Lauren Floyd

Kelly Loeffler frequently ditches mask to campaign. She just tested positive for COVID-19

Relying on the effectiveness of rapid test results, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler left her mask off most the day Friday as she campaigned for the upcoming Georgia runoff against Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock, CNN reported. She rode a bus from the airport with Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. David Perdue—who's also campaigning for a runoff election, his against Democrat Jon Ossoff—and she attended campaign events all day Friday. Now the businesswoman turned legislator is awaiting additional COVID-19 test results after an earlier test indicated she has the virus.

"Senator Loeffler took two COVID tests on Friday morning," campaign spokesperson Stephen Lawson told CNN. "Her rapid test results were negative and she was cleared to attend Friday's events." She was informed later in the evening after public events on Friday that her PCR test came back positive, but she was retested Saturday morning after conferring with medical officials and those results came back inconclusive on Saturday evening. "She has no symptoms and she will continue to follow CDC guidelines by quarantining until retesting is conclusive and an update will be provided at that time," he said.

Despite attack ads wrongfully accusing Warnock of being anti-military and hosting Cuba's former dictator Fidel Castro, the reverend offered Loeffler his best wishes Saturday on Twitter. "Senator Loeffler is in my thoughts. I pray that her test results come back negative and that she is back on the campaign trail soon. Blessings," Warnock said in the tweet.

Casey Black, a spokeswoman for Perdue's campaign, told CNN the businessman is staying home until Loeffler gets a confirmed test result. Pence told CBS News through a spokesperson that he's waiting for more conclusive test results. "As he awaits a confirmatory test from Senator Loeffler, Vice President Pence is in regular consultation with the White House Medical Unit and will be following CDC guidelines as he has in other circumstances when he has been a close contact," press secretary Devin O'Malley said.

Loeffler is only the latest high-profile Republican to test positive for the virus. Ben Carson, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said he has been "extremely sick" with the virus in a Facebook post on Friday. "President Trump was following my condition and cleared me for the monoclonal antibody therapy that he had previously received, which I am convinced saved my life," the retired neurosurgeon said.

"He survived after using monoclonal antibody drugs—*before* it was FDA approved. So much privilege—250k Americans weren't so lucky," Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding tweeted on Sunday.

Read Carson's complete post here:

"Thank you everyone for your support and prayers as Candy and I battled COVID-19. I was extremely sick and initially took Oleander 4X with dramatic improvement. However, I have several co-morbidities and after a brief period when I only experienced minor discomfort, the symptoms accelerated and I became desperately ill. President Trump was following my condition and cleared me for the monoclonal antibody therapy that he had previously received, which I am convinced saved my life.

President Trump, the fabulous White House medical team, and the phenomenal doctors at Walter Reed have been paying very close attention to my health and I do believe I am out of the woods at this point. I am hopeful that we can stop playing politics with medicine and instead combine our efforts and goodwill for the good of all people. While I am blessed to have the best medical care in the world (and I am convinced it saved my life), we must prioritize getting comparable treatments and care to everyone as soon as possible.

There are a number of promising treatments that need to be tested, approved, and distributed (sooner rather than later) so that the economy can be re-opened and we can all return to a semblance of normalcy. Also, people should recognize that there are a number of defined steps that legally have to be taken before vaccines are released to the public and trying to cause alarm by saying dangerous shortcuts were taken only serves to stoke fear. Together we will be victorious. God is still in charge."

GOP leaders are starting to come to grips with reality of Trump's loss

Just as one did in Georgia, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Saturday launched by President Donald Trump's campaign to bar Pennsylvania state election officials from certifying the state's election results, CBS News reported. U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann wrote in his order that Trump's attorneys employed "strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence. In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state."

The words have apparently inspired some Republican legislators to come to terms with the truth of President-elect Joe Biden's election win. "With today's decision by Judge Matthew Brann, a longtime conservative Republican whom I know to be a fair and unbiased jurist, to dismiss the Trump campaign's lawsuit, President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania," Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said in a statement Saturday.

Toomey continued in the statement:

"This ruling follows a series of procedural losses for President Trump's campaign. On Friday, the state of Georgia certified the victory of Joe Biden after a hand recount of paper ballots confirmed the conclusion of the initial electronic count. Michigan lawmakers rejected the apparent attempt by President Trump to thwart the will of Michigan voters and select an illegitimate slate of electoral college electors. These developments, together with the outcomes in the rest of the nation, confirm that Joe Biden won the 2020 election and will become the 46th President of the United States."I congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their victory. They are both dedicated public servants and I will be praying for them and for our country. Unsurprisingly, I have significant policy disagreements with the President-elect. However, as I have done throughout my career, I will seek to work across the aisle with him and his administration, especially on those areas where we may agree, such as continuing our efforts to combat COVID-19, breaking down barriers to expanding trade, supporting the men and women of our armed forces, and keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. "

Make no mistake about it, I am deeply disappointed that President Trump and Vice President Pence were not re-elected. I endorsed the president and voted for him. During his four years in office, his administration achieved much for the American people. The tax relief and regulatory overhauls that President Trump enacted with Republicans in Congress produced the strongest economy of my adult life. He also should be applauded for forging historic peace agreements in the Middle East, facilitating the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine through Operation Warp Speed, appointing three outstanding Supreme Court justices, and keeping America safe by neutralizing ISIS and killing terrorists like Qasem Soleimani and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

"To ensure that he is remembered for these outstanding accomplishments, and to help unify our country, President Trump should accept the outcome of the election and facilitate the presidential transition process."

Toomey wasn't the only Republican embracing reality this weekend. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told TV host George Stephanopoulos Sunday on "ABC This Week" that "yes," it's time for this to end. He said the president has had multiple opportunities to access the courts. "If you've got the evidence of fraud, present it," he told Stephanopoulos Wednesday. "The conduct, the president's legal team has been a national embarrassment."

The former prosecutor referenced an interview in which Trump attorney Sidney Powell accused Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp of a crime, but "yet [she has been] unwilling to go on TV and defend and layout the evidence that she supposedly has."

"This is outrageous conduct by any lawyer, and notice George they won't do it inside the courtroom," Christie said. "They allege fraud outside the courtroom, but when they go inside the courtroom, they don't plead fraud and they don't argue fraud."

Christie then admitted he's supported the president and voted for him twice. "But elections have consequences," he added. "And we can not continue to act as if something happened here that didn't happen."

Following Trump's invitation to Michigan Republicans to visit the White House, Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan also sent Trump a powerful message that our democracy could benefit from the president accepting. That message Sunday to CNN's Dana Bash was "it's over." He said no one has found any evidence of fraud. "You know, the voters spoke," the Republican legislator declared. "And here again, in Michigan, it's not a razor-thin margin. It's 154,000 votes. You got to let the votes stand.

"The process has been in place for a long time," Upton added. "It works. And there's no issues of fraud anywhere. 154,000 votes. In my county commission race, it was a dead-even tie. They had to draw to see who won because it was exactly the same. 154,000 votes is—it's over."

CNN 11 22 2020 08 39 31

Sen. Mike Shirkey of Michigan tweeted Sunday: "As I've repeatedly said, our election process MUST be free of intimidation and threats. Whether the Board of Canvassers certifies our results tomorrow or decides to take the full time allowed by law to perform their duties, it's inappropriate for anyone to exert pressure on them."

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told CNN's "State of the Union" he's "not sure" the president is going to do the right thing. "Look, I thought the pressuring of the legislators to try to somehow change the outcome with electors was completely outrageous," he said. "Quite frankly, I mean, you know we used to go supervise elections around the world, and we were the most respected country with respect to elections. And now we're beginning to look like we're a banana republic. It's time for them to stop the nonsense. It just gets more bizarre every single day, and frankly I'm embarrassed that more people in the party aren't speaking up."

Trump campaign seeks recount in Georgia in apparent effort to lose state a third time

President Donald Trump is at it again with his embarrassing and desperate attempt to pluck votes from President-elect Joe Biden. This time, his campaign did it in the form of a petition for a recount in Georgia Friday, according to a statement The New York Times obtained from Trump's legal team.

