Tulsa, Geoffrey Berman, Father’s Day: Your Weekend Briefing

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Here are the week’s top stories, and a look ahead.

1. President Trump tried to reinvigorate his re-election campaign at a much anticipated rally in Tulsa, Okla., buffeted by the devastating health and economic crises, and nationwide protests against racism.

Mr. Trump ignored pleas from local officials, shrugging off health warnings and dismissing the grim symbolism of restarting his rowdy rallies in a city where a white mob once massacred hundreds of black people. The rally, his first in months, came one day after Juneteenth, which celebrates the abolition of slavery in the U.S.

In the end, turnout was far from the BOK Center’s 19,000 seat capacity. Mr. Trump blamed the media for reporting on health concerns ahead of the indoor rally for suppressing the crowd size, and claimed that he wanted to “slow the testing down” for the coronavirus.

Throughout his speech, Mr. Trump tried to target Democrats. He blamed the “unhinged left wing mob” for desecrating the country’s history and tearing down monuments, and demonized people who had mostly been demonstrating peacefully as radical “rioters.’’

Mr. Trump’s most faithful supporters waited hours and, in some cases, days to join in his return to the campaign trail. On the eve of the rally, the city’s black residents sent a message of defiance.

2. President Trump fired the top U.S. attorney in Manhattan, who had been at the forefront of corruption inquiries into the president’s inner circle.

Mr. Trump removed the prosecutor, Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, above, after he refused to step down on Friday night. The ouster heightened criticism that Mr. Trump was purging his administration of officials whose independence could be a threat to his re-election.

Mr. Berman’s office has successfully prosecuted the president’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who went to prison, and has been investigating Mr. Trump’s current personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani.

3. The coronavirus pandemic is entering “a new and dangerous phase,” a top official at the World Health Organization warned.

A virus once defined by shifting epicenters is now distinguished by wide and expanding scope: Eighty-one countries have seen a growth in new cases over the past two weeks. Only 36 have seen declines. Here’s our latest case count and maps.

Beijing and Seoul have had a recent surge; in Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Arizona, daily counts of new cases reached their highest levels so far of the pandemic this week. Texas, above in Austin this week, has seen confirmed cases double in the past month. Some businesses, like Apple and AMC Theaters, are now readjusting their reopening plans.


4. Minnesota lawmakers failed to compromise on law-enforcement measures after a weeklong special session. Activists now worry the window to change is closing.

The collapse of talks came after both parties had promised sweeping changes as George Floyd’s killing turned their state into a focal point of nationwide fury over police reform and systemic racism. Above, Minneapolis this month.

In New York City, public officials and advocacy groups have proposed major cuts to the Police Department, the nation’s largest and most expensive. We broke down its budget and some of the proposals to cut it.

A number of deadly episodes around the country that involved the police are receiving renewed attention.


5. The police killing of Breonna Taylor has changed the Kentucky Senate race.

With a war chest of $40 million, Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot who earned a national following in 2018, was considered a safe bet in the Democratic primary.

But the recent movement for racial justice has elevated the candidacy of Charles Booker, above, an African-American state representative and unabashed progressive. The primary is Tuesday.

We’re also watching developments in Iowa, which is unexpectedly playing a major role in the presidential and Senate races this year. Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican, is facing a strong challenge from a Democratic newcomer.


6. “It is every foreign correspondent’s nightmare: a family emergency when you are half a world away.”

For our Tokyo bureau chief, Motoko Rich, the call came last month. It was her 76-year-old father, who was dying from congestive heart failure. During the coronavirus pandemic, many people have been unable to make it to the bedside of their dying relatives. She was one of the lucky ones.

“Suddenly, I was facing questions unique to the pandemic — whether it would be wise to travel, or whether I could forgive myself if I didn’t,” she writes. The two are pictured above in January.

Our music contributor has another tribute to dads — dad rock to be specific. And our Science desk looked at the paternal care in aquatic life, which is more common than maternal or combined parenting.


8. The ballroom community has vogued its way through decades of change and social unrest; 2020 has taken that to a whole new level.

The ballroom scene began in the 1970s as a competitive arena for drag queens, who are grouped in “chosen families” known as houses, and later as a haven for black and Latino L.G.B.T.Q. people.

Now, the community has shifted to a call for justice. The national demonstrations have provided an outlet to vogue as a form of grief, protest, connection and celebration. Above, the black transgender march in New York last weekend.

“Being part of this movement is natural to us,” Leiomy Maldonado, a ballroom icon, said.


9. “Everywhere I go it smells the same, and it smells like my breath.”

David Sedaris, the author and humorist, has been in lockdown just like the rest of us. With two books in the works but all plans on hold, the writer is pacing New York City and destroying his friends on Fitbit, the physical-activity-recording device.

“Like, I might be walking 130 miles a week, and they’re walking 30 miles a week,” he said.

There have been other changes, too: He has finally subscribed to Netflix and has somehow made it through the pandemic without a single Zoom, FaceTime or Skype call.


10. And finally, dig into one of our Best Weekend Reads.

Jon Stewart is back to weigh in, wild platypuses make a mighty return in Australia, above, the meaning of Pride Month in 2020 and more stories top this week’s roundup.

For more ideas on what to read, watch and listen to, may we suggest these 10 new books our editors liked, a glance at the latest small-screen recommendations from Watching and our music critics’ latest playlist.

It’s officially summer. Have a sunny week.


Your Weekend Briefing is published Sundays at 6 a.m. Eastern.

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