with Mariana Alfaro

New York Times correspondent Jim Tankersley lays out in his new book how reducing barriers for minorities and women to participate in the workforce helped fuel the boom that gave America the world’s most prosperous middle class in the decades after World War II. “The Riches of This Land,” published on Tuesday, tells the story of the stagnation that followed through the struggles of individuals he has met from Oregon and Ohio to North Carolina and California during two decades of covering economic policy. Tankersley argues that combating persistent discrimination based on race and gender could go a long way toward restoring upward mobility and creating a new golden age for the middle class.

The 320-page book offers deep introspection on mistakes that Tankersley believes he and other journalists inadvertently made when framing the hollowing out of the middle class for readers, especially during the 2016 presidential campaign. He argues that the mainstream media erred by devoting vastly more attention to the plight of non-college-educated White men in the Midwest than their Black counterparts who were also feeling left behind.

While many White people in the region were deciding whether to vote for Donald Trump and his nativist rhetoric after previously backing Barack Obama, a lot of African Americans who had turned out twice for Obama were deciding whether to vote at all. Ultimately, many of them stayed home. Trump won the battleground state of Michigan, for instance, with fewer votes than Mitt Romney lost it with as the GOP presidential nominee four years earlier.

“We missed a big and important story about Black workers and their economic struggles and how it was going to affect their decision to vote or not. But we also misled our audiences by showing them a picture of the working class that was not complete and allowed politicians to distort it,” Tankersley explained in a telephone interview. “The sad and unfortunate product of that was we perpetuated this myth that working-class White men are suffering alone in America and do not have anything in common with these other struggling workers. The idea that women, immigrants or workers of color are in competition with them for prosperity is wrong. It's not what American history shows us.”

As Tankersley writes in a chapter of his book devoted to this theme: “We whitewashed the middle class, and in the process, we legitimized a lie.”

Tankersley covered economic policy for The Washington Post during the 2016 election cycle and has been on the same beat for the New York Times since 2017. After growing up in a working-class Oregon logging town and serving as editor in chief of the Stanford Daily, Tankersley worked at the Portland Oregonian and Toledo Blade before coming to Washington to work for the Chicago Tribune and National Journal.

“To be really clear, I think it was good that we did a lot of stories about the struggles of White workers,” he said. “I just think we needed to do even more stories about other workers who were struggling. I also don't want to at all downplay the economic distress that the White working class in the industrial Midwest has gone through in the 21st century. It is severe, and if you are a worker without a college degree in states like Ohio or Michigan or Pennsylvania, you have a lot to be angry about. The economy has not performed for you the way that it did a generation before and the way that you were told that it was going to. Obviously, discrimination is acute against workers of color in different ways, but in terms of the economy not working for them, everybody's feeling it.”

The novel coronavirus has underscored many of the fragilities in our economy that Tankersley addresses in the book. It has demonstrated how tens of millions of Americans were living on the edge of poverty, despite a decade of uninterrupted GDP growth. The book was mostly written before the pandemic plummeted the country into its worst economic crisis in a century, but Tankersley was able to update the conclusion with some fresh thoughts. None of the developments of the past five months, though, change any of his recommendations for restoring upward mobility.

When we chatted, Tankersley emphasized that minority groups are suffering the most both from the virus itself and its economic contagiousness. They disproportionately work in jobs that cannot be completed from home. White workers who were laid off in the spring have been hired back at higher rates than Black workers. Unemployment benefits tend to be less generous in the Southern states, where African Americans make up a higher share of the unemployed. “All of these things speak to the idea that these are the workers we need to be finding better and greater opportunities for,” he said. 

Tankersley plans to watch closely during the Democratic convention next week and the Republican convention the week after that to see what Joe Biden and Trump specifically promise to do for everyone in the working class. “The president has not really announced a second-term agenda at all, and he’s leaned heavily on things like opportunity zones for his claims to have revitalized the Black community. I'll be interested to see if he offers any more concrete solutions,” he said. “And Biden has a huge plank on his platform for racial equity and better economic outcomes, but there is a real question of: What are his priorities? What does he want to choose to put front and center? I'm hopeful that we'll learn some things about both candidates at the conventions because, unlike 2016, it's actually harder to tell what either of their priorities would be if they win.” 

The good news, Tankersley said, is that print and television outlets are more aggressively covering the Black working class than four years ago. This is, partly, an unfortunate side effect of non-Whites suffering the most in the recession. It is also because of the national reckoning on race after George Floyd was killed on Memorial Day in police custody. But Tankersley noted that there was also more sophisticated coverage of the economic situations of Black workers before South Carolina’s Democratic primary in February.

“It still isn't perfect,” he said. “I wouldn't call it a complete correction of the problems that we had in 2016, but I do think it's a lot better. … Clearly the awareness is higher this time around.”

The election

Supporters favoring a Black woman as Biden’s running mate made a final push. 

The two Black women Biden has been most seriously considering are Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice. He also spoke directly with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is White, earlier this month. She traveled to Delaware. Other in-person interviews have stayed secret. 

“More than 100 prominent Black men released a strongly worded open letter Monday, warning Biden that not picking a Black woman would cost him the election. The signatories of the letter included rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, radio show host Lenard McKelvey (a.k.a. Charlamagne tha God), actor Cedric Kyles (a.k.a. Cedric the Entertainer), commentator Van Jones, Bishop William J. Barber and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, among others,” Michael Scherer and Jenna Johnson report. “The letter followed a similar public statement from more than 700 ‘Concerned Black Women Leaders’ on Friday, who challenged the ‘relentless attacks on Black women and our leadership abilities’ that have accompanied the running mate search.”

We’ll probably find out Biden's VP pick today. He's been holed up at his beach house making the decision.

“Dolphins spring out of the water in the early morning here. As the day warms, beachgoers take their place in the waves. And for those lying on the shore, a small plane flies down the coast with a banner advertising Discovery Channel's ‘Shark Week,’” Annie Linskey reports from Rehoboth Beach, Del. “Biden has emerged a few times in recent days, riding his bike Saturday at a nearby state park — without a helmet, as is allowed in Delaware. He attended church services Sunday and took a selfie with an acquaintance outside (masks were worn, social distancing practiced). … Biden’s home is large, but it’s hardly the biggest on a cul-de-sac that includes several palatial new homes. He bought his two-story, six-bedroom beach house [for $2.7 million] in June 2017, about two years after the death of his eldest son, Beau. … A few months after buying the property, the Bidens spent about $44,000 putting in a pool, property records show. …

If he were to stroll down to Rehoboth’s famous mile-long boardwalk, he’d find that the political merch in beach-adjacent shops is largely pro-Trump. … Teenage girls interrupted their sunbathing to write ‘Trump 2020’ in the sand. … At a beachwear shop called South Beach, T-shirts for sale read, ‘Hell Yeah, I Voted Trump And Will Do It Again’ and ‘Trump 2020 — the Sequel.’ Just one pro-Biden 2020 shirt was for sale. ‘We put that there as a joke,’ explained a clerk. Igal Cohen, the owner, said his clientele does not support Biden. ‘The demand is not there’ for Biden-branded goods, Cohen said. Trump coronavirus masks are particularly popular, he added, despite the president’s own resistance to wearing them.”

  • Trump said he will deliver his Republican convention acceptance speech from either the White House or Gettysburg, Pa. (Felicia Sonmez)
  • Record numbers of voters are expected to cast their ballots by mail today in a slew of primaries and runoffs in Georgia, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont and South Dakota. In Connecticut, state officials said power outages brought on by Hurricane Isaias caused significant mail delays last week, which in turn threatened the eligibility of 20,000 ballots mailed to voters last week. Wisconsin and Georgia election officials hope to redeem their disastrous performances from primaries earlier this year. (Amy Gardner)
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) launched an attack ad against Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison that makes repeated mentions of Hillary Clinton but has no references to Biden. It’s a reflection of how Trump’s lines of attack on Biden haven’t stuck yet. Graham and Harrison were running neck-and-neck in a Quinnipiac poll released last week. (Felicia Sonmez)
  • “An internal investigation by Facebook has uncovered thousands of groups and pages, with millions of members and followers, that support the QAnon conspiracy theory,” NBC News reports. “The top 10 groups identified in the investigation collectively contain more than 1 million members, with totals from more top groups and pages pushing the number of members and followers past 3 million. … The company is considering an option similar to its handling of anti-vaccination content, which is to reject advertising and exclude QAnon groups and pages from search results and recommendations.”
  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) subpoenaed the FBI for documents related to the Russia investigation. (Tom Hamburger and Karoun Demirjian)
America’s summer of racial unrest continues.

Newly released body camera video of George Floyd’s fatal interaction with Minneapolis police shows that medical personnel waited nearly three minutes to perform chest compressions in an attempt to revive the handcuffed man who had been pinned down on a Minneapolis street until he lost consciousness in May. (Holly Bailey)

  • Seattle’s police chief retired hours after the city council voted to strip $3 million from the department and reduce its size by up to 100 officers. Chief Carmen Best, the city’s first Black police chief, is leaving after months of turmoil. (Tim Elfrink
  • Trump suggested the National Guard should be deployed after another weekend of unrest in Portland, Ore., but the governor and mayor rejected the idea. In Chicago, looting on Sunday night and early Monday left shop windows smashed across downtown as people ransacked high-end stores, but authorities described it as the work of vandals, not protesters. (Mark Guarino, Katie Shepherd and Griff Witte)
  • Local Portland activist Cameron Whitten started the Black Resilience Fund in the wake of protests to offer direct cash assistance to Black Portlanders with no strings attached, no bureaucracy and very few questions asked. He’s already raised $1.42 million. (Maureen O’Hagan)

The coronavirus

Russia unveiled a vaccine before final testing is complete.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that the country has become the first to approve a coronavirus vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya Institute in Moscow, with production and tens of thousands of inoculations to follow,” Isabelle Khurshudyan and Carolyn Johnson report. He even said his own daughter has already been inoculated with it. “Officials have pledged to vaccinate millions of people, including teachers and front-line health-care workers, with the experimental formula beginning this month, raising global alarm that the country is jumping dangerously ahead of critical, large-scale testing that is essential to determine if it is safe and effective. Russian officials have said that a second vaccine from the state research center in Siberia, Vector, is not far behind. … 

The vaccine will be named ‘Sputnik,’ a reference to the first orbital satellite, which was launched by the Soviet Union and started the great Cold War space race. … The shots could be harmful or give people a false sense of security about their immunity. China has already authorized one vaccine for use in its military, ahead of definitive data that it is safe and effective. … The leading Russian vaccine candidate has so far been tested in small, early clinical trials designed to find the right dose and assess any safety concerns. It was given to scientists who developed it — in self-experimentation that is unusual in modern science — 50 members of the Russian military and a handful of other volunteers. … The World Health Organization still lists the Gamaleya vaccine as being in Phase I.”

Meanwhile, the global count of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million. “Worryingly, that number represents double the infections that had been reported as recently as late June. After the first coronavirus cases were found in China in December, it took roughly six months for the worldwide count to reach 10 million. Another 10 million cases have been detected in the past six weeks alone,” Antonia Farzan reports. “Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, noted in a Monday video message that the global death toll was poised to surpass 750,000 this week. Behind such milestones is ‘a great deal of pain and suffering,’ he said, adding that it was ‘never too late to turn the outbreak around.’ ‘My message is crystal clear: suppress, suppress, suppress the virus,’ he said. ‘If we suppress the virus effectively, we can safely open up societies.’”

Trump is considering blocking citizens and legal residents from entering the country over the virus. 

“White House officials have been circulating a proposal that would give U.S. border authorities the extraordinary ability to block U.S. citizens and permanent residents from entering the country from Mexico if they are suspected of being infected with the novel coronavirus,” Chelsea Janes, Brady Dennis, Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey report. “It is unclear whether the Trump administration has the legal authority to block citizens and permanent residents from returning to their own country, but one official said the administration is weighing a public health emergency declaration that would let the White House keep out potentially infected Americans. Medical experts have warned the administration that such restrictions would make little difference in controlling the pandemic, because widespread community transmission already is occurring in the United States. The country’s outbreak is the world’s worst, with more than 5 million confirmed cases. There is sharp dissent within the administration about the plan to keep sick Americans from traveling back into the country.”