"Today, the Trump campaign filed a petition for recount in Georgia," the Trump campaign said the statement. "We are focused on ensuring that every aspect of Georgia State Law and the U.S. Constitution are followed so that every legal vote is counted. President Trump and his campaign continue to insist on an honest recount in Georgia, which has to include signature matching and other vital safeguards. Without signature matching, the recount would be a sham and again allow for illegal votes to be counted. If there is no signature matching, this would be as phony as the initial vote count and recount. Let's stop giving the People false results." No, let's stop giving the president false hope.

Jaclyn Rothenberg, Biden's Georgia communications director said in a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that last week's recount "reaffirmed what we already knew." "Georgia voters selected Joe Biden to be their next president," she said. "As the Secretary of State said, there is no reason to believe there are widespread errors or fraud and the Trump campaign has no evidence to back up their baseless claims. Any further recount will simply reaffirm Joe Biden's victory in Georgia a third time."

Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger certified election results showing Biden's historic win in the state Friday. Georgia had held what's known as a Risk Limiting Audit of its presidential contest last week. "Due to the tight margin of the race and the principles of risk-limiting audits, this audit was a full manual tally of all votes cast. The audit confirmed that the original machine count accurately portrayed the winner of the election," Raffensperger's office said in a news release.

Finding no evidence that voting irregularities significantly affected the vote count in Georgia, U.S. District Judge Steven Grimberg, who was appointed by Trump, by the way, rejected a GOP attempt to prevent state election leaders from certifying Biden's victory late Thursday, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

It was news Gov. Brian Kemp seemed unhappy about in a live-streamed video announcement Friday. "I join many in backing a hand recount and urging a thorough investigation into any voting irregularities," Kemp said. "The secretary of state oversaw a complete audit, which revealed significant errors made in several counties including Floyd, Fayette, Douglas, and Walton."

Only it didn't. There was less than a 500-vote difference between Biden's original victory margin and that of the recount. The original tally had Biden winning by 12,780 votes, and the recount showed Biden won by 12,284 votes. The takeaway? You guessed it. Biden won. But you have to love how the governor, who used to serve as secretary of state, is so willing to throw his own election officials under the bus to placate Trump.

Gov. Kemp says Georgia law requires governor's office to formalize US election certification | FULL

It comes as no surprise when Trump attorney Sidney Powell does it. She called the previous recount a "total farce" on the conservative news website Newsmax. "Georgia's probably going to be the first state I'm going to blow up, and Mr. Kemp and the secretary of state need to go with it," she said, then started floating the usual conspiracy theories.

Ultimately, Raffensperger said in a statement CNN obtained Friday: "Because the margin is still less than 0.5%, the President can request a recount after certification of the results. That recount will be conducted by rescanning all paper ballots." And you know who will pay for this recount? Georgia taxpayers. Although state officials haven't released estimates of the total cost, in Georgia's largest county, Fulton, election officials estimate a recount could cost $200,000, NBC News reported.

Watch this parent try to convince teacher that no one won the presidential election

File this one under nonsense these poor teachers have to deal with: A parent can be heard in viral video shared on Twitter Tuesday venting irrationally about the election and trying to argue that no one won it, despite clear evidence to the contrary. In the video viewed more than five million times, a state map is colored in with blue for President-elect Joe Biden or red for President Donald Trump to represent which candidate won each state, but on the student's map in question, X's had been drawn on Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, all of which the student colored blue to accurately reflect that Biden had won those states.

At the bottom of the assignment, the student had answered the question of who won the election correctly with Joe Biden, but the parent employed a different interpretation of reality. She can be heard asking the teacher to talk to Anthony and the whole class about the election process, and by "talk to them," she obviously means lie to them about who won.

"Okay I understand your concerns. Thank you for sharing your concerns, and like I said, I will talk to him tomorrow," the teacher says at one point. Not accepting that response, the parent pushed: "So you're just going to talk to Anthony? This assignment's not going to get redone and have everybody understand that we have six states at this point—there were seven when this assignment was done—there are six that are still in litigation and why?"

