Rep.-elect Burgess Owens, retired NFLer, touts GOP’s ‘Freedom Force’ to oppose AOC’s ‘Squad’

Move over, Squad. Make way for the Freedom Force.

Retired NFL safety Burgess Owens, now the congressman-elect in Utah’s 4th Congressional District, touted the new coalition of Republican women and minority lawmakers during an appearance on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

“It’s interesting because we have a group of people who came in, we are very diverse and different races. We share in common the love for our country,” Owens said of his new freshmen colleagues.

“I have to thank the American people across the country. We flipped over 14 seats and we did not lose one,” Owens told guest host Lisa Boothe on Friday. “It was a message for the American people [that] we want to get back to basics and we love our nation. This group will be … giving a contrast to the hard left.”

Owens, 69, who played professionally for a decade, splitting his time between the New York Jets and the Oakland and Los Angeles (now Las Vegas) Raiders, said nearly a dozen new lawmakers who are either minorities or women will make up the new GOP coalition.


He said the group is geared toward forwarding commonsense conservative principles while opposing the radical agenda of The Squad — which includes progressive Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York City; Ayanna Pressley of Boston; Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis; and Rashida Tlaib of Detroit.

Boothe introduced some of the members of the Freedom Force, including Republican Reps.-elect Carlos Gimenez, Maria Elvira Salazar and Byron Donalds of Florida; Michelle Steel of California; Nicole Malliotakis of New York; Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma; and Victoria Spartz of Indiana.

Gimenez and Salazar flipped Democratic-held seats in the Miami area, while Donalds succeeded a retiring Republican in the Marco Island-Fort Myers corridor. Malliotakis flipped a Democratic seat in Staten Island to become the only Republican federal legislator in all of New York City.


Owens said he hopes the American people will gravitate toward the Freedom Force and away from The Squad.

“We have … a group of people who believe in God, country, and family; a respect for women and authority — and the other side that hates everything I mentioned,” he said.

“The American people drift towards light. They are going to love the messaging and policies we put in place. We are all about the middle class thriv[ing].”

Boothe later asked Owens why he thought President Trump and the GOP saw an uptick in support from minority groups across the country.

“Because unlike the leftists, which are racist, the American people believe in the same thing: We want hope … and opportunity, and the chance to get out there and work for our dreams,” he responded.

Owens highlighted the diverse backgrounds of the members in the new Freedom Force, noting that Malliotakis is the daughter of Cuban and Greek immigrants, that Steel was born in South Korea, and that Bice is of part-Iranian heritage.

“We’ve all dealt with the harshness, the evil of socialism and Marxism. So we can talk from experience. I’m part of a generation that got snookered by the left,” he said, adding that he grew up in urban Tallahassee, Fla.


Owens also reacted to a pair of NFL quarterbacks recently refusing to stand for the national anthem, remarking that it is a hallmark of the political left to try to divide people.

The former Jet and Raider declared he is “done with the NFL” until Commissioner Roger Goodell is ousted and “radical activists” within the league stop trying to divide America.

Goodell, the son of former Rep. Charles Goodell, R-N.Y., has been leading the NFL since 2006 when he took over for Paul Tagliabue.

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Donald Trump touts Regeneron drug cocktail as COVID-19 ‘cure’, says China will pay ‘big price’ for coronavirus pandemic

US President Donald Trump has used his return to the Oval Office to promote the experimental cocktail of drugs he received during his treatment for COVID-19, warning China will pay a “big price for what they’ve done” to the United States.

Speaking from the White House where he has returned to work following his hospitalisation at the Walter Reed military hospital, Mr Trump said in an almost five-minute video that he was trying to get Regeneron’s REGN-COV2 given to COVID-19 patients for free.

REGN-COV2 is a highly experimental and unproven drug which was prescribed alongside two other main treatments for the President.

“I wasn’t feeling so hot, and within a very short period of time they gave me Regeneron, and other things too, but I think this was the key. It was unbelievable, I felt good immediately, I felt as good three days ago as I do now,” he said in the video shared on his Twitter account.

“I just want to say we have Regeneron, we have a very similar drug from [pharmaceutical company] Eli Lilly, and they’re coming out and we’re trying to get them on an emergency basis. I’ve authorised it.

“If you’re in a hospital and you’re feeling really bad, we’re going to work it so you can get them and can get them free. Especially if you’re a senior, we’re going to get there quick.”


He touted the Regeneron drug as a “cure”, despite the company saying the cocktail provided a “therapeutic substitute” for patients who had not mounted an effective immune response to the coronavirus.

“We have hundreds of thousands of doses that are just about ready. I have emergency use authorisation all set and we’ve got to get it signed now. You’re going to get better, and you’re going to get better fast,” he said.

“They call them therapeutic, but to me it wasn’t therapeutic, it just made me better. I call that a cure.

“They’re going to say that they’re therapeutic and I guess they are therapeutic. Some people don’t know how to define therapeutic. I view it different, it’s a cure.

“For me, I walked in, I didn’t feel good, a short 24 hours later I was feeling great, I wanted to get out of the hospital. I want everyone to be given the same treatment as your President.

“I caught it, I heard about this drug, I said let me take it, it was my suggestion. It was incredible the way it worked. I think if I didn’t catch it, we’d be looking at that like a number of other drugs.”

The President threatened China, which recorded the first cases of coronavirus in late 2019, would pay a “big price” for the pandemic.

“I want to get for you what I got, and I’m going to make it free, you’re not going to pay for it,” he said.

“It wasn’t your fault that this happened, it was China’s fault. And China’s going to pay a big price what they’ve done to this country … for what they’ve done to the world.”

He added that he believed a vaccine would be available “very, very shortly”.

“I think we should have it before the election, but frankly the politics gets involved and that’s OK, they want to play their games, it’s going to be right after the election.”

Trump back at work, ‘avoiding White House’s hallways’

The President returned to the White House after his doctor reported he was showing no COVID-19 symptoms.

A Marine stands guard outside the doors of the West Wing of the White House
A US marine is posted outside the West Wing of the White House, signifying the President is in the Oval Office.(AP: Evan Vucci)

However, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows would not be drawn on when Mr Trump’s last negative COVID-19 test was.

In an interview with Fox News Channel, Mr Meadows said Mr Trump spent most of Wednesday afternoon in the Oval Office, with the White House keeping access to the room extremely limited.

Asked when Trump’s last negative COVID-19 test was, Mr Meadows said the White House does not get into the testing protocol.

A tough fight awaits Mr Trump to revive the Republican’s struggling re-election bid.

Mr Trump had earlier been briefed at the Oval Office about economic stimulus talks and Hurricane Delta, a White House official said.

The official said the President entered the office from the Rose Garden to avoid walking through the White House hallways and possibly exposing others to the coronavirus.

Chief of staff Mark Meadows conducted the briefing and wore personal protective gear, according to the official.

“Was just briefed on Hurricane Delta, and spoke with @GovAbbott of Texas and @LouisianaGov John Bel Edwards,” Mr Trump wrote in a tweet shortly after.

He has been convalescing in the White House since his dramatic made-for-video return from Walter Reed military hospital in a helicopter on Monday night.


Mr Trump, who faces Democrat Joe Biden in the November 3 election, has had no COVID-19 symptoms for the past 24 hours, his doctor Sean Conley said in a statement.

“He’s now been fever-free for more than four days, symptom-free for over 24 hours, and has not needed nor received any supplemental oxygen since initial hospitalisation,” Dr Conley said.

US President Donald Trump pulls off his protective face mask as he poses atop the Truman Balcony of the White House
Donald Trump tweeted he had been briefed on Hurricane Delta in the Oval Office.(Reuters: Erin Scott)

He said Mr Trump’s physical exam and vital signs “all remain stable and in normal range”.


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Trump touts military achievements as he and Biden commemorate 9/11

“Our sacred task, our righteous duty and our solemn pledge is to carry forward the noble legacy of the brave souls who gave their lives for us 19 years ago,” Trump said.

He also listed some of his own administration’s military achievements, telling the families of the victims: “Less than one year ago, American warriors took out the savage killer and leader of ISIS, al-Baghdadi”.

“Soon after, our warriors ended the brutal reign of the Iranian butcher, who murdered thousands of American service members. The world’s top terrorist, Qassem Soleimani, is dead.”

Today in the US marks the 19th anniversary of the September 1 terrorist attacks.Credit:AP

The comments were the only hint of Trump’s trademark upmanship, in what was otherwise an nonpartisan speech that paid tribute to the 3000 men and women whose lives were lost in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon, and Flight 93.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife Jill flew to Shanksville a few hours after the President to lay a wreath and speak to victims’ families, having spent the morning at the annual commemoration at Ground Zero in New York.

In a sign that campaign hostilities had been temporarily suspended, Biden arrived at the event and shared an elbow bump with Vice-President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen. All three were wearing masks in another reminder of the global pandemic that continues to ravage America.

Joe Biden and Mike Pence bump arms at the 9/11 memorial in New York.

Joe Biden and Mike Pence bump arms at the 9/11 memorial in New York.Credit:AP

Before heading to Shanksville, Biden also told reporters: “I’m not going to make any news today. I’m not going to talk about anything other than 9/11. We took all our advertising down. It’s a solemn day. That’s how we’re going to keep it, OK? You can determine whether I make news, but I’m not going to be holding any press conferences.”

Trump, meanwhile, did make news – in the form of another important breakthrough in the Middle East.

The President announced on Twitter that Bahrain would establish full diplomatic relations with Israel, following in the footsteps of the Israel-UAE deal last month.


Trump said that under the agreement, Bahrain would fully normalise diplomatic relations with Israel; exchange embassies and ambassadors; begin direct flights between two countries; and allow for initiatives in areas such as health, business, technology and education.

“This is a truly historic day,” Trump declared after returning to the White House in the afternoon.

“This is now the second peace agreement that we’ve announced in the last month, and I am very hopeful that there will be more to follow. I can tell you there is tremendous enthusiasm on behalf of other countries to also join.”

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American Airlines touts a new tool to combat COVID. But does it really make flying safer?

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American Airlines announced federal approval of a new disinfectant that the airline says it will use on some flights to improve protection against surface transmission of the coronavirus. The product will be integrated into what American calls its Clean Commitment, an effort to keep its planes safe enough to draw back travelers.

But the evolving science on COVID-19 points to ongoing uncertainty about whether it’s safe to fly—and about the airline industry’s broader prospects.

The new approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is for a product called SurfaceWise2, produced by Dallas-based Allied BioScience. The disinfectant will be applied using electrostatic sprayers, which add an electromagnetic charge to particles of cleaner, making them better adhere to surfaces. Electrostatic disinfectant spraying is already widely used by airlines, including American competitors Southwest and Delta.

The key difference is that SurfaceWise2 is effective for up to a week with a single application. That may be as much of a boon to labor efficiency as safety. Existing disinfectant sprays are similarly effective, but are applied by airline staff after every flight.

Founded in 2005 and privately held, Texas-based Allied secured a large new investment in April premised on its work on anti-COVID products. According to Allied, the new EPA approval makes SurfaceWise2 the only coating approved for long-term continuous disinfection of COVID-19. Its effectiveness has also been supported in independent lab tests.

But the EPA approval, issued on an emergency exemption basis, is quite limited. For one year, the product can be used by American Airlines flights that pass through airports in Texas, and by two physical therapy clinics operated in Texas by Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine. Speaking to the press today, EPA chief Andrew Wheeler said other entities that want to use the product may apply separately for an emergency exemption via their state authorities. Allied BioScience told CNBC it will pursue broader approval that would make its disinfectant more easily available.

More effective disinfection on planes should reduce the transmission of coronavirus via surfaces, such as armrests, where virus left behind by an infected person can stay alive for hours. The World Health Organization warns that COVID-19 can cause an infection if it’s carried from surfaces to the eyes, nose, or mouth.

The bigger risk: The air you breathe

Better surface disinfection, however, increasingly pales next to worries about air quality on passenger flights. There is now strong scientific consensus that COVID-19 is primarily spread by direct social contact, with surface transmission playing a smaller role. And there is increasing evidence that micro-droplets exhaled by infected individuals can remain airborne and infectious for hours.

That is particularly worrying in the case of airliners, in which many passengers are confined in a small space. Restaurants, offices, and other businesses have been severely curtailed during the pandemic because gathering people in closed spaces increases the risk of infection.

Despite appearances, most airliners are considerably safer than eating indoors in a restaurant. American says that on all planes in its fleet, air is either replaced with outside air, or scrubbed using hospital-grade HEPA filtration, every two-to-four minutes. That’s nearly twice the average replacement rate in an office building. Additionally, air is recycled only within horizontal ‘zones,’ reducing spread along the length of a plane. American says these features have been standard since the late 1990s.

Nonetheless, there is clear evidence of airborne transmission risk on passenger flights. A 2003 study of the transmission of the SARS coronavirus on a passenger plane found that a single symptomatic person spread the virus throughout the cabin of the plane, infecting as many as 22 others. More recently, a study of COVID-19 transmission on a March 2020 international flight found possible transmission at a distance of up to two rows.

All major U.S. carriers now require masks, which reduce the distance exhalations spread. But American has rolled back one of the most significant measures to control the spread of COVID: since July 1, it has not blocked off seats to maintain greater social distancing during flights. United and Spirit airlines have also rolled back those policies, despite evidence that they are very effective at reducing transmission risk. Delta and Southwest, by contrast, have said they will continue blocking seats until at least the end of September.

Continued uncertainty about safety has become an existential threat for individual airlines, and is expected to upend the airline industry as we know it. S&P Global has estimated air travel demand will be down 55% for 2020, and won’t recover until 2024.

Those declines have triggered huge cuts across the industry. One running tally lists more than 20 airline bankruptcies globally so far this year. And major U.S. carriers have been forced to reduce service. Last week, American announced it will cut service to 15 U.S. cities, and has signaled that more cuts could be coming.

More must-read tech coverage from Fortune:

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Trump campaign touts momentum behind reelection

FILE – In this July 24, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump waves to the crowd after speaking at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in Glen Jean, W.Va. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

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UPDATED 1:50 PM PT — Saturday, August 8, 2020

The Trump campaign has announced it’s doing better now in the race against Joe Biden than it was at this time last election against Hillary Clinton.

On Saturday, the campaign’s director of press communication claimed they’ve improved their game in battleground states and are doing “exceptionally well across the country.”

She pointed to the campaign making more than 75 million voter contacts, which was up compared to 30 million for all of 2016.

Recent reports also pointed to President Trump closing the polling gap between himself and Biden, which is within the margin of error in some places.


President Donald Trump poses for photographs with a group of supporters of Terry Sharpe, pictured right of Trump, known as the “Walking Marine” arrives at the White House in Washington, Monday, July 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Meanwhile, Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller has said he would be highly surprised if the presumptive Democrat nominee went through with all three presidential debates.

During a recent interview, Miller suggested the Biden campaign’s strategy will be to have the former vice president participate in only one of the scheduled debates.

“I would be highly surprised if Joe Biden actually went through with all three debates,” he said. “I think their strategy will be to show up to one, show that he is able to function and then pull the plug on any additional debates.”

Despite this, the Trump campaign official has admitted the Democrat is actually a good debater and doesn’t make as many gaffes as he does in everyday interviews.

The president’s reelection campaign has requested more presidential debates, but was recently rejected by the Committee on Presidential Debates.

MORE NEWS: President Trump Addresses Possible Election Meddling From Iran, China

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Sen. Young touts ‘Endless Frontier Act’ as key in competition with China

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) walks past reporters following a Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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UPDATED 10:37 AM PT — Friday, June 12, 2020

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) is urging the Senate to bolster America’s ability to outcompete China in the 21st Century and retain its position as the world’s leading nation.

While speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, the Republican lawmaker from Indiana called on his colleagues to pass the ‘Endless Frontier Act,’ which is a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by both Young and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

In doing so, he hearkened back to America’s long-standing tradition of fostering scientific and technological innovation, which is a tradition he claims is a key component in the nation’s drive to promote its values of freedom and prosperity around the globe.

“Americans see the heavens and don’t simply wonder what they hold…we see loved ones grow sick and we don’t just resign ourselves to the prognosis, we create cures,” said Young. “We are driven by a deep need to lift one another, to discover breakthroughs that will lead to the betterment of all mankind.”

Yet the 21st Century, the senator argued, confronted Americans with new unprecedented challenges that have threatened its position in the world system and its ability to lead. Chief among them, he stated, is the rising threat posed by China’s rise to prominence on the world stage.

“A new power competition is underway and America’s predominant challenger is an unscrupulous authoritarian regime whose values are the inverse of our own,” he stated.

The ‘Endless Frontier Act’ is primarily a response to this challenge, Young asserted, and would provide the tools to buttress American efforts at outcompeting China in the fields of science and technology. The bill would provide a $100 billion strategic investment to the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase investment in pre-market technological research.

It would also apportion an additional $10 billion for the establishment of tech hubs across the country, which Young said will lead to a resurgence in American manufacturing and increased job creation. He claimed these measures are key in allowing America to remain at the world’s head and preserve democratic values likely to flounder in a world led by China.

“China longs to become the world’s leader, but lacks the attachment to human rights and dignity required of those who seek to fill that role,” he stated. “What becomes of liberty in a world led by such a power?”

The bill would also restructure the way research is funded by the NSF rather than giving free rein to scientists to pick their own research goals. It would direct funding to specific key technologies such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence, with specific goals for global market impact.

This more zeroed-in approach has been praised by several industry leaders and research institutions. In doing so, Young asserted it would be vastly beneficial not just to America, but to the rest of the world.

“Let us pass this act,” he urged. “If we do, another “Endless Frontier” will be before us, and with it a stronger, freer, more prosperous nation and a world in which free men and women author this new century.”

RELATED: China hits back at U.S. telecom supply chain order at WTO

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