The Trump travel ban on Muslim-majority countries may be associated with preterm births among women, study says

The 2017 travel ban imposed by the Trump administration on seven Muslim-majority countries may be associated with an increase in preterm births among women from those countries residing in the United States, according to a new study.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Researchers found an increase in preterm birth rates among women from countries on the 2017 travel ban.


© Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images
Researchers found an increase in preterm birth rates among women from countries on the 2017 travel ban.

The study, published last week in the journal Social Science and Medicine, analyzed preterm birth rates among women from countries impacted by the travel ban: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Researchers found an increase after the ban, with a preterm birth rate of 8.6% between February and September 2017. That percentage rose from 8.5% before the ban, between January 2009 and December 2016.

By comparison, US-born, non-Hispanic White women held a steady 8.6% preterm birth rate throughout the time frames.

The 0.1 percentage point increase may not seem dramatic, but it means that the odds of women from these countries having preterm births increased by 6.8%, according to lead author Goleen Samari, an assistant professor at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

“It’s a massive change when you think about a 6.8% increase,” Samurai told CNN. And because these women typically have better birth outcomes than non-Hispanic White women, Samari says, going from better to worse is significant.

Stress could be reason behind preterm births

To calculate the change, the team used a time series model to estimate the expected preterm birth numbers had the ban not been issued. They used data beginning in 2009 to see what the expected number of preterm births among women from the banned countries would be in 2017 and 2018, after the ban went into place. The team then compared the expected amount of preterm births to the actual amount, showing the elevated trend.

The researchers could not say why the policy led to a rise in preterm births. However, Samurai says that the researchers hypothesized that it was due to stress — either the initial acute stressful shock of the first order or chronic stress exposure as the ban continued to change and make headlines for its court filings or protests.

Another reason could be a decline of quality care, as some women may have avoided prenatal care because they may have felt like they were in a discriminatory environment, Samari says.

Researchers also noted some limitations in their analysis, notably that they did not use individual-level information in their analysis, like maternal facts, political ideology or gestational risk factors that may have contributed to preterm births.

The study stands out for its focus on women from the Middle East and North Africa, who tend to be overlooked as they are classified as non-Hispanic White in data, the researchers say. They add that no study had focused on the impact of a policy that is considered xenophobic and Islamophobic.

Preterm births and poor birth outcomes are “sensitive markers of temporally acute stressors from social and economic threats to

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If Trump skips the inauguration, it may be bad for America, but it would be a gift to Biden

Graham might be right in that Trump’s appearance at a Biden inauguration might be good for the country, but it is almost certainly not ideal for Biden.

Trump, a loser, would still upstage Biden

Consider how the event could play out if Trump were in attendance. Due to the pandemic, the inauguration will already be a sparsely attended event. Hours of television footage probably won’t involve wide pans of an audience on the National Mall. Instead, there will be lingering camera shots of socially distant dignitaries.

Biden wouldn’t be the star even at his own inauguration, but inevitably the supporting actor to Trump’s leading role. Everyone would be keeping an eye on Trump. Would he sulk? Would he tweet during the event? Would he be gregarious and charming?

Instead, if reports are true, Trump will just leave out the back door. (Granted, maybe not so quietly.)

It removes the thorny question about how to handle Trump and COVID precautions

Technically, the inauguration ceremony is hosted by Congress and that is one reason why it is typically held on Capitol Hill. It is their event, and congressional leaders will be the ones figuring how many people will be allowed to witness the proceedings in person and, among other things, where they will get to sit and whether they will be required to wear a face mask.

Now enter Trump into the equation. There is the politics and messaging to the country about what Trump would do regarding rules around COVID. But then there are also legit public health concerns. Two White House events this fall seemed to have been superspreader events. This week, Trump is holding holiday events indoors that could also spread the virus.

Whether or not Trump ends up going to the inauguration, organizers need to figure out how to keep everyone there healthy.

Just imagine the potential of an iconic picture where Trump finally extends a congratulatory handshake to Biden knowing that Biden wouldn’t shake his hand because of COVID. This is a situation Biden would surely like to avoid.

If Trump attends his own rally instead, it just plays into Biden’s hands

There is also reporting in recent days that Trump not only won’t attend the inauguration, but he will also actually leave the White House and do something else: Hold a kickoff rally for a 2024 campaign.

