Federalist Society Super-Spreader Plausible Deniability

There’s a remarkable paragraph in this NYT story explaining that the White House refuses to contact trace the attendees at the party for “pro-life” Amy Coney Barrett, a feeding frenzy of Federalist Society members itching to fill another SCOTUS seat, where numerous people caught a deadly disease.

The White House has decided not to trace the contacts of guests and staff members at the Rose Garden celebration 10 days ago for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, where at least eight people, including the president, may have become infected, according to a White House official familiar with the plans.

The paragraph suggests, based on no evidence, that the gala of Federalist Society members is where the President got sick.

And yet the rest of the story suggests that the White House knows that’s not what happened, that the President may well have, instead, made everyone else sick.

If the White House didn’t at least suspect that the President was the vector at the gala, after all, they would not pursue the policy of keeping all contact tracing in-house and limiting it to those who contacted the President for the two days — presumably meaning 48 hours — in advance of his late Thursday night confirmed diagnosis.

Instead, it has limited its efforts to notifying people who came in close contact with Mr. Trump in the two days before his Covid diagnosis Thursday evening. It has also cut the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has the government’s most extensive knowledge and resources for contact tracing, out of the process.


After Mr. Trump’s illness was diagnosed, an internal C.D.C. email on Friday asked the agency’s scientists to be ready to go to Washington for contact tracing, but a request from the White House for assistance never came, according to two senior C.D.C. scientists.

Instead, the tracing efforts are being run by the White House Medical Unit, a group of about 30 doctors, nurses and physician assistants, headed by Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, who has been the public spokesman for Mr. Trump’s doctors.

Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said that a “robust contact tracing program” was underway “led by the White House Medical Unit with C.D.C. integration.” The “integration” refers to an epidemiologist from the C.D.C. who has been detailed to the unit since March, according to a White House official.

The two day contact tracing is guaranteed not to show that Trump could have infected anyone at the debate, which was slightly more than 48 hours before Trump was diagnosed.

More importantly, it guarantees that Trump cannot be shown to be the vector that exposed a great number of important people, including at least three Senators critical to the effort to rush through Barnett’s confirmation before the election, and possibly even the Chief Justice.

The NYT has very good reason to suspect that Trump was infected before the Federalist Society super-spreader party. That’s because NYT White House Correspondent Michael Shear is among the journalists who has tested positive in this latest White House cluster. Shear believes he had to have been infected on September 26, but he didn’t attend the super-spreader event. He showed up to the White House earlier that day to take a COVID test, and then, later that evening, flew on Air Force One, where Trump spoke to reporters, not wearing a mask, for about 10 minutes.

While there are other possibilities, if Trump infected Shear during that short conversation, it would mean that the President would have been shedding COVID earlier in the day, all over the VIPs at the event full of Federalist Society members.

By admitting they need to contract trace back the two days before Trump was diagnosed, the White House is now all but admitting that Trump was already positive at the debate, meaning his 77-year old opponent has narrowly survived exposure the disease too. But they’re only doing that to avoid admitting what is quite likely, but far more damning: that he was the vector by which everyone else got infected on September 26.

Hours ago, Kellyanne Conway confirmed what her troubled daughter Claudia earlier claimed on TikTok. Claudia has now tested positive (though George, who no longer gets invited to the best Federalist Society galas, apparently did not). Kellyanne tried to suggest that there had been no delay in her own diagnosis, thereby denying that she’s the advisor described in a WSJ article who was ordered to lie about her diagnosis.

But there was a delay. There was a delay because the White House is desperately trying to cover up that the President may have been the one who infected all those VIPs. Those VIPs, and now an innocent 15-year old young woman.

Update: Clarified why I’m branding this to the “pro-life” Federalist Society.

Update: Corrected to note that Joe Biden was likely exposed to the disease. There’s no indication he (or John Roberts, who was likely also exposed to it) have contracted it. h/t TW

Update: Shear told Axios that his spouse has now tested positive.

173 replies
    • emptywheel says:

      There are people from whom we have not heard diagnoses. Leo is one.

      Chief Justice Roberts is another.

      • Spencer Dawkins says:


        I’m just waking up, so not current, but – any word on Bill Barr, beyond that he’s in quarantine?

        • emptywheel says:

          Not that I’ve seen. I think most people may sit on a diagnosis unless they have to explain an obvious illness. Particularly if, like Billy Barr, they have certain authorities they don’t want to delegate.

          Quarantining provides a way to do that.

          Barr appointed one of his counselors to take over as US Attorney for WDTX, a position that will oversee voter suppression in TX and the resolution of any federal investigation into Ken Paxton. If he was not competent when he made that designation, then the swap is not legal.

        • MattyG says:

          yes she did, and did as if quarantine does not applies to *infected* essential workers. We’ve gone through this before and continue to go through this in “civilian” life. The distinction was pure BS.

          Refusing to trace (at least officially) is a scandal – because of the difficult to avoid wonten inferences pointed out here..

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          Funny how a guy in the Joint Chief of Staff unit is not an “essential worker” and has to quarantine.

        • Cynthia Perez says:

          I saw a clip of a video on Twitter showing an interview with Giuliani, where he said, “Donald, Chris, and Bill got it, but I, Jared and Ivanka did not.”

      • subtropolis says:

        But also many other less notable figures. Ones whose positive diagnosis might well go under the radar. That’s another reason to avoid any further scrutiny of the Federalist Outbreak. While I’ve also wondered whether Trump himself was the vector at that event, I think that the rash of positives of several attendees alone is bad enough optics.

  1. Teddy says:

    I hope that all the children of Contagious A.C.B. are well; her Downs syndrome child is at particularly elevated risk, I have read among the disability community on Twitter. I also wonder if the Conways’ wealth can protect them from Child Protective Services. That child needs evaluation and possibly removal from the home, especially if her stories of her mother’s untruths aren’t fiction.

    • Roger says:

      Claudia Conway’s response to her mother is a classic when compared to Kellyanne’s “alternative facts” BS. “But mom, that is the way I interpreted it.” The kid has been paying attention, nothing like taking an adult’s words and running it back at them, particularly when the kid is right.

      And as for A.C.B. children or any politicians children and use them as props for advancement and prestige is deplorable. They’re children, let them be children. If you want to gussy them up then go hire a photographer for a family portrait. Keep them off the front pages and our television screens.

      • Artemesia says:

        I loathe everything ACB stands for and it is monstrous to have her on the SC BUT for kids to participate in happy events for parents is not exploiting them but including them. Because of the COVID risk noone should have been at a big party maskless BUT dressing them up and letting them be there for these important family moments is the right thing to do. The kids were thrilled just as the children of presidents are thrilled when their father is sworn in and will be some day when their mother is.

        • Rayne says:

          No. Abso-fucking-lutely not. ACB’s kids should have been at home. This is NOT business as usual. This is NOT normal. We are in the middle of a pandemic; what would be appropriate pre-pandemic isn’t at all appropriate now.

          Betting you’re not aware what risks COVID poses to young people. Just because their risk of death is much smaller doesn’t mean they won’t experience long-term disability from COVID infection let alone experience severe illness when infected.

          EDIT: My 22-year-old is finishing their last year of college from home. All their university’s classes are remote for a reason. When they take a weekend to visit friends who live near campus, we require them to check contacts and wear a mask while away, and we expect them to wear a mask at home for a week after returning. They may be young and healthy, but we’ve heard of football players who’ve ended up with myocarditis or dead, and we here at home have pre-existing conditions. I’m walking the walk, not just talking the talk; our entire family has given up many events because we can be healthy and alive in a year together, or we can be sick for a long time or dead and our survivors will cluck over photos of us at stupid events we shouldn’t have attended.

        • harpie says:

          New from DB:

          4:15 PM · Oct 7, 2020

          BREAK: The White House warned attendees of the Gold Star family event Sept. 27 that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

          Raises questions about whether it knew there was a COVID-positive individual in attendance

          “The White House has been in daily contact with TGGF for contact-tracing purposes after alerting us on 10/2 of a possible COVID-positive person at the event so we could know there was a potential our attendees were exposed,” said the foundation’s president and CEO, Timothy Davis.

          The WH has said that it only contacts individuals who may have come within six feet of a White House personnel member in the 48 hours preceding their positive test.

          The earliest pos test we know about is Hope Hicks on Sept. 30, three days after the event

    • Rollo T says:

      Someone explain to me how a full time judge has the time to take care of seven kids and give them the attention they need. The Conways are having difficulty with just three.

      • Ruthie says:

        This comment is obnoxious. Women can have careers, even high powered ones, and raise a family. Why no mention of her husband’s ability to maintain a career while raising a family?

        • Fraud Guy says:

          Because she belongs to a sect that places the husband as the head of household and primary breadwinner with the wife as the one to raise a family; effectively applying her standards to herself.

        • Marinela says:

          Very good point.
          She doesn’t believe at least officially, in women equality to a men, her religious believes, if she is not a hypocrite, are putting the burden on her to raise the 7 children.
          Pretty sure she is getting help from nannies, family, close church members, but that is a different story.
          In this aspect, she is talking like a conservative, but walking like a liberal feminist.

        • Margo Schulter says:

          I agree, this kind of argument if it is used at all should be used equally in reference to male justices. Isn’t that what the Notorious RGB worked and fought for?

      • Thomas says:

        One of the adopted kids is a Haitian teenager. Presumably she looks after the younger ones. Far be it from me to invoke the term “indentured servitude”.

        • P J Evans says:

          That happens even without the adoption bit. (My father was one of seven kids, and yes, the oldest daughter got to help with the youngest one (16 years younger). Granny had her hands full between the kids and the house and yard.)

        • Ruthie says:

          I myself am one of 11 – one of the youngest. My oldest sister was absolutely forced to act as a 2nd mom to us younger siblings. She left the house as soon as she turned 18…

          My mother is a staunch Catholic – and a total hypocrite.

        • General Sternwood says:

          Actually this sort of comment about international adoption, especially across when it creates multi-racial families, is not uncommon. I don’t think that making it about a conservative is any less gratuitous than making it about other adoptive parents.

  2. Eureka says:

    Of course Trump is the/a superspreader. Just, of course.

    Check off another box on that screenplay of our times, rejected for too many over-the-top contrivances.

  3. Worried says:

    Trump taking off that mask and staring was very scary.
    Like a piece of cinema where he shows that he has been reborn.
    Then his statement like “You puny humans, I have beaten this silly virus. You don’t need to worry.”
    Having trouble sleeping……..

    • Worried says:

      I remember where I have seen this before:

      Original Star Trek “Where No Man Has Gone Before” Gary Lockwood as a future Trump, Universe saved by Sally Kellerman

      “I, Claudius” Caligula’s metamorphosis from Emperor to Jove after an illness. John Hurt as Trump’s ancestor.

      I am sure there are others, but nothing scarier than now…..

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Any time I walk quickly in a mask, I gasp for fresh air.
      He looked like he was ripping that mask off in a desperate attempt to get more air.

      If his breathing was/is impaired, then his walk up steps created an even greater demand for oxygen.
      He was desperate for air, so he tore the mask off.
      By next week, I doubt that he’ll be able to make it up a flight of stairs.

      I very much want him to survive through Nov 3rd, because I am increasingly convinced that he and the utterly corrupt GOP will receive an historic ass-kicking.

      • P J Evans says:

        I don’t mind him surviving, but I want him in a hospital bed for a few weeks, so he can learn a lot more about the virus without that pesky book-learning.

  4. Troutwaxer says:

    >>> “meaning his 77-year old opponent has narrowly survived contracting the disease too.”

    Sorry to be a pest, but I think you mean “exposure to” not “contracting.” I haven’t seen any news reports of Biden contracting Coronavirus.

  5. WC66 says:

    Trump could not have shown more disdain for masks when he ripped his off on that balcony. He has learned nothing during the past few days except for how he can take personal advantage of his illness. Expecting something otherwise is no different than spending 4 years expecting him to act presidential in any given situation.

    • Ken Muldrew says:

      Unlike the Kremilinology that has been going on over the past few days, this one is just as it appears: a sick person who cannot get enough air into their lungs (they are filling with air, but it feels like they aren’t because the gas exchange is limited).

    • yogarhythms says:

      Max, 7:46am
      At 265LBS standing 95% skeletal muscle inspiration and cough suppression. Not atypical adult ventilatory effort.

      • FLwolverine says:

        Sorry if I’m fuzzy, but do you mean “not a typical” or “not an atypical”? Not being a grammar Nazi; just trying to be clear on your meaning.

      • Margo Schulter says:

        I would read that from the context as “Not a typical adult ventilatory effort.” The missing space between “a” and “typical” is an easy typo with the IPad type of keyboard, at any rate.

    • gmoke says:

      As an asthmatic I can tell you Trmp demonstrated chest and neck breathing which means normal diaphragmatic breathing was not providing enough “breath” to his body. Every inhale and exhale becomes hard work and you fear you are suffocating.

      I’ve experienced this condition myself and it is frightening.

    • Teddy says:

      To be fair (why, Teddy, why must we be fair to this monster?!) Trump had climbed a one-and-a-half story marble staircase outdoors after getting out of the helicopter. As someone as fit as Trump (!) I can attest I would be similarly winded, although perhaps not for the duration he was.

    • Vicks says:

      Not! an expert, but I did notice how odd his eyes looked in the video that was supposedly taken right afterwards. https://youtu.be/lN7sliYigBE
      If you skip to about a minute of this taxpayer funded spectacle to the part where Trump is speaking, you see he is squinting intensely* the right eye closed substantially more than the left.
      It may be the lighting, but from what you are able to see of them, both eyes appear dark and glassy.
      *I avoid watching Trump closely, but for a man clearly not afraid of Botox, such a large squint seems unusual, one eye barely open even more so.

  6. T says:

    FYI, in Mike Allen’s AXIOS newsletter this morning, this news:

    N.Y. Times White House correspondent Michael Shear, who tested positive, tells Axios: “My wife has now tested positive for COVID. The collateral damage is going to be pretty significant, I think.”

  7. BobCon says:

    I agree that there is a strong likelihood that Trump was infected earlier than they admit, and that could push the timeline to the debate.

    I think the refusal to contact trace could also be a sign that they know they had a number of infected people in the White House in addition to Trump, their infection testing and control all along has been haphazard, and the Federalist disaster was just a continuation of an ongoing spread with multiple vectors rather than a flashpoint with a single one.

    • Raven Eye says:

      The D.C. government can’t really do much about a Covid hotspot that’s on federal property. However, they can probably grab samples from the sewage lines and share the results.

      • rip says:

        Excellent suggestion. It used to be that the Capitol Hill sewage ran straight into the Anacostia.

        I would bet that the WH effluent is regurgitated into new MacBudgers.

        • harpie says:


          The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) provides drinking water, sewage collection and sewage treatment in Washington, D.C.. The utility also provides wholesale wastewater treatment services to several adjoining municipalities in Maryland and Virginia, and maintains more than 9,000 public fire hydrants in the District of Columbia. DC Water was created in 1996, when the District Government and the U.S. federal government established it as an independent authority of the District government. […]

          I have no idea if anything could be traced to a particular facility, or area.

        • Raven Eye says:

          It depends on how far upstream you can collect the sample. The farther upstream, the more geographically specific your results. There has been a lot of work in this area for the past several months.

          Think of a subdivision or neighborhood. You can identify the collection area that feeds into any part of the infrastructure from which you can draw a sample. It could be hundreds of homes, but if there is a positive hit, that identifies an area of interest for public health officials and follow-on investigation.

          It is very much in DC’s interest to identify potential hot spots, whether they be workplace or residential. It would make sense to sample sewers that service the Capitol, congressional offices, and the White House.

        • Geoguy says:

          I agree that it makes sense to sample sewers. Sewer authorities usually have very good plans showing their sewer services. Although samples could be isolated upstream to just one building, the virus concentration might not be high enough for an accurate result. Australia’s Chief Scientist addressed this problem for their Minister for Health in the report “Monitoring wastewater to detect COVID-19” dated 21 April 2020 and available from the Australian Academy of Science. One example is that the results become unreliable when the virus concentration is below 1,500 viral RNA copies per litre of waste water. (I have no idea if this is a lot or a little.)

  8. klynn says:

    OT but possible related.
    Do we know yet why “anti Fauci” staffer, Navarro, nixed his Twitter account?

  9. Zinsky says:

    Trump’s behavior, both immediately before his infection and now afterwards, has been deeply irresponsible and criminally negligent. I would think both his Secret Service cadre and the White House press corps would have a civil cause of action, if they become very sick from COVID and suffer lasting physical and/or financial damage. In any case, Trump’s recklessness is unconscionable. My daughter spent three months as a nurse in a COVID unit early in the pandemic and she said Trump is a perfect example of large, overweight older males who exhibit early serious symptoms and then feel fine for a few days, only to crash days later, having sudden acute respiratory arrest and choking from bilateral pneumonia and lung collapse. Just watch – he still has a very rough ride ahead.

    BTW – I heard someone refer to the Amy Coney Barrett event on the South Lawn of the White House as the “Dance on RBG’s Grave Party”. I think that describes this super-spreader event perfectly!

    • klynn says:

      The Rose Garden event was worse than dancing on her grave.

      She was buried in Arlington Cemetery on 9/29/20.

      The Rose Garden Superspreader was 9/26/20.

      RBG had yet to be buried. The Rose Garden event was the most disrespectful act I’ve ever witnessed.

      Clearly, God agrees with me.

      • Zinsky says:

        I believe the pundit was being figurative but point taken. Justice Ginsburg was clearly stone cold dead as the Republican vultures gathered on the South Lawn to both make a mockery of the Hatch Act and to celebrate the upcoming adjudication of the 2020 presidential election in the SCOTUS. If there is a God, the infection of the whole crowd would seem like just rewards.

    • NickinNJ says:

      After I heard that the Rose Garden event could be connected to the WH outbreak, all I could think of was Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, “The Mask of the Red Death”. Where nobles and royals threw a lockdown costume party in an effort to ignore a plague tearing through the countryside.

  10. harpie says:

    What about September 16?

    On October 2, [1:59 AM · Oct 2, 2020] A Brazilian White House correspondent tweeted that 15 days ago, she tweeted this:

    10:47 AM · Sep 16, 2020

    The White House called the journalists from the pool 30 minutes late to get our routine covid test. I was told they were late because “It was a very busy morning. We had a couple of positives today”

    It was only FOUR DAYS AGO, but I’m struggling to remember what might have cased her to write that on October 2, 2020….OY!

    • harpie says:

      Something else which was reported on 9/16, which Marcy retweeted at the time:

      4:44 PM · Sep 16, 2020

      The Senate has confirmed six of Trump’s judicial nominees in the past 30 hours. These are lifetime appointments that McConnell’s pushing through instead of the HEROES Act & other crucial legislation. Every news program should be covering this tonight. #NoMoreTrumpJudges

    • harpie says:

      If Trump tested positive on 9/16, what date would we be looking for for infection date? Is that about 5 days before…ie: 9/11?

      Here’s a VERY nifty site I just found and/or maybe just rediscovered [oy!]

      Donald Trump – President’s Public Schedule
      Schedule updates at midnight Eastern Time, or when pushed out via social media, whichever is earlier. Available as a Google Calendar. Calendar maintained in U.S. Eastern Time and may publish earlier when Trump is overseas.

      • harpie says:

        Huh…would you look at that?!?
        Remarks: Donald Trump Discusses Judicial Appointments – September 9, 2020

        Thank you very much, my fellow Americans. Apart from matters of war and peace, the nomination of a Supreme Court justice is the most important decision an American President can make. For this reason, candidates for President owe the American people a specific list of the individuals they consider for the United States Supreme Court. [AUDIO]

        • harpie says:

          RBG died nine days later.

          “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

        • Chris.EL says:

          Ginsburg … :-) :

          Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton and at the time was generally viewed as a moderate consensus-builder. Wikipedia
          Died: September 18, 2020, Washington, D.C. Trending
          Born: March 15, 1933, Brooklyn
          Spouse: Martin D. Ginsburg (m. 1954–2010)

      • AJcharnc says:

        It seems Agent Orange was not getting tested everyday. So infection can be up to 2 weeks before symptoms, with the most likely answer being 5-8 days.

      • harpie says:

        1] H. Cain was infected in TULSA on JUNE 6. [He died on July 30.]

        2] [Trump did fund raising events and a couple “airport hangar rallies”].

        3] I think the next full-on in person RALLY was in

        [The day before “Donald Trump Discusses Judicial Appointments”, above]
        [10 days before RBG dies.]

        When might ROBERTS have been warned that Ginsberg was in her final days?

        • harpie says:

          Yes, I was just coming here to add a comment that that might be related.

          Via Southpaw:
          11:30 AM · Oct 6, 2020

          1. John Hagee, an evangelical Trump advisor who has tested positive for COVID-19, didn’t attend the Rose Garden event. He DID attend a Sept 15 WH event—10 days before his diagnosis, w/in the 14-day incubation period.

          Appears 100s were there—and largely flouted COVID precautions […]

          3. Since the event was all about brokering a peace deal, guests included people from *all over the world.* // Also lots of U.S. dignitaries. […] [LINK]

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah. This is but more evidence as to why I continue to say that the threat of “corporate Covid liability” is a sham. It is beyond difficult, nee impossible, to prove true causation as to Covid infection point. The liability shield is a giveaway to insurance carriers, not something needed by businesses.

  11. Bobby Gladd says:

    Noot Gingrich says Trump is now a “sort of First Responder.” He’s been to “the Front Lines” and has now personally seen what needs to be done.

    Trump, per CNN:

    “We’re going back. We’re going back to work. We’re gonna be out front. As your leader I had to do that. I knew there’s danger to it but I had to do it,” Trump says in a strange campaign video whipped up by aides within an hour of his return to the White House, in which the President framed himself as a warrior who took on the virus and won.

    “I stood out front. I led. Nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did. I know there’s a risk, there’s a danger,” Trump said, despite his doctors earlier saying he is still not fully “out of the woods” in his fight with the virus.
    28 days. Will U.S. constitutional Democracy survive?

    • klynn says:

      And the follow-up should be:
      DT, if you know there’s a risk, there’s a danger, then why have you NOT followed the science on covid? Why have you not followed safety protocols per the CDC? Why have you not listened to some of our citizens who happen to be global leaders on pandemic risk, infectious disease and public health? Why have you let over 200,000 people die? Why have you infected your staff?

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        Newt is someone whom those displaying the Dunning-Kruger effect consider an intellectual equal.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      Not to make light of this— but I can’t seem to shake Super Chicken’s answer for his sidekick Fred, “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.”

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Judging by the amounts of money being spent by us ‘grassroots’ on campaign donations, a whole lot of people are ‘voting with dollars’ for a whole lot more democracy.

      • ducktree says:

        Indeed! I’ve been sending contributions to Jaime Harrison’s campaign and I live in Southern California, not South Carolina. Every little bit helps. And Lindsey had the nerve during their recent debate to complain, “where is the $100 million coming from?” At least he realizes that he is loathed by many, all over the nation!

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          I think COVID is changing politics in unexpected ways, and it will take a few years to sort out. But —
          (1) record campaign donations from individuals, plus
          (2) long lines to vote early, and
          (3) record requests for mail-in ballots are certainly intriguing ‘tea leaves’.

          That video of ‘Miss Lindsay’ wailing for money was one for the ages… 😎

  12. sand says:

    Perhaps the FedSoc will now see the depth of Trump’s contempt. He may have known that he was (at least possibly if not likely) infected at the ACB party. He might say, “They knew the risks, and they came to the party. These guys are tough. Believe me. And if they die, well, I guess they’re not as tough as I am, but I have great genes, as I’ve said many times, many times. Believe me.”

    It might feel nice to appoint judges, but if Trump had his way, he’d abolish the court entirely. He might say, “Who needs them really? They make a lot of mistakes. I’ll decide. Many people say that I know the Constitution better than anybody. Better than judges who have never been outside a courtroom. I’ve been in 4,000 lawsuits, and some of them were with some real sharks and others were with some very bad hombres. I know the law. Believe me. When you have a case or controversy, just bring it to me. Although, I don’t think there will be many controversies anymore, but maybe some cases, and I’ll just decide. It’s really easy. Not for everybody maybe, but it’s easy if you have a really big brain. So we don’t need the court, and the federalists love me anyway. You should hear the things they’ve said about me. So they’ll be very happy. Believe me.”

    Trump understands that anyone who follows him is a fool. He’s spent his life as a confidence man, and he knows his marks. He has contempt for them because it’s their own fault that they’re fooled by him. As the devil said, “It’s more or less customary for me to cheat mortals in this way.”


  13. Jenny says:

    Trump on the balcony was of course dramatic. What came to mind, “Don’t cry for me Covita.”

    And this is interesting for the pro-life party gang.

    LB on Twitter: 9:26 PM · Oct 5, 2020 https://twitter.com/LauraBray__/status/1313289470909788160
    So it turns out the monoclonal antibodies that Trump is on are from fetal stem cells. So Trump is being treated/saved with dead babies. Republicans? Amy Barrett? Pro-lifers? Anybody?

    • FL Resister says:

      “Embryonic stem cells used in Donald Trump’s covid treatment.”
      Looking for the headline in the New York Times which just printed an article with headline claiming Biden wasn’t being transparent about his Covid precautions.
      Irony is lost on these people.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The self-proclaimed “party of life” notices only those bits of “life” it chooses to. In reality, it’s code for their anti-abortion stance.

        It happily ignores safe work places and conditions of employment, and the general environment; health care for all; a working social safety net; free, taxpayer-funded education; safe products; avoidance of the harms and crimes of monopoly and price gouging; fair tax practices and social and economic justice; and protected retirement incomes.

        The list of things that promote life and the general welfare which the so-called party of life ignores is as long as the list of Trump’s lies.

        • rip says:

          And their code for an anti-abortion stance is just another code for wanting to return to some early 1800 rule of white guys.

        • blueedredcounty says:

          The other big one they seem to ignore is the death penalty. Based on his not only pushing the resumption but speeding up death penalty cases, it makes Bill Barr’s recent honor at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast appalling. Particularly given Pope Francis’s latest encyclical.

    • Kyla15 says:

      This is not true – the SARS-2 therapeutic antibodies are NOT generated in embryonic cells. Monoclonal antibodies are generated by hybridoma cells produced through one of two possible ways: 1) the fusion of human myeloma cells (a cancer B-cell line) with immunoglobulin-secreting B-cells from humanized mice that have been challenged with the virus or 2) fusion of human myeloma cells with B-cells from humans previously infected with virus. Regeneron has proprietary methods for both of these approaches. I’m a pathologist and cancer biologist.

      Here’s a primer:

      • To be continued says:

        Kyla15 can you comment on whether the monoclonal abs might confer longer immunity (i.e.does it stimulate the body to produce its own antibodies) or once they are cleared does the host become vulnerable to infection again since their own B cells didn’t get revved up and they were receiving dex at the same time…

        • Kyla15 says:

          The therapeutic monoclonal antibodies should be used early in infection to reduce a high viral load before a patient has time to mount his own antibody response (ideally, the patient is tested for his own antibodies and viral load before administering the monoclonals ).

          Because the timeline of Trump’s infection is unclear, and because we’ve had no report on whether Trump was tested for viral load and/or antibodies, we have no idea whether the monoclonals were administered optimally.

          The monoclonal dose, if given within an optimum range, will allow some virus to remain circulating during/post treatment so that the patient can mount his own antibody response. The monoclonals do not affect the ability of the patient to mount this antibody response unless all virus is neutralized..

          As you suggest, however, the real kicker in trying to understand Trump’s clinical response is his treatment with dexamethasone, simultaneously in addition to these other treatments: it is an extremely potent pan-immunosuppressive agent that subdues a broad array of immunological responses, not just antibody production. Its main treatment purpose is to prevent the cytokine storms that cause the severe disease stages that are marked by multi-organ damage that can lead to death. Trump has exhibited evidence of Covid-19 pneumonia – e.g. dyspnia, periodic low blood oxygen – but we don’t know how severe it is or whether he has damage to other organs. We need a clearer clinical record: lung scans, actual oxygen levels, blood tests, etc.

