Trump valet has coronavirus; president again tests negative

US President Donald Trump gestures during a meeting about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response with Texas Governor Greg Abbott in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US, May 7, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 07 May 2020

Trump valet has coronavirus; president again tests negative

WASHINGTON: A member of the military serving as one of President Donald Trump’s valets has tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House said Thursday. It said Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have since tested negative for the virus and “remain in good health.”
It marked the latest coronavirus scare for the president, and the first known instance where a person who has come in close proximity to the president has tested positive since several people present at his private Florida club were diagnosed with COVID-19 in early March. The person tested positive on Wednesday, the White House said.
The White House was moving to shore up its protection protocols to protect the nation’s political leaders. Trump said that some staffers who interact with him closely would now be tested daily. Pence told reporters that both he and Trump would now be tested daily as well.
Trump, 73, said the incident was a bit concerning. “It’s a little bit strange but it’s one of those things,” he told reporters. “As I said, you know, I said yesterday, governor, all people are warriors in this country. Right now we’re all warriors.”
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement, “We were recently notified by the White House Medical Unit that a member of the United States Military, who works on the White House campus, has tested positive for Coronavirus.”
He added, “The President and the Vice President have since tested negative for the virus and they remain in great health.”
A person familiar with the matter said the member of the military who tested positive was one of the president’s valets. Several valets cater to the president and his guests at the White House, including serving meals and providing drinks.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Trump told reporters that he was tested Wednesday and again Thursday. He added, “I’ve had very little contact, personal contact, with this gentleman.”
Trump said the health scare showed the “fallacy” of calls for widespread nationwide testing. “Testing is not a perfect art,” he said, adding, “Even when you test once a day somebody could, something happens where they catch something.”
The White House began instituting safety protocols nearly two months ago, including frequent temperature checks. Last month it began administering rapid COVID-19 tests to all those in close proximity to the president, with staffers being tested about once a week.
Federal guidance has been that a person who was exposed to a confirmed case of the virus should self-isolate for 14 days, but a different set of recommendations apply to those deemed essential workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says essential workers can continue to report to work as long as they monitor their temperature at least twice a day and wear a mask.
Trump and Pence have generally refrained from wearing masks, citing the fact that they are regularly tested.
Trump told reporters his valets wear masks, and claimed “a lot of people in the White House wear masks.”

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Minneapolis braces for fourth night of riots and arson 

Updated 8 min 30 sec ago

Minneapolis braces for fourth night of riots and arson 

  • Unrest follows police killing of George Floyd
  • FBI and US Justice Department investigating death  

CHICAGO: Minneapolis exploded into riots and arson this week after an African-American suspected of handling counterfeit money was killed on Monday during his arrest by two city police officers.

Videos on social media showed an officer placing his knee on George Floyd’s neck as he was handcuffed and being restrained on the street by the kerb. The 46-year-old said that he could not breathe, but police insisted that Floyd was “resisting arrest” and had to be forcibly restrained.

Floyd was pronounced dead at the scene and his family immediately called for an independent investigation, reflecting a growing number of incidents of police brutality against African-Americans in the US.

His family turned to civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who said the family’s first concern was to seek an autopsy independent of the police because of a lack of trust in law enforcement and to give their deceased family member a proper funeral.

“Is it two justice systems in America?” Crump said as he addressed the media. “One for black America and one for white America? We can’t have that. We have to have equal justice for the United States of America and that’s what I think the protesters are crying out for.”

Protests spread across the country and turned violent as arson destroyed property, including the police station where the police officers were assigned.

President Donald Trump denounced the rioters as “thugs” and warned that he might send in the military “to take control.” 

Minneapolis Police handed the investigation into Floyd’s death to the FBI and US Justice Department on Thursday night.

“On Monday evening, shortly after 8:00 p.m., officers from the Minneapolis Police Department responded to the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South on a report of a forgery in progress.  Officers were advised that the suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence,” according to the police department’s account of what happened on May 25.

“Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car.  After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.”

Officials from the FBI and US Justice Department promised that the probe would be “robust and meticulous.”

“The Department of Justice has made the investigation a top priority and has assigned experienced prosecutors and FBI criminal investigators to the matter,” US Attorney Erica MacDonald and FBI Special-Agent-in-Charge Rainer Drolshagen said in a joint statement.

“The Federal investigation will determine whether the actions by the involved former Minneapolis Police Department officers violated federal law. It is a violation of federal law for an individual acting under color of law to willfully deprive another person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”

’Anger and sadness’

The media’s role in the protests that followed Floyd’s came sharply into focus when, early on Friday, CNN’s Omar Jimenez was arrested along with his TV crew.

Minneapolis had deployed police officers in the 3rd Precinct near the burned-down police station, in anticipation of another day of riots and arson. They were trying to clear the area when they asked Jimenez to leave.

Jimenez told police as he prepared to do a live report: “We are getting out of your way.” 

But the journalist began his report instead of leaving, prompting police to say he was under arrest.

CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota, who looked on as her colleague was being arrested, told viewers: “If you are just tuning in you are watching our correspondent Omar Jimenez being arrested by state police in Minnesota. We are not sure why our correspondent is being arrested.”

The camera crew was arrested after refusing to leave and trying to continue the live CNN report.

The city’s mayor, Jacob Frey, urged for calm and restraint following the violence.

“What we have seen over the last two days and the emotion ridden conflict over last night is the result of so much built up anger and sadness,” he tweeted. “Anger and sadness that has been ingrained in our black community not just because of five minutes of horror, but four hundred years. If you are feeling that sadness and that anger it is not only understandable it is right. It is the reflection of the truth of what our black community has lived.”

Frey urged “our non-black communities” to understand the rage from African- American citizens around the US and not just in Minneapolis.

The Washington D.C-based US Council of Muslim Organizations urged Muslims across the country to pray for Floyd’s family and condemned the officers’ conduct.  

“Minneapolis police officers marked Memorial Day by suffocating an utterly subdued black man named George Floyd to death as he pleaded with his last stifled words for the right to breathe. They snuffed out the light of his life with a knee on his neck, collapsing his trachea. They killed him in broad daylight. They killed him over a slow seven minutes. They killed him while contemptuously mocking the helpless bystanders pleading for mercy, for humanity, for George Floyd’s expiring life. They killed him even after Floyd had died by continuing to kneel on his limp, lifeless body for another two minutes.”