said, ‘what has gone wrong?’ so I’m answering the question,” DeSantis responded. “If I could complete the question though.” “So are you gonna give a speech or are you gonna ask a question?”
“3 Florida men in custody after attacking, running over FWC officer with ATV, sheriff says” by Fox News’ Staphen Sorace – Three men accused of attacking a Florida wildlife officer and leaving him for dead at a desolate hunting ground over the weekend have been taken into custody, authorities said Monday. Lazaro Milian, 50, Michel Amalfi, 45, and Rodrigo La Rosa, 27, face multiple charges, including attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. The incident happened Saturday night on the grounds of the River Ranch Hunt Club, located next to the Avon Park Bombing Range, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters at a press conference Sunday. The two properties make up about 88,000 acres. A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) officer responded to reports of night hunting, or poaching, around 9 p.m. to an area about one hour inside the grounds, Judd said. he officer heard a gunshot and approached the three suspects, officials said. He took their shotguns and attempted to detain the trio. However, Judd said the suspects attacked the officer, beating him and running him over with an ATV before escaping. “After beating him and hitting him with the side-by-side, these men left the officer an hour deep in these woods and didn’t care if he survived,” Judd said.
“Publix to administer COVID-19 vaccine in 3 Central Florida counties” by Fox 13 News Staff – As local health departments struggle keep up with demand for the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Ron DeSantis is adding a trusted partner to the rollout plan. Appearing at a Publix in Ocala, DeSantis announced Tuesday that the Lakeland-based grocery store chain would begin administrating 15,000 doses of the vaccine in 22 store pharmacies in across, Hernando, and Marion counties. Reservations will be available in those counties starting on Thursday. If successful, the trial will be expanded to the rest of Florida as more vaccine supply becomes available, DeSantis said, touting the convenience of the seemingly ubiquitous stores. “Publix really can provide us a great mechanism to make it convenient and easily available in almost every crevice of the state of Florida,” the governor said. “I don’t think you can go to too many places in Florida and not see a Publix, and I know that many of the people who shop here would fit our target age demographic of 65 and up.” Yesterday, DeSantis announced plans to convert some COVID-19 testing sites to include vaccine distribution. He also said the state will use churches as distribution points, especially in underserved communities. Meanwhile, county health departments across the state have been overwhelmed with demand for the vaccine. Counties that were mandating reservations found their websites and phone lines jammed, while other counties using a first-come, first-served approach wound up with long lines.
“NY Times: Pence Told Trump He Doesn’t Have Power to Change Election” by Newsmax/Reuters – Vice President Mike Pence reportedly told President Donald Trump during their weekly lunch on Tuesday that he does not have the power to overturn November’s presidential election results, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Trump has been pressuring Pence publicly to use his role on Wednesday as he presides over a joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College votes that handed the win to Democrat Joe Biden. The move would essentially be a last-ditch effort following multiple failed court challenges alleging voter fraud, including two that were rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. “The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning, after having told a crowd of Georgia voters Monday night he was hoping Pence would “come through” on Wednesday.” “Because if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much,” Trump added with a laugh. U.S. states have already certified the results, and Pence’s role on Wednesday as president of the Senate is to “open all the Certificates,” in the presence of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the U.S. Constitution says. Trump has suggested Pence could do more than that. “The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors,” Trump wrote in a tweet on Tuesday, his latest unfounded suggestion that the election was marred by widespread fraud.
“FBI, FAA Investigate Threat to Fly Plane Into Capitol” by Newsmax – The FBI and FAA are investigating an audio threat, broadcast on air traffic control frequencies Monday, that threatened to fly an airplane into the U.S. Capitol to avenge the death of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani, CBS News reports. In the audio, a computer-generated voice says, “We are flying a plane into the Capitol Wednesday. Soleimani will be avenged.” The threat comes just a year after Soleimani was killed by a U.S. drone strike approved by President Donald Trump. Iranian leaders have in recent days said Trump himself would be dead “within a few days.” The audio threat heard Monday is not considered credible, but breaching air traffic frequencies is a crime and can endanger airplane safety as it interferes with pilot communications. Pilots were told to be alert for any aircraft deviating from their standard flight patterns on Wednesday. No reason was given in the message for mention Wednesday, but it is the day a joint session of Congress is being held to certify the presidential election results. Iran has repeatedly vowed to avenge Soleimani’s death.
“The final Trump loyalty test for Congress is coming” by CNN’s Lauren Fox – The test for what the Republican Party will be in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency is coming in a little over 24 hours and on the heels of Georgia Senate runoffs that will finally determine the balance of the US Senate. But the price Republicans could pay for defying Trump and certifying the results of a fair and free election is already coming into clear view. The bottom line: The divide you are seeing rip through the Republican Party right now isn’t between conservatives and moderates. This isn’t the Freedom Caucus vs. leadership. It’s not even as simple as members who might run for President in 2024 vs. those who will not. What you are seeing right now is a gamble members are taking on whether the GOP can finally shake Trump going forward or whether there is no way to win the White House again without him on their side. Republican aides and members opposed to this effort are watching this play out and hoping that voters will have moved on from Trump in the next several years. The hope is that this vote does not become a litmus test for whether outside groups wage primary challenges against those who were not loyal to the President in his last days in office. Only time will tell how consequential this vote will really be. Still, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has warned members that for him, it is one of the most important of his career.
“Judge rejects another Trump attempt to decertify Georgia votes” by CNN’s Katelyn Polantz – A federal judge in Georgia denied yet another attempt by President Donald Trump to decertify its presidential election results and President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Judge Mark Cohen held a hearing Tuesday morning amid fallout from Trump’s call to pressure state officials to “find” votes. Trump had sued Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp on New Year’s Eve, seeking the emergency hearing on his request for an injunction. The state had argued in response that the case shouldn’t go forward for multiple reasons, including that Trump was seeking to disenfranchise millions of voters at the “thirteenth hour,” well after the election was soundly conducted and the results had been recounted, audited and certified. None of the dozens of lawsuits from Trump and his supporters seeking to overturn election results after Biden won in early November have been successful.
“Trump Adviser Cleta Mitchell Resigns From Law Firm After Georgia Call” by WSJ’s Sara Randazzo – Cleta Mitchell, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who supported President Trump in making claims of election fraud on a weekend call with the Georgia secretary of state, resigned Tuesday from the partnership of a corporate law firm. The firm, Foley & Lardner LLP, said Tuesday that Ms. Mitchell’s resignation was effective immediately and that she “concluded that her departure was in the firm’s best interests, as well as in her own personal best interests.” Ms. Mitchell couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Tuesday. Her husband, Dale Mitchell, said she had been planning to retire in June. “The left wingers are causing her trouble, but they’ve been causing her trouble,” he said. “She’s not exactly losing sleep over this.” Criticism of Ms. Mitchell, known for public-finance work and taking on conservative causes, mounted after she appeared in support of Mr. Trump on the hourlong call with Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger. Mr. Trump pressured Mr. Raffensperger to find enough votes to reverse the state’s election results, which showed President-elect Joe Biden won by a margin of 11,779 out of about five million votes cast. A recording of the call was reviewed and reported by news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal.
“Trump Administration Says Russia Likely Behind Massive SolarWinds Hack” by WSJ’s Dustin Volz – Russia is likely behind a massive, continuing hack discovered last month that has ripped through various federal government agencies and an unknown number of private organizations, the Trump administration formally said Tuesday. In a joint statement, four agencies in charge of intelligence and cybersecurity said that the administration has so far identified fewer than 10 federal agencies whose internal computer systems were infiltrated in the hack. While the statement didn’t identify any of the agencies, those affected include the departments of State, Treasury, Commerce and Energy, according to officials and others familiar with the investigation. An advanced, government hacking group “likely Russian in origin is responsible for most or all of the recently discovered, ongoing cyber compromises of both government and non-governmental networks,” said the statement, released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The statement was the first from the administration to link what is called the SolarWinds hack to Russia since the attack was first discovered nearly a month ago. Senior officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have previously said in media interviews that Russia is believed to be responsible. Moscow has denied involvement.
