Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced that he is volunteering at a local hospital after recovering from the coronavirus.
Lis Smith: “The strategic playbook for political communications is being remastered in the most unlikely of places: Donald Trump’s White House. No, not by the president during his highly rated, often bizarre media briefings. It’s Vice President Pence’s entrepreneurial press team and their shepherding of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s media blitz that is creating the gold standard.”
“Impressively, they’re succeeding under the immense pressures of an unprecedented pandemic. Their execution seems centered around a few simple rules: Be authentic. Be bold. Be aggressive. Be everywhere.”
“President Trump has upended the panel of federal watchdogs overseeing his implementation of the $2 trillion coronavirus law, tapping a replacement for the Pentagon official who was supposed to lead the effort.” Politico reports.
“A panel of inspectors general had named Glenn Fine — the acting Pentagon watchdog — to lead the group charged with monitoring the coronavirus relief effort. But Trump on Monday removed Fine from his post, instead naming an EPA inspector general to serve as the temporary Pentagon watchdog.”
Washington Post: “Fine, a career official who will remain a deputy inspector general, had been chosen for the spending role by a committee of inspectors general. The move will be seen by some as another instance of the president chafing at independent oversight.”
Joe Biden praised Sen. Bernie Sanders for having a “significant” influence on American politics and said he hopes his primary rival will play a role in his own campaign, The Hill reports.
Said Biden: “If I’m the nominee I can tell you one thing — I would very much want Bernie Sanders to be part of the journey. Not as a vice presidential nominee, but just in engaging in all the things that he’s worked so hard to do, many of which I agree with.”
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Jonathan Chait: “As House Democrats set to work on the next round of economic relief legislation, they face a more urgent choice than they seem to realize. If they send that bill to President Trump without measures guaranteeing voting rights during the pandemic, they are signing a death warrant for the 2020 election.”
“Treasury Department officials are preparing to ask Congress to swiftly commit another $200 billion to replenish a new small business coronavirus program that’s being overwhelmed by surging demand,” the Washington Post reports.
Tim Miller: “There are many questions surrounding the White House’s obsession with hydroxychloroquine. Whether someone has a financial incentive for pushing it. (It’s certainly possible, since he has at least some stake.) The extent to which it actually works (Fingers crossed!) Which TV doctor got the president so spun up on it? (Dr. Oz?)”
“Some of these are unanswerable. The Trump family’s finances are still impossibly opaque. I have no relevant expertise in immunosuppressive pharmaceuticals. And performing forensic accounting on Trump’s television habits would require access to the meta-data inside his super-DVR remote.”
“But I do, regrettably, know far too much about the career of Donald Trump. And his weeks long hydroxychloroquine song and dance is simply a redux of the pitch job that has served him so well for four decades: Sell the newest Trump-branded miracle scheme as hard as possible until it becomes completely untenable, the feds show up, or the next one bubbles up from the recesses of his frontal lobe.”
President Trump appointed Kayleigh McEnany, his campaign spokeswoman, as the new White House press secretary, the New York Times reports.
“McEnany has been a vocal defender of Trump on television, the main role the president has long believed the press secretary should play.”
“Trump’s opponent really is the coronavirus. If he’s seen to have handled this well and done a good job in the eyes of the public, he’d be almost impossible to beat. If he’s viewed as having fallen short, he’d be in trouble.”
— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), quoted by The Atlantic.
In his excellent book, The Fifth Risk, Michael Lewis explores the different ways the federal government manages its “vast portfolio of risks” — and how President Trump has systematically and purposefully undermined that effort. He’s quite literally the wrong person for the job.
Vox interviewed Lewis on Trump’s botched coronavirus response.
- Michael Lewis’s brilliant narrative takes us into the engine rooms of a government under attack by its own leaders.
- Hardcover Book
- Lewis, Michael (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Louisiana finds Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) running 43 points ahead of President Trump on his handling of the coronavirus in the state.
Key finding: “68% approve of the job Edwards is doing handling the virus to 16% who disapprove for a net rating of +52. Democrats (81/8), independents (60/19), and Republicans (56/25) alike give Edwards good marks. His overall approval rating is similarly high with 66% approving and just 18% disapproving of his work as Governor.”
“Opinions on Trump are much more closely split and polarized. 50% approve of the job he’s doing handling the virus to 41% who disapprove for a net rating of +9.”
Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D) called today’s primary a “shit show” in a tweet, putting the blame squarely on state Republicans.
Said Barnes: “Good morning and welcome to the Shit Show! Today’s episode has been produced by the Supreme Court and directed by the incomparable Speaker and Senate Majority leader duo. Buckle up, this one’s sure to disappoint!”
For members: Why Republicans Insist on Voting During a Pandemic
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham is leaving the job without ever having briefed the press, CNN reports.
She is returning to the East Wing as first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff as President Trump’s new chief of staff Mark Meadows shakes up the communications team in the West Wing.
Peter Nicholas: “A president commands a formidable platform when the nation is under threat. As the pandemic worsens, Trump has been inescapable. His daily press briefings draw millions of viewers. He’s cultivated public fights with Democratic governors over scarce supplies. And he’s ignited cultural clashes by calling the novel coronavirus the ‘Chinese virus.’ As the briefings stretch into their second hour, the wartime president morphs into the aggrieved candidate, who has created a spectacle that a captive audience can’t ignore.”
“One timeline in play is how long it will take before infections subside. Another is the political calendar. The two are entwined. In this new era of social distancing, Trump can’t hold rallies as a way to mobilize his base and diminish his rivals. But he’s embraced the bully pulpit, and in his hands—and at this jarring moment in the nation’s history—it’s potentially more valuable than routine campaigning. As the election approaches, he may be more and more tempted to use it for his own purposes. His prospects now hinge, after all, on his handling of the outbreak. His focus in the coming months will be to convince voters that he led a dauntless effort to keep Americans alive.”
“Either voters will have to brave the polls, endangering their own and others’ safety. Or they will lose their right to vote, through no fault of their own.”
— Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, quoted by the HuffPost, excoriating her conservative colleagues over their decision to deny Wisconsin Democrats’ request to extend the deadline for absentee voting in today’s primary due to the pandemic.
Harry Enten: “President Trump has dominated the airwaves during the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden, the frontrunner in the Democratic primary, has struggled to break through, which some see as a problem for his campaign. But I disagree. As Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale notes, they don’t want to let ‘Biden hide in the shadows.'”
“A look at the data suggests that Trump is losing to Biden right now because voters see this election as a referendum on an unpopular Trump. Trump likely stands a better chance if this election is a choice between Trump and Biden.”
“Civil rights icon John Lewis endorsed Joe Biden Tuesday, becoming the 38th member of the Congressional Black Caucus to officially back the former vice president’s campaign for the Democratic nomination,” Politico reports.
“In announcing his support, Lewis paired his endorsement with a public recommendation that Biden pick a woman of color as a running mate.”
Said Lewis: “I think Vice President Biden should look around. It would be good to have a woman of color.”