If he does that, then he sets up a dynamic where every criticism Trump makes of Biden going forward, he isn’t doing it as a former president, but as Biden’s chief political opponent. That lessens the impact of the criticism since Trump is then a loser looking for a rematch.

Trump wouldn’t even need to both hold a rally and announce another bid for president. He could just suggest it in a tweet as he flies away on Marine One.

Biden would then be facing an opponent he already beat, have all the advantages of the presidency, and Trump will freeze the GOP field, potentially hampering other candidates who

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U.K. becomes first country to approve Pfizer vaccine, Trump discussed pardons for family and ‘the most 2020 wedding’

Good morning, NBC News readers.

The U.K. has become the first country to approve a Covid-19 vaccine, President Donald Trump has discussed the possibility of pardons for his family and one Georgia official has had enough of Republican silence and failure to condemn threats of violence against election workers.

Here is what we’re watching this Wednesday morning.


‘Help is on its way’: U.K. becomes first country to approve Covid vaccine, says rollout begins next week

The U.K. has become the first country to approve the use of the Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, and says it will begin rolling it out next week.

“For so long we’ve been saying that if a vaccine is developed, then things will get better in 2021, and now we can say when this vaccine is rolled out things will get better,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said early Wednesday.

The vaccine was found to be 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19, the drugmaker said after clinical trials.

The pharmaceutical giant submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 20 for an emergency use authorization in the U.S.

While the first Covid vaccines are still awaiting approval in the U.S., an independent advisory committee within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is already working on the list of who should be first in line once they become available.

Health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities should be the first groups to be offered the vaccine, according to the proposal. Combined, those groups represent around 24 million Americans.

With infections surging — the U.S. is fast approaching 14 million confirmed cases and the virus has killed more than 271,000 in the country — a vaccine can’t come soon enough.

The 911 system in the U.S. is “at a breaking point,” after receiving little Covid aid, ambulance companies say.

Private EMS services collectively received $350 million in Covid-19 relief funds in April, but those companies said that money ran out within weeks.

Now as they face another coronavirus surge, many private EMS services don’t know how they are going to make it.

And hospitals in a slew of states — from Indiana to Minnesota and Texas — are running out of space, overwhelmed by the number of coronavirus patients they have coming in.

Indiana’s Elkhart General Hospital was forced to stop accepting ambulance traffic for a full seven hours one day last week because it was so over-capacity. It was only the second time in 20 years that Elkhart General had to make that call.

“This is exactly why we were adamant about masks and flattening the curve. This is the situation that we wanted to avoid,” said Dr. Michelle Bache, the vice president of medical affairs at the hospital.

Follow our live blog for all the latest Covid-19 developments.


President Donald Trump has been discussing the possibility of issuing pardons for his family members and some close associates, multiple sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The New York

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Melania Trump unveils 2020 White House holiday decorations

This comes on the heels of Trump being labeled a Christmas grump after her stunning “Who gives a f— about the Christmas stuff and decorations?” comment to former East Wing adviser Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. The taped conversation, secretly recorded in 2018 and released in October, created a major stir.

Nevermind. The first lady carried on with her duties, and this year she’s dished up decorations that aptly reflect her patriotic theme, including ornaments in the Library that honor the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and, in the State Dining Room, a gingerbread replica of the White House, including the recently renovated Rose Garden. The official White House Christmas tree, in the Blue Room, features more than 160 pieces of artwork created by students from each state honoring what they think makes their state beautiful.

A Red Room mantel honoring first responders, including a snow-dusted hospital, is a sobering moment in the tour, bringing attention to the pandemic that has killed more than 266,000 Americans.

The White House reported that “more than 125” volunteers worked on the project, and photos shared on the FLOTUS Twitter feed depict some wearing masks while participating in the weekend’s assembly sessions. (In 2018 and 2019, 225 volunteers worked on decorations.)

According to a Nov. 23 article from the Associated Press, the White House is still planning to host a number of holiday parties, despite CDC guidelines indicating that gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading the coronavirus. Stephanie Grisham, first lady Melania Trump’s spokeswoman and chief of staff, told the AP that this year’s holiday events will include smaller guest lists, require masks and encourage social distancing on the White House grounds. Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the State Floor.

She told the AP: “Guests will enjoy food individually plated by chefs at plexiglass-protected food stations. All passed beverages will be covered. All service staff will wear masks and gloves to comply with food safety guidelines.”

The first lady’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comments on this or questions on how many gatherings were planned.

The 40 towering crimson topiary trees that appeared in the East Colonnade in 2018 (which quickly became known on social media as “the avenue of blood red trees”) this year have been replaced by classical urns filled with “foliage representative of the official tree of each state and territory.”

Certain decorations have become Christmas staples during the Trump era. Be Best ornaments honor the first lady’s children’s initiative. Her “signature wreaths” (pine circles with red bows) made their debut on exterior windows of the White House in 2017 and this year there are 106 wreaths, one adorning each window. The Gold Star Family Tree honoring military families is an annual tradition upon entering through the East Wing, and the 18th century Neapolitan Creche, now in its 53rd year on display at the White House, according to the first lady’s press

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Republican Women, Widely Dismissed in the Trump Era, Crushed Democrats in Key House Races

The Republican Party has chipped away at the Democratic majority in Congress, in large part thanks to female candidates.



Nancy Mace wearing a microphone: Republican congressional candidate Nancy Mace speaks to the crowd at an event with Sen. Lindsey Graham at the Charleston County Victory Office during Graham's campaign bus tour on October 31, 2020, in Charleston, South Carolina. Mace is one of 11 Republican women who flipped Democratic seats this election cycle.


© Getty/Michael Ciaglo
Republican congressional candidate Nancy Mace speaks to the crowd at an event with Sen. Lindsey Graham at the Charleston County Victory Office during Graham’s campaign bus tour on October 31, 2020, in Charleston, South Carolina. Mace is one of 11 Republican women who flipped Democratic seats this election cycle.

“[The year] 2020 ended up being the perfect storm for Republican women,” said Julie Conway, executive director of the Value in Electing Women (VIEW) political action committee, which supports conservative women running for office.

“The reason Republicans not only didn’t lose seats this cycle but that we made gains is 100 percent on the backs of these women,” Conway added.

A woman won in nearly every district that Republicans flipped this election cycle. Of the 11 seats where conservatives ousted Democratic incumbents, nine of the candidates were women. Plus, GOP women are leading in two of the eight races that remain to be called.

At least 36 Republican women will join the next Congress, surpassing the record of 30 Republican women set in 2006. Twenty-eight GOP women so far will be headed to the House—including at least 17 new members. On the other side of the aisle, more than 100 Democratic women will serve in Congress next year.

States That Flipped Republican Or Democrat In The 2020 Election: Highlights

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“A big part of the lesson here, and it’s not a very subtle lesson, is that you can’t get people elected if they aren’t actually candidates running for office,” said Debbie Walsh, director of Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics.

More than 220 women filed as candidates under the Republican Party’s banner this election cycle, another record-breaking milestone for the party. Ninety-four of them won their primaries and appeared on the November 3 ballot.

“I think what we saw this cycle was a determination on the part of Republican women to change the narrative for their party,” Walsh said. “They got tired of the stories about where are the Republican women, Republican women are losing ground, there’s no place for them in the party—and they kind of fought back.”

The 2018 midterms were famously dubbed the “Year of the Woman,” but the deluge of trailblazing wins was made by the Democratic caucus. Of the 36 female freshmen elected that year, just one was a Republican. In fact, the number of conservative women serving in Congress today is the lowest it has been since the 1990s.

“It was a wake-up call,” Conway said of the 2018 cycle. “And it demonstrated that women can do this and we can do this in high numbers.”

Still, the victory sweep made by conservative women this cycle was widely unexpected.

There is no mega-donor network like Emily’s List for Republican women, and advocates said the GOP establishment, unlike the Democratic Party, hasn’t done little to actively seek

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A man in Trump gear faces simple assault charge after he was seen breathing on women outside a Trump golf club

A man wearing a Trump shirt and an inflatable Trump innertube around his belly who was seen on video deliberately exhaling on two women outside of President Donald Trump’s golf course in Virginia has been charged with simple assault.



a man looking at the camera: Raymond Deskins was charged with misdemeanor simple assault, police said.