“Pelosi announces new ‘Squad’ assignments to House committees” by Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced new committee assignments Tuesday, including several far-left “Squad” members and like-minded Democrat freshman representatives. “Squad” members Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan will now be on the House Oversight and Reform Committee. The newly elected Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri will join them on that committee, and freshman Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York will be on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. “In the 2020 election, the American people overwhelmingly cast their ballots for a historically diverse and dynamic Democratic House Majority that will fight For The People,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Reinvigorated by our outstanding Freshmen Members, strengthened by our returning Members and inspired by the people whom we are honored to represent, our Majority is ready to Build Back Better in a way that will advance justice and prosperity for all Americans. Our Committees, enriched by the addition of these Members, are ready to drive transformational progress.” Additionally, the first two openly gay members of Congress, the newly-elected Reps. Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones, both of New York, received assignments as well. Torres was named to the House Homeland Security Committee and Jones to the House Education and Labor Committee.
“George W. Bush will attend Biden inauguration to witness ‘peaceful transfer of power’” by Fox News’ Thomas Barrabi – Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush will attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration in Washington D.C. later this month, his chief of staff Freddie Ford announced on Tuesday. The Bush family’s plans to attend the inauguration were revealed just one day before Congress is set to meet to review the Electoral College’s voting results. Several prominent Republicans, including Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, have signaled their intention to object to Biden’s victory due to alleged voting irregularities in battleground states. “President and Mrs. Bush look forward to returning to the Capitol for the swearing-in of President Biden and Vice President Harris,” Ford wrote on Twitter. “I believe this will be the eighth Inauguration they’ve had the privilege of attending — President Trump’s being the most recent — and witnessing the peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy that never gets old.” The George W. Bush Presidential Center did not immediately respond to a request for further comment. Bush, 74, is the only living Republican former president. Trump has repeatedly clashed with Bush and his brother, former Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, since he entered the political arena. Trump hammered Jeb Bush in personal terms during the 2016 Republican presidential primary, referring to the former Florida governor as “low energy” on countless occasions during his campaign.
“U.K. strain likely spreading in hard-hit California, officials warn” by Politico’s Alexander Nieves – More than two dozen new cases of the coronavirus strain that emerged in the United Kingdom have now been identified in San Diego County, as health officials warn that the potentially more contagious variant is likely elsewhere in the state already. The county’s health agency on Tuesday reported that 24 new cases had been confirmed through genome sequencing of samples collected from Dec. 27 through Dec. 31. Four additional positive tests directly linked to those confirmed cases are expected to show the same strain, known as B.1.1.7. Those are by far the highest number of cases detected in California so far. The mutated variant was confirmed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to have appeared in San Diego County last week, shortly after its presence in the United States was first documented in Colorado. The strain’s potential for wider spread could lead to more fatalities, even if the variant itself may not be more deadlier to a patient who contracts it. The new strain has become a major cause for concern in a state that has seen a record surge since November. Hospitals are filled to capacity in Southern California and the Central Valley, forcing health care officials to ration care for patients in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, like many states, California’s vaccine rollout has been slow — to the point where Newsom conceded Monday it was “not good enough.” None of the 24 confirmed San Diego County patients, who range in age from 10 to over 70, are thought to have recent travel histories, pointing to an increase in community spread of the strain. Officials say that none of the infected individuals has died and one woman is recovering at home after being hospitalized.
“Trump bars U.S. transactions with eight Chinese apps including Alipay” by Reuters’ Alexandra Alper and David Shapardson – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese software applications, including Ant Group’s Alipay mobile payment app, the White House said, escalating tensions with Beijing two weeks before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. The move, first reported by Reuters, is aimed at curbing the threat to Americans posed by Chinese software applications, which have large user bases and access to sensitive data, a senior administration official told Reuters. The order argues that the United States must take “aggressive action” against developers of Chinese software applications to protect national security. It tasks the Commerce Department with defining which transactions will be banned under the directive within 45 days and targets Tencent Holdings Ltd’s QQ Wallet and WeChat Pay as well. The order also names CamScanner, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate which is published by Alibaba Group subsidiary UCWeb, and Beijing Kingsoft Office Software’s WPS Office. Kingsoft said in a statement published by Chinese state media that it did not expect Trump’s order to substantially impact the company’s business in the short term. Ant and the Biden transition team declined to comment.