North Dakota senator apologizes for tweet calling Nancy Pelosi ‘retarded’
North Dakota senator Kevin Cramer apologized Wednesday for a late-night tweet in which he used an offensive term to describe Nancy Pelosi, claiming to be “really sorry it happened.”
Overnight Tuesday, the Republican senator responded to a video clip of his Democratic rival speaking on the coronavirus relief bill. In it, Cramer referred to the US house speaker as “retarded.”
“It’s a word I just don’t apply to people,” he said. “I can be pretty tough in my rhetoric, but that’s not a word I apply to people for really good obvious reasons.”
Cramer first blamed autocorrect, claiming he meant to type “ridiculous” instead. He said he didn’t notice the actual tweet until he went to draft another tweet.
Congressional negotiators struck a deal on a $2tn package after days of intense negotiations. Pelosi has yet to respond to the tweet or apology.
US Commerce: Manufacturing up before coronavirus outbreak
The US Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders to American factories for big-ticket goods rose by solidly in February, but the gain came before the coronavirus had shut down much of the country.
Durable goods orders rose 1.2% last month, rebounding from January when orders had shown a tiny 0.1% gain. However, with all the shutdowns that have occurred as authorities try to deal with the coronavirus, economists are looking for weak reports in coming months. (AP)
Some analysis suggests the country has already delved into a recession due to the coronavirus outbreak. The most pessimistic forecasts show the gross domestic product plunging by 20% or more in the April-June quarter.
Analysts said they expected a sharp deterioration in orders to show up in the March report.
Donald Trump shuttered his own properties while publicly defying calls for businesses to do the same. The Washington Post reports 6 of the president’s top seven clubs and hotels were shut down due to public gathering restrictions.
The move potentially deprived Trump’s businesses of millions of dollars in revenue. From the Post’s David Fahrenthold:
Critics are calling it no coincidence that Trump’s calls to reopen America come as his businesses begin to feel the economic impact.
Wall street opens with boost from late-night stimulus news
Stocks opened higher on Wednesday following the overnight announcement that US senate leaders and the White House reached a deal to stimulate a slumping economy from the coronavirus outbreak with nearly $2tn in aid.
From the AP:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2%. The gains came a day after the Dow had its biggest percentage gain since 1933. Stocks [had] been falling sharply over the past month, erasing one-third of the value from some indexes.
The AP added that “market volatility is likely to continue both up and down until the severity of the outbreak eases.” Stay up-to-date on the latest business news by following our business live blog.
Sanders to take part in April democratic debate
The Bernie Sanders campaign wants to remind you:
“Senator Sanders is still running for president.”
Mike Casca, campaign official
The Vermont senator will take part in an upcoming primary debate, if it isn’t cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
As the Washington Post’s Sean Sullivan reported, it’s former US vice president Joe Biden’s timid responses to the growing outbreak that may be the reason why Sanders remains in the race.
March 15’s debate between Sanders and frontrunner Biden was held without a live audience. It’s unclear, however, if and when the next debate, scheduled for April, will happen at all.
Trump celebrates Romney’s negative coronavirus test on Twitter
Donald Trump’s has taken his defiance to coronavirus fears to another level, mockingly commenting on the statuses of former rivals and political figures on Twitter.
Early this morning, the president tweeted a sarcastically congratulatory note for Utah senator Mitt Romney, who announced he’s tested negative for the virus.
Also in Trump’s crosshairs was Michael Avenatti, the former attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels, who sued the president over a non-disclosure agreement related to a hush, $130,000 payment for her silence over an extramarital affair.
Perhaps Trump is emboldened by a new gallup poll showing 60% of Americans approve of his handling of the coronavirus outbreak, 49 % approve of his job performance overall.
Congress reaches stimulus deal overnight
Overnight, the White House and US senate leaders struck a deal for a $2tn economic stimulus package amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Ladies and gentleman, we are done,” White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland announced shortly before 1am ET. “We have a deal.”
The full details have yet to be released. But over the last 24 hours, the elements of the proposal have come into sharper focus, with $250 billion set aside for direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.
Good day, I’m Kenya Evelyn kicking off the our US politics/coronavirus liveblog.
We’re following the latest out of Washington as Donald Trump congratulates his former rival Mitt Romney for testing negative.
Plus we’re covering the outbreak as nationwide criticism of the administration grows as the number of people who test positive grows.