© Twitter
Raymond Deskins was charged with misdemeanor simple assault, police said.

Raymond Deskins, 61, of Sterling, Virginia, was charged with misdemeanor simple assault, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

One of the women shot cellphone video of Saturday’s incident outside Trump’s club in Sterling and posted it on social media.

Michele Bowman, public information officer for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed to CNN that Raymond Deskins, the man charged, is the man seen in the video.

CNN has been unable to reach Deskins despite multiple attempts.

In the 24-second video, Deskins — who was not wearing a mask — can be seen in a verbal confrontation with the women who were there protesting Trump. It is not apparent what happened before the video began.

The women can be heard telling him to get away from them and back up. One of the women yelled at him, “Get away from me! Get away from me!”

The other woman told him, “You don’t get up in somebody’s face,” to which he responded, “I’m not in anybody’s face.”

She replied, “You are in my face — and you don’t have a mask, so you need to back up.”

That’s when the man can be seen exhaling forcefully, apparently in the direction of one of the women. The women gasped in shock as the man turned around with a smirk on his face.

One of the women yelled, “That’s assault!”

The man yelled back, “I breathed on you!” He then exhaled on the woman taking the video.

“Two separate parties reported they were assaulted during a verbal argument outside of Trump National Golf Club,” the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “As the incident was not witnessed by law enforcement and the video did not capture the entire interaction, an investigation was conducted on scene and both parties were advised they could go to a Loudoun County Magistrate and seek a citizen obtained warrant.”

LCSO later updated their statement to say, “This afternoon our deputies served a warrant obtained by a citizen through a Loudoun County Magistrate. Raymond Deskins, age 61, of Sterling, VA, was charged with simple assault (misdemeanor) and released on a summons.”

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Maskless man seen exhaling on women outside Trump golf club charged with assault

A man has been charged with misdemeanor assault after he was seen forcefully exhaling on two women outside of President Donald Trump’s golf course in Virginia.



a group of people riding on the back of a truck: President Donald Trump golfs at Trump National Golf Club on November 22, 2020 in Sterling, Virginia.


© Tasos Katopodis, Getty Images
President Donald Trump golfs at Trump National Golf Club on November 22, 2020 in Sterling, Virginia.

In video footage now widely shared on social media, Raymond Deskins, 61, intentionally blows air on the unidentified women when one asks him to get away and points out that he’s not wearing a mask.

“That’s assault” one of the women says afterwards.

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“I breathed on you,” Deskins replies.

Virginia mandates masks be worn in certain areas to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but they are not required outdoors.

The altercation occurred Saturday outside of Trump National Golf Club in Loudoun County, Va., where the president was playing. Protestors and supporters regularly gather outside the club’s entrance when he plays.

Deskins was seen wearing a pro-Trump shirt and inflatable pool tube around his waist. In a letter, several members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors signed and sent to law enforcement Sunday, the two women were described as protesting the president at the time of the incident.

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The letter, written by Chair-at-Large Phyllis Randall, also asked for a full investigation.

“We are in a hundred-year, highly contagious, worldwide pandemic of a deadly virus that has killed more than 250,000 Americans,” Randall wrote. “Not wearing [a mask] and not social distancing, is clearly irresponsible. Willfully coughing in someone’s face is clearly dangerous.”

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said the altercation was investigated at the scene — but was “not witnessed by law enforcement and the video did not capture the entire interaction.” The sheriff’s office advised both parties that they could seek a citizen obtained warrant through a county magistrate.

Deskins was charged with misdemeanor assault Sunday after such a warrant was obtained.

FOX 5 DC identified one of the women as Kathy Beynette. Beynette told the station that “the incident itself came so out of nowhere that it was shocking,” adding that Deskins approached them without prior conversation.

Both FOX 5 and the Associated Press were unable to reach to Deskins for comment Sunday.

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Can Republicans Get Trump-Style Turnout Without Trump on the Ballot?

Say what you will about Donald Trump, he’s very good at turning out Republican voters. But will they turn out when he’s not on the ballot?

That’s probably the most important question in American politics right now. Three simultaneous trends have combined to create a political dynamic that is both dysfunctional and socially explosive–and Donald Trump, in own way, lies at the heart of all three.

