Here’s the full text of Trump’s executive order.
This bit is especially on-brand for Trump, and a bit unusual for a legal document:
Twitter now selectively decides to place a warning label on certain tweets in a manner that clearly reflects political bias. As has been reported, Twitter seems never to have placed such a label on another politician’s tweet. As recently as last week, Representative Adam Schiff was continuing to mislead his followers by peddling the long-disproved Russian Collusion Hoax, and Twitter did not flag those tweets. Unsurprisingly, its officer in charge of so-called ‘Site Integrity’ has flaunted his political bias in his own tweets.
In response to the president’s executive order, the US Chamber of Commerce issued a rather pointed statement:
We believe that free speech and the right to engage in commerce are foundational to the American free enterprise system. Regardless of the circumstances that led up to this, this is not how public policy is made in the United States. An executive order cannot be properly used to change federal law.”
The Trump administration is finalizing rules that will allow hunters in Alaska’s national preserves to shoot bears and wolves, and their cubs and pups, while they are in their dens.
The National Park Service is reversing regulations written by the Barack Obama administration, which banned some of the much-criticized practices for hunting the predators, including luring bears with food like doughnuts.
Jesse Prentice-Dunn, policy director for the Center for Western Priorities, called the rule change “amazingly cruel” and said it was “just the latest in a string of efforts to reduce protections for America’s wildlife at the behest of oil companies and trophy hunters”.
The park service’s deputy director, David Vela, said the change would “more closely align hunting and trapping regulations with those established by the state of Alaska”.
Here’s our tech reporter Julia Carrie Wong’s take on the Trump executive order aimed at regulating social media:
The president’s executive order on social media will kick off a heated debate over free speech on the internet that will, in all likelihood, lead to nothing. This manufactured dispute is a distraction for the media, and it will almost certainly be an effective one. It would be in everyone’s interest – including its own – if Twitter pulled the plug on this specious debate, banned Trump for repeated and egregious violations of its rules, and helped us all focus on what’s more important.
- More than 100,000 people in the United States have died of Covid-19, more than any other nation in the world. The figure is probably an undercount.
- More than 1.7 million people in the US have had confirmed cases of Covid-19, more than any other nation in the world. The figure is almost certainly an undercount.
- The US federal government completely botched the rollout of testing for the coronavirus at the beginning of the pandemic and continues to lag in providing adequate testing for its populace.
Read her opinion column in its entirety:
Minnesota governor calls on national guard as protests over George Floyd killing continue
Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order, calling on the Minnesota national guard “to help protect Minnesotans’ safety and maintain peace in the wake of George Floyd’s death”.
After a generally peaceful protest yesterday, things turned violent last night. Windows were broken, and crowds looted nearby shops. Police in riot gear fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators and the neighborhood around the police station in South Minneapolis devolved into chaos.
An apartment under construction was discovered to have been burned down the next morning.
Demonstrators indicated that those responsible for the looting and property destruction weren’t the locals who had taken to peacefully protesting the treatment of Floyd.
“The demonstration last night became incredibly unsafe for all involved,” Walz said. “The purpose of the national Guard is to protect people, to protect people safely demonstrating, and to protect small business owners.”
Today so far
That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.
Here’s where the day stands so far:
- Trump signed a social media executive order as the US coronavirus death toll surpassed 101,000. The president is looking to alter liability protections for social media companies, but experts said he does not have the authority to do so, and Trump’s critics said the order was a blatant attempt to distract from the country’s mounting death toll.
- Trump and Kayleigh McEnany once again criticized states’ efforts to expand vote by mail amid the pandemic. The president and his press secretary argued that vote by mail is particularly susceptible to fraud, even though voter fraud is actually very rare and in-person polling places raise concerns about spreading coronavirus.
- More than 40 million Americans have now filed for unemployment benefits. Another 2.1 million Americans submitted unemployment claims last week, as many businesses remain shuttered because of the pandemic.
- New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, will sign an executive order allowing businesses to deny entry to customers not wearing masks. The Democratic governor said businessowners had a right to protect themselves and other patrons by requiring mask usage.
- The Minneapolis mayor said the protests in reaction to the death of George Floyd were the “result of so much built-up anger and sadness”. Floyd, a black man, died after a white police officer put a knee on the back of his neck. Mayor Jacob Frey said the protests in response to Floyd’s death were the result of “anger and sadness that has been ingrained in our black community – not just because of five minutes of horror, but 400 years”.
Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
Before signing his social media executive order, Trump once again criticized states’ efforts to expand vote by mail.
