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GOP Sen. John Cornyn says he when he disagrees with Trump, he does so "privately"

In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial board, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that he's disagree with President Trump on trade agreements with China, budget deficits, COVID-19 stimulus aid but has always brought his concerns up privately, rather than publicly criticize the president.

Driving the news: Cornyn said his relationship with Trump was“maybe like a lot of women who get married and think they’re going to change their spouse, and that doesn’t usually work out very well."


Why it matters: Cornyn, a high ranking Republican in the Senate who is currently in a tight re-election race against Democrat MJ Hegar. Weeks ago, he chided Trump for letting "his guard down" on the coronavirus.

  • “I applaud him for standing up to China but, frankly, this idea that China is paying the price and we’re not paying the price here at home is just not true,” Cornyn said.
  • Cornyn described himself as a "defense hawk" who said he disagreed with the use of national security funds to build portions of a border wall, though he voted against a measure that would have overturned Trump's order to use the funds.
  • He praised the administration when it came to judicial nominations, Hurricane Harvey relief, a U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal and tax cuts.
  • “I have found that has allowed me to be much more effective, I believe, than to satisfy those who say I ought to call him out or get into a public fight with him.”

The big picture: Several Republicans have begun to distance themselves from Trump just weeks before the election, sounding the alarm over a potential electoral blowout. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), for example, recently unloaded on the president in a call with constituents, questioning why Republicans thought "selling a TV-obsessed, narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea?"

Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months

President Trump has not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting in “several months,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday.

Why it matters: At the beginning of the pandemic, the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met every day, but in the "last several weeks," members have held virtual meetings once a week, Fauci said, even as the number of new cases continues to surge in the country.

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Universal mask use could save 130,000 lives in U.S.

Nearly 130,000 fewer people will die of COVID-19 this winter if 95% of Americans wear face masks in public, according to research published Friday.

Why it matters: “Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates," Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington told the N.Y. Times.

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Israel and Sudan begin normalization process after call with Trump

Sudan and Israel announced today that they will “end the state of belligerence” between them and start the process of normalizing ties.

Driving the news: The announcement came after a phone call hosted by President Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and the head of Sudan's governing council, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

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We're all guinea pigs for Tesla's latest self-driving tech

Tesla is beta-testing its latest self-driving technology with a small group of early adopters, a move that alarms experts and makes every road user — including other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists — unwitting subjects in its ongoing safety experiment.

Why it matters: Tesla hailed the limited rollout of its "full self-driving" beta software as a key milestone, but the warnings on the car's touchscreen underscore the risk in using its own customers — rather than trained safety drivers — to validate the technology.

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Trump removes Sudan from state sponsors of terrorism list

President Trump signed Friday an order to remove Sudan from the State Department’s state sponsors of terrorism list, senior U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: Trump’s signature paves the way for the U.S. and Sudan to move forward on a larger deal — which will also include a Sudanese announcement on normalizing its relations with Israel.

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Big Ten football is back

The Big Ten football season kicks off tonight after months of a "will they, won't they" narrative.

The state of play: Each team will play eight regular season games, culminating in a ninth, cross-divisional matchup on Dec. 19 (i.e. the Big Ten Championship, but also No. 2 East vs. No. 2 West, etc.).

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Child care crisis is denting the labor market

Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

New data from the Pew Research Center shows that parents are being hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and as far as job losses go, mothers and fathers are faring equally poorly.

Why it matters: Economists have been warning for months that the pandemic could do long-term damage to the economy as people remain unemployed for longer stretches of time.

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"This guy": Trump-Biden personal venom was on full display during final debate

Joe Biden twice referred to President Trump as "this guy," and Trump called the former vice president's family "like a vacuum cleaner" for foreign money.

Why it matters: The personal venom — during Thursday's final presidential debate, in Nashville — was a reminder that even during a more normal debate, nothing this year is normal.

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