Morning Consult Washington: Trump Again Pushes Use of Anti-Malarial Drug to Combat Coronavirus

Top Stories

  • President Donald Trump again promoted the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine against the coronavirus, ignoring the advice of doctors and public health experts who point to little evidence of the drug’s effectiveness. During a White House briefing, a reporter directed a question about hydroxychloroquine to Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert and a skeptic of the drug’s usefulness, but Trump stopped him from answering. (The New York Times)
  • Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general who was fired by Trump, said in a statement that he believes the president fired him because he faithfully discharged his legal obligations in informing Congress of the intelligence community whistleblower complaint that led to the president’s impeachment. Trump on Friday told Congress he was placing Atkinson on administrative leave for 30 days before his removal, effectively circumventing a required 30-day wait and prompting some Senate Republicans to ask for more details about his removal. (Politico)
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, said the Democratic National Convention may need to be held virtually if the coronavirus continues to pose a public health threat. Democrats have already delayed their convention from mid-July to mid-August, but Biden said Democrats “may not be able to put 10, 20, 30,000 people in one place.” (ABC News)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Politico hosts webinar on coronavirus’s impact on the 2020 campaign 9:00 am
Wisconsin Democratic primary
Politico hosts webinar on coronavirus and the economy 9:00 am
Kellyanne Conway participates in Meridian International Center webinar 11:00 am
Ben Bernake participates in Brookings webinar on economic response to coronavirus 1:00 pm
Technology Policy Institute hosts webinar on coronavirus 2:30 pm
Politico hosts webinar on congressional response to coronavirus 12:00 pm
Fiscal Note hosts webinar on EU response to coronavirus 11:00 am
Mail-in ballots due in Alaska Democratic presidential primary
View full calendar

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Click here to learn more or speak to one of our specialists.


Coronavirus death toll: Americans are almost certainly dying of covid-19 but being left out of the official count
Emma Brown et al., The Washington Post

The fast-spreading novel coronavirus is almost certainly killing Americans who are not included in the nation’s growing death toll, according to public health experts and government officials involved in the tally. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counts only deaths in which the presence of the coronavirus is confirmed in a laboratory test.

Top Democrats Press Treasury to Accelerate Airline Bailout
Alan Rappeport, The New York Times

Top Democratic lawmakers have urged Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to quickly provide American airlines with direct payroll assistance and to avoid insisting on overly restrictive terms that could deter companies from taking the money. Major airlines began submitting their applications for government support to the Treasury Department on Friday but there is growing concern within the industry that Mr. Mnuchin will demand strict terms to ensure that taxpayers are compensated, such as large equity stakes in the companies.

He Led a Top Navy Ship. Now He Sits in Quarantine, Fired and Infected.
Eric Schmitt and John Ismay, The New York Times

For days, he fended off fears that the contagion would spread unchecked through his crew. Then last week, the captain of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, who had appealed to his superiors for help, was fired.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hospitalized with virus
Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital Sunday for tests, his office said, because he is still suffering symptoms, 10 days after he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Johnson’s office said the admission to an undisclosed London hospital came on the advice of his doctor and was not an emergency.

U.N. official warns of “dire” financial crisis due to coronavirus in leaked documents
Pamela Falk, CBS News

The United Nations is facing a “dire” liquidity crisis as it deals with added expenses related to the need to “respond to the global health crisis” of coronavirus, according to an email from Movses Abelian, the U.N. undersecretary general for General Assembly and conference management. That email was sent to explain a memo from the undersecretary general for management Catherine Pollard, and both documents were obtained by CBS News.

Oil Negotiators Race for Pact With U.S. Role in Balance
Javier Blas, Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia, Russia and other large oil producers are racing to negotiate a deal to stem the historic price crash as diplomats said some progress was made on Sunday. The talks still face significant obstacles: a meeting of producers from OPEC+ and beyond — delayed once — is only tentatively scheduled for Thursday.

White House & Administration

Giuliani, a familiar voice in Trump’s ear, promotes experimental coronavirus treatments
Rosalind S. Helderman et al., The Washington Post

Rudolph W. Giuliani, who was in the center of the impeachment storm earlier this year as an unpaid private attorney for President Trump, has cast himself in a new role: as personal science adviser to a president eager to find ways to short-circuit the coronavirus pandemic. In one-on-one phone calls with Trump, Giuliani said, he has been touting the use of an anti-malarial drug combination that has shown some early promise in treating covid-19, the disease the novel coronavirus causes, but whose effectiveness has not yet been proved.

Trump Eyes Accused ‘Quack’ Dr. Oz for Coronavirus Advice
Lachlan Cartwright and Asawin Suebsaeng, The Daily Beast

As the global pandemic and a staggering economic crisis swells, Dr. Mehmet Oz, the controversial celebrity doctor, has been advising senior Trump administration officials on coronavirus-related matters. Oz has even caught President Donald Trump’s attention with the celebrity doctor’s numerous appearances on the president’s favorite TV channel, The Daily Beast has learned.

Americans hit by economic shocks as confusion, stumbles undermine Trump’s stimulus effort
Jeff Stein, The Washington Post 

The Trump administration has stumbled in its initial push to implement the $2 trillion coronavirus aid package, with confusion and fear mounting among small businesses, workers and the newly unemployed since the bill was signed into law late last month. Small-business owners have reported delays in getting approved for loans without which they will close their doors, while others say they have been denied altogether by their lenders and do not understand why.

The EPA Is Coming Under Fire For Using The Coronavirus As An Excuse To Relax Rules Against Big Polluters
Zahra Hirji, BuzzFeed News

Lawmakers are pushing back against a sweeping rollback of pollution regulations recently announced by the Environmental Protection Agency in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a letter from Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey shared with BuzzFeed News. On March 26, the EPA announced a temporary relaxing of enforcement rules, allowing factories, power plants, and other companies to stop conducting routine tests for pollutants and reporting them to the agency if they could claim the pandemic had led to a shortage of staff or other operational challenges.

Trump administration determined to exit treaty reducing risk of war
Julian Borger, The Guardian

The Trump administration is determined to withdraw from a 28-year-old treaty intended to reduce the risk of an accidental war between the west and Russia by allowing reconnaissance flights over each other’s territory. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, which has put off a full national security council (NSC) meeting on the Open Skies Treaty (OST), the secretary of defence, Mark Esper, and secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, have agreed to proceed with a US exit, according to two sources familiar with administration planning.


Schumer names coronavirus czar candidates in plea to White House
Rebecca Klar, The Hill

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) offered candidates for a potential czar to oversee the production and disbursement of medical equipment during a call to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Sunday night, a person familiar with the call confirmed to The Hill. Schumer repeated his request to Meadows to have President Trump fully invoke the Defense Production Act (DFA) as he suggested names for a military official he thought could be appointed to oversee the production and distribution of medical supplies and equipment that states across the country have asked the federal government for aid in acquiring.

Marco Rubio finds his next act
Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine, Politico

Marco Rubio’s political fortunes have gyrated frequently during his 10 years in national politics. But the coronavirus outbreak may have brought the Florida GOP senator to his most critical moment yet.


Clyburn: House coronavirus panel ‘will be forward-looking,’ not review Trump’s early response
Quint Forgey, Politico

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said on Sunday that a new congressional panel intended to oversee the distribution of coronavirus relief funds “will be forward-looking” and not probe President Donald Trump’s widely criticized initial response to the ongoing public health crisis. “My understanding is that this committee will be forward-looking,” Clyburn told CNN’s “State of the Union.”


Democratic Committee Plans $22 Million in YouTube Ads This Fall
Reid J. Epstein, The New York Times

The Democratic National Committee said on Monday it had reserved $22 million in YouTube advertisements across 14 states that the party believes will be competitive in the general election, the beginning of a broad digital effort to defeat President Trump this fall. The reservation comes two and a half weeks after Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York, transferred $18 million from his unsuccessful presidential campaign to the D.N.C. for the party’s battleground states program.