          The dynamics and results of the treatment cocktail Trump received – antiviral, monoclonals, immunosuppressive – are totally unknowable without elaborate temporal clinical and blood monitoring, which he doesn’t seem to be receiving. And, I don’t believe there have been any clinical reports about other patients receiving this experimental treatment regimen that he was given.

          If I had to place bets on his prognosis, I’d wager that he is destined for a clinical crash as soon as his dexamethasone regimen is finished.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        When you say, “immunoglobulin-secreting B-cells from humanized mice ,” I can’t help but wonder how the mice become “humanized.” Any chance you can clarify?

        • Kyla15 says:

          Humanized mice are genetically modified so that their mouse immunoglobulin genes are replaced with human immunoglobulin genes, allowing them to produce human, rather than mouse, antibodies.

        • P J Evans says:

          The ‘mabs I got were from humanized mice. And they check my antigens every quarter, along with a bunch of other stuff they look at (they’re taking the samples this afternoon – I find out the results in a week). I got the last dose of ‘mabs 18 months ago.

      • graham firchlis says:

        Kyla15, thank you for bringing clarity to the discussion. As you point out, one component of the REGN-COV2 mab therapy given Trump is derived from B cells harvested from infected patients. The disussion about cell line origin centers on the other component, derived secondarily as you say from human-mouse chimera.

        Following the discussion threads (including from Jenny above), the claim is made that the human genes used to create Regeneron’s various murine hybrids are, through a series of difficult to authenticate links, originally from a cell line immortalized in a Dutch university lab from aborted fetal tissue.

        (The chain of association is plausible though not imho definitive. One more degree of proximity, and surely up will pop Kevin Bacon ;)

        Not my field, so I may be missing the obvious, but a thorough review of Regenron patents, corporate statements and associated academic articles has not yielded a definitive answer. Can you shed some light?

        (No axe to grind, but if true then the notion that snippets from the human genome of a non-person will have a significant role to play in the salvation of many living humans should give one pause, an opportunity to reflect on a cosmic karmic consciousness level what we mean by immortalty.)


        • Kyla15 says:

          Graham – I don’t know the origins of the human Ig genes in Regeneron’s mouse. It is possible that they may have been isolated from human fetal or embryonic cells, but if there is no explicit statement in the patents and supporting literature, the origins may be impossible to trace.

          I will, however, clarify a claim made in the NYT this morning about Regeneron’s and Gilead’s use of 293T cells, which are, in fact, human embryonic Kidney cells. These cells were used to grow the SARS-2 virus for use in neutralization tests which show that the monoclonal antibodies work. So there is some karma in that fact. And, yes, pro-lifers need to come to terms with the fact that being truly pro-life means accepting use of human embryonic cells and fetal tissue for medical research: SARS viral culture is necessary for almost all laboratory research on the COVID-19 disease, and therefore it is needed if we want to tackle the pandemic with vaccines and therapeutics.

          There are, however, non-embryonic cell lines that can be used for culture of this particular virus if labs or companies want to sidestep the issue for PR purposes.



    • OldTulsaDude says:

      For Jenny and the balcony scene:

      Don’t cry over my Covid 19
      The truth is whatever I say
      there is no science
      Just my defiance
      I’m fine I promise
      Don’t keep your distance

  14. Ginevra diBenci says:

    This will surely confirm for Trump the validity of his pet “herd immunity mentality” theory, and the primacy of fraud MD Scott Atlas among the Covid advisors. Just power through it! Nothing stands between you and the maskless future of your dreams–I have shown the way! Anyone who says different is “fearmongering” to hurt the Trump campaign.

    • P J Evans says:

      If “powering through it” worked, he wouldn’t have had to go to Walter Reed and get heavy-duty drug treatment.

  15. posaune says:

    question: if Trump eventually requires life-long nursing home care or alzheimers unit, does he retain secret service protection? would it be 24-hr? what about a prison stay?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Yes, by congressional statute – not presidential diktat – Secret Service protection for a former president is for life. Congressional statutes also provide for retirement salary, health care, and the like. Imagine that, an Article I branch asserting its authority to provide something (paid for by taxpayers), and retaining the right to amend or take it away. Among many goals, the statutory provision prevents a shite like Trump withdrawing that protection from former president(s) he doesn’t like.

      • madwand says:

        Yeah and when you get assigned to a former president it’s sort of like getting sent back to the minors. Back in the 80s and 90s the Secret Service was objecting to carrying the bags of the former president leaving it up to the pilots or limo drivers, so it created a few embarrassing situations where neither the SS or the pilot/limo drivers would carry the bag. That would necessitate the former president carrying his own bags if no one else would. From tales of a former bag smasher.

        • posaune says:

          I couldn’t imagine drawing the SS rota for the alzheimers unit. I suppose you could count on an 8-hr shift, though.

      • Raven Eye says:

        For a historical perspective on the days before former presidents got retirement pay and security details, read “Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip”.

        A fun read.

      • vvv says:

        FWIW, I had an in-law was a Lt. then Capt. with the Corpus Christie PD who did extended security detail assignments for both LBJ and his (LBJ’s!) wife, along side the state and Fed security. He, a rather right-wing old man whose father had been a Grand Wizard or some such shite, loathed LBJ claiming him to be an adulterer and crook, but worshipped Lady Bird.
        I reckon my point is is that, at least in those instances, there were local and state as well as fed security officers at all times.

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    To repeat a thought from yesterday, Trump hasn’t “gone home to recuperate,” so much as he has exchanged a large hospital for a small, WH one. He has immediate access to whatever health care he needs. He has no fear of losing his job, or how to pay for it and what might have to be done without in order to do that. No hospital or doctor is making him prepay his co-pay, none will dun him for non- or late payment. So he really hasn’t a clue how the other half lives, and doesn’t care.

    Trump’s false claims of beating Covid are more hucksterism. He ignores that the elderly, in particular, experience secondary heart and lung weakness owing to Covid. A few days respite, a steroid high (which alleviates only symptoms, not causes), and wham. He should avoid overdoing it, and exposing those near him – and their co-workers, friends, and families – to the disease he continues to carry and spread.

    • Raven Eye says:

      One outcome of all this is that, with regard to Trump, people can use the phrase “with baited [sic] breath” without fear of being rudely corrected.

  17. mass interest says:

    Vanity Fair published an article stating that Don Jr. wanted to stage a “family intervention” after Trump’s crazy tweet storm yesterday. Jared and Ivanka apparently refused to join the party.

    I won’t post the link because I wouldn’t recognize tracking elements, but it’s on the Vanity Fair website.

    • Raven Eye says:

      There aren’t a lot of sharp knives in the Trump drawer, but Don Jr. only needs to spread a little butter to come to one scary conclusion: If his father is out of the picture, Junior is toast. The whole charade will likely collapse from both economic and legal blows.

    • harpie says:

      Here’s Olivia Nuzzi with an explanation:

      1:25 AM · Oct 6, 2020

      President Trump tweeted the email address of a New York Post columnist on Monday. Eventually he deleted the tweet. I shared a screenshot of his tweet […]

      Unlocking my account meant agreeing to delete my tweet that contained the image of President Trump’s tweet. Why is @Twitter in the business of suppressing reporting on statements from the most powerful politician in the world?

  18. klynn says:

    Is Pence covid positive and playing chicken? Is he hoping to win the “I won’t debate with plexiglass,” in the hope Kamala will decline participating in the debate?

  19. Raven Eye says:

    Breaking from Politico: “Stephen Miller, a top aide to President Donald Trump, tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the matter.”

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      It is interesting, because his wife, Katie Miller is communications director for Pence, and she tested positive May 9. I would have thought he would have been exposed then.

      • MB says:

        The LA Times article I cited above states that she tested negative “last time she saw Miller”. And that she’s currently in Utah assisting Pence with debate prep.

        Of course, “testing negative” on an Abbott rapid test may not be the gold standard they once thought it was. Canada is now rolling out widespread distribution of a rapid test, don’t know whether it’s something different – I hope it is because the 20-30% rate of false negatives w/Abbott RT is kind of high.

    • harpie says:

      Miller is mentioned in the new draft DOJ IG report I link to a couple comments down:

      Gene Hamilton, a top lawyer and ally of Stephen Miller, the architect of the president’s assault on immigration, argued in a 32-page response that Justice Department officials merely took direction from the president. […]

      The title of the NYT piece:

      ‘We Need to Take Away Children,’ No Matter How Young, Justice Dept. Officials Said

      • BobCon says:

        This is awful stuff, and I’m not surprised Sessions was pushing for this and Rosenstein was an accomplice.

        I’m a bit puzzled by the angle of this article though. It feels like there may be score settling in this IG report, and the Times may be partners to that —

        “Though Mr. Sessions sought to distance himself from the policy, allowing Mr. Trump and Homeland Security Department officials to largely be blamed, he and other top law enforcement officials understood that “zero tolerance” meant that migrant families would be separated and wanted that to happen because they believed it would deter future illegal immigration, Mr. Horowitz wrote.”

        The article seems to offer a lot of exoneration to Nielsen which I strongly suspect she doesn’t really deserve. Horowitz of course is going to focus on what DOJ was doing, but that doesn’t mean the Times reporters have to respect that framework as much as they did.

        I don’t trust Horowitz to be an honest actor, and I have to wonder if he took on this investigation for political reasons — was someone out to tarnish Sessions, for example? Or maybe the genesis was legit, but the only reason it was allowed to move forward and got leaked was political.

        If Trump falls apart and the campaign collapses, I strongly suspect there will be a lot of cases of one faction of the Administration trying to stab another in the back, and reporters are going to need to do more than simply reporting what one side says. I suspect, though, we’re going to see a lot of stenography as the DC press rushes to get their scoops out.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      from @briantaylorcohen

      “And it’s confirmed. With Stephen Miller’s positive test, we now know that the virus can be transferred *back* from humans to bats.”

  20. Molly Pitcher says:

    I just want to say that I find it difficult to express in words how much the picture of Trump for this post creeps me out.

    • P J Evans says:

      I have “Make America Kittens Again”. Sometimes it’s annoying, but it does spare me a lot of photos of people I’d like to see disappear.

    • harpie says:

      7:36 PM · Oct 6, 2020

      NEW: “We need to take away children,” AG Sessions told prosecutors, according to a draft DOJ IG report. That statement contradicts Sessions’ previous claim that “we never really intended” to separate children. w/ @shearm @ktbenner

      One top official told the IG, in implementing child separation policy DOJ officials were merely following orders from President Trump. In April 2018 meeting Trump was on “a tirade” as he “ranted” to Sessions and demanded as many prosecutions as possible, the official said.

      Rosenstein told prosecutors when separating parents from children it should not matter how young children were, according to IG report. Rosenstein criticized prosecutors for refusal to take action that would have separated parents from children who were barely older than infants.

      • harpie says:

        Senior Justice Department officials viewed the welfare of the children as the responsibility of other agencies and their duty as tracking the parents. “I just don’t see that as a D.O.J. equity,” Mr. Rosenstein told the inspector general.

  21. harpie says:

    Amy Coney Barrett served as a ‘handmaid’ in Christian group People of Praise
    Oct. 6, 2020 at 8:09 p.m.

    While Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has faced questions about how her Catholic faith might influence her jurisprudence, she has not spoken publicly about her involvement in People of Praise, a small Christian group founded in the 1970s and based in South Bend, Ind. […]

    Former members including Art Wang, a member from the late 1980s until 2015, told The Post that handmaids, now known as “women leaders,” give advice to other women on issues such as child rearing and marriage. […]

  22. Drew says:

    This article in Commonweal about Adrian Vermeule, a very influential professor at Harvard Law, (who is an advocate of Catholic Integralism & is very influenced by Carl Schmitt, a Nazi jurist), brought the Federalist Society and Bill Barr’s approach to the executive to my mind. The article is well worth a read. (And theologically quite sound, it’s not at all fluff or marginal)

    • General Sternwood says:

      This is a very interesting article, but doesn’t give me much confidence in our would-be Catholic overlords. Vermeule writes that he converted when he found there was “no stable middle ground between Catholicism and atheist materialism.” Proclaiming that your view is the only position rigorous enough to stave off [insert boogeyman of your choice: communism, cultural relativism, are we on atheist materialism these days?] is the intellectual equivalent of waving a white flag. And if there ever was an avatar of “atheist materialism” it is the current occupant of the White House, who is trying to add to the court’s Catholic majority — perhaps suggesting they are not as diametrically opposed as the Vermeule thinks? In any case, it will be weak solace to watch these American Catholic handmaidens try to use their twisted-coathanger theology to explain away the priorities of Fratelli Tutti.

        • Drew says:

          Of this group, quite a number. Though, of course, these are Federalist Society type dissimulators who profess to be intellectual, non-extremist and not part of the skeezier things that they encourage. The Twitter “TradCaths” are a nasty lot. Vermeule is one of their heroes but he disclaims responsibility. Of course Steve Bannon proclaims himself an “Integralist” and a skeevier brute, you’ll never find.

          But my real concern are people in authority like Barr and all the Federalist Society judges, etc. The article talks about how they have a view of themselves as the “vanguard” just like the Stalinists! It’s scary to have this authoritarian/totalitarian philosophy directly targeting our government in this way.

          The GOP is whining about criticism of Barrett on grounds of her religious views, but the people who are most upset about them are Christian theologians and religious leaders, especially Catholics like the author of this piece. People who take religious and theological views seriously are concerned about the rela import and intent of these people.

  23. klynn says:

    Was the presser to distract from this news scheduled to release about the same time as the presser?

    “The Manhattan district attorney can obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns, a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday, dealing the President another setback in his effort to shield his tax returns from investigators but the case is likely to head to the Supreme Court.”

      • Chris.EL says:

        Dear smart people,

        The intelligent, ever successful NYTimes published their treatise on Trump Organization taxes months ago, then a second report recently that revealed the payment of only $750.00…

        Now today, 10/07/20, the “Manhattan D.A. Can Obtain Trump’s Tax Returns, Judges Rule — The dispute will now probably head to the Supreme Court for a second time.” …

        What I’m wondering is HOW did NYT get their info? Kinda sounds like something they may be prosecuted for acquiring? Why doesn’t Vance look at what they have?

        Also subpoena went to accounting firm; Trump has basically pushed them out of the way. I don’t get it…

        • P J Evans says:

          The WH wants to hide his business returns as well as his personal returns. I’m not sure which set is worse for him.

        • Chris.EL says:

          I’m sure it’s all-bad; simply cannot imagine trying to make sense of what these folks have been doing. It’s all about obfuscation, isn’t it; hence, B.S.

  24. vietvet68 says:

    From decades ago, but still relevant: Ladies Against Women, feminist performance artists from way back. A scream.

  25. harpie says:

    White House Security Official Contracted Covid-19 in September
    October 7, 2020, 7:27 PM EDT

    A top White House security official, Crede Bailey, is gravely ill with Covid-19 and has been hospitalized since September, according to four people familiar with his condition.

    The White House has not publicly disclosed Bailey’s illness. He became sick before the Sept. 26 Rose Garden event […]

  26. harpie says:

    7:26 PM · Oct 7, 2020


    8:10 PM · Oct 7, 2020 ABC

    News: The coronavirus outbreak has infected “34 White House staffers and other contacts” in recent days, according to an internal government memo, an indication that the disease has spread among more people than previously known. [link]

  27. Vicks says:

    New England Journal of Medicine.
    “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum”

    “Covid-19 has created a crisis throughout the world. This crisis has produced a test of leadership. With no good options to combat a novel pathogen, countries were forced to make hard choices about how to respond. Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.
    The magnitude of this failure is astonishing…”

    • Vicks says:

      I don’t know how many editors the journal has, but there are 102 pages of signed disclosures (4 pages each) attached to this editorial.

  28. Vicks says:

    “Ironic Twist: In Spring, Trump Halted Research Key To COVID-19 Drug He’s Now Taken”


    “Beginning in 2014, virus experts in the U.S. tested remdesivir against some of the bat strains that EcoHealth Alliance had discovered. The results were promising — helping to elevate remdesivir’s profile within pharmaceutical research such that, when the current coronavirus hit, the drug was one of the first options scientists proposed trying against it.

    Yet in April the National Institutes of Health abruptly terminated funding for the China bat research project with no clear explanation. In the weeks earlier, Trump administration officials had been pushing a largely discredited theory that the Chinese lab that EcoHealth Alliance was partnered with – the Wuhan Institute of Virology – had accidentally released the virus causing COVID-19. And at a White House press conference days before the funding was pulled, Trump erroneously implied that the entirety of the money had gone to the Wuhan Institute and promised that his administration would take action on the issue.”

  29. Stacey says:

    Isn’t there a rally Trump did in the middle of that virus shed time line? What’s the chances they stopped getting rally attendees to sign that disclosure when they were acting like the whole Covid thing was all ‘yesterday?’ I’m thinking maybe he also would rather not expose himself to all of those folks having a claim against his reckless endangerment if they test positive or get sick or worse.

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