The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump, Pence travel to Cape Canaveral for SpaceX launch


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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Breaking — D.C. stay-at-home order lifts Friday |  Disney announces phased reopening for July 11, 15 |  Trump, Pence travel to Cape Canaveral |  SpaceX launch at 4:33 p.m. EDT |  Florida weather looking better for launch |  Twitter fact-checks Trump’s mail-in voting post |  Trump threatens to regulate or ‘close down’ social media platforms |  Speculation swirls about next Supreme Court vacancy | Engineer builds Ninja Warrior bird feeder course for squirrels |  Inside the closed Disney parks



Zetus Lapetus, we’re going to space!:



Later today, two astronauts are expected to launch into space in the first crewed mission on American soil since 2011. Why today is so important, via Scientific American

The historic part: “It will mark the first time that a private American company, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is in charge of sending astronauts into orbit.”

What time: 4:33 p.m. EDT. 

Where: At the Kennedy Space Center in central Florida.  

Keep in mind about the timing — it may not happen depending on the weather: If the weather conditions are not perfect, the mission will be postponed. “According to the US Air Force 45th Weather Squadron, there's now a 60% chance of favorable conditions for a ‘go.’ ” The latest forecast: 

If you’re getting excited now and want a preview: Here is live coverage of the launch. It just started at 12:15 p.m. EDT. Watch 

If you’re in Florida, here’s a list of places to watch the launch

The astronauts are best friends: Via The New York Times’s Kenneth Chang, “Meet Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, SpaceX’s first NASA astronauts: They’re best friends and veterans of the astronaut corps, and each is married to another astronaut.”

Here’s what one of the astronauts had for breakfast this morning:




Quarantine fist bump for good luck:




What it looks like right now at the Kennedy Space Center:

Here’s a livestream at Cape Canaveral, Fla.




It’s already Wednesday! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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State of Small Business Report: Insights from 86,000 businesses and employees



A new report from Facebook and the Small Business Roundtable looks at how small and medium-sized businesses are dealing with the impact of COVID-19  — and what they need on the road to recovery.

Go further: Read the full report.



DC will begin reopening on Friday:

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced the city will lift its stay-at-home order on Friday, May 29. 

Reasoning: Bowser said D.C. had a 14-day decline in community spread, meeting the metrics to slowly reopen. 

What this means: “Under the order, nonessential retail businesses can open for curbside pickup, and hair salons can open for appointments only. Restaurants can serve diners outdoors if they already have outdoor seating and tables are six feet apart. Gatherings of more than 10 people are still banned, and Bowser encouraged people to continue staying six feet apart, wearing masks when around others, and washing hands frequently.”

Disney’s announces reopening plans:

Via The Orlando Sentinel, Walt Disney World just announced its proposed reopening of the parks.

On July 11: Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom would open.

On July 15: Epcot and Hollywood Studios would open. 

The precautions: “Both Disney and SeaWorld, similar to Universal’s plans presented last week, said guests and employees will be required to wear masks and undergo temperature checks. Both also said the parks will include changes to promote social distancing and encourage frequent hand-washing by guests and employees.” 

Everything we know


Disney cast members have been tweeting photos of what the parks look like these days. Photos



Resources and tools to help you and your small business



We know it’s a challenging time for small businesses. Facebook’s Business Resource Hub offers resources to help you manage your business and support your customers and employees through the COVID-19 crisis.

Resources for businesses here.



Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 1,681,793 

Deaths in the U.S.: 98,933

Breakdown of the numbers

For context: As of this time last week, 1,532,212 Americans had tested positive for the coronavirus and 92,128 Americans had died.


Can you imagine President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Trump on Confederate flag: 'It's freedom of speech' MORE without Twitter??:

President Trump threatened to “close down” social media platforms after Twitter fact-checked the president’s tweets about mail-in voting.

Trump tweeted: “Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that … happen again. Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country. It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win. Likewise, Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!” Read Trump’s full tweets

Back story: For the first time, Twitter added a “fact-check” label to the president’s tweets yesterday. See the tweets with the fact-check label


Last weekend, The Wall Street Journal’s John D. McKinnon and Alex Leary reported that President Trump is considering making a panel to review anti-conservative bias on social media platforms.