Pelosi-aligned super PAC books $51M in fall ads
Ally Mutnick, Politico

House Democrats’ flagship super PAC is booking $51 million worth of TV ads this fall, a substantial investment aimed at protecting their newly won majority. The early reservation by House Majority PAC is spread across 29 markets and offers a window into how Democrats view the size and shape of the House battlefield this fall, with massive funds slotted for Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Texas, according to plans shared first with POLITICO.

Trump’s coronavirus commentary bolsters attack ads questioning his fitness to lead
Toluse Olorunnipa and Annie Linskey, The Washington Post

Within days of President Trump’s assertion that “I don’t take responsibility at all” for coronavirus testing failures, Democrats were spending millions in key November states on an ad that replayed a series of his most pungent remarks. “One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear,” Trump can be heard saying of the virus, before the ad ends with his refusal to let the buck stop with him.

Dems find a rallying cry: Trump tanked the economy
David Siders and Elena Schneider, Politico

For most of the presidential campaign, the economy looked like the one thing that could overcome Donald Trump’s stubbornly low approval ratings and carry him to a second term. Even many Democrats acknowledged they had no cohesive economic message of their own. But now that the coronavirus has laid waste to the surging stock market and low unemployment, Democrats are discovering another obstacle — framing a coherent economic argument that all the party’s factions can rally around.

Some top Sanders advisers urge him to consider withdrawing
Sean Sullivan, The Washington Post

A small group of Bernie Sanders’s top aides and allies — including his campaign manager and his longtime strategist — have encouraged the independent senator from Vermont to consider withdrawing from the presidential race, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. The group includes campaign manager Faiz Shakir and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a top Sanders surrogate and ally, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive private discussions.

Politics Through the Looking Glass: Virus Scrambles the Left-Right Lines
Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

The 2020 edition of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Md., in February offered a theme-park version of what was to be President Trump’s re-election message: Under the banner of “America vs. Socialism,” the convention featured anti-Marx branded popcorn, an RV emblazed with the words “Socialism Takes Capitalism Creates” and a children’s book promoting personal freedom and private-property rights. Speeches included tirades against big government and “Medicare for all.”


Amid Warnings of a Coronavirus ‘Pearl Harbor,’ Governors Walk a Fine Line
Rick Rojas and Vanessa Swales, The New York Times

As the surgeon general told the nation to brace for “our Pearl Harbor moment” of cascading coronavirus deaths this week, several governors said on Sunday that their states were in urgent need of federal help and complained that they had been left to compete for critical equipment in the absence of a consistent strategy and coordination from the Trump administration. Some clearly walked a delicate path, criticizing what they saw as an erratic, inadequate federal response, while also trying to avoid alienating the White House as states vie with one another for resources both from Washington and on the market that can mean the difference between life and death.

Wisconsin mayors implore top health official to ‘step up’ and shut down primary
Natasha Korecki and Zach Montellaro, Politico

Mayors from some of the most populous cities in Wisconsin, including Milwaukee and Madison, are calling on the state’s top health official to shut down in-person voting at Tuesday’s primary, as a legal battle over absentee voting in the state reaches the Supreme Court. “We implore you to implement all emergency measures necessary to control the spread of COVID-19, a communicable disease,” reads a copy of the letter addressed to Department of Human Services Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm.

New York Gov. Cuomo Reports A Drop In Number Of Deaths, But Warns It May Be A ‘Blip’
Kat Lonsdorf, NPR News

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday that for the first time in days, the state has seen the daily number of deaths, hospitalizations and intubations as a result of COVID-19 decrease. More patients are also being discharged from hospitals. “There’s something a little bit different in the data today,” Cuomo said, as state officials reported 594 new deaths on Sunday, down from 630 on Saturday.

