President Donald Trump held a news conference Friday to talk about the coronavirus, economy and Beirut catastrophe. A last-ditch effort by Democrats to revive Capitol Hill talks on vital COVID-19 rescue money collapsed in disappointment Friday, making it increasingly likely that Washington gridlock will mean more hardship for millions of people who are losing enhanced jobless benefits and further damage for an economy pummeled by the still-raging coronavirus.Trump said Friday night he was likely to issue more limited executive orders related to COVID, perhaps in the next day or so, if he can’t reach a broad agreement with Congress.Speaking from his New Jersey golf club Friday evening, Trump said “if Democrats continue to hold this critical relief hostage I will act under my authority as president to get Americans the relief they need.”Trump said he may issue executive orders on home evictions, student loan debt and allowing states to repurpose COVID relief funding into their unemployment insurance programs. He also said he’ll likely issue an executive order to defer collection of Social Security payroll taxes, an idea that has less support among his Republican allies.White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said, “This is not a perfect answer — we’ll be the first ones to say that — but it is all that we can do, and all the president can do within the confines of his executive power.”Meanwhile in Lebanon, at least 10 times over the past six years, authorities from the country’s customs, military, security agencies and judiciary raised alarm that a massive stockpile of explosive chemicals was being kept with almost no safeguard at the port in the heart of Beirut.Yet in a circle of negligence, nothing was done — and on Tuesday, the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate blew up, obliterating the city’s main commercial hub and spreading death and wreckage for miles around. The known death toll reached 154, including bodies recovered from the rubble Friday; more than 5,000 people were wounded.Trump has spoken about the explosion during calls with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and French President Emmanuel Macron.Trump said Friday that he told Aoun that three large aircraft filled with medical supplies, food and water were on their way to provide assistance. The U.S. leader also said emergency responders, technicians, doctors and nurses were on the way to Lebanon to help.Also in the U.S., hiring slowed in July as the coronavirus outbreak worsened, and the government’s jobs report offered signs Friday that the economic damage from the pandemic could last far longer than many observers originally envisioned.

President Donald Trump held a news conference Friday to talk about the coronavirus, economy and Beirut catastrophe.

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A last-ditch effort by Democrats to revive Capitol Hill talks on vital COVID-19 rescue money collapsed in disappointment Friday, making it increasingly likely that Washington gridlock will mean more hardship for millions of people who are losing enhanced jobless benefits and further damage for an economy pummeled by the still-raging coronavirus.

Trump said Friday night he was likely to issue more limited executive orders related to COVID, perhaps in the next day or so, if he can’t reach a broad agreement with Congress.

Speaking from his New Jersey golf club Friday evening, Trump said “if Democrats continue to hold this critical relief hostage I will act under my authority as president to get Americans the relief they need.”

Trump said he may issue executive orders on home evictions, student loan debt and allowing states to repurpose COVID relief funding into their unemployment insurance programs. He also said he’ll likely issue an executive order to defer collection of Social Security payroll taxes, an idea that has less support among his Republican allies.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said, “This is not a perfect answer — we’ll be the first ones to say that — but it is all that we can do, and all the president can do within the confines of his executive power.”

Meanwhile in Lebanon, at least 10 times over the past six years, authorities from the country’s customs, military, security agencies and judiciary raised alarm that a massive stockpile of explosive chemicals was being kept with almost no safeguard at the port in the heart of Beirut.

Yet in a circle of negligence, nothing was done — and on Tuesday, the 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate blew up, obliterating the city’s main commercial hub and spreading death and wreckage for miles around. The known death toll reached 154, including bodies recovered from the rubble Friday; more than 5,000 people were wounded.

Trump has spoken about the explosion during calls with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Trump said Friday that he told Aoun that three large aircraft filled with medical supplies, food and water were on their way to provide assistance. The U.S. leader also said emergency responders, technicians, doctors and nurses were on the way to Lebanon to help.

Also in the U.S., hiring slowed in July as the coronavirus outbreak worsened, and the government’s jobs report offered signs Friday that the economic damage from the pandemic could last far longer than many observers originally envisioned.

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