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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 22)

Why Twitter Didn’t Label Trump’s Tweet on Martin Gugino

Westlake Legal Group why-twitter-didnt-label-trumps-tweet-on-martin-gugino Why Twitter Didn’t Label Trump’s Tweet on Martin Gugino twitter Trump, Donald J Social Media Rumors and Misinformation Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings Gugino, Martin (1944- ) George Floyd Protests (2020) Computers and the Internet
Westlake Legal Group 10unrest-twitter-facebookJumbo Why Twitter Didn’t Label Trump’s Tweet on Martin Gugino twitter Trump, Donald J Social Media Rumors and Misinformation Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings Gugino, Martin (1944- ) George Floyd Protests (2020) Computers and the Internet

OAKLAND, Calif. — President Trump aimed his Twitter feed on Tuesday toward a 75-year-old man who had been shoved to the sidewalk and badly injured by police in Buffalo, N.Y.

Mr. Trump speculated that the man, Martin Gugino, could be a provocateur affiliated with an anti-fascist movement. The president also wondered if the man had been trying to sabotage police equipment, or fell intentionally to generate outcry over police brutality.

The president’s tweet, which was not factual, provoked instant outrage. Many users wondered why Twitter, which last month said it had added labels to a handful of Mr. Trump’s tweets because they contained election misinformation and glorified violence, did not intervene.

The simple answer: The tweet did not violate the company’s rules, a spokesman said. What Mr. Trump posted about Mr. Gugino, a peace activist who was still in the hospital recovering from a serious head wound, did not cross into narrow areas of content that the company has staked out for closer scrutiny.

Twitter adds fact-checking labels to tweets that contain misinformation about civic integrity or the coronavirus, and tweets that contain “manipulated media,” like photos or videos that have been doctored to mislead viewers. It also places warnings on tweets from world leaders that violate its policy against promoting violence. Similar tweets from regular users are often removed.

No other content — even offensive or inaccurate claims like the ones Mr. Trump posted about Mr. Gugino — gets a label.

The disconnect between putting labels on some of Mr. Trump’s posts and ignoring arguably more offensive content is indicative of how difficult — and confusing — it will be for the company to more closely moderate what the president and other political figures post.

Last month, Twitter began adding labels to Mr. Trump’s tweets. The company fact-checked comments he made about elections and placed a warning label over a tweet in which it said Mr. Trump glorified violence.

It was the first time that Twitter had taken any action against Mr. Trump, who has long enjoyed free rein on the platform and used it as his preferred method of lobbing insults against rivals and revving up his supporters.

Twitter’s move was met with anger from Mr. Trump and prominent conservatives, who said the company was censoring their voices. Mr. Trump signed an executive order intended to chip away at legal protections for Twitter and other social media companies. That order is already facing a lawsuit challenging its legality.

Twitter’s recent moderation of the president’s comments has brought heightened scrutiny to the social media company, with conservatives and liberals alike unearthing tweets they find offensive and questioning why Twitter has not acted on them.

Twitter has a number of rules governing content, and the company often tinkers with them, adding new rules or making adjustments to old ones. The frequent changes can generate confusion and show the challenges facing Twitter as it scrambles to keep up with high-profile users like Mr. Trump who frequently skirt its rules.

But Twitter is also on the hook for enforcing copyright and trademark. Last week, Twitter deleted a video posted by the Trump 2020 campaign because it had received a complaint from the copyright holder of a song used in the video.

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G.O.P. Struggles With Public’s Rage and Demands for Police Overhaul

Westlake Legal Group g-o-p-struggles-with-publics-rage-and-demands-for-police-overhaul G.O.P. Struggles With Public’s Rage and Demands for Police Overhaul United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party racial profiling Presidential Election of 2020 Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings police McConnell, Mitch House of Representatives George Floyd Protests (2020) Floyd, George (d 2020) Elections, Senate Elections, House of Representatives Black Lives Matter Movement

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans, caught flat-footed by an election-year groundswell of public support for overhauling policing in America to address systemic racism, are struggling to coalesce around a legislative response.

Having long fashioned themselves as the party of law and order, Republicans have been startled by the speed and extent to which public opinion has shifted under their feet in recent days after the killings of unarmed black Americans by the police and the protests that have followed. The abrupt turn has placed them on the defensive.

Adding to their challenge, President Trump has offered only an incendiary response, repeatedly invoking “law and order,” calling for military and police crackdowns on protesters, promoting conspiracy theories, and returning time and again to the false claim that Democrats agitating for change are simply bent on defunding police departments.

On Tuesday, Republicans on Capitol Hill rushed to distance themselves from that approach, publicly making clear that they would lay out their own legislation and refraining from attacking a sweeping Democratic bill unveiled this week aimed at combating racial bias and excessive use of force by the police. The measure, which House Democrats plan to push through this month, would make it easier to track, prosecute and punish police misconduct, ban chokeholds and restrict the use of deadly force by officers, as well as condition federal grants on anti-bias training and other practices to combat racial profiling and discrimination.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, pressed on whether his party would embrace such steps, said on Tuesday that Republicans had yet to fashion their response.

“We are still wrestling with America’s original sin,” Mr. McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill. “We try to get better, but every now and then, it is perfectly clear we are a long way from the finish line. And I think the best way for Senate Republicans to go forward on this is to listen to one of our own who has had these experiences.”

He said that he had tasked the Republicans’ lone black member, Tim Scott of South Carolina, to lead a group of senators to draft a conservative response that they could get behind. Ignoring repeated questions from reporters about Mr. Trump’s views, Mr. McConnell said senators would pursue “what we think is the appropriate response,” a notable shift from his customary refusal to bring up any legislation without an assurance that the president would embrace and sign it.

In the House, a group of Republicans on the Judiciary Committee — led by Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio — was looking at its own plans to reimagine police training, increase accountability for officers who use improper force or violate the rights of civilians, and collect new data to track the behavior by departments across the country.

But privately, Republican lawmakers and aides conceded they had few proposals ready to offer and were instead racing to reach a consensus about how to proceed. Late Tuesday afternoon, Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, rushed to Capitol Hill with Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, to huddle with Republicans about what they could quickly agree on.

Mr. Meadows told reporters after that meeting that Mr. Trump was in favor of overhauling policing laws “sooner rather than later.” But he declined to name any specific legislative priorities the White House would support, saying the administration would be “responsive” to suggestions made by “stakeholders” on Capitol Hill.

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Updated 2020-06-10T00:58:13.409Z

The dilemma for Republicans is urgent. For decades, their party has been built on the legacy of the “Southern strategy,” in which candidates sought to win over onetime Democrats by portraying themselves as tough on crime and disorder.

Over the years, some Republicans have used the issue to traffic in racial stereotypes and fear-mongering, like when George Bush and his supporters highlighted the case of a black murderer named Willie Horton, who raped a white woman and assaulted her boyfriend while on a prison furlough, to portray Gov. Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts, his Democratic presidential rival, as insufficiently tough on crime.

Mr. Trump has sought to stir up white grievance as well, calling immigrants criminals, berating professional African-American football players for kneeling during the national anthem, and calling protesters of police brutality against black Americans “thugs.” But polls now show that huge majorities of the country, including whites, believe that policing must change.

“In every survey, you see intensity, determination and unity among African-Americans that the time for statements is done and the time for meaningful, measurable action is now,” said Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster and messaging consultant. “The turning point is among white respondents, who not only acknowledge that injustice has happened, but now also agree that action, not words, are necessary.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_173376684_203b39ba-24d2-41ce-9af0-c596e9097543-articleLarge G.O.P. Struggles With Public’s Rage and Demands for Police Overhaul United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Senate Republican Party racial profiling Presidential Election of 2020 Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings police McConnell, Mitch House of Representatives George Floyd Protests (2020) Floyd, George (d 2020) Elections, Senate Elections, House of Representatives Black Lives Matter Movement
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

It is yet unclear what kind of action Mr. Trump, who has embraced law enforcement as he eyes an increasingly treacherous political landscape, might be willing to support. Trying to polarize the electorate before the fall campaign, the president instead has spent much of the past two days posting messages on Twitter that called for “LAW & ORDER.” And, on Tuesday morning, he veered into the conspiratorial, claiming that a 75-year-old protester shoved violently to the pavement and injured by Buffalo policeofficers could have been “a set up.”

Uncertainty about whether Mr. Trump would ultimately sign a bill could create havoc down the line, when Republicans on Capitol Hill put forward a proposal that the White House does not like.

For example, some congressional Republicans have voiced an openness to changing the legal doctrine known as qualified immunity that shields police officers from being held legally liable for damages sought by citizens whose constitutional rights were violated.

