Breakfast Briefing: 5 things for PR pros to know on Monday morning

Rasky Partners chairman and CEO Larry Rasky dies; Canada and Australia pull out of Olympics.

Rasky Partners chairman and CEO Larry Rasky has died aged 69. Based in Boston, Rasky worked on political campaigns throughout his career with politicians including former President Jimmy Carter, John Kerry and former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn. He also worked on both of Joe Biden’s previous presidential bids and most recently served as treasurer on a pro-Biden super PAC, Unite the Country. Other firms he founded or cofounded include Paradigm Consultants, Rasky & Co. and Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications. Rasky died Sunday morning. 

Canada and Australia have pulled out of the Summer Olympic Games. The major Olympic nations said the games should be delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. International Olympic Committee's executive board said it is considering postponing -- but not canceling -- this summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo. A final decision will be made by the IOC in the next four weeks.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka is producing and distributing 24 tons of hand sanitizer. The product will be given out for free to the community and to those who are most in need, a press release from Tito’s PR partner Praytell explained. Earlier this month, Tito’s social media team warned DIYers not to make their own hand sanitizer from its vodka. The one Tito’s is making adheres to industry and governmental guidance.

Stars have been attending a virtual dance party for the past two nights. D.J. D-Nice has been throwing “social distancing dance parties” on Instagram Live. On Saturday, the event attracted over 100,000 visitors, including Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Diddy, Jimmy Fallon, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Last night, Mariah Carey, Spike Lee and Donnie Wahlberg were among the celebrities who made an appearance.

PR pros are impressed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s coronavirus press briefings. Former White House comms director Anthony Scaramucci tweeted Sunday that Cuomo is a “voice of reason” who is “comforting people with his wisdom and competence.” Jim Wilkinson, chairman and CEO of TrailRunner International, tweeted that Cuomo is the “adult we need right now,” adding that President Donald Trump should hire Cuomo to run national response. Steve Weiss, Hikma Pharmaceuticals’ head of U.S. comms and public affairs, tweeted that Cuomo’s pressers are “thoughtful, fact-based, transparent and reassuring.”

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