ASHLEY SMITH AND THREE OTHERS ARRESTED AT GOVERNOR'S MANSION: Hundreds of protesters crowded into downtown Raleigh on Tuesday for a third week of rallying aimed at reversing Gov. Roy Cooper’s stay-home order for North Carolina. Four protesters, including ReOpenNC leader Ashley Smith, were arrested when they stepped onto the sidewalk outside the governor’s mansion on Blount Street, violating police instructions. Protesters gathered around the Capitol Police car and banged on the window as Smith was taken away. “This is how Nazi Germany started,” said her husband, Adam Smith, who was handed bail money by other protesters. Using a bullhorn, he called each officer outside the governor’s mansion a “little piggie.” The group, smaller than the number of protesters last Tuesday, honked horns and waved signs that they hope will influence a short session of the state General Assembly that started Tuesday.
COOPER LEADS FOREST BY A WIDE MARGIN IN LATEST POLL: In the race for governor, Cooper would easily win re-election over Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest by a 57-30 percent margin if the election were held today, according to the poll. The two men are effectively in a dead heat among voters who don't consider Trump's handling of the pandemic a factor in the election, and Forest has a narrow lead among voters who say Cooper's stay-at-home order and other actions are unlikely to play a role in how they vote. But Cooper holds leads of between 56-29 percent and 69-21 percent among voters who call Trump's and Cooper's actions during the pandemic a minor or major factor in the November elections. Overall, Cooper holds leads – usually sizable ones – among all demographic groups aside from evangelical Christians, where Forest leads by 67 to 24 percent. Also, only 62 percent of Republicans said they would vote for Forest in the race, compared with 92 percent who plan to back Trump and 72 percent voting for Tillis.
SOME GENERAL ASSEMBLY REPUBLICANS REFUSE TO WEAR MASKS AS SESSION BEGINS: Democrats in the House wore masks; some, but not all, Republican lawmakers wore them as well. House Rules Chair Rep. David Lewis emailed guidelines to all House members recommending they wear masks in the building. Lewis wore one, only removing it while he was speaking during the session that lasted about 30 minutes. Moore said every member of the House is given a mask daily. Jackson wore a mask depicting the North Carolina flag, made by a family friend. “I hope more members will wear masks this week,” Jackson said. Outside at right around the time the session was beginning at noon, police were shutting down the roads surrounding the building to allow protesters to march through the street, waving flags and signs and demanding the state’s economy reopen. Some health care workers came for a counter-protest, waving signs telling the ReOpen NC protesters that they should have stayed home.
MIKE PENCE REFUSES TO WEAR MASK AT MAYO CLINIC, WHERE IT IS REQUIRED: Videos and photos of Pence’s visit to one of the country’s premier hospitals began circulating widely on social media Tuesday afternoon. In one clip from PBS NewsHour, a barefaced Pence could be seen elbow-bumping and chatting with multiple people inside the clinic. Everyone else visible in the video was sporting a mask, adhering to the clinic’s recently instituted requirement that all patients and visitors wear a facial covering while on the premises. The Mayo Clinic wrote in a now-deleted tweet that Pence and his team were aware of the masking policy ahead of Tuesday’s tour. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, was equally irked. “It’s a hospital in the middle of a pandemic,” Gupta told anchor Chris Cuomo with a wry chuckle. “That is the time when you wear a mask.” Other doctors rushed to condemn Pence’s decision on social media. “I have already had #COVID19, am documented PCR negative and I have antibodies,” tweeted Dara Kass, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. “I still wear a mask around other people. Be like me, not the VP.” Another doctor described Pence’s behavior as “pompous, arrogant + self-absorbed,” adding, “It’s anti-science.”
TRUMP MOVES TO FORCE MEAT PLANTS TO CONTINUE OPERATIONS: President Trump on Tuesday declared meat processing plants “critical infrastructure,” in an effort to ensure that facilities around the country remained open as the government tried to prevent looming shortages of pork, chicken and other products as a result of the coronavirus. The action comes as meat plants around the country have turned into coronavirus hot spots, sickening thousands of workers, and after the head of Tyson Foods, one of the country’s largest processors, warned that millions of pounds of meat would simply disappear from the supply chain. In an executive order issued late Tuesday, Mr. Trump said recent closures of meat processing facilities “threaten the continued functioning of the national meat and poultry supply chain, undermining critical infrastructure during the national emergency.” The president said his administration would “take all appropriate action” to ensure that meat and poultry processors “continue operations” consistent with federal health and workplace safety guidance. “Using executive power to force people back on the job without proper protections is wrong and dangerous,” Richard Trumka, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., wrote on Twitter, saying he echoed calls by the food workers’ union “to put worker safety first.”