Senator Mike Braun of Indiana said he was interested in revisiting the issue, even though a day earlier, Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said the issue was likely to be a “nonstarter” and noted that Attorney General William P. Barr, who embodies the tough-on-crime approach Republicans traditionally embrace, was opposed.

“That’d be the one thing that shows our conference means business,” Mr. Braun said. “You never know, this might be a watershed moment.”

The prospect of a messy intraparty split is one reason that Mr. McConnell generally refuses to bring up legislation that has not been preapproved by Mr. Trump, but Republicans appear to see more potential risk in waiting around for the White House to move than in crossing the president.

“We are on a separate track from the White House,” Mr. Scott told reporters, a few hours before meeting on Capitol Hill with Mr. Meadows and Mr. Kushner.

Republicans are also feeling pressure from a newly confident Democratic Party, which believes it has finally reclaimed ground when it comes to public trust around law and safety. Many of them fear that Democrats will brand any compromise that Republicans would be willing to accept as insufficient, and use the issue instead to score political points in an election year that appears increasingly promising for them.

In a brief interview on Tuesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she saw no reason that Republicans should not support the Democrats’ bill if the public does. She compared the political dynamic with gun safety, where Republicans have seen public opinion surpass their appetite to legislate and the difference undermine them electorally in suburban America.

“I hope it is better than what they did on their own proposal with gun safety,” she said of whatever Mr. McConnell and Mr. Scott were putting together.

On Wednesday, the Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing examining the changes proposed in their legislation. Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, will testify. A House vote is expected by the end of the month.

With pressure mounting, a number of Senate Republicans indicated during a private luncheon on Tuesday that they were eager to pass some sort of overhaul package. Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, who has recently made the case for the military to be brought in amid the protests, stood to urge his colleagues to be “sensitive” to the experience that black men have with law enforcement and called on lawmakers to change that relationship, according to two people familiar with the private comments.

Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, also pressed for his party to take action.

“Judging by emails, phone calls to the office and conversations, there’s a great sense of sorrow regarding George Floyd’s death,” Mr. Cassidy said. “One law enforcement officer told me that big departments cannot reform from within. They need an external influence for accountability.”

Mr. Scott shared a preliminary proposal during the lunch, but lawmakers said it would continue to evolve.

Like the Democrats’ bill, Mr. Scott’s would make lynching a federal hate crime, allocate new funds to promote the use of police body cameras and potentially penalize those who do not use them, set up a national police commission study to determine the national best practices for policing and push law enforcement agencies to report more data on the use of force by officers.

But there were key differences as well, in line with a conservative philosophy that states and cities should have control over their forces. Mr. Scott said the Democrats’ legislation bordered on “a nationalization of some of the underlying issues or techniques” that he would reject. And he said that while he shared the goal of outlawing techniques like chokeholds and “no knock” warrants in drug cases, he preferred collecting data to better understand their use to Democrats’ proposed ban.

“Time is of the essence,” Mr. Scott told reporters. “I think it is important for this nation to take a very powerful stand and position that says, look, we’re hearing and we’re reacting in a very positive, constructive manner that doesn’t create a binary choice between supporting law enforcement and supporting communities of color.”

Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Republican leader, has privately indicated that his conference could support proposals to collect more data about instances of police misconduct, create new training standards for officers on the use of force, and give departments the ability to more easily fire problematic officers, according to people familiar with his thinking.

Emily Cochrane, Luke Broadwater and Jonathan Martin contributed reporting.

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‘Morally Impossible’: Some Advertisers Take a Timeout From Facebook

Westlake Legal Group 09facebook-ads-01-facebookJumbo ‘Morally Impossible’: Some Advertisers Take a Timeout From Facebook Zuckerberg, Mark E twitter Trump, Donald J Social Media Online Advertising Facebook Inc Computers and the Internet Advertising and Marketing

Nima Gardideh, the co-founder of a digital advertising agency, has encouraged his clients to hold back millions in advertising dollars from Facebook.

It struck him as “borderline tone-deaf” to run ads on social media platforms when they were being used to organize protests against racism and police brutality, he said. And the money spent on ads might have been wasted, since the usual concerns of consumers seemed not to amount to much at a historic moment.

But there was something else weighing on his mind: Facebook’s hands-off attitude toward President Trump’s aggressive, misleading posts.

“We harshly disagree with how Facebook has approached this,” said Mr. Gardideh, the co-founder of Pearmill, a New York marketing agency with a dozen clients, mostly tech start-ups. “For the past couple of years, this problem has become bigger and bigger. These massive platforms have to care about free speech issues to some extent, but Facebook is on the extreme end of not caring.”

Unlike Twitter and Snap, which have toughened their stances against Mr. Trump’s online statements that contain misinformation or promote violence, Facebook has held firm on its decision to leave his posts alone. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, has defended the policy, despite the resignations of some staff members and public criticism from current and former employees.

In recent days, many companies have cautiously returned to advertising, after having pulled back during the height of the pandemic in the United States. But some have decided not to advertise on Facebook, now that it has become clear that Mr. Zuckerberg will give the president a wide berth.

“I think this is Facebook’s time of reckoning,” said Dave Morgan, the chief executive of Simulmedia, a company that works with advertisers on targeted television advertising. “It may not be immediate or dramatic, but advertisers have given Facebook a lot of passes and now we are hearing they are saying it will be harder to stand back.”

In late May, the social media companies’ dealings with the president diverged. Twitter started fact-checking Mr. Trump, and posted an addendum to a tweet that called for military action against participants in a protest whom Mr. Trump had described as “THUGS.”

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence,” the company said in a note attached to Mr. Trump’s statement.

Facebook reacted differently, allowing the same statement to go unflagged.

Around the same time, companies were struggling with how and whether to address the worldwide demonstrations prompted by the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died last month in Minneapolis after a white police officer pinned him to the ground. On June 2, in an effort that became known as Blackout Tuesday, many advertisers posted images of black boxes instead of paid ads, a gesture intended to show support for the protests.

“They began to realize that all of their messaging was off-target,” said Rishad Tobaccowala, a former advertising executive who is now an author and marketing adviser.

Facebook generates 98 percent of its revenue through ads. It netted $17.4 billion from advertising in its most recent quarter. The pandemic has hurt advertising sales in general, and some companies are still “incredibly challenged,” said Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president for global marketing solutions. Blackout Tuesday “really had a very significant role on our platforms,” Ms. Everson added, with hundreds of companies pausing their spending.

Since then, ad revenue has mostly recovered for the company, she said, although several companies have been slow to return as they adjusted their messaging. Nike, Anheuser-Busch and others each slashed their daily Facebook and Instagram spending by more than $100,000 in early June, according to the advertising analytics platform Pathmatics.

Some smaller advertisers — including authors, therapy providers and payment companies — described their break from Facebook as a protest against the platform and its subsidiaries.

Simris, an algae-growing business in Sweden, wrote in a LinkedIn post that it was “vitally dependent on digital marketing” but unwilling to “continue to enable a sick system with our funds.”

“The current developments have now rendered it morally impossible for us to continue feeding the same hand that complacently offers its services as the major platform for hate-mongering, promotion of violence, and disinformation,” the company wrote.

Last week, Braze, a software company in New York, withdrew a Facebook ad campaign it had planned later this summer valued at around $60,000. Its chief marketing officer, Sara Spivey, said Facebook’s decision to leave presidential statements untouched factored into the decision.

“Facebook is the biggest publishing platform arguably in the world, so of course we want to be on it,” Ms. Spivey said. “But the bigger question is Facebook’s responsibility to make its platform safe and if we want to be associated with it.”

Abe Kasbo, the head of the marketing agency Verasoni Worldwide in Fairfield, N.J., said his agency ceased all Facebook ads soon after Mr. Zuckerberg’s comments defending Mr. Trump’s posts. Verasoni, a small agency representing regional banks and retailers, said it stopped its $6,000 monthly budget on Facebook ads.

“The amplification of divisive speech and the lack of responsibility that Facebook is taking as a platform forced this,” Mr. Kasbo said.

Ms. Everson, the Facebook executive who deals with marketers, said she had never worked more closely with Mr. Zuckerberg than she has in the past week. She acknowledged that the company’s decision on Mr. Trump’s social-media statements “is not a decision that everyone agrees is a perfect decision.”

On Friday night, she sent a personal note to top advertisers, attached to a long public post from Mr. Zuckerberg that promised to review some of Facebook’s policies. She said that most of her discussions with clients now focused on efforts to dismantle systemic racial inequality within companies.

“Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the conversation has moved off the decision about the Trump post,” she said. “It actually would minimize the importance of this moment historically to just focus on one post from President Trump.”

The Trump campaign spent more than $2.8 million advertising on the platform last month, according to Advertising Analytics, a media tracking firm. Combined with spending by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a joint effort with the Republican National Committee, the president’s re-election team was the 10th largest advertiser on Facebook behind Samsung, Microsoft and the Walt Disney Company, according to Pathmatics.

Most of Facebook’s eight million advertisers are small businesses or individuals, who “continue to depend and rely on our platforms,” Ms. Everson said. Many of them are uncomfortable with the negativity on the platform but feel they have no choice but to keep promoting themselves on it.

Mr. Gardideh, of Pearmill, said his clients had tripled their advertising spending in the past four months, as the pandemic pushed down the cost for ad space. In the past few days, some of them shifted some of their Facebook budgets to Google and LinkedIn, he said, or paused social media marketing entirely.

He conceded that his clients were likely to return to Facebook soon, because the platform “is just the best option there is right now, in terms of cost and scale,” he said.

Lutchi Gayot, a small-business owner and congressional candidate in New York, said he paid for Facebook ads while feeling conflicted about it.

“The moral thing to do, of course, is to stand on the side that’s right,” he said. “But it’s hard — Facebook ads are keeping small businesses alive. If you’re not on Facebook, you don’t exist.”

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Contradicting Trump, Barr Says Bunker Visit Was for Safety, Not an ‘Inspection’

Westlake Legal Group 08dc-barr1-facebookJumbo Contradicting Trump, Barr Says Bunker Visit Was for Safety, Not an ‘Inspection’ United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J St John's Episcopal Church (Washington, DC) Lafayette Square (Washington, DC) Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — Attorney General William P. Barr contradicted President Trump on Monday and confirmed that the president was taken to an underground bunker late last month not for an “inspection” but because of security concerns over street demonstrations outside the White House.

“Things were so bad that the Secret Service recommended the president go down to the bunker,” Mr. Barr said in an interview with Fox News. “We can’t have that in our country.”

Mr. Barr’s account of the events of May 29 stood in direct contrast to the version that Mr. Trump offered last week when he denied a report in The New York Times that the Secret Service had taken him to the bunker for his security amid the protests. The president called that a “false report” and suggested that he had merely been looking the place over.

“I wasn’t down — I went down during the day, and I was there for a tiny little short period of time, and it was much more for an inspection,” Mr. Trump said last week. “There was no problem during the day.”

The trip to the bunker has become a major irritant to the president, who was infuriated at the notion that he would be seen as cowering in the face of protests even if the Secret Service was following protocols. Officials noted that a temporary barricade near the Treasury Department next door to the White House had been breached.

The day after the Times report was published, Mr. Trump insisted on marching out of the White House to stage a photo opportunity at St. John’s Church a block away, a bit of political performance art that required the forcible removal of peaceful demonstrators from near Lafayette Square by the police deploying pepper spray, smoke grenades and mounted officers. White House officials have said that Mr. Barr gave the order and that Mr. Trump had no knowledge of the security arrangements for his walk.

Since then, the president has been the target of mockery, with late-night comics ridiculing his trip to the underground refuge and protesters waving preprinted disparaging signs in front of the White House during a crowded demonstration on Saturday. His effort to brush off the trip as nothing more than an “inspection” only fueled his critics, who roasted him on Twitter and other social media.

Mr. Barr cited Mr. Trump’s move to the bunker as one of the reasons for pushing demonstrations farther from the White House. But he denied that he gave the order to move the protesters in order to clear the way for the president’s walk to St. John’s, calling that a “canard” and saying the photo op was not a factor in the plan to move the perimeter.

But Mr. Barr said that he did not disagree with Mr. Trump’s decision to go to the church, which he said he ought to be able to do. “The president of the United States should be able to walk one block from the White House out to the ‘Church of Presidents,’” the attorney general said.

Mr. Barr would not say whether it was a good idea for Mr. Trump to have a photograph taken in front of the church holding up a Bible brought by his daughter in her $1,540 MaxMara bag with a group of all white officials in the middle of protests about systemic racism. “That was a decision for the White House and the president,” Mr. Barr said. “I don’t sit as a critic of these kinds of leadership decisions made at the White House.”

Mr. Trump’s relatively last-minute plan to walk through a public park to the church, which had suffered minor damage from a fire in its basement during a protest the night before, prompted officers to use violent means to clear the space and the church patio of protesters and clergy members — a decision that has been widely condemned.

The bunker beneath the White House was built during World War II in case of an unlikely enemy air raid, but it has been used only occasionally over the years. Vice President Dick Cheney was taken to the bunker on Sept. 11, 2001, when the authorities feared that one of the planes hijacked by Al Qaeda was heading toward the White House. President George W. Bush, who was out of town until that evening, was rushed there later that night after a false alarm of another plane threat.

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Trump Rebuffs Protests Over Systemic Racism and Calls Police ‘Great People’

President Trump on Monday flatly denied that systemic problems existed in American police departments, declaring that as many as 99.9 percent of the nation’s officers are “great, great people” as he rebuffed mass street protests denouncing racist behavior in law enforcement.

Mr. Trump, who has adopted an uncompromising law-and-order posture and scorned demonstrations that have broken out in cities nationwide, surrounded himself with law enforcement officials at the White House and tried to link liberals’ calls to defund the police to his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. — even though Mr. Biden came out earlier against defunding the police.

“There won’t be defunding,” Mr. Trump said. “There won’t be dismantling of our police. There’s not going to be any disbanding of our police.”

While Trump advisers had hoped to tie Mr. Biden together with the protesters to try to hurt him with moderate and independent voters, Mr. Biden’s campaign undercut that tactic by announcing that he “does not believe that police should be defunded,” while noting that he “supports the urgent need for reform.”

The back-and-forth highlighted how drastically the campaign has changed in the two weeks since George Floyd died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck in Minneapolis. Mr. Biden has spent much of that time expressing solidarity with protesters against racial injustice, and on Monday traveled to Houston to meet with Mr. Floyd’s family in advance of Tuesday’s funeral. Mr. Trump has sought to appeal to his hard-core base with threats to use force in the streets and other harsh language to try to show he has no tolerance for disorder.

Mr. Trump called the family of Mr. Floyd last month, but he has not met with protest leaders or major African-American political figures since the demonstrations erupted. White House officials have explored the possibility of a trip by Mr. Trump or Vice President Mike Pence to Minnesota but so far have backed off the idea, recognizing that neither would be welcome by many there.

While aides said on Monday that Mr. Trump was studying possible proposals for changes to law enforcement, the president himself made little effort to suggest as much during his appearance with law enforcement officials.

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Updated 2020-06-09T00:49:15.535Z

“Our police have been letting us live in peace,” he said, “and we want to make sure we don’t have any bad actors in there and sometimes we’ll see some horrible things like we witnessed recently, but I say 99.9 — let’s go with 99 percent of them — great, great people and they’ve done jobs that are record setting.” Mr. Trump took no questions from reporters invited to record the event.

Recent polls indicate that Mr. Trump is out of step with many Americans on the protests, some of which have unfolded in Republican-leaning states that voted for him in 2016. A Monmouth University poll released last week found that 76 percent of Americans — including 71 percent of white people — called racism and discrimination “a big problem” in the United States, a 26-percentage-point spike since 2015. In that poll and others, majorities of Americans said that demonstrators’ anger was fully justified and that police officers were generally more likely to treat black people unfairly than to mistreat white people.

Mr. Trump’s own numbers have been sliding in battleground states like Michigan and Wisconsin, and states that supported him four years ago like Florida, Arizona, North Carolina and even Texas appear increasingly in play. The president was so agitated over a new CNN national poll showing him 14 percentage points behind Mr. Biden on Monday that he posted online a memo from his own pollster calling surveys by major networks biased against Mr. Trump.

Officials at the White House said that Mr. Trump wants to focus on a law-and-order message both because he thinks it is his best political option and because it is his instinctive default setting on matters involving the police. Mr. Trump has long sought to divide people by race going back to the days when he took out full-page ads calling for the death penalty for the Central Park Five, a group of Latino and African-American teenagers later exonerated in a sensational rape case.

Even as the president has described some protesters as “thugs” and threatened to unleash “vicious dogs” on any who tried to enter White House grounds, advisers have suggested that Mr. Trump should give a speech going beyond previous statements or find another way to show that he hears the anger from protesters about police misconduct. Two officials said that there is still a push for Mr. Trump to hold “listening” sessions, an idea they have floated since shortly after Mr. Floyd was killed.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_173322873_57c48d47-e849-42aa-9bd4-553aa2ad46ee-articleLarge Trump Rebuffs Protests Over Systemic Racism and Calls Police ‘Great People’ Trump, Donald J George Floyd Protests (2020) Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Biden, Joseph R Jr
Credit…Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

In private, Mr. Trump has been musing about race in America since Mr. Floyd’s death and his own response. In a meeting last week with roughly two dozen White House aides, campaign officials and surrogates, Mr. Trump expressed unhappiness about Mr. Floyd’s killing but immediately said the country needed law and order, according to people who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe his private comments. He said nothing more broadly about police treatment of black people in the United States.

