With all 50 states now at least partially reopened ahead of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, President Donald Trump continued his drive to revive the economy amid the pandemic — even with questions about whether doing so will bring new spikes in cases as the death toll nears 100,000.
This afternoon, he met with the Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, who imposed some of the fewest restrictions — he never imposed a stay-at-home order, for example — and is reopening his state faster than most, something Trump highlighted.
Hutchinson did not wear a mask sitting next to Trump in the Cabinet Room even though he said Tuesday he would wear one at the White House. Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator, praised Hutchinson and Arkansas for containing outbreaks and what she said was a relatively low mortality rate. She said the same about Kansas and Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, meeting with Trump as well.
Earlier, Trump held a conference call with Latino organizations as members of that minority group — often working in service jobs on the front-lines or in jobs where outbreaks are more common — have been hit disproportionately in numbers of cases and deaths.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at her weekly news conference, continued to mock Trump for his reaction to her comments about his weight and taking the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine. She spoke as well about her push for a new $3 trillion relief package Trump and Senate Republicans are resisting.
Here are Wednesday’s most significant developments in Washington:
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Trump says he will finish taking unproven drug ‘in a day or two’
At at a White House photo op Wednesday afternoon, President Trump said he thinks he has two days left in his regimen of hydroxychloriquine, the unproven drug he says he’s taking to ward off the coronavirus.
“I think the regimen finishes in a day or two,” Trump said. “I think it’s in two days.”
The president has not previously offered such a specific timeline for how much longer he intends to continue using the drug as a prophylaxis, which triggered a backlash from medical experts.
Friday will mark two weeks since the Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive for the virus.
The president has cited her case, along with being exposed to his personal valet who tested positive a couple days earlier, as part of his rationale for taking the drug, which the FDA has warned can be dangerous, especially for those with heart issues like the president, and should not be used outside of a clinical or hospital setting.
–ABC News’ Jordyn Phelps
Pence, unmasked in photo op, has lunch at Florida burger joint to highlight reopening
Vice President Mike Pence did something Wednesday that most Americans haven’t done in many weeks amid the pandemic: He sat down for lunch at a burger joint.
The vice president held a photo op at Beth’s Burger Bar in Florida along with GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis to highlight efforts to allow restaurants in the state to begin reopening for limited, in-person service.
Pence ordered a cheeseburger.
“Load it up,” Pence told owner Beth Steele when she asked what toppings he’d like on his burger.
Neither the vice president, nor Steele, nor DeSantis, or many others nearby, wore masks.
“You all starting to get busy?” the vice president said to the staff in the kitchen, who were also not wearing masks.
The vice president paid with cash, handed the money to Steele and requesting that she put the change in the tips jar.
Steele handed the vice president a fountain cup and a receipt in return.
After DeSantis also ordered a burger, the two men filled up the cups Steele handed them at the soda fountain machine and made their way to a table inside the restaurant, greeting other patrons in the restaurant along the way.
The vice president did not shake hands with anyone but it did not appear that there was always six feet of distance between him and the people he greeted.
They two men sat down at a table, with other patrons seated at tables nearby.
According to the vice president’s spokesman Devin O’Malley, patrons and staff at the restaurant were given temperature checks and questioned about whether they had any symptoms prior to the vice president’s visit but were not given tests.
Steele told the vice president that the restaurant is operating a 50 percent seating capacity indoors in keeping with the state’s guidelines for a phased reopening.
–ABC News’ Jordyn Phelps
Pelosi continues to mock Trump over his weight, taking unproven drug
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended calling the president “morbidly obese” earlier this week and said she was giving the president a taste of his own medicine while also simply stating the facts.
“I didn’t say anything about the president. I gave him a dose of his own medicine,” Pelosi told reporters Wednesday during a press conference on Capitol Hill.
“He’s called women one thing or another over time and I thought he thinks that passes off as humor in certain cultures … I was only quoting what doctors had said about him, so I was being factual in a very sympathetic way,” she said.
“We don’t want our president taking something that could be dangerous,” she added, referring to Trump saying that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure.
She went on to blast Trump and compared him to a child walking around with dog poop on his shoes.
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“You’re asking me about the appropriateness of the actions of this president of the United States? So completely inappropriate in so many ways that it’s almost a given,” Pelosi said.
“It’s like a child who comes in with mud on their pants … he comes in with doggy-doo on his shoes and everybody who works with him has it on their shoes, too, for a very long time to come,” she said.
Pelosi said doctors have previously asked her, “What’s the matter with him?”
–ABC News’ Mariam Khan
Trump tweets he might try to reschedule called-off G7 summit for June
President Trump said Wednesday it might be possible after all for the U.S. to host an in-person G7 summit at Camp David as early as next month, after previously announcing that the summit would be held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump said on Twitter that because the U.S. is now “transitioning back to greatness,” he’d like to host the summit on or around the same time it was previously planned to take place in June.
“Now that our Country is “Transitioning back to Greatness”, I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington, D.C., at the legendary Camp David. The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all – normalization!” he tweeted.
The president had announced that the in-person event was being called off back in March.
His idea might be more wishful thinking than realistic.
While the president may think it would send a “great sign to all” that life is returning to normal by hosting a major international summit, he’ll also need to get the leaders of Italy, Japan, Canada ,France Germany, Britain and the European Union to go along with his plan.
His call for world leaders to travel to the U.S. – potentially as soon as next month – comes as most international travel remains grounded. The US State Department’s remarkable “Do Not Travel” advisory for U.S. citizens remains in effect.
On top of all the very significant and ongoing global health concerns, there would be the tremendous challenge associated with ensuring the health and safety of multiple foreign leaders and their delegations while they are gathered together.
On a local level, the virus remains prevalent in Washington, D.C., and Maryland — where Camp David located — and local governments in the area are only beginning to rollout reopening plans.
–ABC News’ Jordyn Phelps
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