Saturday's politics & policy stories

Neil Young blasts Trump for using his music at Mt. Rushmore

Neil Young in Sept. 2019 in East Troy, Wisconsin. Photo: Gary Miller/Getty Images

Neil Young spoke out against President Trump this weekend for using two of his songs at a Fourth of July celebration at Mount Rushmore.

Flashback: Young's management company had a similar grievance with Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, saying that the then-candidate was not allowed to use "Rockin' in the Free World" for his candidacy announcement in 2015.

Racial and ethnic minorities are driving U.S. population growth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Census Bureau estimates that U.S. population growth has been driven by racial and ethnic minorities for the past 10 years, Bloomberg reports.

The big picture, via Axios' Stef Kight: By 2045, the U.S. as a whole is projected to become majority minority.

Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as COVID-19 cases increase in U.S.

Commuters line up to cross to the United States at the San Ysidro crossing port in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico. Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

Mexican leaders are calling for stronger enforcement on its northern border as the number of coronavirus cases in the southwestern U.S. continues to rise, The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Mexico worries the growing number of COIVD-19 cases in the U.S. could threaten their communities' own safety and ability to combat the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of people living in the U.S. have continued to cross into Mexico during the pandemic, the Post notes.

Updated Jul 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Colorado police chief fires officers who reenacted Elijah McClain's death

LaWayne Mosley, father of Elijah McClain, wears a t-shirt with is son's picture on it during a press conference in Oct. 2019. Photo: Andy Cross/MediaNewsGroup/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Interim Aurora, Colo., police chief Vanessa Wilson fired two officers for reenacting the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain and a third officer for commenting on the photo that captured the "despicable act," The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: McClain died in the summer of 2019 after police officers held him in a chokehold and paramedics used a sedative, ketamine. People have been protesting McClain's death recently after the police killing of George Floyd revitalized the movement against police brutality.

Trump extends coronavirus PPP loan application deadline to August 8

President Trump boards Air Force One on July 3. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump signed off on Saturday to give businesses another five weeks to apply for funds through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Why it matters: Roughly $130 billion in PPP funding is still available. The Small Business Administration's inspector general found in May that some rural, minority and women-owned businesses may not have gotten loans due to a lack of prioritization from the agency.

Texas GOP powerbroker called on National Guard to "shoot to kill" rioters

Thousands of peaceful protesters gathered on May 29 in Houston to mourn the death of George Floyd. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP/Getty Images

As thousands around the country protested the police killing of George Floyd, a conservative Texas powerbroker and activist asked Gov. Greg Abbott in early June to instruct the National Guard to "shoot to kill" rioters, The Texas Tribune first reported yesterday.

What he's saying...Steve Hotze left this voicemail for Abbott's chief of staff and asked him to pass it on to the governor: "I want to make sure that [Gov. Abbott] has National Guard down here and they have the order to shoot to kill if any of these son-of-a-b---h people start rioting like they have in Dallas, start tearing down businesses — shoot to kill the son of a b------s. That’s the only way you restore order. Kill ‘em. Thank you."

Trump casts himself as chief defender of American history in divisive speech at Rushmore

President Trump spoke out against a "merciless campaign" to wipe out American history during a Fourth of July celebration at Mount Rushmore.

Why it matters: Trump's "dark and divisive" speech comes as states continue to hit new coronavirus records and a national reckoning against racial inequities pushes forward, The New York Times writes. Trump's public approval is faltering heading toward the November elections, and he made an appeal to his base at Friday's spectacle, per The Washington Post.

Kimberly Guilfoyle tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr.'s partner and a top fundraising official for the Trump campaign, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Guilfoyle is the third person in President Trump’s circle known to have contracted the coronavirus. Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary tested positive, as did a personal valet who served Trump food.

America's exceptionally uneventful Fourth of July

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amateur fireworks and small backyard cookouts are winning the weekend as the coronavirus takes the flash out of the Fourth of July.

What's happening: Public parades and fireworks displays around much of the country are being cancelled to prevent mass gatherings where the virus could spread. Hot-dog contests and concerts will play to empty stands and virtual audiences — all while American pride treads an all-time low.

Americans reflect on Independence Day amid racism reckoning

A Black Lives Matter banner and a United States flag on the facade of the U.S. embassy building in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Simon Shin/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

America's leaders are rethinking how they view Independence Day, as the country reckons with the historic, unequal treatment of people of color during a pandemic which has disproportionately affected nonwhite Americans.

Why it matters: The country’s legacy of racism has come into sharp focus in the weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. From Confederate statues to Mount Rushmore, Americans are reexamining the symbols and traditions they elevate and the history behind them.

70% U.S. immigration officers face furloughs

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services naturalization ceremony. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

About 13,400 employees from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will be furloughed by August due to a decline in revenue from immigration and visa application fees that help fund the agency, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: President Trump's administration has implemented many immigration policies that blocked non-Americans from entering the country's borders, separated families and delayed visas, drying up the agency's revenue.

Biden's holiday ad gives his definition of success

Biden for President via YouTube

A Joe Biden ad debuting over this holiday weekend, "Taught Me," says his parents taught him "that success means looking at your child, and realizing they turned out better than you."

Why it matters: The ad is part of Biden's effort to leverage his experience as what the campaign calls "a core strength," at a time President Trump is arguing, as he put in Tulsa, that Biden's record "can be summed up as four decades of betrayal, calamity, and failure. He never did anything."

Biden rolls out team to boost climate vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden's campaign is unveiling a "Climate Engagement Advisory Council" this morning aimed at "mobilizing" voters who prioritize climate change and environmental justice.

Why it matters: November's election is a stark contrast between Biden, whose platform goes much further than Obama-era policies, and President Trump, who largely dismisses the problem and is rolling back his predecessor's initiatives.

Supreme Court restores Alabama voting restrictions

Voters enter a polling station in Camden, Alabama on Super Tuesday, March 3. Photo: Joshua Lott/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court voted 5-4 on Thursday to block a trial judge's order that would have eased the use of absentee ballots for three Alabama counties, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The decision temporarily allows election officials in Lee, Jefferson and Mobile counties to enforce an ID requirement for disabled voters and those 65 or older in an upcoming primary runoff election, the Times reports.