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GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert Gets Blistering Reminders After Sycophantic Tweet About Trump

GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert Gets Blistering Reminders After Sycophantic Tweet About Trump
GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert Gets Blistering Reminders After Sycophantic Tweet About Trump

The conspiracy theory-endorsing Colorado Republican tweeted about the “correct” ex-president.

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Democrats To Introduce Bill To Combat Election Subversion As Part Of Voting Rights Push

Democrats To Introduce Bill To Combat Election Subversion As Part Of Voting Rights Push
Democrats To Introduce Bill To Combat Election Subversion As Part Of Voting Rights Push

Democrats plan to introduce legislation in the House and Senate on Tuesday to combat new laws in Republican-run states that could lead to the subversion of fair elections by partisan officials.

The new bills come in response to measures passed by Republican-majority state legislatures and signed into law by Republican governors that make it easier for partisan legislatures to purge state election boards and local election supervisors and replace them without cause with partisan officials. These state laws follow former President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign against state and local election officials to overturn his 2020 reelection loss based on false claims of widespread voter fraud.

The anti-election bills will institute a new federal safeguard for local election supervisors or superintendents by forbidding their removal by partisan state election boards or legislatures for any reason other than “for cause.” Recent election subversion laws enacted at the state level by Republicans have allowed removal for no reason at all. The new measures introduced by Democrats will also provide a “for cause” standard.

Local and county election officials subject to removal by a state election board or other entity will also be allowed under the Democratic bill to move that process to a federal court.

The bills will also make it a federal crime to intimidate, threaten, coerce or harass election workers, or to attempt to do so. They will also require poll observers to maintain a minimum distance from any voter or ballot during early voting and on an election day.

This push to counter election subversion comes alongside the efforts by congressional Democrats to pass the For the People Act, a sweeping package of voting rights, campaign finance, redistricting and ethics reforms, also known as H.R. 1. The For the People Act, which passed the House in May, faces its first test in the Senate on Tuesday afternoon when it is expected to face a Republican filibuster.

The election subversion bills are being introduced as standalone legislation by Reps. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Nikema Williams (D-Ga.) and Colin Allred (D-Texas) in the House and Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in the Senate. The intention is to make these bills part of the For the People Act in an amendment when the bill is brought to the Senate floor again.

Election challengers demand to enter to observe absentee ballot counting after the 2020 general election in Detroit on Nov. 4

Election challengers demand to enter to observe absentee ballot counting after the 2020 general election in Detroit on Nov. 4. One of the Democratic measures would provide a minimum distance between a poll observer and any voter or ballot.

“Republicans across the country continue to invent new tricks to give themselves control over our elections,” Williams said in a statement. “Their latest efforts seek to remove protections for the non-partisan election officials who ensure the integrity of our democracy. Protecting election officials from partisan interference is one way Congress can secure free and fair elections for everyone, no matter their zip code. I am proud to co-lead this bill with House and Senate leaders because it shows that Congress is ready to respond in real time to any threat to our democracy. As we continue to strengthen H.R. 1, this will not be the last discussion we have about how to prevent further attempts to subvert our elections.”

The anti-election subversion bills come as state-level Republicans are using their newfound powers to remove local election officials for no stated cause. Of the 10 local officials removed so far in Georgia, five are Black and most are Democrats, according to The New York Times. They are all likely to be replaced by Republicans. States including Arizona and Texas are considering similar election subversion legislation.

The officials being removed are in charge of selecting precinct locations; notifying voters of these locations, election times and rules; setting early voting hours; and, most important, certifying elections. Partisans installed into these positions could limit polling locations, place them in inconvenient locations, limit early voting hours and days, fail to notify voters of their precinct locations and, as Trump wanted in 2020, refuse to certify an election result.

This risk of election subversion by partisan officials emerged as a new threat after the 2020 elections when Trump and the Republican Party tried to overturn the result. Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn Georgia’s election result. Raffensperger refused. The Republican state legislature responded by stripping him of his election oversight authority, and Trump endorsed a primary challenger who had supported overturning the 2020 election for him.

In Michigan, two local Republican election officials nearly refused to certify the election results in Wayne County, the home of Detroit. These officials were white and the county is predominantly Black. They certified the election after pressure from local voters.

These efforts to overturn the election eventually snowballed into the Jan. 6 insurrection Trump led against Congress to try to stop it from certifying President Joe Biden’s 306-232 win in the Electoral College.

CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article said Biden won the electoral vote by 303 to 232. He won 306 Electoral College votes.

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‘Arrogant’ Meghan McCain Angers Twitter Users Over Joe Biden Attack

‘Arrogant’ Meghan McCain Angers Twitter Users Over Joe Biden Attack
‘Arrogant’ Meghan McCain Angers Twitter Users Over Joe Biden Attack

Meghan McCain managed to irk many Twitter users on Monday’s episode of “The View” when she accused old family friend and current President Joe Biden of “doing grave spiritual harm to himself and harm to this country” by supporting abortion rights.

McCain was responding to U.S. Catholic bishops’ recent attempts to block Communion for Catholic politicians like Biden who think people should have safe and legal access to the medical procedure.

“The View” co-host ― who is not Catholic ― falsely suggested that Biden’s support for reproductive rights constitutes a cardinal sin. She also wondered why a person who says he’s personally opposed to abortion wouldn’t be comfortable imposing that belief on the rest of the country.

McCain likened the president’s stance to saying “I’m personally opposed to murder, but if you want to murder a little bit, it’s fine because it’s not my problem.”

Co-host Sunny Hostin pointed out to McCain that the same bishops attacking Biden had said nothing when former Attorney General William Barr, who is also Catholic, ushered in the death penalty for federal crimes, despite capital punishment being against church doctrine.

They also failed to condemn another Catholic, Newt Gingrich, for cheating on his ex-wife with his current wife, Callista, who coincidentally served as the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican.

Many Twitter users dragged McCain for overlooking those details.

Of course, some people had questions.

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Stonewall Inn Bans Certain Beers During Pride Over Anti-LGBTQ Political Support

Stonewall Inn Bans Certain Beers During Pride Over Anti-LGBTQ Political Support
Stonewall Inn Bans Certain Beers During Pride Over Anti-LGBTQ Political Support

NEW YORK (AP) — The Stonewall Inn’s owners say they won’t serve certain beers at the famous LGBT bar during Pride weekend to protest manufacturer Anheuser-Busch’s political contributions to some politicians who have supported anti-LGBT legislation.

Co-owners Stacy Lentz and Kurt Kelly said they would be instituting the ban on Friday in support of the “Keep Your Pride” campaign, a recently launched effort highlighting five companies that it says advertise support during Pride but have also made contributions to anti-LGBT lawmakers.

The campaign, a project of Corporate Accountability Action, used data compiled from the National Institute on Money in Politics to show that Anheuser-Busch contributed more than $35,000 to 29 legislators it described as anti-LGBT between 2015 and 2020.

“We just felt Stonewall having the platform, the power to do this, it was important to stand up,” Lentz said. “We really just want Anheuser-Busch to stop donating to lawmakers who are trying to legalize discrimination.”

In a statement, Anheuser-Busch said, “We support candidates for public office whose policy positions and objectives support investments in our communities, job creation, and industry growth.”

The statement continued, “Together, with our brands, we have a clear role to play in bringing real change and creating an inclusive and equitable world where we cherish and celebrate one another.”

It was at an earlier incarnation of the Stonewall Inn in June 1969 when bar patrons fought with police who had come to carry out a raid, which galvanized gay rights activism around the country and the world.

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New York City’s Mayoral Race Remains Unpredictable, Even After Voting Has Begun

New York City’s Mayoral Race Remains Unpredictable, Even After Voting Has Begun
New York City’s Mayoral Race Remains Unpredictable, Even After Voting Has Begun

Voting has already begun in New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary.

Given the city’s heavy Democratic tilt, the winner of the primary, which concludes on Tuesday, is all but assured of the top job.

New York City, home to nearly 8.4 million people, is an American anomaly in many ways ― denser, more multicultural and less car-dependent than the country at large.

But this year — after eight years of Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Big Apple’s first Democratic leader in two decades, and a self-styled progressive loathed by the activist left and right in equal measure — the city could chart a course for the future of the Democratic Party.

The leading contenders for control of City Hall are Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams; former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia; Maya Wiley, a former counselor to de Blasio; and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

Other less formidable candidates include city Comptroller Scott Stringer; former nonprofit executive Dianne Morales; former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan; and former Citigroup senior executive Ray McGuire.

Adams and Yang, both moderate by New York City standards, have led the polls most of the race. But lately, Yang’s standing has declined, while Garcia, a moderate running as a competent technocrat, has risen.

Although the result is still likely to disappoint the city’s activist left, Wiley, who has consolidated progressive support at the last minute, is now also in a competitive position. 

Below is a look at each of the top four candidates.

‘Old-School New York Politics’

Eric Adams campaigns with Mexican American community leaders in Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood. Adams is the frontrunner

Eric Adams campaigns with Mexican American community leaders in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. Adams is the frontrunner thanks to his leads with Black and Latino voters.

Adams, a former New York City Police Department captain-turned-state senator and borough leader, is something of a throwback to the heyday of machine politics in New York.

Adams has leveraged long-standing relationships with politicians, business people, clergy and union leaders to a career in public office that has been defined by sometimes-outlandish antics, loose ethics, and a savvy nose for the direction political winds are blowing.

“The way he talks, the way he debates ― he is so old-school New York politics,” said Olivia Lapeyrolerie, a Democratic media consultant who used to work for de Blasio.

Another word to describe Adams might be “transactional”: He appears to trade favors for support. As Yang is fond of noting, Adams has been the subject of federal, state and local investigations for alleged violations of campaign finance or ethics laws. 

None of the probes has resulted in anything more than a rebuke of Adams’ judgment, though it is clear that he has used his campaign account ― and a nonprofit not subject to contribution limits ― to solicit support from real-estate moguls and other well-connected individuals whose interests he went on to boost while in office.

At the same time, Adams has a unique personality. Faced with a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis in 2016 that threatened his eyesight, Adams became a vegan and an exercise nut who lost 30 pounds and eliminated his Diabetes symptoms. He meditates every day and writes in a journal; he credits the latter habit for his tendency to refer to himself in the third person. 

Although Adams was an outspoken member of a group of Black cops calling for reform within the NYPD, he was also a registered Republican in the late 1990s and suggested that the party had something to offer Black Americans.

Adams’ tenure in the state Senate was marked by his coziness with Republicans, who held the majority at the time, and a Democratic colleague, Hiram Monserrate, who was expelled in 2010 for slashing his girlfriend with broken glass. Adams objected to Monserrate’s expulsion, claiming that he wanted to wait to see whether his assault conviction was overturned on appeal.

Adams subsequently supported the 2018 reelection of Jesse Hamilton, a Democratic state senator aligned with senate Republicans, during Hamilton’s unsuccessful effort to ward off a progressive primary challenger.

Adams’ scandals have taken on an increasingly bizarre turn in recent weeks. A Politico investigation raised questions about whether Adams lived in Brooklyn, or split his time between Borough Hall and his partner’s condo in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Adams, who took members of the press on a tour of a ground-floor apartment in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood where he claims to live, has likened the charges to former President Donald Trump’s racist suggestion that former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

Past ― and present ― peccadilloes notwithstanding, the secret to Adams’ strong performance in the mayoral primary has been his deep well of support in the city’s working- and middle-class, Black and Latino neighborhoods.

That support has widened thanks to his early and continued focus on the rising number of shootings and murders in the city. As the city’s recovery from the pandemic has taken flight, violent crime has become the central issue in the mayoral race.

Even as he promises to invest in long-term progressive solutions designed to attack the root causes of crime (a track he calls “prevention”), Adams has insisted on the need for more “intervention” as well ― short-term tactics like stationing more cops in subways and reconstituting the city’s plainclothes policing unit.

Yang has largely matched Adams’ tough-on-crime rhetoric and policy proposals in recent weeks, but Adams made it his central theme from the start. And of course, when it comes to crime, it is tough to out-do a former cop ― to say nothing of one who has mused about carrying a handgun at City Hall.

