Mike Pence visited the Mayo Clinic without a mask, violating his own government’s guidance

Vice President Mike Pence visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, on Tuesday — and notably did so without wearing a mask.

In a since-deleted tweet, the Mayo Clinic said it informed Pence of its policy requiring visitors to wears masks before his visit. Pence, however, didn’t follow it.

In choosing not to wear a mask, Pence not only ignored the Mayo’s policy, he ignored the recommendations of his own government, which has advised Americans to wear face coverings in public to slow the spread of Covid-19.

A press pool video of Pence’s visit shows everyone in Pence’s entourage wearing …

How Washington state, a model for public health, plans to relax social distancing

Seattle was the first place in the US to go into lockdown over the coronavirus, after an outbreak at a local nursing home woke Americans up to the threat the virus presented. Now, the city and Washington state are starting to plan for an eventual, gradual reopening.

Public health experts credit Gov. Jay Inslee and local leaders for taking the dramatic steps necessary to get the Covid-19 outbreak in the state under control. And the curve there is flattening, with new cases and deaths down from their earlier peak. But the economy has endured the same shock felt

What a climate change film Michael Moore helped make gets terribly wrong

Last week marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. To celebrate the occasion, filmmaker Michael Moore dropped a new movie he produced, Planet of the Humans. In less than a week, it has racked up over 3 million views on YouTube.

But the film, directed by Jeff Gibbs, a long-time Moore collaborator, is not the climate message we’ve all been waiting for — it’s a nihilistic take, riddled with errors about clean energy and climate activism. With very little evidence, it claims that renewables are disastrous and that environmental groups are corrupt.

What’s more, it has nothing …

Trump used his latest coronavirus briefing to push a bizarre lie about the deficit

Though the proceedings were ostensibly about the coronavirus, President Donald Trump used Monday’s press briefing to push a puzzlingly brazen lie about his stewardship of the federal budget — an example of how consistently he just doesn’t tell the truth.

As part of his argument that he oversaw the development of the greatest economy in world history prior to the coronavirus reaching US shores and wrecking things, Trump claimed that “if you look, prior to this virus, the deficit was coming down under my administration.” He said this was due to him putting “massive tariffs on China” — tariffs that …

Sunday’s virtual Sondheim concert was the most cathartic experience of quarantine so far

On Sunday night, stars of stage and screen gathered in their homes to put on a virtual concert in celebration of legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday. The concert, hosted by Raúl Esparza, was an intimate Zoom celebration. The party was periodically plagued by technical glitches — it started more than an hour late, after a long period in which no sound was audible — but in the end, it didn’t matter. The whole experience turned out to be perfect for this moment in time, whether or not you’re a musical theater devotee. Sondheim is our great bard of …

New York is the first state to cancel a presidential primary over coronavirus concerns

New York state has canceled its June 23 Democratic presidential primary, becoming the first state to do so over concerns about the coronavirus.

The decision came after a Monday vote by commissioners on the New York State Board of Elections. The decision will not impact primaries for congressional, state-level, and local races, which will be held the same day and largely conducted through absentee ballot.

With more than 288,045 confirmed coronavirus cases and 22,000 deaths, New York is the state hardest hit by the virus in the US. Already, the state had postponed its primary from April 28 …

Trump keeps using “sarcasm” to explain away his embarrassing statements

President Donald Trump’s new thing appears to be using implausible claims of “sarcasm” to explain away his embarrassing public statements.

On Sunday, for the second time in three days, Trump said something ridiculous, was widely mocked for it, and then tried to walk it back by saying his original comment was meant sarcastically. Notably, the most recent incident came amid a full-day Twitter meltdown that stood out even by Trump’s standards.

That meltdown happened on a day in which more than 1,000 Americans died from the coronavirus. It was also first lady Melania Trump’s birthday. But after attending a virtual …

How the pandemic turned Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer into an unlikely firebrand

Gretchen Whitmer has been called a lot of things in the last few weeks.

The Michigan governor is a “rising star for Democrats,” according to the Washington Post, and a potential vice-presidential pick for presumptive nominee Joe Biden. According to President Donald Trump, though, she’s “the woman in Michigan” or “Gretchen ‘Half’ Whitmer.” And if you ask right-wing protesters, she’s a tyrant trampling on Michiganders’ rights during the coronavirus pandemic.

The thing is, though, Whitmer has never been a political firebrand. The Lansing native ran for governor in 2018 on a platform of fixing

Governors say Trump’s disinfectant comments prompted hundreds of poison center calls

Govs. Larry Hogan of Maryland (R) and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan (D) said Sunday that President Donald Trump’s recent comments musing about whether disinfectant could potentially be injected as a remedy for coronavirus caused a surge in phone calls to emergency hotlines in their states inquiring about its truth.

“When misinformation comes out, or you just say something that pops in your head, it does send a wrong message,” Hogan said on ABC’s This Week. “We had hundreds of calls come into our emergency hotline at our health department asking if it was right to ingest Clorox or alcohol …

A single Trump tweet sums up his media strategy: Confusion

President Donald Trump has several huge fights on his hands: America is under attack from a brutal pandemic. Its economy is collapsing. And he is facing a difficult reelection campaign.

In the absence of real plans to solve any of these, Trump is relying on a move that comes reflexively for him: Blasting out messages that are either pointless digressions or outright lies — not to persuade people, but to distract and confuse them.

Take, for instance, a tweet he took the time to fire off Saturday afternoon that seemed petty even by his own Twitter standards: He wanted …