The American flag flies at half-staff Saturday after the death of Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 18, 2020.

Monday Sunrise Briefing: Who do Americans trust to lead?

As U.S. coronavirus cases rise, trust in President Trump is slipping. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll of registered voters shows Mr. Trump still ahead of Joe Biden when asked who do you trust to handle the economy. But Mr. Trump trails Biden on trust in handling the coronavirus outbreak, race relations, and crime. Twenty one states reached new records for COVID-19 cases this week.  With 105 days until the November election, the poll finds Mr. Trump’s trust deficit is concentrated in states where coronavirus cases are rising sharply, including Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Georgia. Mr. Trump led by double digits in these states in May, but this survey shows Mr. Biden with a slight advantage now. Nationally, Mr. Biden has a 20-point lead on the issue. Mr. Trump said the U.S. faces virus “embers” and “flames” but insisted “it's going to disappear, and I'll be right," in a contentious interview on “Fox News Sunday.” Globally, some countries are moving back toward more restrictions.

2. Federal vs. local law enforcement. Portland, Oregon is emerging as a test for how to curb violent, urban protests. Federal, state, and local politicians clashed this weekend after federal and local law enforcement officers moved against violent protesters in Portland, Oregon. Police cars were vandalized and a police union building was lit on fire Saturday night. The mayor said Sunday federal agents are exacerbating tensions in Portland, which has seen nearly two months of nightly protests since the killing of George Floyd. “We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. … We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE….” Democratic lawmakers on Sunday issued a letter seeking a federal investigation “into the use of federal law enforcement agencies … to suppress First Amendment protected activities in Washington, D.C., Portland, and other communities across the United States.”

3. The ‘conscience of Congress.’ This weekend was marked by remembrances of Rep. John Lewis, who died Friday and was the last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists who organized the 1963 March on Washington, when Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Mr. Lewis advocated nonviolent protest but he was often confrontational. He was famously beaten by police in Selma, Alabama, during a 1965 march, and was arrested 45 times in his lifetime while demonstrating for social justice. Mr. Lewis earned bipartisan respect in Washington, where some called him the “conscience of Congress.” He was a passionate champion of liberal, and often losing, causes. The Georgia congressman was generous with his time, meeting and supporting activists from around the country. He urged them to “get in good trouble” and “get in the way.” 

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, July 20, 2020, sunrise briefing.

Here are three news events from this past weekend (while you may have been tubing, volunteering, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.


REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
A mission called Hope. The first attempt by the United Arab Emirates to go interplanetary lifted off from Japan Sunday, on a seven-month journey to Mars. People watched the launch on a screen at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, July 20, 2020.

Look Ahead

Monday, July 20

A timely alliance. Black social justice organizers and labor union activists are planning a short (8 minutes) but sweeping Strike for Black Lives in more than 25 U.S. cities at noon. Among the key demands: Higher wages and permission to form unions to advocate for improved health care, sick leave, and other benefits.

U.S. Congress goes back to work: After a two-week recess, the House and Senate return to work with major legislation pending, including coming to agreement about another pandemic economic relief package. Expect the Republican relief bill to be introduced in the Senate this week.

Tuesday, July 22 

Reimagining policing, part II. The Minneapolis Charter Commission hears public testimony on a proposal to eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a new agency. An initial hearing was held last week

Wednesday, July 23

Baseball returns. This is opening day for Major League Baseball. Every team will play a 60-game schedule entirely against teams in their own geographic region to limit travel.

China's Mars mission. China is expected to launch its Tianwen-1 Mars orbiter and rover today, although no official launch date has been announced. The Mars orbiter carries seven science payloads and is designed to operate for one Mars year, or 687 Earth days.

Thursday, July 24

Justice delayed. A verdict is expected in the German trial of a former Nazi concentration camp guard for complicity in the murder of more than 5,000 people during World War II.

Saturday, July 26

Basketball returns. The WNBA season opens with a racial justice message. The players have been given warm-up shirts with the words "Black Lives Matter" on the front and "Say Her Name" on the back, alongside Breonna Taylor's name. 

Generosity Watch

REUTERS/Shafiek Tassiem
Volunteers from SA Harvest and Chefs with Compassion hand out food packages in Eikenhof, South Africa, and nine other cities in celebration of Mandela Day, in South Africa, July 18, 2020.

South Africans honored the late Nelson Mandela on Saturday with 67 minutes of giving - as they have each year since 2009. (Sixty-seven represents the number of years of public service by the 1993 Nobel Prize winner.) This year, many acts of generosity revolved around helping the hungry. 

Here are a few examples: 

  • In Cape Town, Ladles of Love is a nonprofit organization that feeds the homeless. On Mandela Day, the group set a new world record by making 125,000 sandwiches in one hour. They invited volunteers to pick up free loaves of bread and jam on Friday, and deliver their homemade sandwiches at 13 drop off locations on Saturday. 
  • It’s winter in South Africa, so a cup of soup would go well with those sandwiches. Some 300 chefs joined with SA Harvest and Chefs with Compassion to prep 268,000 cups of soup in major cities throughout South Africa. 
  • Hope in a jar. On Saturday, the Robin Hood Foundation teamed up with the Gateway Shopping Mall in Durban to collect jars of soup mixes. It asked shoppers, boy and girl scout troops, and the community at large to donate a glass jar with ½ cup of rice, ½ cup of soup, ½ cup of lentils, one unwrapped stocked cube, and one packet of soup powder. They said one jar can feed up to four people.

The annual day of giving reflects the qualities that Mandela himself lived, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the Gift of the Givers, told the Daily Maverick: “service,” “sacrifice,” and “forgiveness.”

Hidden gem

Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor readers:

When the world stood still, they found freedom on roller skates

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for a commentary appreciation of the life and legacy of John Lewis.

Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday's subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. America has bungled the pandemic. Now what?
  2. ‘Justice needs to be served’: Minnapolis businesses put principles first
  3. Can Iraq rein in Shiite militias? What one killing tells us.
  4. When Black athletes choose Black schools: Commentary on activism in sports

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