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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics and the White House for The Washington Times. He can be reached at

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks about the winter storm during a press conference at the State Operations Center, Thursday Feb. 18, 2021, in Austin, Texas. ( Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott rescinds mask mandate, opens business

48 minutes ago

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday he is ending a statewide mask mandate and will allow businesses to reopen at full capacity even as the virus circulates at dangerous levels, saying residents are suffering economically and vaccines provide a way out of the pandemic. Published March 2, 2021

Former president Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Trump, first lady Melania Trump got COVID-19 vaccine in January

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump were vaccinated against COVID-19 at the White House in January -- something that wasn't publicly known at the time, as other top officials rolled up their sleeves for the camera to ensure continuity of government and bolster confidence in the shots. Published March 1, 2021

FILE - This September 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows a pharmacist preparing to give an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021 cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two. (Johnson & Johnson via AP, File)

FDA approves J&J vaccine for emergency use

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday approved the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use, clearing the way for up to 4 million doses to ship within days as demand outstrips the supply of two existing vaccines. Published February 27, 2021

This July 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine in Belgium. The nation is poised to get a third vaccine against COVID-19, but health officials are concerned that at first glance the Johnson & Johnson shot may not be seen as equal to other options from Pfizer and Moderna. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)

FDA advisers endorse one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine

A key panel on Friday endorsed the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine for use in the COVID-19 fight, clearing the way for the Food and Drug Administration to grant emergency approval within a day or two. Published February 26, 2021

Navy personnel prepare for the opening of a mass COVID-19 vaccination site in the Queens borough of New York, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. This FEMA-run site, along with another in Brooklyn, gives priority to local residents in an effort to equitably distribute the vaccine. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool) **FILE**

CDC director sounds alarm over 'plateau' in COVID-19 cases

The Biden administration sounded the alarm Friday over a "very concerning shift" in the coronavirus pandemic in recent days, as case counts plateau instead of fall and estimates show the "U.K." variant accounts for 10% of reported U.S. infections. Published February 26, 2021

This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)

FDA: J&J one-shot COVID-19 vaccine meets standards

The Food and Drug Administration endorsed a single-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for emergency use in a staff report issued Wednesday, putting the U.S. on track to having a third weapon in the COVID-19 fight by next week. Published February 24, 2021

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Biden, Trudeau lavish praise upon each other in Zoom bilateral

President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged Tuesday to unite in fighting COVID-19, but the United States' northern neighbor is being left behind in a key way -- despite buying enough doses to vaccinate its population several times over, it is a global laggard in getting shots in arms. Published February 23, 2021

Xavier Becerra speaks during his confirmation hearing to be Secretary of Health and Human Services before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (Leigh Vogel/Pool via AP)

HHS pick Xavier Becerra pledges to build on Obamacare, finish COVID-19 fight

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Tuesday he will help President Biden build on Obamacare and confront the "enormous challenges" of the COVID-19 pandemic if he's confirmed as health secretary, as he sought to lock down the Democratic votes needed to stiff-arm vocal GOP opposition. Published February 23, 2021

Marine One, with President Joe Biden aboard, approaches the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, in Washington. Biden is returning to Washington after visiting Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing site near Kalamazoo, Mich. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

COVID-19 deaths surpass 500K in U.S.

President Biden ordered the White House flag lowered to half-staff late Monday as the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 exceeded 500,000. Published February 22, 2021