Instead, he meandered as he talked, saying that he had signed legislation overhauling criminal justice in 2018 not because it was an issue that he was passionate about, but because Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, had wanted him to, according to one of the people familiar with what was said.

He also mused about how he has asked people whether they prefer being called “black” or “African-American,” an issue he had his campaign research.

At another point, Mr. Trump talked about the protesters, questioning whether they were peaceful and citing the fire last week at St. John’s Church, a block from the White House. The fire caused relatively minor damage in a basement but has been seized on repeatedly by Mr. Trump and his advisers as a justification for forcibly pushing demonstrators out of the area a day later.

Republicans privately said they saw the cry for defunding as a political gift, one that will alienate middle-of-the-road voters and energize the president’s base. Mr. Trump’s advisers on Monday held a media call with Ken Blackwell, the former mayor of Cincinnati, and Carolyn Welsh, a former sheriff in Pennsylvania, to try to link Mr. Biden to the issue.

After Mr. Biden’s campaign declared that he did not support defunding police, Mr. Trump’s aides pressed the matter, calling it a “weak statement” by a staff member. “As the protesters like to say, silence is agreement,” said Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director. “By his silence, Joe Biden is endorsing defunding the police.”

Credit…Hannah Yoon for The New York Times

Since Mr. Floyd’s death, Mr. Biden has urged Congress to pass several measures on policing, such as banning chokeholds and stopping the transfer of military weaponry to police departments. Last year, Mr. Biden called for spending hundreds of millions of dollars on community policing programs, including hiring more officers.

Even some of the law enforcement officials invited to meet with Mr. Trump urged him to support change. Sheriff Tony Childress of Livingston County in Illinois endorsed mandatory de-escalation training for officers; a ban on all physical restraint on or above the neck and any acts that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain; and requirements that officers render medical aid and intervene when physical force is being inappropriately applied.

“We look forward to working with you to hopefully getting legislation involved in making these things true and making them law,” Sheriff Childress told Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump, who brought no advisers of color with him for his Bible-holding photo op at St. John’s last week, included Ja’Ron Smith, the deputy director of the White House Office of American Innovation, in Monday’s event.

“As an individual, I’ve also had the fear of living in a certain neighborhood or driving certain types of cars as an African-American just because of my relationship with the police,” Mr. Smith said. “There are a lot of African-American males across the country that have stories that they can share.”

But he added that police officers should not be demonized. “We can’t let a few bad apples represent something that is the core of everything we do,” he said.

Attorney General William P. Barr, in an interview with Fox News on Monday, said that the demonstrations were so bad at the end of May that the Secret Service recommended that President Trump go to his bunker for safety, contradicting the president’s claim that he went there to check it out.

‘Things were so bad that the Secret Service recommended the President go down to the bunker,” Mr. Barr said. “We can’t have that in our country.”

Katie Benner, Thomas Kaplan and Giovanni Russonello contributed reporting.

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Trump Orders Troops to Leave D.C. as Former Military Leaders Sound Warning

Westlake Legal Group 07dc-military-unrest-facebookJumbo Trump Orders Troops to Leave D.C. as Former Military Leaders Sound Warning United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Stavridis, James G Powell, Colin L Mullen, Michael G George Floyd Protests (2020) Dempsey, Martin E Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Sunday that he had ordered National Guard troops to begin withdrawing from the nation’s capital, after a week of relentless criticism over his threat to militarize the government’s response to nationwide protests, including rebukes from inside the military establishment itself.

Mr. Trump announced his order on Twitter as three former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff harshly condemned him for using force to drive protesters back from the White House and threatening to send troops to quell protests in other cities. They warned that the military risked losing credibility with the American people.

The president said the National Guard soldiers would withdraw “now that everything is under perfect control.”

“They will be going home, but can quickly return, if needed,” he wrote on Twitter. “Far fewer protesters showed up last night than anticipated!”(In fact, the daylong protest in Washington on Saturday appeared larger than earlier rallies over the past week.)

The withdrawal capped a tumultuous week that badly strained relations between Mr. Trump and the military, and tested the constraints on a president’s ability to deploy troops on American soil. Federal authorities used chemical irritants and flash-bang grenades to clear peaceful protesters outside the White House for a photo opportunity by Mr. Trump, National Guard helicopters flew low over demonstrators to scatter them and active-duty troops were summoned to just outside the capital.

On Sunday, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser of Washington called the Trump administration’s deployment of troops to the area “an invasion.” And the retired military commanders said the troops should never have been there in the first place.

“We have a military to fight our enemies, not our own people,” Mike Mullen, a retired Navy admiral who was the top military adviser to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, told “Fox News Sunday.”

He said putting troops into domestic demonstrations risked the trust the Pentagon had worked to regain with the American people after the upheaval of the Vietnam War.

“In very short order, should we get into conflict in our own streets, there’s a very significant chance we could lose that trust that it’s taken us 50-plus years to restore,” Mr. Mullen said.

Colin L. Powell, a retired Army general who was the first African-American national security adviser, Joint Chiefs chairman and secretary of state, called Mr. Trump’s actions “dangerous for our democracy” and “dangerous for our country.”

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Updated 2020-06-08T00:14:35.541Z

“We have a Constitution,” Mr. Powell said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We have to follow that Constitution. And the president’s drifted away from it.”

Mr. Powell, who worked for the Republican presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush, said he would vote for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Democrat. Mr. Powell also voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Less than 90 minutes later, Mr. Trump mocked Mr. Powell on Twitter as “a real stiff who was responsible for getting us into the disastrous Middle East Wars.” As secretary of state in 2003, Mr. Powell made the case for invading Iraq to the United Nations, in part by accusing Saddam Hussein’s government of stockpiling chemical weapons agents and developing nuclear and biological weapons, intelligence that turned out to be false.

“Didn’t Powell say that Iraq had ‘weapons of mass destruction?’” Mr. Trump wrote. “They didn’t, but off we went to WAR!”

In a telephone call with reporters on Sunday, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said about 5,000 National Guard troops who were deployed to Washington would withdraw over the next three days because the protests had “become peaceful in nature.” About 1,200 troops from the District of Columbia National Guard will remain on duty, he said, supporting civilian law enforcement.

Attorney General William P. Barr defended the administration’s actions on Sunday, saying that active-duty troops had been stationed outside Washington only as a last resort to quell violence after protests the previous weekend had devolved into arson and the defacement of government buildings near the White House.

“One of the police officials told us, the D.C. police, it was the most violent day in Washington in 30 years,” Mr. Barr said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “The decision was made to have at the ready and on hand in the vicinity some regular troops. But everyone agreed that the use of regular troops was a last resort and that as long as matters can be controlled with other resources, they should be.”

Mr. Trump had discussed invoking the 1807 Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty troops in American cities, a power Mr. Barr agreed the president had in the interview Sunday. But Mr. Barr and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, dissuaded him in conversations that grew loud and heated, officials said. General Milley later released a memo to military commanders reiterating service members’ oath to defend the Constitution, which he said “gives Americans the right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.”

After an extraordinary standoff with Pentagon officials who were concerned about how the forces might be used, Mr. Trump also agreed on Thursday to begin sending home the active-duty troops from the 82nd Airborne Division he had ordered to the capital area. None of the active-duty troops ever deployed in Washington, instead remaining on alert outside the city while National Guard members took up position.

Officials said the Army was investigating a series of low-altitude National Guard helicopter maneuvers over demonstrations in Washington last week that human rights organizations quickly criticized as a show of force usually reserved for combat zones.

Mr. McCarthy and other top Pentagon officials had issued a loosely worded order for the helicopters to use “persistent presence” to disperse the protesters. Privately, military officials said the order sought to show that the National Guard could handle the protests and that sending in active-duty forces, as Mr. Trump had pushed for, would be unnecessary.

On Sunday, Mr. McCarthy defended the National Guard presence in Washington and said troops “did everything not to cross” lines that would lead to violence.

“We came right up to the edge of bringing active troops here and we didn’t,” he said.

“At times it got a little tense,” Mr. McCarthy said.

The helicopters had flown so low that the downward blast from their rotor blades sent protesters scurrying for cover and ripped signs from the sides of buildings. The pilots of one of the helicopters have been grounded pending the outcome of the inquiry.

Martin E. Dempsey, a retired Army general who was the Joint Chiefs chairman during the Obama administration, criticized the Trump administration’s comparisons of the demonstrations to battlegrounds as “inflammatory language” that could damage the military’s relationship with the public.