Judges balk at mass release of California prisoners over virus danger
Josh Gerstein, Politico

A panel of federal judges has rebuffed a bid to order a mass release of California prison inmates in an effort to reduce the danger posed by the coronavirus. The three-judge panel did not rule out the possibility that lawyers for inmates could eventually win a court-ordered reduction in the state’s prison population of roughly 120,000 to allow more social distancing, especially for elderly prisoners and those with pre-existing medical conditions.


Lobbyist’s Coronavirus Challenge: Bring Back the Small Talk
Brandon Sanchez, The Wall Street Journal

Much of Capitol Hill has gone quiet due to the new coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean lobbyist Glenn LeMunyon is short on work. Like many in Washington, the work of those involved with the government goes on. Mr. LeMunyon’s email inbox has exploded since he last stepped foot on the Hill March 13. 

What top CEOs fear telling America about the coronavirus shutdown
Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, Axios

Top CEOs, in private conversations and pleas to President Trump, are warning of economic catastrophe if America doesn’t begin planning for a phased return to work as soon as May, corporate leaders tell Axios. The CEOs say massive numbers of companies, big and small, could go under if business and government don’t start urgent talks about ways groups of workers can return.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Faced with the Coronavirus, Keep Your Eyes on the Census Prize
Alejandra Y. Castillo, Morning Consult

As Americans work together to slow the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing, we must take part in another shared experience: completing the 2020 census. After all, a national emergency like this frightening pandemic reminds us why participating in the census is so important.

Acting Navy chief fired Crozier for ‘panicking’ — and before Trump could intervene
David Ignatius, The Washington Post

Acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly, in an extensive interview about the firing of the commander of a disease-threatened aircraft carrier, said he acted because he believed the captain was “panicking” under pressure — and wanted to make the move himself, before President Trump ordered the captain’s dismissal. “I didn’t want to get into a decision where the president would feel that he had to intervene because the Navy couldn’t be decisive,” Modly told me in a telephone call from Hawaii at about 1 a.m. Sunday, Washington time.

To Beat the Global Pandemic, Empower Local Leaders
Michael R. Bloomberg, Bloomberg

While many Americans are watching the daily news conferences by President Donald Trump and some governors, the action behind the scenes is being led by the elected officials who are closest to the public, and who are directly managing the crisis in their communities: mayors. As we listen to public health experts, including doctors Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, we should also be listening to America’s mayors, who are best positioned to identify problems as they arise and act swiftly to address them — if they have the resources and authority to do so.

How to Fix Our Voting Rules Before November
Marc Elias, The Atlantic

In 1979, the NBA introduced the three-point line, creating new superstars who could hit the long-range jumper. The bigger long-term impact of the change, though, was to increase the effectiveness of the tallest players, who benefited from stretched defenses.

Americans Don’t Trust the Media Anymore. So Why Do They Trust the Cuomos?
Ben Smith, The New York Times 

At the end of 2013, CNN executives sent word to Chris Cuomo: No more interviewing your brother on television. The CNN host had taken a little heat when he addressed his older brother, Andrew Cuomo, deferentially as “governor” in an interview about a train accident in New York.

Early on, Cheney and Cotton warned about the coronavirus. They still face pushback in the GOP.
Paul Kane, The Washington Post

Frustrated by the-cure-is-worse-than-the-pandemic rhetoric, some prominent Republicans have begun to forcefully defend the medical science behind the virtual shutdown of the U.S. economy. These aren’t moderate Republicans in swing districts or those facing tough Senate reelections in battleground states — they hail from the hawkish wing of the GOP.

Research Reports and Polling

How Healthy is Your State’s Rainy Day Fund?
Janelle Cammenga, Tax Foundation

Economic cycles can have significant impacts on state revenue, but states can prepare for the inevitable downturns during good times by putting away money in a revenue stabilization fund—or rainy day funds, as they’re often known. Funding levels and the actual names of these funds may vary from state to state, but rainy day funds have increasingly emerged as a standard component of states’ budgeting toolkits.

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