The first is that the slow demographic death spiral of the GOP is still continuing apace. Donald Trump embodies the Republican Party’s doom: older, mostly white, mostly male voters yearning for the imagined cultural dominance of decades past and increasingly divorced from the reality of America today.

Yes, the Emerging Democratic Majority has been long promised without overwhelming success–so much so that it is now often widely mocked as a fallacy. But it is still very real. The oldest Millennials are now turning 40, and they haven’t gotten any more conservative with age. Zoomers, once hoped by conservatives to be a new vanguard for them, are even more progressive than Millennials (despite a very loud and obnoxious fascist minority of young white men.) Generation X has turned into a surprisingly conservative bastion for Trumpism, but Generation X is also smaller than the Baby Boom or the Millennials. The country gets less white every year. Women are becoming more hostile to conservatism.

The greatest political divides in America outside of generation, race and gender are education and geographic polarization. There again, the trends are very much against conservatives. Americans are becoming more educated than ever, and moving away from rural areas and small towns into cities and suburbs. The greatest bulwark against white racism is a college degree, and as younger whites become better educated the overall percentage of the white population becomes more immune to the appeal of Trumpist demagoguery. And, of course, there is the fact that the suburbs are trending rapidly blue.

And yes, Republicans did make some gains with non-white voters this year–including in cities–by using a combination of culture war tactics. But while these shifts were enough to affect a few close races and states, the net effect of this aspect of the realignment will not be nearly enough to stand as a bulwark against the rest of the demographic tides.

The second is much more concerning for Democrats, but an outgrowth of the first. If America’s electoral system were fair and representative, Democrats would be enjoying a nearly unprecedented string of dominance. Republicans have only won the popular vote for president once in the last eight tries–and that once was with an incumbent himself elected by minority vote the first time, barely re-elected despite riding a wave of popularity during a war after a terrorist attack. That is a historic string of defeats rescued only by the quirks of the anti-majoritarian electoral college system.

Republicans current represent 15 million fewer Americans in the Senate, yet perversely hold the majority due to an imbalance of representation favoring

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A man wearing Trump gear who was seen deliberately exhaling on women outside Trump golf club has been charged

A man wearing a Trump shirt and an inflatable Trump innertube around his belly who was seen on video deliberately exhaling on two women outside of President Donald Trump’s golf course in Virginia has been charged with simple assault.



a man looking at the camera: Raymond Deskins was charged with misdemeanor simple assault, police said.


© Twitter
Raymond Deskins was charged with misdemeanor simple assault, police said.

Raymond Deskins, 61, of Sterling, Virginia, was charged with misdemeanor simple assault, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

One of the women shot cellphone video of Saturday’s incident outside Trump’s club in Sterling and posted it on social media.

Michele Bowman, public information officer for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed to CNN that Raymond Deskins, the man charged, is the man seen in the video.

CNN has been unable to reach Deskins despite multiple attempts.

In the 24-second video, Deskins — who was not wearing a mask — can be seen in a verbal confrontation with the women who were there protesting Trump. It is not apparent what happened before the video began.

The women can be heard telling him to get away from them and back up. One of the women yelled at him, “Get away from me! Get away from me!”

The other woman told him, “You don’t get up in somebody’s face,” to which he responded, “I’m not in anybody’s face.”

She replied, “You are in my face — and you don’t have a mask, so you need to back up.”

That’s when the man can be seen exhaling forcefully, apparently in the direction of one of the women. The women gasped in shock as the man turned around with a smirk on his face.

One of the women yelled, “That’s assault!”

The man yelled back, “I breathed on you!” He then exhaled on the woman taking the video.

“Two separate parties reported they were assaulted during a verbal argument outside of Trump National Golf Club,” the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “As the incident was not witnessed by law enforcement and the video did not capture the entire interaction, an investigation was conducted on scene and both parties were advised they could go to a Loudoun County Magistrate and seek a citizen obtained warrant.”

LCSO later updated their statement to say, “This afternoon our deputies served a warrant obtained by a citizen through a Loudoun County Magistrate. Raymond Deskins, age 61, of Sterling, VA, was charged with simple assault (misdemeanor) and released on a summons.”

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