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Photo: Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s PAC is inviting lobbyists to attend a four-day “Summer Meeting” at Disney World's Polynesian Village in Florida, all but daring donors to swallow their concern about coronavirus and contribute $10,000 to his leadership PAC.

Why it matters: Scalise appears to be the first House lawmakers to host an in-person destination fundraiser since the severity of pandemic became clear. The invite for the “Summer Meeting” for the Scalise Leadership Fund, obtained by Axios, makes no mention of COVID-19.

  • The House minority whip, who was shot at a baseball practice in 2017 and was in danger of losing his life, is signaling a lack of concern about COVID-19.
  • Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden, seem more comfortable sticking to socially-distant zoom calls to raise money.
  • The July 31-Aug. 3 PAC event is scheduled for Florida, where COVID-19 cases have been surging.
  • Scalise's office did not respond to requests for comment.

The big picture: Scalise is not only competing with Democratic leadership PACs and campaign arms to raise money, he’s showing muscle within his own party.

  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy hasn't made a final call on his annual August Jackson Hole gathering for big donors, but may cancel it, according to an aide.
  • The #2 House Republican is following the lead of President Trump, who hosted 15 donors at his Bedminster club last month, raising $3 million.
  • Guests had to take a COVID test before the POTUS event.
  • Trump has testified to Scalise's toughness and marveled at his "guts" for returning to Congress after being shot and thanked him publicly — and numerous times — for his steadfast support during impeachment.

Between the lines: The invite bills two private evening events, a “Hoop Dee Hoo Musical Revue” and final "character breakfast" on Aug. 3.

  • The mask wars that we saw on Capitol Hill last month are migrating to fundraising arena, where real money, and reputation, are at stake.
  • Rooms cost an additional $609 per night.
  • Disney World is planning on a phased reopening, starting on July 11.

The bottom line: Just as Trump is planning on rallies while his opponent avoids them, House Republicans are highlighting their lack of concern about the virus by hosting in-person events.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Oct 14, 2020 - Health

Predicting the spread of COVID-19 with smart thermometers

Kinsa's predictive map of COVID-19 outbreaks on Oct. 14, with flashing lights indicating states where cases are projected to rise. Credit: Kinsa

A company that makes internet-connected thermometers has shown success in predicting likely COVID-19 hot spots days or even weeks before case counts rise.

Why it matters: Even as the U.S. has ramped up coronavirus testing, too often we're still behind the pace of the virus. But connected, at-home diagnostics could give advance warning of when COVID-19 — or the next new virus — is about to strike.

Melania Trump reveals son Barron had COVID-19, opens up about diagnosis

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

First lady Melania Trump disclosed on Wednesday that her 14-year-old son, Barron Trump, also tested positive for COVID-19 in a statement detailing her experiences with the virus. Barron exhibited no symptoms and has since tested negative.

The big picture: President Trump revealed that he and the first lady tested positive for the coronavirus on Oct. 1. The president was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center the following day.

The coronavirus is surging again

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: After a database error, Missouri has not reported cases since Oct. 10; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections jumped by almost 17% over the past week as the number of new cases increased in 38 states and Washington, D.C.

Why it matters: The U.S. is headed solidly in the wrong direction — and at a dangerous time, as experts say the fall and winter will likely make the pandemic worse. They had hoped we could get cases under control before then, but that seems unrealistic.