  • New Zealand reported four new cases, ending a more than 100-day streak without recording any community transmission. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Auckland will impose new restrictions as officials assess the threat. The first new confirmed case is a person who has no history of international travel. All members of their household were tested, and three more out of six tested positive. (Jennifer Hassan)
  • ProPublica reports that the Trump administration has pushed thousands of migrant children back to their home countries since March without legal screenings or protection, citing the risk that they could be carrying the coronavirus: “But by the time the children are boarded on planes home, they’ve already been tested for the virus — and proven not to have it. ICE’s comprehensive testing appears to undermine the rationale for the mass expulsion policy.”
  • The state of California has spent $43 million suing the Trump administration. “The lawsuits have prevented or stalled the Trump administration’s efforts to put a citizenship question on the census, weaken climate change policies, revoke California’s authority to set its own car pollution standards and rescind an Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that protects young immigrants from deportation,” the Sacramento Bee reports.
D.C. children from low-income and minority families disproportionately test positive for the contagion.

“The study, published last week in Pediatrics by researchers from Children’s National Hospital and George Washington University, examined 1,000 children tested in March and April at a pediatric drop-in site in Northeast Washington,” Justin Wm. Moyer and Fenit Nirappil report. “About 21 percent of children tested positive at the D.C. testing site, the study said, but positivity rates varied greatly by race. About 46 percent of Hispanic children and 30 percent of Black children tested positive, according to the study, while 7 percent of non-Hispanic White children did. Poorer children tested at the site — with household income measured by census data linked to patients’ addresses — also were more likely to test positive, the study found. About 9 percent of children whose families earned more than $157,000 a year tested positive, while 38 percent of children whose families earned below $70,000 did.” (Read the study for yourself.)

  • Trump’s Interior Department said it will reopen 53 Native American schools for in-person learning. Families can opt for virtual learning, but instructors must still teach in person. “If the Navajo Nation were its own state, it would have the highest infection rate in the country,” NBC News reports.
  • New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) plans to bring 700,000 students back to school buildings next month. Under the plan, approved by the state, students who opted for in-person instruction will still do much of their learning virtually and will go to the classroom only on certain days to prevent crowding. (Moriah Balingit)
  • Boston refused to close schools during the 1918 flu. Then children began to die. (Dustin Waters)
Trump was escorted out of a coronavirus press briefing after the Secret Service shot a man outside the White House. 

“The 51-year-old man had approached an officer posted near 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW around 5:50 p.m. and said he had a weapon, said Thomas Sullivan, chief of the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service. He said the man ran aggressively toward the officer and withdrew an object from his clothing. Sullivan said the man then crouched in a ‘shooter’s stance’ as if about to fire. The officer shot him, striking him in the torso, Sullivan said. The man was not further identified. The Secret Service said he and the officer were taken to a hospital,” Clarence Williams, Anne Gearan, Carol Leonnig and Martin Weil report. “Trump, who spoke about the shooting after he returned to the White House briefing room, said he understood that the person was armed. Two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the investigation said no weapon was recovered at the scene.”

Governors raised concerns over Trump’s executive moves and called on Congress to act.

A bipartisan statement released by the National Governors Association pointed to “significant administrative burdens and costs” associated with attempting to implement a new plan Trump announced over the weekend, which would attempt to provide $400 weekly emergency unemployment benefits, with states required to apply for the funds and pay a quarter of the cost. “The statement was issued by National Governors Association chairman Andrew M. Cuomo, the Democratic governor of New York, and vice chairman Asa Hutchinson, the Republican governor of Arkansas,” Erica Werner, Tony Romm and Jeff Stein report. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) each insisted that the other party’s refusal to compromise was the reason no deal had been struck on a new coronavirus relief bill … 

It’s not workable in its current form,’ Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, said Monday.Officials in Arizona, Colorado, Maryland and Michigan also said Monday they are awaiting further guidance from Washington, only adding to the days in which millions of Americans have gone without enhanced federal jobless aid since the last round of relief expired July 31. In Washington, state officials expressed concerns that the way in which the White House devised the program threatened to cut into funds that they had planned to use to pay for personal protective equipment and other costs associated with the coronavirus pandemic. … Even while defending the executive actions Trump took over the weekend, White House officials said they still hoped to strike a broader deal with Congress. The administration acknowledges that many steps they would like to take — such as a new round of $1,200 checks to individuals, and money to schools and small businesses — are not possible without congressional action.”