Mr. Dempsey said he entered the military at the end of the Vietnam War. “It took us awhile to actually regain the trust of the American people,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”

It was the latest salvo by retired senior military officials against the Trump administration’s use of force during demonstrations protesting the death of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis two weeks ago. The vast majority of protests have been peaceful, but Mr. Trump ordered security forces — including military troops — into Washington after businesses in some places were looted or damaged.

The crackdown on protesters in Washington last week was of particular concern, said James G. Stavridis, a retired Navy admiral and a former supreme allied commander at NATO.

“It rang echoes of what the founders feared more than anything, which was the use of armed active-duty military against citizens,” Mr. Stavridis told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

He added: “The military is very concerned about getting pulled into the maelstrom of politics in an election year in order to push protesters.”

Mr. Mullen also raised concerns about the lack of diversity among the leaders of the American armed forces, in which 36 of the 41 senior officers with four-star ranking, the military’s highest, are white men, even though 43 percent of the 1.3 million men and women on active duty are people of color. Mr. Mullen, who is white, said that the military had long grappled with issues of race and equality, and that “we’ve been actually very, very good at making an awful lot of progress.”

“That said, I’ve heard from minority members of the military right now who are in despair and in anguish,” Mr. Mullen said. “Probably the single biggest thing we lack are black leaders at the four-star level, and we should do much more about that. And that’s on the current military leadership.”

Reporting was contributed by Chris Cameron, Katie Benner, Katie Rogers and Eric Schmitt.

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Farmers Get Billions in Virus Aid, and Democrats Are Wary

WASHINGTON — Cotton farmers were paid 33 times as much in federal subsidies in 2019 as the income they actually lost to trade disruptions, one study showed.

Farmers in Georgia, the home state of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, were paid more in federal aid per acre than anywhere else in the nation, another found.

Some farms collected millions of dollars in payments despite a limit of $250,000 per farmer.

The Trump administration’s $28 billion effort in 2018 and 2019 to compensate farmers for losses from its trade wars has been criticized as excessive, devised on the fly and tilted toward states politically important to Republicans. Now the administration is starting to send farmers tens of billions more to offset losses from the coronavirus pandemic, raising questions about how the money will be allocated and whether there is sufficient oversight to guard against partisan abuse of the program.

Months before an election in which some farm states are major battlegrounds, Democrats and other critics of the administration’s agriculture policies are expressing concern that the new subsidies, provided by Congress with bipartisan backing, could be doled out to ensure President Trump continues to win the backing of one of his key voting blocs.

Given the track record with the trade relief program, “I think Congress should be concerned in terms of letting U.S.D.A. just write checks with no oversight,” said Joseph W. Glauber, a top economist with the department for 22 years who is now with the International Food Policy Research Institute.

“Are these programs politically motivated? The short answer is yes,” he said.

Bill Northey, the Agriculture Department under secretary who oversees the aid, denied that underlying political motivations influenced how either the trade or coronavirus programs were planned or rolled out, saying “nothing could be further from the truth.”

The Agriculture Department has set aside $16 billion for relief from economic damage caused by the pandemic. But both administration officials and many members of Congress consider that only a down payment on farm losses that some estimate could climb to $40 billion, and the department will have billions more at its disposal to spend as of next month.

Farmers have been hit hard as the pandemic caused demand for food to wither at restaurants and schools and surge at supermarkets. With food processors unable to shift easily to the right market, farmers have been forced to euthanize tens of thousands of hogs, dump fresh milk into lagoons and plow ripening vegetables into the ground. With fewer people filling up their gas tanks, the demand for ethanol made from corn has cratered.

But the new program, hastily devised amid a host of uncertainties about the pandemic’s long-term economic impact, is also the latest example of the outsize clout wielded in Washington by operators of the nation’s roughly two million farms and the eagerness of politicians to help them. Despite decades of talk about weaning farmers off subsidies, the Agriculture Department has remained a font of funds from administration to administration. But Mr. Trump has taken that assistance to a new level.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_173256894_98b6122b-35a7-4fbd-b980-7edd4a6db26b-articleLarge Farmers Get Billions in Virus Aid, and Democrats Are Wary Wisconsin United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J Southern States (US) Presidential Election of 2020 Perdue, Sonny Midwestern States (US) International Trade and World Market Federal Aid (US) Crop Controls and Subsidies Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (2020) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Agriculture Department Agriculture and Farming
Credit…Lauren Justice for The New York Times

After tariffs on China and other countries set off trade reprisals against American agricultural products in early 2018, the president seized on the Agriculture Department’s ability to borrow from the Treasury Department to pay $12 billion in trade relief to farmers. That more than doubled what the administration was already paying out through other programs meant to protect farmers from falling prices.

In 2019, the trade relief grew to $16 billion, even after Mr. Perdue questioned whether more aid was merited.

Agriculture policy plays out against a complex political backdrop that can transcend party loyalties. Small farmers battle big agriculture for influence. Each region of the country has discrete interests, as do producers of different kinds of crops and other farm products.

But polls suggest that farmers are strongly united in supporting Mr. Trump. They are important voting blocs in key swing states like Wisconsin, vital in some states like Iowa that he is fighting to hold, and a core constituency in many other solidly Republican states across the Midwest and South.

Mr. Trump has showered them with money. Economists at Kansas State University found that farmers were paid up to as much as eight times their estimated losses from trade friction in 2018. Payments were even more generous in 2019, ranging from one-and-a half to 33 times estimated losses, after the department loosened how it calculated the trade damage to farmers, the researchers found.

Instead of comparing farmers’ reduced crop exports to their exports in 2017, the year before the trade wars began, it compared them to the best export year in the previous decade. That created a particular windfall for cotton farmers.

The trade relief payments drove up net farm income by 12 percent in 2019, according to Mr. Glauber, the economist. Without them, it would have fallen by 5 percent, he said.

Responding in writing to questions, Mr. Northey, the Agriculture Department under secretary, said that the program was put in place “before actual trade and price impacts were observed,” while the studies were conducted after the fact.

Other analyses, he said, found the payments were not excessive at all, an assertion also made by the National Cotton Council.

Mr. Northey cited a study for the nonprofit National Bureau of Economic Research as one example. But Sandro Steinbach, a co-author of that study, said it suggested that the department had indeed “paid out more than was actually lost.” While the government paid $28 billion in 2018 and 2019, he estimated that through mid-2019, the trade wars actually cost farmers about half of that.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Colin A. Carter, his co-author, said the Agriculture Department had relied on “back-of-the-envelope” calculations and failed to account for the fact that sales to other foreign markets, as well as to the domestic market, mitigated some of the losses.

“It’s silly to ignore that,” he said. “But it’s politics, right? I guess that’s the way you keep them coming to vote for you.”

Both the Kansas State University economists and the Democratic staff of the Senate agriculture committee also found regional disparities in the disbursement of the aid. Joseph P. Janzen, the lead author of the Kansas State study, said the skewed benefits for cotton largely explained the disproportionately high payments to Southern farmers.

The average payment rate per acre to farms in Georgia and Texas, for instance, was more than four to five times higher after the Agriculture Department loosened the formula to calculate losses, he found. The Democratic report found that Georgia farmers led the list of top beneficiaries in the first round of payments in 2019, followed by Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas.

“It’s stunning really. These are states that have positive political relationships with the president,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the Senate agriculture committee. She said she wanted to help farmers recover losses, but “the reality is that the administration up to this point has not distributed financial support in an equitable way.”

Although economists say that the benefits should be analyzed by acre, not by state, Mr. Northey said corn- and soybean-producing states in the Midwest received more money over all than Southern states.

The Environmental Working Group, a consumer watchdog organization, raised yet another problem endemic to many subsidy programs: The biggest farms receive most of the money.

That’s because while trade relief payments were capped — first at $125,000 per recipient, then at $250,000 — every farm “manager” could apply separately for subsidies, allowing multiple payments per operation. No limit applied for those who principally relied on farming for income.

That allowed DeLine Farms Partnership in Charleston, Mo., for example, to collect more than $2.8 million in trade relief payments in two years. Farms owned by the family of Jim Justice, the billionaire Republican governor of West Virginia who is often called the richest man in the state, collected $375,000, the watchdog group said.

Credit…Lauren Justice for The New York Times

Representative Angie Craig, a Minnesota Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, said such examples boded ill for the coronavirus relief program.

“Wealthy farmers and those who aren’t really engaged in farming get a big check,” she said, “while my farmers, who have dirt under their fingernails, get small checks or nothing.”

She said the panel was studying how to control the department’s use of money it borrowed from the Treasury Department for the Commodity Credit Corporation, the entity that financed trade relief and will partly finance the coronavirus payments.