It looks like a beautiful morning at the White House:




This a.m. — the conspiracy theory isn’t going anywhere:

After receiving heavy criticism, President Trump again raised a conspiracy theory about the death of an aide to former Rep. Joe ScarboroughCharles (Joe) Joseph ScarboroughThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump lays low as approval hits 18-month low Cheney clashes with Trump Trump dings CNN, 'Morning Joe' ratings as Tucker Carlson sets record MORE (R-Fla.)  

Trump tweeted at 8:42 a.m. EDT — a few minutes before Scarborough’s MSNBC show “Morning Joe” ended: “Psycho Joe Scarborough is rattled, not only by his bad ratings but all of the things and facts that are coming out on the internet about opening a Cold Case. He knows what is happening!”


“There is no cold case involving Scarborough. Trump is referring to the 2001 death of Lori Klausutis, an aide who worked in his Florida office when Scarborough served in Congress. Klausutis, who had an undiagnosed heart condition, fell and hit her head at work in 2001 and was found dead the following morning. Scarborough was in Washington at the time, and the medical examiner ruled her death an accident.”


Rumors of a Supreme Court vacancy:

Via The Hill’s John Kruzel, “Just months before Election Day, the question of whether President Trump will get to select a third Supreme Court justice hangs over the final weeks of the court’s term.”

Who: “Speculation over a possible vacancy has focused in recent years on the prospect of Justice Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasSupreme Court rules can trademark name Supreme Court hands win to religious schools Trump's mark on federal courts could last decades MORE exiting while Republicans control the White House and Senate, and alternatively on the health of the court’s aging liberal bloc.”

Keep in mind: The 71-year-old justice has adamantly denied claims of his retirement. 

The coronavirus outbreak isn’t helping age concerns: “The justices’ age and health has come into sharper focus amid the coronavirus pandemic, as six of the nine justices are age 65 or older, placing them in a population that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers to be at risk for serious illness from the coronavirus.” 

How this could play out


Meanwhile in Germany…:




How to get a hat: Burger King responded to a tweet asking where to get a hat by saying, “just take a quick walk to Germany.”


The House is in. The Senate is out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Florida for the scheduled space launch.

10:30 a.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and second lady Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook- Schools weigh reopening options Pence and his wife voted by mail in Indiana GOP primary using old address The Hill's 12:30 Report: Senate unveils police reform bill as House works on its own bill MORE leave for Cape Canaveral, Fla.

11 a.m. EDT: President Trump meets with New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNew York adds three more states' travelers to growing list for quarantine order NY state lawmaker introduces bill to require police officers get personal liability insurance The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Miami pauses reopenings as COVID-19 infections rise, schools nationally plot return MORE (D).

12:20 p.m. EDT: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook- Schools weigh reopening options Melania Trump confidant plans tell-all book The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Miami pauses reopenings as COVID-19 infections rise, schools nationally plot return MORE leave the White House and head to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

1:05 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence meet with astronaut families.

1:30 – 5 p.m. EDT: First votes in the House. The House’s full schedule today

3 p.m. EDT: President Trump, first lady Melania TrumpVice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence tour the NASA Crew Quarters and the Orion Capsules, followed by a SpaceX Demonstration Mission 2 Launch briefing. 

4:25 p.m. EDT: President Trump, first lady Melania TrumpVice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence watch the SpaceX launch.

4:33 p.m. EDT: The scheduled SpaceX launch.

7:30 ­– 10 p.m. EDT: Last votes in the House. 

9:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump get back to the White House.

9:50 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence land in Washington, D.C.


2:30 p.m. EDT: Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiClash looms over next coronavirus relief bill Trump's WHO decision raises bipartisan concerns in House Five takeaways from PPP loan data MORE (D-Calif.) holds a press conference. Livestream 

4:33 p.m. EDT: The scheduled SpaceX launch. Livestream

6 p.m. EDT: President Trump delivers remarks at the Kennedy Space Center. Livestream


Today is National Grape Popsicle Day.

A well-matched fight between a former NASA engineer and squirrels — I am cackling while watching this:

A former NASA and Apple engineer tried several bird feeders that falsely claimed they were “squirrel-proof,” so after a lot of testing, he decided to embrace squirrels’ ingenuity by creating a Ninja Warrior course for squirrels to reach the bird feeder.

The four squirrel contestants: Rick, Marty, Frank and Phat Gus 

Watch — it’s incredible

And because you made it this far, here’s a dog who desperately wants head scratches: