Pence seems like he loves a cult, so I guess it makes sense that he's reportedly going to attend a fundraiser in Montana hosted by a few QAnon freaks. The Associated Press broke the news this morning. Kimberly Guilfoyle and multiple GOP and RNC figureheads are also expected to attend the event. When Trump runs for president again in 2024, I'm sure we'll see a Sarah Palinesque QAnon VP pick. (Or maybe just Sarah Palin. She probably needs a new conspiracy group to back these days.)
Another Bob Woodward bombshell: Excerpts from Woodward's new book, along with reporting from the Washington Post, reveals that Trump told Woodward in March that he "wanted to always play [COVID-19] down. I still like playing it down," Trump said, "because I don’t want to create a panic." He called it "deadly stuff" to Woodward on February 7, all while downplaying the threat.
This is President Trump on tape, on February 7, saying that the coronavirus is "more deadly than your – you know, your, even your strenuous flus." But he minimized the threat in public. On February 26, he told the public "I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away." pic.twitter.com/TOHTpqYtvZ
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) September 9, 2020
There is an epic amount of finger-pointing going on at the White House right now about who's to blame for a group of grown adults in serious positions in government - and in one case the president - talking to Woodward.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) September 9, 2020
Everyone had a lot to say: "The President never downplayed the virus," claimed White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Then Trump said he "perhaps" downplayed the virus to "reduce panic." Biden said Trump "lied to the American people," "failed to do his job on purpose," and characterized Trump's failure as "a life and death betrayal of the American people":
Here's our smoke forecast for tomorrow, via the Washington State Department of Ecology:
Here was our forecast for today: It looked, uh, pretty much the same. Fires continue to produce "significant smoke" across Washington state. The smoke is atrocious in Central Washington. Smoke everywhere else is mostly considered Moderate to Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.
A man in Puyallup was arrested this afternoon after allegedly setting a fire along Highway 167: "The 36-year-old man was taken into custody after officers say they observed him setting the fire on Highway 167 and North Meridian Avenue," writes Paige Cornwell for the Seattle Times' live blog on Washington's fires.
This next blurb is bleak: Search-and-rescue crews discovered a family caught in Washington's Cold Springs Fire in Okanogan County. The couple, Jacob Hyland and Jamie Hyland of Renton, were both severely burned. Tragically, their one-year-old child was found dead. Emergency crews transported the couple to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where they are receiving treatment. Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz released a statement on the child's passing, embedded below (click it to enlarge):
Most of the 587,000+ acres burned in Washington's wildfires burned in the last 48 hours: “We will be in a severe fire danger situation for as long as there's wind," Commissioner Franz said this morning. Gov. Inslee toured fire damage in Pierce County this afternoon and called the past two days "an extraordinary series of events we have suffered."
Are these "spooky vibes"? If so, these photos are very spooky.
Washington COVID update: Today state officials reported 464 new cases and 25 new deaths in the state.
The Seattle Aquarium is getting its own Kraken: Sorta. The giant Pacific octopus is coming to our aquarium. Actually, we're getting two: "a 35-pound male named, of course, Kraken, and an accompanying partner weighing 1-2 pounds, cutely named Ink Jet," writes Christina Ausley for the SeattlePI. The inky duo officially arrived today. The aquarium will release the kraken back into their home environment once they reach breeding maturity.
The Seattle Art Museum is opening to the public this Friday: More museums will open soon. The Stranger's Jasmyne Keimig has an updated list here.
We've got some of Trump's potential Supreme Court picks: He released an additional 20 names he will consider if a Supreme Court seat becomes available during his time in office. The afternoon
announcement deflection appears to have been scheduled last-minute. Among the additional names are... Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton? Via NPR:
Bridget Bade of Arizona, judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Daniel Cameron of Kentucky, that state's attorney general Paul Clement of Virginia, former U.S. solicitor general Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas Stuart Kyle Duncan of Louisiana, judge on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Steven Engel of the District of Columbia, assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice Noel Francisco, former U.S. solicitor general Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri James Ho of Texas, judge on the 5th Circuit Gregory Katsas of Virginia, judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Barbara Lagoa, a judge from Florida on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Christopher Landau of Maryland, U.S. ambassador to Mexico Carlos Muñiz of Florida, justice on the Florida Supreme Court Martha Pacold of Illinois, judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Peter Phipps of Pennsylvania, judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Sarah Pitlyk of Missouri, judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri Allison Jones Rushing of North Carolina, judge on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Kate Todd of Virginia, deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel to the president Lawrence VanDyke of Nevada, judge on the 9th Circuit
Tommy on the pick:
It's time for Roe v. Wade to go.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) September 9, 2020
How's Ruth doing? Anyone hear from her? This is the last time I heard from her.
Some culture picks for the week: It's hell out there, so why don't you stay inside and do exactly what I tell you. First, stream Son of the White Mare, an early-'80s Hungarian animated epic that deserves to exist among the ranks of Fantastic Planet and Allegro Non Troppo. You can stream it locally through Grand Illusion and Northwest Film Forum. Treat yourself and catch this trailer:
My second recommendation is some socially distant experimental theater: COVID can't stop On the Boards. Seattle's world-renowned performing arts hub is partnering with Obie Award-winning theatermakers 600 Highwaymen to present A Thousand Ways. It's a three-part interactive virtual performance that begins with A Phone Call, happening September 9 - 27 and billed as a virtual performance that is performed over the phone between you, a stranger, and a performer. The second part, An Encounter (date TBA), will move into the IRL and happen between you and a stranger, separated by a pane of glass. The final part, A Congregation (Summer 2021), will be a type of public gathering. I'm experiencing the first part this Saturday night. We'll have a post up next week!