“We need to put some guard rails on this,” said Representative Jim Costa, Democrat of California and a committee member.

Congress added $750,000 to the stimulus bill it passed this spring to beef up the Agriculture Department’s inspector general’s office. But Representative Cheri Bustos, an Illinois Democrat, said the White House’s pattern of reprisals against agency watchdogs made congressional oversight even more important.

Economists say the Agriculture Department, under intense pressure from both the White House and Congress to deliver coronavirus checks to farmers, seems again engaged in major guesswork in trying to calculate losses. “They are basically running in the dark,” Mr. Steinbach said.

Mr. Trump is likely to be firmly behind rising demands to bolster the program when the $16 billion runs out, possibly by drawing on another $14 billion for the Commodity Credit Corporation authorized in the stimulus bill.

The president routinely cites his administration’s generosity to farmers as a political selling point. “The farmers have been paid a fortune already,” he said in April, referring to the trade relief payments.

“Under three years of my administration, net farm income has already gone up nearly 50 percent and will now be rising even faster,” he proclaimed in January.

That was only a slight exaggeration: The combination of subsidies and high commodity prices in 2017 drove up net farm income 42 percent in Mr. Trump’s first three years in office, according to Mr. Glauber.

Keith Ripp, a Republican who raises dairy cattle and farms four different crops in south-central Wisconsin, said he planned to vote for Mr. Trump in November despite the dual impact of the trade fight and the pandemic on his farm.

A former state representative, he said that he supported trade sanctions against China and did not blame Mr. Trump for the economic effects of the coronavirus. “At this point, I’m not pointing fingers at anyone,” he said.

Credit…Lauren Justice for The New York Times
Credit…Lauren Justice for The New York Times

But Sarah Lloyd, who raises 400 dairy cows in the same region and voted against Mr. Trump in 2016, considers the president’s handling of the coronavirus crisis yet another strike against him.

“We are just hemorrhaging money,” she said. After the trade disruptions, “this is another punch to the gut.”

Both farmers plan to apply for the new program, and several experts said the payment formulas might favor dairy farmers in states like Wisconsin, where the outcome in the presidential race could turn on razor-edge margins. Of the roughly half-billion dollars that has been paid out so far through that program, government data shows, Wisconsin has collected more than all but two other states.

Reid J. Epstein contributed reporting from Washington, and Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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‘Pandemic Within a Pandemic’: Coronavirus and Police Brutality Roil Black Communities

WASHINGTON — When Mike Griffin, a black community organizer in Minneapolis, took to the streets in protest, he was grieving for two black men taken during the turmoil convulsing the country: George Floyd, who died after gasping for air under the knee of a white police officer, and his own godfather, who succumbed to Covid-19.

“I’m just as likely to die from a cop as I am from Covid,” he said.

In Providence, R.I., graduate students and alumni of color at the Brown University School of Public Health are demanding their professors take a strong stand against police violence — and direct research dollars to study it. And in Baltimore, a city still reckoning with the 2015 death of Freddie Gray in police custody, Rajikh Hayes, an activist, said protesters were acutely aware that they were risking exposure to the coronavirus, which is far likelier to kill black people than white people, and of the suffering Covid-19 had caused in their community.

“It’s really a simple question: ‘Am I going to let a disease kill me or am I going to let the system — the police?” he said. “And if something is going to take me out when I don’t have a job, which one do I prefer? Folks who don’t have much else to lose — they understand that this system isn’t built for black people. And that’s why people are in the streets.”

As protests over police brutality continue to roil cities, this is an extraordinary moment of pain for the nation, especially for black Americans who are bearing the brunt of three crises — police violence, crushing unemployment and the deadliest infectious disease threat in a century — that have laid bare longstanding injustice. Public health experts, activists and lawmakers say the triple threat requires a coordinated response.

“These are interrelated crises — the crisis of racism and inequality that is now converging with the crisis of Covid-19,” said Dr. Leana S. Wen, who was Baltimore’s health commissioner when Mr. Gray died, and who testified before Congress on Thursday about racial disparities in the pandemic. “There is no playbook for what you do for addressing public health impacts of civil unrest.”

The precise toll that the coronavirus has taken on people of color remains unknown; not every state collects data. The Trump administration, under pressure from Congress, announced on Thursday new requirements for states to do so. But an analysis of data from 40 states and the District of Columbia, released last month by the nonpartisan APM Research Lab, found black Americans are more than twice as likely as whites, Latinos or Asian-Americans to die from the coronavirus. In some states, the disparity is much greater.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_173266311_c45624b1-fbac-43a4-ba2d-cc7276e54b5c-articleLarge ‘Pandemic Within a Pandemic’: Coronavirus and Police Brutality Roil Black Communities Trump, Donald J Race and Ethnicity Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings George Floyd Protests (2020) Floyd, George (d 2020) Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Black People Black Lives Matter Movement
Credit…Laylah Amatullah Barrayn for The New York Times

Devastating job losses are also “hitting black workers and their families especially hard,” according to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank. The unemployment rate for black Americans is 16.8 percent, compared with 12.4 percent for white Americans, according to federal data released Friday. And while the economy is showing hints of recovery, African-Americans are being left out; the black unemployment rate rose slightly in May despite a decline of nearly two points for white workers.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are trying to respond. Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of California, introduced legislation last week calling for the creation of a “truth, racial healing and transformation commission” to examine the legacy of slavery and systemic racism. Black Americans, she said, are suffering “a pandemic within a pandemic.”

Mr. Floyd is a case in point. He died with coronavirus antibodies in his blood, surviving infection only to die in police custody. With so many people protesting Mr. Floyd’s death, many of them black and brown, state and local health officials are bracing for a fresh wave of coronavirus infections.

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Updated 2020-06-07T12:49:26.096Z

The mass incarceration of black people has only worsened the pandemic’s heavy toll on minorities. Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at five times the rate of whites, according to the Sentencing Project, a Washington advocacy group. Prisons are breeding grounds for the coronavirus, and jails pose a particular threat, because people cycle in and out, spreading disease in their neighborhoods.

“The actual incarceration, housing of people, is only part of it,” said Nickolas Zaller, a public health professor at the University of Arkansas who studies the relationship between health and the criminal justice system. “When people are released, what job opportunities do they have? What is their housing situation? All of these other factors relate back to the current pandemic.”

Trevor Noah, the South African-born host of “The Daily Show,” connected the dots from Amy Cooper, a white woman who falsely accused an African-American bird watcher of threatening her, to the death of Mr. Floyd. All are playing out “against the backdrop,” he said, of a public health crisis that has left Americans of all races frustrated, uncertain and stuck inside.

“While everyone is facing the battle against coronavirus, black people in America are still facing the battle against racism and coronavirus,” he said in a recent 18-minute monologue, adding, “Coronavirus exposed all of it.”

Credit…Amir Hamja for The New York Times

For many involved in the protests, the pandemic is deeply personal. Some have lost friends or family members to the coronavirus. Others have lost jobs, or are front-line workers — in grocery stores, hospitals, mass transit systems — putting themselves at risk of infection.

“We’ve had a lot of volunteers come out and just tell us how they’re unable to work right now, and they just can’t sit home and do nothing,” said Jacqueline LaBayne, 23, of Freedom Fighters D.C., which led hundreds in a march to the Capitol in recent days. “Even local businesses, they can’t take customers, and they are donating meals. It’s honestly incredible, the support we’ve gotten in these circumstances, because so many people are affected by Covid.”

In New York, Rashid Shabazz, the chief marketing officer of the online organization Color of Change, displayed symptoms of the coronavirus for several weeks, he said, but was unable to get tested. He said the respiratory illness reminded him of the dying words — “I can’t breathe” — of Mr. Floyd and another victim of police violence, Eric Garner, who was put in an illegal chokehold.

Mr. Shabazz wrote about it in a column for The Root, a black news and opinion site, under the headline “We Can’t Breathe: Covid-19 and Police Injustice are Suffocating Black People.”

At the Brown University School of Public Health, about 20 students and recent graduates in the department of behavioral and social sciences wrote the predominantly white faculty a letter demanding a “response to police brutality and anti-blackness,” citing the coronavirus and the recent killings of three African-Americans: Breonna Taylor, killed by the police in Louisville, Ky., Ahmaud Arbery, shot in South Georgia after being pursued by armed white residents, and Mr. Floyd.

The letter has prompted painful conversations, both students and professors say. Don Operario, a professor, said he convened a meeting of those who wanted to “transform this inner reflection to actual words and action.” School administrators followed up with a statement pledging to “tackle these inequities.”

The students want more than talk. Arjee Restar, who just received her Ph.D., said the group wanted to expose “silence and a lack of investment in anti-black police brutality work.” Ashley Gomez, a doctoral student, said professors who were quick to “adapt their research” to study the coronavirus needed to apply for grants to study racism as well.

Credit…Philip Keith for The New York Times

At Thursday’s virtual hearing before Congress, witnesses told lawmakers that some of the same forces — distrust of institutions — at work in the pandemic were also fueling the protests against police violence. Dr. Uché Blackstock, a doctor in New York whose company, Advancing Health Equity, works to address racial disparities in health, said many of her black patients who had the coronavirus did not get tested out of either a reluctance to see a doctor or a lack of available testing.

One patient, seeing the protective gear that covered Dr. Blackstock’s skin, asked if she was black, she said, because he wanted to make sure his concerns would be taken seriously. She said she worried that Covid-19 would become a disease of marginalized communities, just as AIDS was in the late 1990s, when white Americans had access to new medicines and health care while many black Americans, with fewer economic resources, did not.

“I’m worried about black communities and other communities of color being stigmatized, as those are the people with coronavirus,” she said, adding, “We need to equitably allocate resources to black communities as quickly as possible.”

Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 House Democrat, who oversees the select committee examining the federal response to the pandemic and led the hearing, said he intended to make sure that the trillions of dollars Congress appropriated for coronavirus relief was spent “efficiently effectively equitably, and I’m particularly interested in the equitable part of it.” But he also said he intended to “nudge my caucus” to pass legislation banning the police tactics used to detain Mr. Floyd.

After the Baltimore unrest in 2015, Dr. Wen, now a public health professor at George Washington University, declared racism a public health issue, which she said “raised a lot of eyebrows at the time.”

More people are thinking that way now. In North Carolina, where African-Americans account for 28 percent of coronavirus cases but only 22 percent of the population, the state health secretary decried “structural racism” last week. In Ohio, where black people account for 18 percent of Covid-19 deaths but 13 percent of the population, officials in Franklin County have declared racism a public health crisis.

Ms. Lee, the congresswoman, said she intended to ask her county to make such a declaration. Despite the turmoil — “It’s an emotional roller coaster right now,” she said — she feels optimistic.

“This is a transformative moment,” she said. “I’m sad, I’m angry, but I have hope.”

Credit…Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

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Security Concerns Give the White House a Fortified New Look

Westlake Legal Group security-concerns-give-the-white-house-a-fortified-new-look Security Concerns Give the White House a Fortified New Look White House Building (Washington, DC) washington dc United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Security and Warning Systems Presidents and Presidency (US) Historic Buildings and Sites George Floyd Protests (2020) Fences and Property Barriers Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

WASHINGTON — President Trump was furious when news got out last weekend that as protesters gathered outside the White House he had been rushed to an underground bunker. But now, as crowds keep coming back to demonstrate, the entire White House seems to be turning into one.

Every day, more fences go up and more concrete barriers are put in place as the security perimeter expands farther and farther. The universally recognized symbol of American democracy increasingly looks like a fortress under siege in the heart of the nation’s capital, a Washington version of the Green Zone that sheltered American and Iraqi officials in Baghdad during the worst of the war.

The measures taken over the last week have made the compound occupied by the president, his family and his staff more sealed off from demonstrations but also more removed from the American public. National Guard troops and riot police will certainly withdraw at some point, and White House officials say the barriers will be eventually removed. But history shows that security changes made at the White House in the heat of a momentary perceived threat often become lasting fixtures.

With the capital awash in security forces and much of downtown boarded up, Washington officials bristle at the martial moment and fear that the city is being transformed once more in a way evoking locked-down authoritarian nations instead of an open, pluralistic society.

“Keep in mind that that’s the people’s house,” Mayor Muriel E. Bowser said this week even as she sent Mr. Trump a letter asking him to withdraw extra security forces from the streets. “It’s a sad commentary that the house and its inhabitants have to be walled off.”

Ms. Bowser sent a signal of her own overnight, dispatching city workers on Friday to paint the words “Black Lives Matter” in giant yellow letters covering the entirety of two blocks of 16th Street leading toward the White House. She also posted a sign renaming the area Black Lives Matter Plaza.

White House officials stressed that the changes were not ordered by Mr. Trump but were made at the direction of the Secret Service based on its assessment of the security situation. Small fires were set as close as a block away from the compound last weekend, including one that did minor damage at the iconic St. John’s Church, and a few protesters penetrated a barricade near the Treasury Department, next door to the White House. The authorities said dozens of law enforcement personnel had been injured in scrapes with protesters.

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Updated 2020-06-05T23:35:51.777Z

But while the demonstrations near the White House have been predominantly peaceful, especially as the week has progressed, Mr. Trump shows no discomfort with the increasing security. He has embraced the idea of military units in the streets of the capital, seeing it as a demonstration of strength and berating governors for not using the National Guard more in their states.

“They came in, and this was like a piece of cake,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference at the White House, sheltered behind the new fencing and surrounded by security. “Call in the National Guard. Call me. We will have so many people, more people then you have to dominate the streets. You can’t let what’s happened happen. It’s called dominate the streets.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_173234337_448c55c2-4379-49ce-b3ff-944902f814bf-articleLarge Security Concerns Give the White House a Fortified New Look White House Building (Washington, DC) washington dc United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Security and Warning Systems Presidents and Presidency (US) Historic Buildings and Sites George Floyd Protests (2020) Fences and Property Barriers Demonstrations, Protests and Riots
Credit…Michael A. McCoy for The New York Times

The Secret Service said on Friday that it was closing off the areas beyond the 18-acre White House compound until June 10 but did not explicitly say whether the barriers would then come down. “These closures are in an effort to maintain the necessary security measures surrounding the White House complex, while also allowing for peaceful demonstration,” it said in a statement.

With the demonstrations still ongoing, the White House was bracing for the possibility of hundreds of thousands of protesters descending on Washington on Saturday. The White House declined to discuss the matter on the record. “The White House does not comment on security protocols and decisions,” said Judd Deere, a spokesman.

But another official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss security protocols, said there was no intention to make the new fencing and concrete barriers permanent and compared the expanded perimeter to the temporary measures taken when Pope Francis visited President Barack Obama in 2015.

For now, at least, the images are jarring. “The White House is the people’s house,” said Lindsay Chervinsky, a presidential historian at the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies at Iona College. “The American people own it, pay for it and permit the president to live there. The fencing and barriers show that Trump is rejecting his predecessors’ example and instead concealing himself from the American people.”

Plenty of critics and commentators compared the additional barriers around the White House to the wall he is building along the nation’s southern border, a small-scale manifestation of his desire to wall off outsiders. In this case, the outsiders are not foreigners but fellow Americans.

“If Trump erected more than three miles of fence around the White House, it would exceed the length of his new wall on the southern border,” Anthony Scaramucci, who served briefly as Mr. Trump’s White House communications director before breaking with him, wrote on Twitter. “His bigotry is only exceeded by his incompetence.”

For now, at least, the new security perimeter has annexed Lafayette Square, a leafy landmark with its signature statue of Andrew Jackson on horseback just north of the White House, where for a couple hundred years city residents, tourists, protesters and cranks have strolled, shouted and speechified.

A new chain-link fence about eight feet tall was first erected this week along the park’s northern edge, forcing the demonstrations farther away from the White House. The fencing has now been extended down 17th Street, along the western side of the White House compound, and about halfway along Constitution Avenue, the southern border of the Ellipse. Concrete barriers have been put behind the fencing in many places. Stacks of fencing segments were piled on 15th Street on Friday for workers to complete the perimeter.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

The barriers reflect a radical evolution since the early days of the mansion. Thomas Jefferson, the first president to live eight years in the building, installed a low, wooden and rail fence and later a stone wall, but the grounds were kept open to the public. In 1833, according to the White House Historical Association, the stone wall was cut down and a heavy wrought-iron fence was installed along Pennsylvania Avenue. Ulysses S. Grant expanded the grounds and the iron fencing.

For generations, the public largely had the run of the grounds during daytime, treating it as an open park of sorts. Jackson invited thousands into the mansion itself on his Inauguration Day, a moment of populist mayhem that served as a metaphor for his presidency.

Irritated that visitors were trying to photograph his daughter, Grover Cleveland closed the South Grounds in 1893, and William Howard Taft restricted the North Grounds to certain days in 1913. Still, outsiders managed to wander in from time to time, including one who slipped into the building and watched a movie in the dark with an unsuspecting Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The grounds were closed altogether to the public during World War I and World War II, and the first version of the bunker that Mr. Trump would later be taken to was built under Roosevelt in case of enemy attack. In addition, soldiers camped on the grounds and gun crews were stationed on the roof. But Roosevelt rejected deploying tanks outside the mansion “because it might look as if our democracy was under siege,” as the historian Michael Beschloss noted.