The president argued mass vote by mail would turn US elections into a “total joke.” “There’s such fraud and abuse,” Trump said of vote by mail, even though voter fraud is actually very rare.
Repeating a false claim that was fact-checked by Twitter, Trump said, “Anybody in California that’s breathing gets a ballot.” When a reporter tried to correct the president, Trump cut him off, saying, “I’m not finished.”
In reality, California governor Gavin Newsom has only asked local officials to mail ballots to registered voters.
When a reporter noted this, Trump replied, “Oh really? So when he sends out 28 million ballots and they’re in all the mailboxes and kids go and they raid the mailboxes and they hand them to people that are signing the ballots … you don’t think that happens?” There is no evidence that this is happening.
Even as Trump signed his social media executive order, he acknowledged it could be vulnerable to legal challenges.
For example, the order looks to modify Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which grants liability protections to social media companies.
However, experts have said Section 230 would almost certainly have to be amended by Congress, and the president appeared to acknowledge this.
“I guess it’s going to be challenged in court, but what isn’t?” Trump said of the order, according to the White House pool report.
When asked about trying to shut down Twitter, the president similarly said there were legal hurdles with that proposal. “I’d have to go through a legal process,” Trump said.
The president’s social media executive order comes a day after the US coronavirus death toll surpassed 100,000.
Trump addressed the death toll in a tweet this morning, but commentators quesioned why he did not deliver any kind of remarks to commemorate the lives lost to coronavirus.
In contrast to his relative quiet about the grim milestone, Trump has sent off several tweets criticizing Twitter for fact-checking his false claims about vote by mail, and he has now signed an executive order aimed at regulating social media companies.
The president’s critics suggested that the order was nothing more than an attempt to deflect attention away from the coronavirus death toll and Trump’s response to the pandemic.
As he prepared to sign his social media executive order, Trump complained about Twitter fact-checking two of his inaccurate tweets, calling the effort “political activism.”
“We’re here today to defend free speech from one of the greatest dangers,” Trump said, slamming social media companies as a “monopoly.”
When asked why he had not deleted his Twitter account if he thinks the platform is biased, Trump blamed the media.
“If we had fair press in this country I would do that in a heartbeat,” Trump said.
Trump signs social media executive order
Trump has gathered the White House press pool in the Oval Office as he signs an executive order aimed at regulating social media companies.
The president, appearing alongside attorney general William Barr, said the executive order would look to modify Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which grants liability protections to social media companies.
Trump said Barr would also work with states to establish their own regulations and the administration would develop policies to prevent companies that “suppress free speech” from receiving taxpayer dollars.
However, experts have already said Section 230 can likely only be amended by Congress, leaving Trump’s executive order very vulnerable to a legal challenge.
The 2020 Boston Marathon, which was originally supposed to occur last month, has now been canceled.
The city initially delayed the event, which brings in more than $200 million to Boston’s economy, from April to September out of concern about the spread of coronavirus.
Boston mayor Marty Walsh said the decision to postpone was made with the hope that coronavirus “would no longer be a significant public health risk” by September, but officials no longer feel confident in that.
“Economically, it’s a big hit there’s no question about it,” Walsh said. “This entire three months has been a big hit for most sectors economically.
“Certainly we’re feeling it in our budget, our restaurants are feeling it, our small businesses are feeling it. Many of our offices are feeling it. We’ll survive. It might be a different reality for a lot of people.”
Trump to soon sign social media executive order
The president just told reporters that he would sign an executive order directed at social media companies in the next half hour.
Trump added that he would hold a separate press conference on China tomorrow, when he will likely again accuse Twitter of helping Beijing spread false information about coronavirus.
After Twitter added a fact-checking label to two of Trump’s tweets about vote by mail, the platform similarly labeled tweets from a senior Chinese official who claimed the virus may have originated in the United States.
Moments ago, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany accused Twitter of being “very hastily eager to censor President Trump and his employees,” even though the platform did not remove Trump’s inaccurate tweets.
The House has voted to send the FISA bill to a conference committee with the Senate, after Republican members turned against the bill at the urging of the president.
The House voted 284-122 to send the bill, which would reauthorize three expired surveillance programs, to committee.
The vote will give lawmakers a chance to renegotiate a new version of the bill that may be more appealing to Trump, who said he would veto the legislation the House had been prepared to vote on yesterday.
But considering the president has conflated the reauthorization with the Obama administration’s surveillance that led to the firing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, it will probably be difficult to craft a bill to Trump’s liking.