“When crime became such a dominant issue in the race, that positioned Eric Adams as the candidate to beat,” a New York Democratic strategist, who requested anonymity for professional reasons, told HuffPost.

‘A Progressive In Gracie Mansion’

Maya Wiley arrives at a rally in Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park. An endorsement from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has

Maya Wiley arrives at a rally in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park. An endorsement from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has helped consolidate the left behind Wiley.

If Adams is running as a lock-’em-up moderate disdainful of the activist left, civil rights attorney Maya Wiley is a champion of the social movements and causes that have breathed radical new life into city politics in recent years.

A former counselor to de Blasio, Wiley is casting herself as the city’s chance to deliver on the progress that de Blasio promised but fell short of providing. 

“I am the progressive who can win this race,” Wiley said at a June press conference. “And I look forward to earning the vote of every single New Yorker so we can choose a path where we all prosper.”

Even in a race defined by calls to crack down on crime, Wiley, who would be the first Black woman to govern the city, has stuck to bold reform proposals. She is calling for $1 billion in cuts to the NYPD budget to be transferred to social programs, and in one of her ads, featured footage of NYPD cars ramming Black Lives Matter protesters during demonstrations last summer.

Until the final few weeks of the campaign, Wiley occupied a kind of inverse goldilocks position as someone who neither had the perceived electability of Stringer ― a newcomer to left-wing causes ― nor the ideological purity of Morales. 

But with Stringer laid low by accusations of sexual misconduct and Morales’ campaign unraveled by charges of union-busting, progressives finally consolidated behind Wiley in June as their last best alternative to a moderate chief executive.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)’s surprise endorsement of Wiley on June 5 was a key turning point. Ocasio-Cortez framed a vote for Wiley as the only way to prevent a return to the pro-business and pro-police consensus of the Mike Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani mayoralties. 

“These are the stakes,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Maya Wiley is the one. She will be a progressive in Gracie Mansion.”

A recent poll showing Wiley in third place ― behind Adams and Garcia, but ahead of Yang ― has revived progressive hopes of a victory and suggested that lamentations of the disarray besetting the ascendant left in New York City might be premature.

You will see a lot of the Black community turn out for Black elected officials.
Olivia Lapeyrolerie, Democratic consultant

Wiley appears to benefit from a ranked-choice voting system that allows some ideologically flexible Black voters casting ballots for Adams to rank Wiley high up as well. Shoring up substantial Black support alongside that of college-educated liberals was one of de Blasio’s key political strengths, but an achievement that has since eluded many other would-be progressive leaders.

“You will see a lot of the Black community turn out for Black elected officials,” said Peyrolerie, who is Black.

At the same time, Wiley’s surge into the spotlight has heightened criticism from Adams and other moderates at what they see as her privileged brand of progressivism. Wiley lives with her family in an upscale Brooklyn community where a private security car patrols the streets. And she has actually elicited criticism from civil rights advocates for going too easy on police officers accused of misconduct during her tenure as chair of de Blasio’s Civilian Complaint Review Board.

“She is a hypocrite,” said Mona Davids, a South African immigrant, moderate political consultant and charter school parent in the Bronx’s Co-Op City neighborhood.

Wiley’s loss would embolden figures like Davids who accuse the activist left of being out of touch with the city’s multiracial working class.

“The small but loud minority of the activist left does not speak for the majority of New Yorkers and working families,” she said.

A Fresh Face Who Might Have Peaked Too Soon

Andrew Yang talks to a voter in Manhattan's Morningside Park on Saturday. Once a frontrunner, the businessman and former pres

Andrew Yang talks to a voter in Manhattan’s Morningside Park on Saturday. Once a frontrunner, the businessman and former presidential candidate has slid in recent polls.

For the first few months of the mayor’s race, it seemed like Andrew Yang, who would be the city’s first Asian American mayor, was the only candidate publicly campaigning. 