Protests were permitted along Pennsylvania Avenue and in Lafayette Square during the Vietnam War, close enough that Lyndon B. Johnson could hear them chanting, “Hey, hey, L.B.J., how many kids did you kill today?” But in 1995, after a drunken pilot crashed a Cessna 150L onto the South Lawn, a gunman opened fire at the White House from outside the gates and militia members blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City with a truck bomb, Bill Clinton closed Pennsylvania Avenue to vehicle traffic.

The street was further closed to pedestrian traffic for three years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the bunker under the White House where George W. Bush was brought during subsequent terror scares has since been upgraded. After intruders made it onto the grounds during Mr. Obama’s presidency, the government designed a more formidable 13-foot steel fence with what the police called “anticlimb and intrusion detection technology” to replace the historic one about half as tall.

As it happens, construction on that new fence began only last year and is not scheduled to be completed until next year.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

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D.C.’s Mayor Fights for Control of Her City at Trump’s Front Door

Westlake Legal Group d-c-s-mayor-fights-for-control-of-her-city-at-trumps-front-door D.C.’s Mayor Fights for Control of Her City at Trump’s Front Door washington dc United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Politics and Government Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings Lafayette Square (Washington, DC) George Floyd Protests (2020) Floyd, George (d 2020) Federal-State Relations (US) Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (2020) Bowser, Muriel E Black Lives Matter Movement

WASHINGTON — After federal law enforcement agents and military troops lined up for days against protesters outside the White House, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser of Washington responded emphatically on Friday: She had city workers paint “Black Lives Matter” in giant yellow letters down a street she has maintained command of that is at the center of the confrontations.

The strong poke to President Trump within sight of his home underscored a larger power struggle between the two leaders over which one — the Democratic head of the District of Columbia or the president headquartered there — should decide who controls the streets that Mr. Trump has promised to dominate during protests over the killing last month of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

Ms. Bowser, a Washington native long steeped in city politics, again called on Mr. Trump on Friday to pull back all federal law enforcement officers and National Guard troops patrolling the city, including unidentified agents in riot gear, and said she would stop paying for the hotels for the Utah National Guard that she does not want in the city to begin with.

She renamed as Black Lives Matter Plaza the area in front of Lafayette Square where federal officials used chemical spray and smoke grenades on Monday to clear protesters ahead of Mr. Trump’s photo op at a historic church that faces the road that Ms. Bowser had painted. (The money for the paint job came out of the city’s mural program, city officials said.)

“We’re here peacefully as Americans on American streets,” Ms. Bowser said at the scene, standing near a sign reading, “Support D.C. Statehood.” “On D.C. streets.”

Mr. Trump, who has tried to appeal to his base by proclaiming himself a president of law and order, escalated the fight, calling Ms. Bowser “incompetent” on Twitter.

Ms. Bowser “who’s budget is totally out of control and is constantly coming back to us for ‘handouts,’ is now fighting with the National Guard, who saved her from great embarrassment,” Mr. Trump wrote. “If she doesn’t treat these men and women well, then we’ll bring in a different group of men and women!”

Ms. Bowser met this with her usual cool shrug. Asked about the president calling her incompetent, she said, “You know the thing about the pot and the kettle?”

Still, Trump officials appeared determined to make the standoff personal. Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, further belittled Ms. Bowser on Twitter by comparing her request to reduce the number of federal troops in Washington with the mentally ill wanting less medication.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_173234343_a87c86b7-328f-47b2-bfc5-3ad74ab66889-articleLarge D.C.’s Mayor Fights for Control of Her City at Trump’s Front Door washington dc United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Politics and Government Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings Lafayette Square (Washington, DC) George Floyd Protests (2020) Floyd, George (d 2020) Federal-State Relations (US) Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (2020) Bowser, Muriel E Black Lives Matter Movement
Credit…Michael A. McCoy for The New York Times

While Mr. Trump has clashed with governors and mayors in recent months over his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and deployment of the National Guard in their streets during nationwide protests of police killings, his face-off with Ms. Bowser pits the president in his current home, the international symbol of the United States, against the city in which it sits, one that lacks the self-governing authorities of other states and cities.

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Updated 2020-06-06T00:10:56.561Z

While the city’s mayors have long pushed for statehood — Washington has no voting representation in Congress, a fact denounced on its license plates — Ms. Bowser has been a particularly forceful voice in favor of rights and autonomy for the district as its population and federal tax contributions have swelled.

This week, as the mayor managed the federal takeover and huge protests in the city’s central business district in the middle of a pandemic, she had seen enough.

“Our approach is three-pronged,” John Falcicchio, her chief of staff, said in an interview. “We are going to say what we think is the right thing to happen, we are going to question their tactics, and we are going to show that we are actually in control.”

Mr. Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr have deployed the full arsenal of federal government law enforcement personnel, including officers from the Bureau of Prisons and Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as Border Patrol agents.

This week, the Trump administration also floated using an obscure provision to take control of Ms. Bowser’s Metropolitan Police Department, but did not follow through.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The federal authorities — which also include officers from Homeland Security Investigations, the Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Protective Service — are expected to maintain their presence through Saturday, when thousands of demonstrators plan to march to the White House.

Ms. Bowser, with the support of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has accused the Trump administration of escalating tensions with demonstrators, including by positioning officers without identifying insignia face-to-face with protesters.

“These additional, unidentified units are operating outside of established of established chains of command,” Ms. Bowser wrote in a letter to Mr. Trump that her office released Friday. “This multiplicity of forces can breed dangerous confusion.”

The mayor also planned to write to governors who had deployed National Guard troops to Washington, asking them to call the units home.

Before Mr. Floyd’s killing, Ms. Bowser and Mr. Trump had engaged in cordial dialogue. The two had at least two phone calls in recent months to discuss coronavirus funding for Washington, according to a person familiar with the conversations, who said the two leaders got along during them.

After one of their calls, Mr. Trump announced on Twitter that Washington’s transit system would be receiving more than $876 million in federal funding, congratulating Ms. Bower and calling it “a big boost.”

She responded with a tweet thanking the president for the call, but noted her administration would continue seeking an additional $775 million in stimulus funding “to make DC whole.”

But shortly after Mr. Trump lashed out at Ms. Bowser on Friday on Twitter, a lobbyist with close ties to the president announced the termination of a contract with the city government.

The lobbyist, Brian Ballard, a top fund-raiser for Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign, had entered into an agreement on May 15 to press Congress for additional coronavirus relief funding for Washington, according to a filing posted Friday.

While the District of Columbia is often treated like a state for the purposes of federal funding allocation, it was instead treated like a territory in the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill signed by Mr. Trump in March. The classification meant Washington received only about $500 million, compared with a minimum of $1.25 billion allocated to each state, despite Washington’s being harder hit by the virus than most states. Its population of 705,000 is also larger than two states’.

Mr. Ballard’s firm had been pushing for Washington to retroactively receive the $750 million difference and to be treated like a state in any future coronavirus stimulus legislation, according to a person familiar with the effort.

“We are no longer in a position to deliver effective representation,” the firm wrote, “so we have respectfully withdrawn our engagement.”

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The federal government has great control of the District of Columbia, an artifact of the Constitution that was updated in the 1970s with a federal law that gave the city partial autonomy, but allowed Congress to have vast powers over its laws and budget. Its National Guard is the only one out of the 54 states and territories that reports to the president.

Congress has invoked its will on the city several times over the years, blocking its needle exchange program at the height of the AIDS crisis, prohibiting the city from using its money to pay for abortions for poor women, pressing a charter school agenda on its education system and trying to block the city from requiring that most residents have health insurance. After Washington’s residents voted in 2014 to legalize the possession of marijuana — the same election that sent Ms. Bowser to the mayor’s office — Congress moved to nullify that.

During Ms. Bowser’s tenure, the city has continued along a rapid path of gentrification and has seen increases in crime and startling inequities in its school system, housing market and employment. The racial disparities in death rates between black and white residents are among the highest in the nation. Critics have accused Ms. Bowser of being too closely aligned with big developers; the city’s government, like the rest of the Democratic Party, is increasingly fractured between newer progressive members and those like Ms. Bowser who remain boosters of the business community.

And on Friday, the Washington chapter of Black Lives Matter tweeted that the mayor’s move to paint the mural in front of the White House was “a performative distraction from real policy changes.”

“We are still a city that is still deeply inequitable,” said Markus Batchelor, a candidate for the City Council who represents one of Washington’s poorest neighborhoods on its State Board of Education. “We invest more on the Police Department and corrections than on programs related to jobs, youth and mental health combined. So those are the things that really don’t translate in these public overtures of Black Lives Matter.”

Emily Badger contributed reporting.

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