  • The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is requiring all employees to wear masks during Zoom calls, even if they’re alone at home. The agency wants staff to set an example. (Antonia Farzan)
  • Long Beach, Calif., Mayor Robert Garcia lost his mother and stepfather to the virus while he battled the spread in his city. (Reis Thebault)
  • Cuomo (D) rejected calls for an independent investigation into nursing home deaths in his state, claiming that such an inquiry would be political in nature. At least 6,000 residents of state-regulated nursing homes died of covid-19. (NY1)
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows drew a hard line during the talks. 

“In private, [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi began to refer to Meadows as ‘the Enforcer,’ the implication being he was there to ensure [Treasury Secretary Steven] Mnuchin didn’t make a deal with the Democrats,” Seung Min Kim, Erica Werner and Josh Dawsey report. “Unlike in previous rounds, when Pelosi held out for a better deal for Democrats and ultimately forced major concessions from Republicans, this time administration officials, led by Meadows, walked away. Now, Democrats are facing questions about their tactics and whether playing hardball will continue to work when someone like Meadows is intimately involved. … Democrats say it was Meadows more than anyone else who was responsible for the failure to deliver on this round of talks. They had successfully negotiated four bipartisan bills in March and April, mostly before Meadows had officially joined the White House as chief of staff.”

This nugget from the story illustrates how little mutual trust existed between the White House and Democrats: Irritated by leaks, Pelosi instituted a rule forbidding anyone in the negotiations from bringing in their phones, so that talks couldn’t be recorded. But Meadows refused to surrender his device upon entering Pelosi’s office last Wednesday, insisting he had an important call to take. Pelosi told Meadows that the phone had to go or he did. She suggested that Meadows’s aide exit the room with Meadows’s phone and alert him when the call arrived. Meadows said the assistant had to stay to take notes. Finally, Mnuchin intervened, offering up a Treasury Department staffer to exit the room with Meadows’s phone and tell him when the call came through. Meadows accepted that solution — while insisting to Pelosi that he was not the source of any leaks. 

Meadows, 61, was never a legislative guru during his seven years on Capitol Hill — a tenure that was marked more by his willingness to wage ideological internecine warfare against other Republicans. … As a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, Meadows … endorsed an ultimately futile strategy in 2013 to force a government shutdown over funding for the Affordable Care Act. He served on committees that tended to showcase partisanship, rather than consensus. … During one meeting with senior Senate GOP appropriators, Meadows acknowledged that he was in an awkward position of advocating for a deal he would not have supported but that his task now was to help Trump strike an agreement. …  ‘If Mark Meadows were still alive, he’d be appalled at the amount of spending going on around here,’ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) quipped at a closed-door party lunch on Aug. 5. … Everyone laughed, including Meadows.”

Quote of the day

“From my standpoint, the breakdown in the talks is very good news. It’s very good news for future generations,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), arguing that he doesn’t support any new spending that would add to the federal debt. “I hope the talks remain broken down.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The pandemic is reshaping spending patterns.

“Microsoft says its Azure cloud-computing business booked record revenue, David Lynch reports.Consumer goods maker Church & Dwight expanded manufacturing capacity for its Arm & Hammer laundry detergent to keep pace with demand, even though sales of its Trojan-brand condoms slumped in an extreme example of social distancing. And Albertsons, the nation’s second-largest supermarket chain, reported that same-store sales leaped by more than 26 percent compared with the same period last year. The rise of some companies, and the fall of others, comes as the economy struggles to recover from the record 9.5 percent quarterly decline in economic activity over the spring. …

Investors are struggling to distinguish between fleeting and permanent changes. Already, clothiers specializing in attire for offices that people no longer frequent such as Brooks Brothers are sliding into bankruptcy while producers of more casual garb like Lululemon prosper. In the days ahead, Americans may leave the cities for suburban and rural areas, denting prospects for commercial real estate and boosting the residential market. Cashless payments could finally eclipse traditional currency. Not all of the changes have solidified. But the emerging new normal will mean less money spent on air travel and more on stay-at-home comforts, which explains disappointing earnings from commercial airline maker Boeing and engine manufacturer General Electric.” 