She continued: "Even if you don't go into that kind of detail for third graders, to explain to them, you can't. This answer 'who won the election' should've been, the answer was nobody. That was the answer—nobody. Not Joe Biden. It was nobody. It should not just be told to my son."

She went on to argue that the entire school system should be teaching that no one won the presidential election. "Either don't address it or address it properly," the woman said. "There's no, there's no, well, there is gray area. There's six of them, so I am bringing this up. I'm not done. I am upset about this."

She then cited the National Archives, which hasn't announced election results, and the conservative news network One America News as proof her interpretation of Electoral College results is accurate. "If you did talk to them about that, that's not what you told them to color in. He told me you went up to there and put up a map. I pulled up a map. I didn't go to Google. I went to the National Archives, and then, I also went to OAN, and it had exactly what he and I had been talking about," the parent said.

The poor teacher quietly let the woman vent her frustrations with reality as she continued to explain how she confused her child.

Biden has earned 290 Electoral College votes to Trump's 232, and the president-elect secured more than 79.3 million total votes to Trump's 73.5 million, according to the Associated Press. The news organization, which many consider far more reputable than the unnamed parent on the phone, has called every state but Georgia, where Biden is leading. The traditionally red state that Democrats successfully flipped blue has 16 Electoral College votes. So technically, the only discrepancy should be whether Biden has 290 or 306 Electoral College votes. Both scenarios put him well over the 270 electoral votes required to win the presidency. If I could leave any words for little Anthony, they would be: Respectfully disagree with your mom.

She is, however, right about one thing: Several lawsuits have been filed to challenge election results in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, a testament to the sore loser and the Republicans who enable him. Georgia has dismissed one lawsuit, and two have been upheld in Pennsylvania, Newsweek reported. One was also upheld in Nevada, and the rest are pending.

The coronavirus crisis is soaring to new heights — but Trump isn't even pretending to care

The country's leading infectious disease expert confirmed models Sunday showing just less than 200,000 people could die from the coronavirus pandemic by spring, bringing the virus' U.S. death total to about 439,000, CNN reported. But that hasn't stopped President Donald Trump from refusing to share his administration's COVID-19 data and vaccine plans with President-elect Joe Biden's coronavirus team. It hasn't even inspired the president to look in on his own administration's coronavirus task force meetings over the last five months or more, The Washington Post reported.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" "of course it would be better" if government health workers could start meeting with Biden's transition team. "As you know, I've been through multiple transitions now, having served six presidents for 36 years. And it's very clear that the transition process that we go through ... is really important in a smooth handing over of the information as well as it's almost like passing the baton in a race," Fauci said. "You don't want to stop and then give it to somebody, you want to essentially keep going." That is, unless you're so self-involved that you put your job status before the well-being of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

When Tapper asked Fauci if another 200,000 deaths in four months is possible, the expert responded: "It is possible, Jake, and the issue is the models—as I've said so often—are as good as the assumptions you put into the model, and we've got to change those assumptions. We've got to say we're going to turn it around by very very rigorously adhering to the public health measures."

Anyone even loosely following the president's Twitter timeline knows he hasn't rigorously adhered to even the simplest of public health measures like wearing a mask in public or social distancing. Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir confirmed the Post's report on ABC's "This Week" that the president hasn't even attended a coronavirus task force meeting in at least five months. "That's true, but the vice president does chair the coronavirus task force," Giroir said. "(...) We often have several cabinet members there, and the vice president briefs the president every day or nearly every day on coronavirus, so I'm not concerned that the president doesn't attend."

I am, considering Politico reported at the end of October that Vice President Mike Pence hasn't sat in on a standing call with the country's 50 governors for more than a month. "There's not any acknowledgment or appreciation of the severity of the surge," an unnamed official in one governor's office told Politico. "The stark reality that we're facing is the White House – from top to bottom – has stopped governing and is only campaigning."

Want to flip a state blue? Stacey Abrams drops major key

When Vice President-elect Kamala Harris—oh, how I love the sound of that—thanked Black women Monday for their support in her history-making election win, I have to imagine that she was at least in part thinking of Stacey Abrams. The former congresswoman and Georgia gubernatorial candidate could have wallowed in 2018 when she lost the state governor's race by just less than 55,000 votes to the very person tasked with overseeing the election, then-secretary of state Brian Kemp. But instead, she picked herself up, refused to concede amid widespread allegations of voter suppression, and continued work she had been doing for more than a decade to register voters in Georgia, this time launching the voting rights organization Fair Fight.

"Very often when someone runs for office, if they don't win the office, we forget about that person pretty quickly," The New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb told the magazine. "And with Abrams one of the things that made me interested in writing about her was that the opposite happened. That the election concluded, her opponent was inaugurated, and generally speaking in the United States, Stacey Abrams probably has a higher name recognition than the person who actually went on to become governor."

Abrams' name trended on Twitter when President-elect Joe Biden inched ahead of President Donald Trump in Georgia, flipping a state that hasn't backed a Democrat for president since Bill Clinton in 1992. And when Biden went on to be declared the next U.S. president Saturday, a crowd outside of the White House shouted "Stacey Abrams."

Not for nothing. In a state riddled with allegations of vote suppression, Abrams worked with the New Georgia Project nonprofit to register an estimated 800,000 new voters, mostly people of color and young people often overlooked in the state. She formed Fair Fight Action just days after her gubernatorial loss, launched a federal lawsuit seeking an overhaul of Georgia's voting system, and vehemently fought against Kemp's heartbeat legislation prohibiting abortions after a heartbeat can be detected. "I live my life with an assumption that I have the right to do the things I think I should do, and that my gender and my race should not be limitations," Abrams told Cobb.

Why Stacey Abrams is Leading The Fight Against Voter Suppression | The Backstory | The New Yorker

The former Georgia congresswoman and House minority leader told comedian and political commentator Stephen Colbert Monday on The Late Show that she put together a 21-page deck 10 years ago and traveled with it to garner support from Democratic donors. "And my argument was 1. We had a demographic shift that was happening that we had to harness. 2. We had an inchoate message for 21st century Democrats that needed to be refined. We had to know what we stood for," she said. "And 3. we had to build an infrastructure that didn't rely on every single election but really sought to win no matter who was on the ticket.

"And so we built it from the ground up. We ran state (legislator) races, but we also invested in city council races and (district attorney) races, all the way up to the presidential race." Abrams said consistency was key to the success of her efforts.

"So many groups have been doing this work for a long time, but it's feast or famine," she said. "When there's a candidate who wants to invest, you'll get the resources, and then you're just struggling to get by. And we were able to create a bit of sustainability in the infrastructure, which meant we could win again and again and build up to this big victory in November. "

Sen. Doug Jones, who lost his recent reelection bid to Republican Tommy Tuberville, told Politico Democrats should be using Abrams' work in Georgia as a model for the entire party. Jones said the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee "spend too much time investing in candidates and not the electorate."

"They don't invest in House districts, they don't invest in states," he said.

Abrams and the grassroots organizers she works with invested in Georgians. Sen. Nikema Williams, the first Black woman to serve as chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Georgia, told MSNBC's Joy Reid it's important to show the people their power. She's slated to fill the congressional seat of the late civil rights leader John Lewis. "People talk about Stacey Abrams. She absolutely deserves the credit, but what Stacey has said time and time again, this is not about one person, one candidate, or one election cycle," Williams said. "It's about giving the power back to people who felt unheard and unseen for far too long."

Abrams and Williams alike are turning their attention to Georgia's Senate runoffs when Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock could unseat Republican senators and win the party a Senate majority. "We have raised $6 million (!) so far to help jumpstart the Jan 5 Senate runoff elections," Abrams tweeted Monday.

When asked about her confidence in the two runoff elections, Williams said: "We're breaking norms this cycle." "We're going to continue to build upon what Stacey Abrams made possible in the state, and we know that we can win for Democrats," Williams added.

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