☕ Cover: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Good Morning. Here’s what you need to know to start the day, along with perspective from both sides for calmer coffee conversations with your family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers. Plus, a bit of good news: A Tennessee sheriff’s deputy got a heartfelt surprise after two black women anonymously paid for his meal at Cracker Barrel.
📰 TOP STORY
Tussling Over Attendance in Tulsa: President Trump returned to the campaign trail for the first time since March with a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday. During his one-hour and 41-minute speech, Trump warned against an attack on “our heritage,” preached a message of law-and-order, and sought to portray Joe Biden as weak on those issues and more. The President spoke about a “silent majority” while promising to stay tough on issues such as immigration, and talked about slowing down testing for COVID-19. This prompted Mr. Biden’s campaign to label Trump’s coronavirus comments as an “outrageous moment that will be remembered long after tonight’s debacle of a rally.” Prior to Saturday, Brad Parscale, the Trump campaign manager, had said that he hoped to have 100,000 supporters at the rally inside and outside. Parscale also said that one million people had requested tickets. In reality, just 6,200 people attended the event according to the Tulsa Fire Department. On Sunday the New York Times reported that, “TikTok users and fans of Korean pop music groups claimed to have registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets for Mr. Trump’s campaign rally as a prank. After the Trump campaign’s official account @TeamTrump posted a tweet asking supporters to register for free tickets using their phones on June 11, K-pop fan accounts began sharing the information with followers, encouraging them to register for the rally — and then not show.” Today we look at reactions to these claims from both sides.
On the Left: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) lauded the “teens on TikTok” for the effort and credited them for the lower than expected turnout at President Trump’s rally. Responding to a tweet by Brad Parscale blaming “radical protestors” for intimidating people at the rally, Ocasio-Cortez wrote, “Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok who flooded the Trump campaign w/ fake ticket reservations & tricked you into believing a million people wanted your white supremacist open mic enough to pack an arena during COVID.” “Shout out to Zoomers. Y’all make me so proud,” Ocasio-Cortez added. She also thanked “KPop allies” for their “contributions in the fight for justice” in a follow-up tweet. In terms of general headlines, CNN on Sunday led with: “White House on the defensive after Trump’s virus remarks.” The Washington Post added: “Trump heads to red-state America — and faces a sea of empty blue seats.” Lastly, the New York Times followed up with: “Trump Seeks a Cultural Safe Space Amid a Deadly Pandemic.”
On the Right: Joel Pollack of Breitbart on Sunday wrote that, “Democrats and Republican Never Trumpers are celebrating Chinese interference in the U.S. presidential election.” Pollack says that, “President Trump has rightly criticized [Barack Obama] for allowing Russian interference to take place in the 2016 election. Now he can be accused of allowing China to do the same. Regardless, the Tulsa fiasco is also a sign that China is the central issue in the 2020 campaign. China has siphoned away American jobs and production for three decades, a trend that President Donald Trump is the first Western leader to challenge. It flooded the U.S. with opioids, killing tens of thousands of people annually and creating millions of addicts. It allowed the coronavirus to spread internally, then internationally. Now China is meddling in U.S. elections. It has been interfering for decades, ever since the Chinese government funneled money to President Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign in 1996. Now, in 2020, TikTok has emerged as an effective tool for dirty tricks.” Zooming out, Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., told “Fox & Friends Weekend” that the mainstream media would have complained about the crowd size of President Trump’s campaign rally in Oklahoma on Saturday whether the arena was full or not. Zeldin said on Sunday that the media outlets who pointed out that there were empty seats inside the venue would have been “complaining that there are too many” people inside if the venue was fully occupied.
Flag This: In response to the reports that thousands of TikTok and K-Pop fans had registered for the rally, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale rejected the claims, saying that media organizations are complicit in spreading false narratives about the event. “Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don’t know what they’re talking about or how our rallies work,” Parscale said. “Registering for a rally means you’ve RSVPed with a cellphone number and we constantly weed out bogus numbers, as we did with tens of thousands at the Tulsa rally, in calculating our possible attendee pool.” The real reason for the depressed turnout, which saw scores of upper-deck seats empty, was apparent, the campaign said. What will be interesting to watch over the next few weeks are any COVID-19 infection spikes in cities with large police brutality protests or Tulsa Oklahoma after Trump’s rally. It’s a double edged-sword. On one hand, we don’t want to see an uptick in infections after people gather. This may confirm fears of a second wave, which could lead to localized shutdowns, which would stall any economic recovery and could lead to more loss of life and loss of jobs. On the other hand, if we don’t see a spike after these massive gatherings, the American public will wonder why we stayed inside for two months and sabotaged the economy. This could lead to a further erosion of trust in experts and the government, which could prove harmful when and if a more potent coronavirus emerges in the future.
🦅 US NEWS
Vulnerable US Latino communities hard hit by COVID-19
“As the coronavirus spreads deeper across America, it’s ravaging through Latino communities from the suburbs of the nation’s capital to the farm fields of Florida to the sprawling suburbs of Phoenix and countless areas in between,” Regina Garcia Canto, Anita Snow, and Bryan Anderson report for the Associated Press. Broadly Speaking: “In many areas, Latinos comprise a dramatically higher percentage of the positive COVID-19 tests compared to other racial and ethnic groups.”
- Flag This: “The virus has amplified the inequalities that many Latinos endure, including jobs that expose them to others, tight living conditions, lack of health insurance, mistrust of the medical system and a greater incidence of preexisting health conditions like diabetes. And many Latinos don’t have the luxury of sheltering at home.” Keep reading.
‘Defund the police’ faces skepticism — even in deeply liberal cities
“Many of the cities with the highest number of law enforcement per capita on the payroll are urban areas with progressive mayors — including many women and people of color — and Democratic majorities on the city council,” Nolan McCaskill reports for POLITICO. Why it matters: “That means local leaders in cities like Washington, D.C., New York and Atlanta have the power to limit funding for some of the nation’s largest police forces and reallocate that money for programs to shrink the wealth gap and provide stable housing, access to jobs and health care.”
- Flag This: “But even in those liberal bastions, the movement is running into resistance.” For example, in the nation’s capital where “BLACK LIVES MATTER” was painted on the street leading to the White House next to another message that reads “DEFUND THE POLICE,” Mayor Muriel Bowser has proposed a 3.3 percent increase in police spending in the city’s fiscal year 2021 budget. She told NPR last week that she was “not at all” reconsidering her position. Keep reading.
🌎 WORLD NEWS
Last week “the idea of such a confrontation became more real as Indian and Chinese soldiers clashed in the worst violence on the countries’ border in 45 years,” Maria Abi-Habib writes for the NYT. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has publicly reveled in the prospect of a more muscular role for India in the region and the world. But analysts say the new tensions with China will be the starkest test yet of whether India is ready — or truly willing — to jostle with a rising power bent on expanding its interests and territory.”
- Flag This: “With China facing new scrutiny and criticism over the coronavirus pandemic, Indian officials have recently seemed emboldened, taking steps that made Western diplomats feel that their goal of an India closer to the West was starting to be realized. … But India is still well behind China when it comes to military and economic power. That may give India’s leaders pause over the prospect of an armed escalation.” Keep reading.
Israel’s Netanyahu Tries to Rally Support for Annexation Amid International Criticism
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going all out to rally domestic support for his plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, saying the move would secure Israeli settlements amid divisions within his coalition over how to proceed,” the WSJ’s Felicia Schwartz writes in Tel Aviv. What’s happening: according to an internal party note “‘Applying Israeli law to already existing Jewish communities in Israel’s ancestral homeland will lead to a realistic regional peace based upon facts on the ground.'”
- Flag This: “While Mr. Netanyahu has made this argument before, the note for the first time collates his main reasons to move on his pledge to annex parts of the West Bank and marks an attempt to begin selling his plan to unpersuaded political partners and a divided public.” Keep reading.
🗞️ BIZ, SPORTS, & TECH
Braun Steps Down After Misplacing $2.1 Billion
Markus Braun, the CEO of Wirecard resigned on Friday after $2.1 billion of cash went missing from the company’s balance sheet. Shares of the payment giant tumbled again on Friday after two banks in the Philippines said Wirecard was not their client and claimed documents had been falsified.
Statue Removal Hits the Sports World
The Minnesota Twins announced the removal of a statue in front of Target Field of former owner Calvin Griffith over racist remarks he made at a 1978 speaking engagement that marred his legacy. Meanwhile, the statue of former Washington Redskins owner George Preston Marshall, who was forced to integrate his franchise in the early 1960s, was also removed from outside of RFK Stadium.
One Dollar Whoppers
Burger King and TikTok are teaming up to give customers discounted Whoppers. If customers post a short-form dance video on the social media platform they can purchase the burger for $1. This news came just one day after the US Navy warned that TikTok’s ties to China may pose a national security threat.
📢 PRESENTED BY GRILLAHOLICS
🗳️ FLAG POLLS
President Trump said that people who burn the American Flag should be sentenced to jail for at least one year at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Do you agree? Click here to vote.
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