Uber said the number of rides booked plummeted 75 percent in April, May and June. It's not clear when customers will return. Lyft had previously said its April ridership was down 75 percent from the previous year. A judge in California, meanwhile, ruled on Monday that the two ride-hailing companies must make their drivers in the state full-time employees. The companies plan to appeal, warning that this would upend their business model. (Faiz Siddiqui)

College football players are leading the drive to stay on the field, as the season threatens to collapse. 

The players spoke forcefully over the weekend, stating that the fall season could be saved. “Their calls to move forward with the season were echoed Monday by Trump, congressmen and some prominent programs, even as momentum seemed to tilt toward cancellation,” Chuck Culpepper and Cindy Boren report. “The leaders of college sports reportedly will determine the fate of the football season this week after Connecticut became the first of the 130 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs to cancel its 2020 season over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The Mid-American Conference followed on Saturday, becoming the first conference in the top-tier FBS to do so. Against that backdrop, the message from players highlighted one of the unforeseen residual effects of the pandemic: college football players accessing their untapped reservoir of power. It began with a unity group from the Pac-12, which last week expressed concerns about the pandemic as well as players’ rights in a statement similar to the national statement. On Sunday night, players shared a social media message that arose from a Zoom meeting and featured #WeWantToPlay and #WeAreUnited hashtags.” 

  • Sports columnist Sally Jenkins argues that college presidents in the Power Five conferences should hit the pause button on the season: “College football is caught in the coronavirus culture war. The only smart choice is caution.”
  • Two Cleveland Indians pitchers were placed in quarantine after violating protocols, as more games involving the St. Louis Cardinals were postponed. Meanwhile, New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman opted out of the season, saying that seeing outbreaks “makes you realize how hard it is to make sure that everything is buttoned up, 24/7, from every angle.” (Boren
  • Disney World will cut hours after reopening to smaller-than-expected crowds. (Shannon McMahon)

The new world order

Belarus opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was exiled to Lithuania.

“As violent clashes between protesters and security forces in Belarus broke out for a second straight night Monday over disputed election results, the main opposition candidate has left the country — not of her own free will, according to her campaign,” Isabelle Khurshudyan reports. “Authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko has cracked down on demonstrators with stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas after what domestic critics and other countries have called a fraudulent outcome showed him winning more than 80 percent of the vote. … Tikhanovskaya’s campaign told the independent Belarusan media site, Tut.by, that she had agreed to leave Belarus as part of a deal she made with authorities to free her campaign manager, Maria Moroz, who was detained on the eve of Sunday's election. Moroz is now apparently in Lithuania with Tikhanovskaya.” 

Lebanon’s prime minister will step down amid large protests following the deadly blast. 

“In a televised address, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said a level of corruption ‘bigger than the state’ precipitated the events that led to the blast, which erupted in a warehouse that contained 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored there for years despite repeated warnings that it was unsafe,” Louisa Loveluck, Loveday Morris and Liz Sly report. “‘Only God knows how many catastrophes they are hiding,’ he said in an apparent reference to the country’s ruling elite. ‘That’s why I have announced my resignation today. May Allah protect Lebanon.’ President Michel Aoun said that Diab and his cabinet will stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new government is formed, which could require months of political wrangling. As Diab announced his resignation, there was little celebration among demonstrators in Beirut’s central Martyrs’ Square. Protesters thronged the downtown streets for a third day as security forces used tear gas to push them back.” Lebanese security officials warned Diab and Aoun about the explosives last month, Reuters reports.

Social media speed read

New Jersey, one of three states with more than 10,000 confirmed fatalities from the coronavirus, offered a timely reminder:

Trump’s former director of the National Economic Council and the ex-president of Goldman Sachs warned about consolidation:

As reporters race to break the story of Biden’s pick, the ghost of this 2004 mistake looms large:

Videos of the day

Seth Meyers called Trump’s latest executive orders a “sham”:

Stephen Colbert understands why Europe isn’t impressed with America’s handling of the virus: 

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) talked to Trevor Noah about calling out racism within her own party:

And Trump again showcased the historical illiteracy that has been a hallmark of his tenure in office: