Following the surge of officials in Washington, DC contracting the novel coronavirus over the past couple of weeks, Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.) added his name to the growing list, announcing on Wednesday that he has tested positive.
“Earlier today, I was expected to appear with the Vice President,” wrote Rep. Huizenga. “While taking part in offsite testing protocols, I took a rapid test that came back positive for COVID-19.”
“I am awaiting the results of a PCR test,” he added, “and I am self isolating until I have confirmed results.”
After President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and advisor Hope Hicks announced in recent weeks that they had tested positive, a tsunami of officials in the nation’s capital reported that they had also contracted the virus. President Trump was forced to quarantine himself, taking up much-needed time away from the 2020 campaign trail, where every single day and event are critical to him and his re-election effort.
As of last Friday, the White House doctor reported that the president is “no longer considered a transmission risk to others.” He is now conducting in-person campaign events and rallies again.
Many experts have theorized that the event they’ve dubbed a “superspreader” which caused this outbreak was likely the Saturday, September 26 White House ceremony where the president announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Many of those who later revealed that they caught the virus attended this event.
Just a sliver of the list of those in D.C. who were infected include Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany; Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel; Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.); multiple national security officials; and among dozens more officials and staffers. Significant figures such as Vice President Mike Pence, Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who is Biden’s running mate, tested negative for the virus.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Show me the money! Report shows U.S. unable to show effectiveness of $3 billion spent in Mexico
The U.S. government has spent more than $3 billion in Mexico to reduce drug trafficking and transnational crime since 2008; unfortunately, little can be shown for it.
A report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that “the U.S. government cannot demonstrate that it is achieving its goals in Mexico and that its investments, at over $3 billion since 2008, have been spent effectively.”
The Center Square writes that the U.S. money going to Mexico was intended to mitigate transnational organized crime and violence in Mexico, enhance the country’s rule of law and reduce drug trafficking to the United States. The report discusses work of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
“Specifically, the United States relies on Mexico to help manage cross-border crime and migrant smuggling, and Mexico relies on the United States to disrupt the flow of firearms into Mexico and decrease the U.S. demand for drugs,” according to the report.
“Firearms from the United States fuel violence in Mexico” the report continues. In 2021, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that about 70% of firearms seized in Mexico from 2014 through 2018 and submitted for tracing originated in the United States.
As for drugs, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, cartels in Mexico supply most of the cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and illicit fentanyl smuggled into the United States.
“Despite ongoing security assistance, the security situation in Mexico has significantly worsened over the last 15 years. From 2007 to 2021, the homicide rate in Mexico more than tripled to one of the highest national homicide rates in the world, from eight homicides per 100,000 people to 28 per 100,000 people, according to the United Nations,” according to the report. “Meanwhile, Mexico has extremely low rates of prosecution for all crimes, according to the 2022 State Department Human Rights Report on Mexico.”
The report states two additional problems are less cooperation from Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and corruption.
“The López Obrador administration, which took office in late 2018, reduced security cooperation with the United States at the federal level,” states the report. “This limited some programs, according to U.S. officials.”
Furthermore, “High levels of impunity and corruption in Mexico impede the rule of law and limit potential partnerships for State/INL and USAID,” according to the report. “For example, State’s 2022 human rights report stated that some Mexican government officials were complicit with international organized criminal groups, but these officials were rarely prosecuted or convicted.”
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