Not unlike Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 presidential campaign, Yang’s team adopted a “flood the zone” approach to media coverage. He was everywhere ― playing piano outside the Coney Island theme park in his announcement video, snapping selfies with fans of his proposal for universal basic income, and regaling New Yorkers with his commentary on professional basketball. He did so much in-person campaigning that he tested positive for COVID-19 in early February. 

Most of all, Yang’s earnest and upbeat tone felt like an elixir to the dark cloud of the pandemic ― a cheerleader the city needed to emerge from the crisis stronger.

“New York City! Can you feel it? Our comeback starts today,” he tweeted on Jan. 14.

But with greater media attention comes greater media scrutiny. The New York Times took a withering look at Venture for America, a nonprofit Yang founded that aimed to create startup jobs in struggling cities.

Local and national media also focused on Yang’s reliance on the counsel of Bradley Tusk, a former Bloomberg adviser who profited personally from lobbying against regulation of tech companies like Uber. It did not help matters that Tusk told a New York Times columnist that Yang is an “empty vessel,” solidifying suspicions that Yang would be a Trojan horse for big business.

What really hurt Yang — who, critics note, has never voted in a city election — was a series of public flubs in May that reinforced a sense that he was out of his league. For example, at a campaign discussion hosted by a provider of shelters for those who need a temporary place to stay, Yang suggested that there should be specific shelters for survivors of domestic violence — even though such shelters already exist.

He’s saying something different ― that’s all.
Brenda Williams, home health aide

For a candidate promising to bring fresh energy and business acumen to City Hall, the remarks ― and related mistakes ― eroded a potential strength. Without a base among Black voters or progressive activists, he needed to capture a significant portion of college-educated voters critical of de Blasio’s management of the city and incidents that pointed to his ignorance were not helpful.

“He doesn’t have a clue as to what he’s doing,” Joan Beranbaum, a retired union lawyer living in lower Manhattan, told HuffPost.

In addition, Yang’s strong online presence and national profile made him a greater object of left-wing scorn than Adams, even though many of his aides and allies believe his focus on cash relief for low-income families and generally open-minded spirit should make him more palatable to progressives than the former NYPD captain. A statement of unequivocal support for the Israeli government in mid-May that elicited stern condemnation from Ocasio-Cortez, despite similar remarks from Adams, embodied this trend.

By the time of the final debate, Yang had fully embraced his centrist coalition of Asian Americans, Orthodox Jews and moderate, outer-borough whites. In lieu of the cheerful New York sports fan was a guy complaining about illegal ATVs and mentally ill homeless men. 

“Yes, mentally ill people have rights, but you know who else have rights?” he said at a debate last week. “We do! The people and families of the city.”

Given his declining standing in the pre-election polls, Yang resorted to forging a one-sided coalition with Kathryn Garcia on Saturday. He plans to rank her second on his ballot and has advised his supporters to do the same, while Garcia, who campaigned alongside him, has not reciprocated.  

But Yang, whose most loyal voters ― Asian Americans and Orthodox Jews ― are hard to poll, still has a path to victory, particularly if enough voters ranking other candidates first include him on their ballots one way or another. 

“He’s saying something different ― that’s all,” said Brenda Williams, a home health care aide who plans to rank Yang second after Adams. “If we get something different, maybe something happen [sic] better.”

The Uncharismatic Manager

Kathryn Garcia campaigns on Manhattan's Upper West Side on Wednesday. It is unclear whether Garcia has enough support in work

Kathryn Garcia campaigns on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on Wednesday. It is unclear whether Garcia has enough support in working-class Black and Latino communities to win.

The high drama of the Yang-Adams slugfest, the decline of an experienced city hand like Stringer, and the hunger for more efficient city services have all converged to give Kathryn Garcia a shot at City Hall.

Garcia is ideologically closer to Yang and Adams than Wiley, Stringer or Morales. She supports unfettered private-sector housing development, more charter schools and tougher policing.

But Garcia, who would be the city’s first woman mayor, has managed to capture the imagination of college-educated liberals — many of whom are to her left ideologically — thanks to her relentless focus on managerial experience and competence. 

She got a major boost with this voting bloc when The New York Times endorsed her in mid-May. The Times touted, among other things, Garcia’s modernization of the city’s snow-plow system and successful reduction of lead paint in public housing.

“The city’s recovery and its longer-term future … depend on a mayor who will understand and work the levers of good government,” the Times’ editorial board wrote.

A divorced, pack-a-day smoker with a dry speaking style, Garcia is the candidate for voters tired of outsize personalities and eager for a boring, no-nonsense, get-it-done technocrat. 

I’m not running to get the title of mayor. I’m running to do the job of mayor.
Kathryn Garcia, former NYC sanitation commissioner

In addition to running the city’s sanitation department, she led emergency food distribution during the pandemic, headed up the city’s public housing authority for a period of time, and served as chief operating officer of the city’s department of environmental protection.

“I’m not running to get the title of mayor,” she said in the final debate. “I’m running to do the job of mayor ― because New York City needs someone who is going to roll up their sleeves and solve the impossible problems.”

In the rush to find an alternative to Adams or Yang, some of Garcia’s record has escaped greater scrutiny. Despite some of Garcia’s efforts, for example, the city’s recycling rate was 18% as of January 2020. And a state government audit of Garcia’s department that came out in September panned the city agency’s record at maintaining sidewalk and street cleanliness. 

What’s more, politics is part of a New York City mayor’s job ― and it’s not clear that Garcia has what it takes to win this election, let alone assemble delicate coalitions at City Hall.

Garcia lacks support in the city’s massive working-class Black and Latino communities, which narrows her path to victory. And she failed to secure a cross-endorsement with Ray McGuire that might have helped her make inroads with Black voters in southeast Queens and Harlem, according to The New York Times.

Garcia, who is adopted, has a brother named Matthew who is Black. She has mentioned him in the context of her sensitivity to police racial profiling, on Saturday posted a photo of them eating breakfast together, and referenced that she was “adopted into a multiracial family” in a TV ad

But neither Matthew, nor Garcia’s two Latino kids ― her ex-husband is Puerto Rican ― have appeared in any of her TV ads. That has deprived her of the kind of multiracial moment that vaulted de Blasio to the mayoralty in 2013. A TV ad featuring de Blasio’s Black teenage son Dante went viral and solidified his standing with Black voters.

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Former FDA Chief Says COVID-19 Variant May Cause Surge In States With Low Vaccination

Former FDA Chief Says COVID-19 Variant May Cause Surge In States With Low Vaccination
Former FDA Chief Says COVID-19 Variant May Cause Surge In States With Low Vaccination

Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, warned Sunday that an infectious variant of the coronavirus could lead to a new surge in COVID-19 infections in the fall, particularly in states with low vaccination rates.

Gottlieb made the comments on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” saying that while the White House should be celebrated for delivering more than 317 million doses of vaccine during President Joe Biden’s first months in office, the nation needed a new strategy to jab those who were still reluctant to get vaccinated. The former FDA commissioner added that data shows the growing threat of the Delta variant of the virus — which is up to 60% more contagious than earlier strains — could lead to a new wave of infections in places like Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Missouri.

The states have some of the lowest inoculation rates in the nation. 

“It doesn’t necessarily appear more pathogenic, meaning more dangerous, but it’s infecting people more easily and it’s starting to become very prevalent in the U.K. in communities that are unvaccinated,” the doctor said. “When we look across the United States, we see wide variance in terms of vaccination rates. Some states like Vermont or Connecticut have very high vaccination rates above 80%. Other states are struggling to get to 50%.”

He continued: “So Connecticut, for example, where I am, shows no upsurge of infection, but Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri show very substantial upsurges of infections. That’s based entirely on how much population wide immunity you have based on vaccination.”

The warnings echo those of current Biden administration officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who urged Americans earlier this month to get their vaccinations. 

While the Delta variant is spreading rapidly, a recent study found that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 88% effective against the strain two weeks after the second dose. Gottlieb said proof of vaccine efficacy underscored the need for the Biden administration to rethink its vaccination campaign.

“We need to think about a different vaccine delivery strategy to get the people who are still reluctant or who still face challenges getting into those access sites,” Gottlieb said. “I think the vaccine administration is going to decline over the summer as prevalence declines. People aren’t going to be seeking out a vaccine in July and August. But as people contemplate going back to school and back to work in the fall, they will be seeking out vaccines.”

Gottlieb also said Sunday that the Biden administration’s recent announcement to spend $3.2 billion investing in a range of antiviral drug trials to combat COVID-19 and other dangerous viruses could be a “real game changer.” 

“I think we will get a drug that inhibits viral replication that could be taken on an outpatient basis and is basically like a Tamiflu for coronavirus that you could take when you first have symptoms, when you first have a diagnosis to prevent the progression to disease,” Gottlieb said. 

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Deadly Pride Parade Crash In South Florida Was Not Intentional: Officials

Deadly Pride Parade Crash In South Florida Was Not Intentional: Officials
Deadly Pride Parade Crash In South Florida Was Not Intentional: Officials

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A member of a men’s chorus group unintentionally slammed into fellow chorists at the start of a Pride parade in South Florida, killing one member of the group and seriously injuring another, the group’s director said Sunday, clarifying initial speculation that it was a hate crime directed at the gay community.

Wilton Manors Vice Mayor Paul Rolli and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said the early investigation shows it was an accident. The 77-year-old driver was taken into custody, but police said no charges have been filed and the investigation is ongoing.

The elderly driver had ailments that prevented him from walking, according to a statement Sunday from Fort Lauderdale Police, who said he was cooperating with the investigation and there was no evidence drugs or alcohol was involved.

“The early investigation now indicates it looks like it was a tragic accident, but nobody’s saying finally what it is,” Rolli told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

The driver and the victims were a part of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus family, a small 25-member group of mostly older men.

“Our fellow Chorus members were those injured and the driver is also a part of the Chorus family. To my knowledge, this was not an attack on the LGBTQ community,” President Justin Knight said in a statement Sunday, calling it “an unfortunate accident.”

Rolli was on the float in front of the chorus truck along with Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis and other city officials at a staging area where the floats were being readied. Trantalis said the driver of a pickup truck suddenly accelerated when he was told he was next in the parade, crashing into the victims.

The driver continued across all lanes of traffic, ultimately crashing into a fence on the other side of the street, police said.

Rolli was on the other side of the float and didn’t witness the crash, but jumped off immediately and ran to the victims. In the confusion, it was unclear what happened.

“People were really distraught and some people were crying,” said Rolli, who explained that the crash happened in an area where the floats were lining up, so there weren’t as many parade-goers. “I was getting phone calls from people I knew at the other end waiting for the parade saying, ‘Is this true? Is that true, do we have anything to worry about?’ You don’t know at that point.”

Fort Lauderdale Police said no arrests have been made saying they are conducting a thorough investigation with the FBI, nothing in a statement they are “considering and evaluating all possibilities.”

Trantalis, who is Fort Lauderdale’s first openly gay mayor, initially told reporters the act was deliberate, adding to the confusion Saturday night.

“It terrorized me and all around me … I feared it could be intentional based on what I saw from mere feet away,” he said in a Twitter statement Sunday. “As the facts continue to be pieced together, a picture is emerging of an accident in which a truck careened out of control.”

Wilton Manors is a tight-knit community near Fort Lauderdale with a vibrant downtown filled with cute shops, where people line up for Rosie’s famous hamburgers or to gossip and drink at Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar.

Photos and video from the scene showed Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in tears while in a convertible at the parade.

In a statement Saturday night, Wasserman Schultz said she was safe but “deeply shaken and devastated that a life was lost.”

“I am so heartbroken by what took place at this celebration,” she said. “May the memory of the life lost be for a blessing.”

A spokesman for the chorus said the director did not want to give interviews, adding that many members of the small group witnessed the fatal crash and were deeply shaken.

“The reason people like Wilton manors is the whole community is one big family and that’s how we treat each other … and this has really rattled a lot of people,” said Rolli. “Even if it’s an accident, just the loss of a life.”

June is Pride Month, commemorating the June 1969 police raid targeting gay patrons at the Stonewall Inn in New York that led to an uprising of LGBTQ Americans and served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement.

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