“White House officials have decided not to release updated economic projections this summer, opting against publishing forecasts that would almost certainly codify an administration assessment that the coronavirus pandemic has led to a severe economic downturn,” the Washington Post reports.
“The White House is supposed to unveil a federal budget proposal every February and then typically provides a ‘mid-session review’ in July or August with updated projections on economic trends such as unemployment, inflation and economic growth.”
“Budget experts said they were not aware of any previous White House opting against providing forecasts in this ‘mid-session review’ document in any other year since at least the 1970s.”
The Lincoln Project is out with a new ad targeting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who they say has mysteriously become a very rich man while in the U.S. Senate.
A Charlotte Observer editorial advises North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) to call President Trump’s bluff on needing a “guarantee” that Republicans can hold a 50,000 person convention in the state with the only answer he can provide right now: No.
“The alternative – giving an unqualified nod to the convention – is untenable. No one, including Trump and Cooper, knows what COVID-19 will look like late this summer. It’s possible North Carolina could see the kind of coronavirus progress that allows for a large-scale indoor event to be safely held here. It’s just as possible that loosening restrictions in May and June could result in a spike of infections in July and August, and that the convention will be unsafe for Charlotte and its global guests.”
“The Trump administration plans to cancel the visas of thousands of Chinese graduate students and researchers in the United States who have direct ties to universities affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army,” the New York Times reports.
“The plan would be the first designed to bar the access of a category of Chinese students, who, over all, form the single largest foreign student population in the United States.”
“A draft of an executive order President Trump is expected to sign on Thursday would seek to limit the broad legal protection that federal law currently provides social-media and other online platforms,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The draft order would make it easier for federal regulators to hold companies such as Twitter and Facebook liable for curbing users’ speech, for example by suspending their accounts or deleting their posts.”
“Stan Greenberg, one of the Democratic Party’s longtime leading pollsters, urged Hillary Clinton in 2016 to pick Elizabeth Warren as her vice president. He thinks Clinton would be president had she listened,” Politico reports.
“Now Greenberg — who popularized the term ‘Reagan Democrats’ and came to prominence as Bill Clinton’s lead pollster — is urging Joe Biden’s team to heed the same advice.”
“Earlier this month, he briefed top Biden campaign officials on two battleground surveys conducted by his firm. Accompanied by a slide presentation… Greenberg addressed the question hanging over Biden and his inner circle: Which vice presidential candidate will help the most in November? The conclusion was blunt: ‘Senator Warren is the obvious solution.’”
“For President Trump, it was a chance to rewrite the story line from tragedy to triumph. Even as the United States reached the grim milestone on Wednesday of 100,000 dead from the coronavirus pandemic, he would help mark the nation’s trailblazing return to human spaceflight from American soil,” the New York Times reports.
“But Mr. Trump’s hopes of demonstrating that America was back with the verve of a rocket’s red glare were doused by lightning-filled storm clouds that forced flight controllers to scrub the long-awaited launch of the SpaceX rocket even as the president watched helplessly from the Kennedy Space Center.”
“Only minutes after heralding what was to be the first launch of NASA astronauts into orbit from the United States in nearly a decade, a disappointed Mr. Trump scrapped planned remarks and made a hasty retreat to Air Force One to fly back to Washington and the misery of the health crisis. Still, just as the country’s reopening after months of lockdown proceeds with fits and starts, Mr. Trump vowed not to give up, promising to return this weekend when the launch will be tried again.”
Washington Post: “There’s a good chance the coronavirus will never go away. Even after a vaccine is discovered and deployed, the coronavirus will likely remain for decades to come, circulating among the world’s population.”
“Experts call such diseases endemic — stubbornly resisting efforts to stamp them out. Think measles, HIV, chickenpox. It is a daunting proposition — a coronavirus-tinged world without a foreseeable end. But experts in epidemiology, disaster planning and vaccine development say embracing that reality is crucial to the next phase of America’s pandemic response.”
“Former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle has built her own power center within Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, helping to bolster fundraising amid the coronavirus pandemic even as the president frets about his standing with voters,” Bloomberg reports.
“Guilfoyle, 51, has dated the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. for two years. But since taking a role in mid January as national chairwoman of the Trump Victory Finance Committee — where she draws a salary of $15,000 a month — she has amassed a team and operates with the authority of a member of the Trump family.
“Federal and state officials across the country have altered or hidden public health data crucial to tracking the coronavirus’ spread, hindering the ability to detect a surge of infections as President Trump pushes the nation to reopen rapidly,” Politico reports.
“In at least a dozen states, health departments have inflated testing numbers or deflated death tallies by changing criteria for who counts as a coronavirus victim and what counts as a coronavirus test.”
“An effort to pass a significant surveillance overhaul package collapsed Wednesday evening, falling victim to presidential tweets, opposition from the Justice Department and the fracturing of a fragile coalition among liberals, moderates and conservatives,” the Washington Post reports.
“House Democratic leaders decided to abandon a scheduled vote a few hours after President Trump issued a veto threat on Twitter. They have not determined when — or whether — the legislation might be revived.”
A new Keating-Onsight-Melanson poll of likely voters in Colorado finds former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) is ahead of Sen. Cory Gardner (R) by 18 percentage points in the U.S. Senate race, 54% to 36% with 9% undecided.
The poll also found Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by a 19 percentage point margin in the presidential race, 55% to 36%.
“A Republican state lawmaker from Central Pennsylvania confirmed Wednesday that he tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month, leading at least one of his House colleagues to self-quarantine,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
“The admission immediately ignited outrage among Democrats in the chamber, who said they were recklessly left in the dark for nearly a week about the lawmaker’s condition.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “made an extensive pitch for Americans to don face masks as a means to begin returning the country to normalcy while the coronavirus remains a threat,” Politico reports.
Said McConnell: “There’s no stigma attached to wearing a mask. There’s no stigma attached to staying six feet apart.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called out Twitter for attaching a fact check to a tweet from President Trump, telling Fox News that privately-owned digital platforms should not act as the “arbiter of truth.”
Said Zuckerberg: “We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter on this. I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online. Private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”
Joe Biden says he hopes to decide on a running mate by August 1, about two weeks before the Democratic nominating convention in Milwaukee, The Hill reports.
When President Trump installed Bill Stepien as his new deputy campaign manager, it was “a DC-style coup that still lets Brad Parscale keep his title of campaign manager,” Business Insider reports.
Said one adviser: “Trump never fires people. He works around them.”
Some Trump advisers note that Stepien’s ascendance “gives Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and arguably the most important staffer on the entire 2020 effort, almost singular control over the 2020 re-election campaign.”