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Newsletter: Trump again targets Fauci

President Trump speaks to reporters Monday at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
(Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

As coronavirus infections and deaths rise, President Trump lashes out — again — at experts.

TOP STORIES

Trump Again Targets Fauci

More than 220,000 people in the United States have died of COVID-19, and on Sunday the number of people hospitalized with the disease stood at more than 36,000. Fears of a deadly third wave of infections are growing. Yet President Trump said on Monday that he was tired of hearing about the coronavirus and renewed his attacks on Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

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In a conference call intended to rally his beleaguered campaign staff, Trump slammed the doctor as a “disaster” and insisted Americans “are tired of listening to Fauci and these idiots” who have urged a more aggressive response to the pandemic. He also mocked Fauci in a series of tweets about his ability to pitch a baseball.

Trump’s broadside was a reminder of his distrust of science and his refusal to heed either public health warnings or his political advisors.

Although Trump’s right-wing supporters view Fauci with suspicion, polls show Americans trust the doctor far more on the coronavirus than the president. On Monday, Fauci was awarded a second citation from the National Academy of Medicine for “outstanding service as a trusted advisor to six presidents” and “firm leadership” in the COVID-19 crisis. After receiving death threats, he now travels with a security detail. He has largely been sidelined from the White House.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, stayed off the campaign trail ahead of Thursday’s second and final debate, which will feature a mute button during opening remarks. His campaign praised Fauci, adding that “Trump’s reckless and negligent leadership threatens to put more lives at risk.”

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— California will review the safety of all federally approved COVID-19 vaccines before distributing them to the public, Gov. Gavin Newsom says.

— While the number of daily COVID-19 deaths has fallen dramatically in California in the last few months, the state’s death toll has become the third-highest in the nation, with nearly 17,000 lives lost.

— The number of confirmed coronavirus cases across the planet exceeds 40 million.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

A Boon for California?

Trump and Biden have offered a sharp contrast in policy and style, and nowhere is it more apparent than climate issues.

The Trump administration has spent billions of dollars in an almost entirely unsuccessful effort to prop up the nation’s coal industry and has given priority to coal and oil production over renewable sources, putting the economic interests of regions heavily dependent on producing coal and oil ahead of states such as California.

Biden would largely reverse that. The Democratic candidate has embraced a $2-trillion climate plan that would rely heavily on California innovation and ambition as a template for fighting global warming across the country.

California’s senior elected officials — all Democrats — say Biden’s election would unleash a flurry of initiatives in the state designed to reshape the energy and transportation sectors and shift money to low-income communities suffering the most from pollution caused by fossil fuels. Environmental justice advocates remain wary, though, of indulging in too much optimism.

More on the Election

— Once again, Florida has both sides guessing. Biden holds a narrow lead in the nation’s perennial swing state, where early voting has started.

— The Supreme Court turned down an appeal from Pennsylvania’s Republican leaders and left in place a ruling that says late-arriving mail ballots will be counted as long as they were mailed by election day. The justices split 4 to 4.

— Election officials say that nowhere in California will a voter who refuses to wear a mask be turned away. Instead, there are detailed guidelines for accommodating maskless voters and minimizing conflict.

— Yesterday was California’s deadline to register to vote through the online system, but you can still register in person up until election day.

The Gig Economy on the Ballot

The future of gig work could hinge on the success or failure of Proposition 22, already the costliest ballot measure in U.S. history. At its heart is a vicious fight to shape the prospects of hundreds of thousands of drivers and delivery workers across the state.

Uber, Lyft and other companies have poured close to $200 million into the “yes” campaign in a bid to protect their business models, which rely on hiring workers cheaply as independent contractors, not employees. If passed, Proposition 22 would cement those workers’ status, overriding protections granted by the landmark labor law known as AB 5 and dealing a huge blow to a labor movement. Experts say the ballot measure could establish a nationwide precedent for efforts to restructure the gig economy.

In this proxy battle between the old economy and the new, columnist Frank Shyong writes that Los Angeles taxi drivers, most of them immigrants, appear to be an acceptable casualty. The scene at LAX — right for Uber, left for cabs — lays bare the dynamics of the fight, and the need to make room for both. As one physicist-turned-cabdriver summarized the Proposition 22 fight: “This is America. If you have money, you can pay to have your own rules. If you don’t have money, shut up!”

Feeling Besieged Rather Than Protected

Compton pays Los Angeles County about $22 million annually to have deputies patrol the city of nearly 100,000 people. But many residents, including the mayor, say they feel under siege and have spoken out in recent months to demand changes in the way Compton is policed.

The debate comes at a pivotal moment for the city, which is rebounding after decades of violence and economic decline, and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, which is under growing scrutiny over how it patrols predominately nonwhite communities such as Compton.

The mayor, Aja Brown, shared a story about an encounter last year with sheriff’s deputies: After she was pulled over for allegedly failing to “stop at the limit line” at a red light, she said, deputies swarmed her car within seconds and searched Brown and her husband for drugs as their infant daughter sat in the back seat.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

On Oct. 19, 1935, a train hit a truck in Glendale, injuring 12 people. According to a story in The Times the next day, the seven-ton truck was loaded with sand and was traveling down Aviation Drive, “a little-used road,” when it got stuck on the tracks.

The driver was able to escape before the Southern Pacific Lark passenger train hit the vehicle at about 40 mph. The impact derailed part of the train and tore up the track.

At the time, crash scenes were not closed off by emergency responders. The Times’ photos of the crash feature not only close shots of the train but also crowds of people who had gathered to see the aftermath.

Oct. 19, 1935: Locomotive sits following train accident in Glendale as onlookers gather to check out the scene.
Oct. 19, 1935: Locomotive sits following train accident in Glendale. The Southern Pacific train had collided with a seven-ton sand truck on the train tracks in Glendale. A dozen people were injured, with no fatalities. This photo is from the Los Angeles Times Archive at UCLA.
(Los Angeles Times)

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CALIFORNIA

— The issue of police reform has not only raised the stakes in the race for L.A. County’s 2nd Supervisorial District, it’s complicated the election. Once-coveted law enforcement endorsements and donations have become an albatross.

— Freelance journalist Yashar Ali alleged in a first-person article that Rick Jacobs, a top advisor to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, forcibly kissed him on the lips and hugged him over a decade. Ali is the second person to come forward to accuse Jacobs of sexual misconduct.

Metro is closing its Little Tokyo/Arts District station for nearly two years starting Saturday to complete work on a 1.9-mile rail extension project that will tie three lines together in downtown Los Angeles.

— A fire inside an official ballot drop box at the Baldwin Park library Sunday night may have been set intentionally, authorities said.

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NATION-WORLD

— The Supreme Court agreed to render a verdict on the legality of Trump’s use of military funds to pay for an expanded border wall as well as his “remain in Mexico” policybut not until next year.

— Six current and former Russian military officers sought to disrupt through computer hacking the French election, the Winter Olympics and U.S. hospitals and businesses, according to a Justice Department indictment. It details attacks on a broad range of targets and implicates the same Kremlin unit that interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.

— In Bolivia, Evo Morales’ party has claimed victory in a presidential election that appears to sharply shift the country away from the conservative policies of the U.S.-backed interim government that took power after the leftist leader resigned and fled the country a year ago.

— The United States is expected to have accepted and settled more than 1,100 refugees by early next year under an Obama-era deal that Trump reluctantly honored with Australia, an Australian official said.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Music archivists are facing a contemporary dilemma: Should racist songs from our past be heard today?

— AMC’s new anthology series “Soulmates” imagines a world in which knowing one’s fated love is only a test away. But its creators hope it can help bring a different perspective to real nontraditional relationships.

— Trump might get a break from Fox News’ opinion hosts, but not from Arnon Mishkin. He’s an analyst whose polling work has gotten under Trump’s skin and he’ll call the winner for the network on election night.

Bob Biggs, a larger-than-life Los Angeles entrepreneur and painter who harnessed the energy of the Los Angeles punk scene to create the essential independent label Slash Records, has died at age 74.

BUSINESS

Hydrogen fuel could revolutionize airlines and make flying greener. But first, scientists must overcome technical and PR challenges.

— “We’re in the deep end, drowning.” With federal pandemic stimulus stalled, L.A. music venues worry they might not last another year.

SPORTS

— The World Series starts tonight featuring the Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays, the two teams with the best regular-season records in their respective leagues. Here’s how they match up position by position.

Kobe Bryant will be remembered with a new display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

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OPINION

— We should adopt building standards that support a shift to renewable energy sources, from making it easier to replace gas-powered appliances to requiring that new homes be wired to support car chargers, The Times’ editorial board writes.

Airlines don’t deserve another taxpayer-financed bailout, Roger Lowenstein writes. “Let’s end the farce in which airlines are risk-taking enterprises in good times and the public’s burden in bad.”

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— Three years ago, Trump and Wisconsin Republicans struck a deal with Foxconn that, in exchange for billions in tax subsidies, was supposed to create an enormous factory, 13,000 jobs and a tech powerhouse — but none of it ever materialized. A look inside what happened, and what didn’t. (The Verge)

Mark Zuckerberg long eschewed politics, professing a distaste for it and leaving it to his deputies — but Facebook’s role in the 2016 election changed all that. By now he’s cultivated relationships with prominent conservatives, opened a line to the White House and become an active political operator. (The Wall Street Journal)

ONLY IN L.A.

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired drive-in dance performances, drive-in weddings and a resurgence of good, old-fashioned drive-in movies. And now, with the Dodgers set to face the Rays, a drive-in World Series. Though the games will be played in Arlington, Texas, the Dodgers will host viewing parties with 60-foot screens in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. Tickets cost $75, with one ticket per car, and attendees can exit their cars only to use the restroom.

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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