Ayesha Rascoe

Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET

President Trump on Thursday dismissed complaints from a former aide to the White House coronavirus task force as coming from a disgruntled staffer who had been dismissed with cause.

President Trump has been arguing that he has been the best president for Black Americans outside of Abraham Lincoln, but with less than 100 days before the election, it's not clear that his campaign to reach African Americans is changing many minds.

Trump won just 8% of the Black vote in 2016. Current polls show the vast majority of Black voters backing Trump's Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. But, in swing states like Wisconsin and North Carolina, where the presidential race could be tight, squeezing out a few more Black votes could make a difference for Trump.

Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET

Former Republican presidential candidate and pizza magnate Herman Cain has died from the coronavirus.

Cain, 74, had been hospitalized since early July after he began having trouble breathing.

"Herman Cain – our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us – has passed away," aides announced on Cain's website Thursday.

The economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic is stifling a federal program meant to spur new investment in low-income neighborhoods, according to a new survey from an advocacy group that backs the initiative.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

President Trump defended what he called a "very symbolic" photo-op on Monday in front of St. John's Church and dismissed a suggestion that he needed to do more to comfort the nation after the death of George Floyd, saying that cracking down on violent protests was paramount.

The White House is looking at extending a tax break for investments in certain low-income neighborhoods as it tries to find ways to address the devastating impact of the coronavirus on communities of color in America.

A provision in the 2017 tax cut law allows investors to defer and lower their capital gains taxes through 2026 if they invest their profits into designated "opportunity zones" –- areas struggling with high unemployment and low wages.

Before the coronavirus crisis decimated the U.S. economy, the record-low unemployment rate for African Americans was the backbone of President Trump's reelection pitch to black voters.

It was always a tough sell, given his past performance with African Americans. Now it's even tougher after the pandemic has erased economic gains and forced the campaign to adjust its message in its outreach to black voters.

A top aide to President Trump on Monday delivered a critique of the Chinese government's efforts to clamp down on free speech in a speech delivered in Mandarin and seemingly aimed at the Chinese public.

Deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, who worked as a journalist in China early in his career, hailed two "brave" Chinese doctors who raised early alarms about the coronavirus and faced retribution from the Chinese government.

President Trump twice received intelligence briefings on the coronavirus in January, according to a White House official. The official tells NPR the briefings occurred on Jan. 23 and Jan. 28.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

The White House released a blueprint for states on coronavirus testing on Monday at a daily news conference it spiked and then revived.

The document presents "key strategic considerations" for states, including their roles, the roles of the federal government and local governments, the private sector and monitoring systems, officials said.

An employee of the Federal Emergency Management Agency working on coronavirus response efforts at the agency's Washington headquarters has tested positive for the virus.

The employee tested positive on Monday. FEMA says it's now disinfecting its workspace.

The employee did not have prolonged contact with people on the White House coronavirus task force, the agency said in a statement.

President Trump wants to bring back the tax write-off for business meals and entertainment, but critics say reviving what is known as the "three-martini lunch" tax break is not the answer to the problem that restaurants face right now.

Trump is pushing Congress to restore the measure that gave corporations a tax break for the cost of food and entertainment for clients and potential customers. He says it will give restaurants a leg up when they reopen after the social distancing guidelines for the coronavirus are lifted.

Two weeks ago, President Trump entered the White House briefing room and announced an aggressive plan to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Stay home for 15 days, he told Americans. Avoid groups of more than 10 people. "If everyone makes this change, or these critical changes, and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus," he said.

Updated at 4:18 p.m. ET

President Trump ordered the border with Canada partly closed on Wednesday and the Pentagon said it would join the coronavirus pandemic response with hospital ships, field treatment centers and medical supplies.

President Trump has been spending a lot of time this year talking about his record on criminal justice reform, a low black unemployment rate and his support for historically black colleges.

It's part of his re-election campaign's quest to peel off some support from one of Democrats' most loyal constituencies — black voters — particularly in battleground states like Wisconsin, where the race in November may be tight.

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