GOOD MORNING DC: Playing Politics 

#GoodMorningDC. Here's the world you are waking up to this Thursday morning, March 18, 2021. 

Good Morning DC with Chief White House Correspondent  Ksenija Pavlovic Mcateer

Good Morning DC! Here’s the world you are waking up to this Thursday morning.

The White House told us that they will work in coordination with the White House Correspondents' Association to develop a plan for access to Biden’s March 25th press conference that also protects the health and safety of the press corps.

Shootings in Atlanta killed eight people and six of the victims were Asian women. The shooting came at a moment in time when the country and world are reeling from a rise in anti-Asian violence, and confronting violence against women. Activists and experts are citing the start of the pandemic as the ignition of the wildfire of anti-Asian violence happening now. 

Atlanta police announced that the suspect in custody told investigators that he was motivated by a “sexual addiction.” The police made no mention of racial motivation. Georgia’s Cherokee County Captain Jay Baker also said that the gunman was having “a really bad day,” when he allegedly killed the eight victims. Later in the day, it was revealed that in April 2020 Baker posted a t-shirt he bought that displayed anti-Asian rhetoric on Facebook. 

After Baker’s and the Atlanta police’s statements, activists, and the public in general, are insisting that the shooting should be labeled a hate-crime given the racist and misogynistic context of the shooting. 

A recently declassified U.S. intelligence community report revealed that Russia interfered in the U.S. election. The report also determined that China did not interfere in the election, despite the former President’s consistent warnings and his attempts to ban the Chinese app TikTok. 

The White House elected to declassify this report and release it to the public in hopes of raising awareness across the country and world of Russia’s actions, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said. The Biden administration is attempting to use transparency as a strategy to combat Russia’s attempts to polarize the nation. 

“[Russians] are going to pay a price, as the President conveyed last night, we are not going to look the other way,” Psaki said. 

The IRS is moving the tax filing deadline to mid-May, and this is being done to give time to navigate all the complications brought on by the pandemic. There has been bipartisan support to extend the deadline, and Democratic Reps. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey and Richard Neal of Massachusetts, who were some of the leaders of this initiative, are setting May 17 as the target date. 

Last night, Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) told Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC that the Senate rules allowing the filibuster need to be revised in order for him, and all other senators, to be able to properly govern on behalf of the people of the United States. “I entered the Senate to legislate. To legislate on behalf of the people...not to be mired in gridlock or hamstrung by Senate procedure,” said Ossoff. 

Across the pond, the EU continues to play vaccine nationalism in the context of the UK's AstraZeneca vaccine.

“The politically coordinated efforts across Europe to cast doubt on the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine in the face of all the science, shows once again that the EU will put the politics of its own survival before the survival of its people. Very very sad,” said MP Andrew Bridgen. 

WHO, however, considers that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh its risks and recommends that vaccinations continue. 

It is interesting that Serbia which is not in the EU and has, after the U.K, the next best record of vaccinating its population in Europe, is using the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine and has declared it safe and effective. The EU and Von Der Leyen are playing politics with their citizens' lives.

“I chair the APPG for Serbia and I’m pleased to see them making great progress with their vaccine programme,” responded MP Andrew Bridgen for Good Morning DC. 

At the bilateral meeting with Biden, the PM of Ireland commented yesterday on the Northern Ireland Protocol, “I especially want to thank you for your unwavering support for the Good Friday Agreement. It has meant a lot and it has mattered, including, as we negotiated Brexit. With a new trading relationship now in place between the European Union and the United Kingdom and a protocol that protects peace and avoids a hard border on this island, I want to move forward with a positive relationship with the United Kingdom. That means standing by what has been agreed, and working together to make a success of it, and that in turn then can help maintain peace and promote greater reconciliation on our shared Island”.

The President of Tanzania, John Magufuli, died on Wednesday at age 61 due to heart complications. The president has not been seen for two weeks, and this rumor began to circulate questioning if he was hospitalized with COVID-19. His administration never confirmed the claims.

What will Biden do today?

At 3:15 PM EST President Biden will deliver remarks on the state of vaccinations.

To combat the issue of many schools lacking the necessary resources to set up COVID screening programs, the Department of Education announced the state funding allocations for the $122 billion in the American Rescue Plan that would help schools invest in safety strategies.

At 12:30 PM  EST  Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge will brief the press. 

And that’s a wrap for this Thursday morning, March 18, 2021. Good Morning DC will be back tomorrow to bring you the latest first. 


 

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