Saturday News: Who's next, Dandy?


THOM TILLIS TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS: Sen. Thom Tillis has tested positive for the coronavirus, the North Carolina Republican announced Friday night. Tillis participated in a televised debate with Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham on Thursday evening from a Spectrum News studio in Raleigh. Tillis was in Washington, D.C., earlier Thursday for a vote on the Senate floor. Tillis, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also met with Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol. Cunningham said on Twitter that he plans to get tested. “I’m wishing @SenThomTillis a quick recovery following his positive COVID-19 test, and am thinking of him and his family. Because I was with Senator Tillis recently on the debate stage, I will also get tested,” Cunningham posted on Twitter on Friday night.

LEGAL STRUGGLE OVER ABSENTEE BALLOT CURES CONTINUES: The decision by Wake County Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins to approve that agreement also means county election officials can mail voters an affidavit that can be returned to remedy any outstanding issues with their ballot. Voters previously needed to send an entirely new ballot to correct issues with incomplete witness information. Under state law, North Carolina voters this election cycle must have one witness sign off on their ballot for it to be counted. Republican lawmakers have pushed back hard against the settlement, arguing it essentially does away with the witness requirement the General Assembly specifically decided to keep in state law earlier this year. The procedure isn't final yet: Three different federal cases tied to many of the same issues remain pending. There's a hearing in one next week. Two others – filed last weekend by North Carolina Republicans and President Donald Trump's re-election campaign – got a hearing Friday evening in Raleigh. U.S. District Judge James Dever said he would rule "in due course" on a requested GOP temporary restraining order that could potentially moot the state court decision.

CAL CUNNINGHAM ADMITS TO EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIR AFTER TEXTS ARE PUBLISHED: Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Cal Cunningham apologized on Friday night for sending sexual messages to a woman in California. A story published by the website indicates Cunningham — who is running against Republican Sen. Thom Tillis — "engaged in the extramarital activity with the wife of a fellow veteran." The website identified the woman as Arlene Guzman Todd. Her husband is Jeremy Todd, who served 15 years in the Army, according to information from website said. Cal Cunningham is married to Elizabeth Cunningham and has two children. He said on Friday night in his statement that he will not drop out of the U.S. Senate race. "I have hurt my family, disappointed my friends, and am deeply sorry," Cunningham said in a statement. "The first step in repairing those relationships is taking complete responsibility, which I do. I ask that my family’s privacy be respected in this personal matter."

TRUMP IN NOW IN WALTER REED AFTER TAKING A DOSE OF ANTIBODIES: President Trump was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday for a stay that was expected to last several days, a move the White House said was made out of an abundance of caution after he tested positive for the deadly coronavirus and experienced symptoms. Trump was experiencing fatigue, and the first lady was coughing with a headache on Friday, the White House doctor said, describing the physical impacts of a White House coronavirus outbreak that has upended the nation’s capital and disrupted American politics one month before a presidential election. Trump, who is 74, began taking a cocktail of drugs as a “precautionary measure,” according to doctor Sean Conley, who provided only limited information about Trump’s condition or the reasons for his extended stay at Walter Reed. “In addition to the polyclonal antibodies, the President has been taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin,” Conley said in a White House memo Friday afternoon, describing Trump as “fatigued but in good spirits.” Hicks was among a group of several people — including two U.S. senators, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, a university president, another White House aide and multiple journalists — who reported testing positive Friday after having spent time at the White House. Melania Trump said on Twitter that she had “mild symptoms but overall feeling good.” Former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway also tested positive and was coughing on Friday. She was in the White House for debate preparation and in the Rose Garden on Saturday.

TRUMP'S ANTIBODY TREATMENT NOT APPROVED BY FDA, EXCEPT AS A "COMPASSIONATE" LAST RESORT: There are no approved treatments for Covid-19, but the Regeneron treatment is one of the most promising candidates, along with another antibody treatment developed by Eli Lilly. Both are being tested in patients around the country. Initial results have suggested that they can reduce the level of the virus in the body and possibly shorten hospital stays — when they are given early in the course of infection. Although Regeneron’s product has not been authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration, companies can grant access to their experimental treatments through compassionate use, for example, if all other options have failed and a patient might die without trying the drug. In an interview Friday afternoon, Regeneron’s chief executive, Dr. Leonard S. Schleifer, said Mr. Trump’s medical staff reached out to the company for permission to use the drug, and that it was cleared with the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Schleifer has known Mr. Trump casually for years, having been a member of his golf club in Westchester County. A spokeswoman for Regeneron, Hala Mirza, said that for its coronavirus treatment, “our first priority is to maintain a sufficient supply in order to conduct rigorous clinical trials,” adding, “there is limited product available for compassionate use requests that are approved under certain exceptional circumstances on a case-by-case basis.” Dr. George Yancopoulos, Regeneron’s president and chief scientific officer, said the company is already preparing for an expected influx of requests.



I am torn between

being pissed off that Trump might have got a dose that would have saved somebody else's life, but I also know that Presidents are different, and Trump is in an "extreme risk" category because of his age and obesity.

Whatever the case, it's out of our hands. That being said, if we wait for Trump to decide when this is appropriate:

Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

we'll be waiting forever. He doesn't care about the country, he only cares about himself. And to invoke any part of the 25th Amendment is something his ego simply would not allow.

Old and obese

That's the phrase most media are using to describe Trump's risk factors. Some are saying that's "fat shaming." I see it as simply telling the truth.

There is another instance in which the 25th Amendment...

might come into play (though not yet):

Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

So if Trump ends up on a ventilator and unable to communicate, Pence and eight of the Cabinet secretaries could invoke the 25th and Pence would become Acting President until Trump was able to counteract that move. Since this is a process he'd have no say in (quite literally) it has some chance of actually occurring.

Geremy on Cal's text messages...

Great comment

That wasn't "sexting" ... it was goo-goo eyes infatuation. And the resolution of it should be handled by Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham.