POLITICO Playbook PM: White House floats a Trump speech as the outbreak spreads
October 6, 2020
THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION is considering having President DONALD TRUMP address the nation. He returned from the White House on Monday night after a weekend at Walter Reed. NYT’s Maggie Haberman had this as well
ALYSSA FARAH — the White House comms director — suggested to White House reporters that we will “hear from” TRUMP “at some point today.”
— FARAH on FOX NEWS this morning, about whether TRUMP will attend the next debate: “He’s looking forward to it. He is ready and I think he’s going to go in with an even new mindset on the coronavirus. He’s firsthand lost friends to this, he’s grieved with Americans, but now he himself is coming as a survivor and I think you’re going to hear that in his debate.”
— ON WORKING AT THE W.H. NOW: “We feel comfortable working here, those of us who are still here. We are taking precautions in the West Wing.”
THE PRESIDENT’S DOCTOR, SEAN CONLEY, said TRUMP reported no symptoms today, and had a “restful first night at home.” His oxygen saturation is between 95% and 97%, CONLEY said. Conley’s memo
FORMER A.G. ERIC HOLDER to us during a Playbook virtual event this morning, via CAITLIN OPRYSKO: “Former Attorney General Eric Holder accused one of his Trump-era successors, William Barr, of ‘going beyond politicizing’ the Justice Department, saying that the current attorney general had instead ‘weaponized’ the department in an unprecedented way.
“‘The way he has talked about everything from voting to social issues, he has clearly put the Justice Department on the side of this president,’ Holder told POLITICO Playbook authors Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman in an interview Tuesday. Holder, who served as the first attorney general in the Obama administration, also pointed to Barr’s intervention in cases involving Trump’s allies, and called the attorney general an ‘integral part of the president’s reelection effort.’
“‘People gotta understand this is inconsistent with the way attorneys general and the department have acted in the past — and that means Republican as well as Democratic Justice Departments,’ he argued.”
— HOLDER quipped that he would run for Senate if D.C. became a state.
HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP JIM CLYBURN, who also joined us for the Playbook event, talked about his former aide JAIME HARRISON’S chances in South Carolina: “Things are breaking in his favor.” More from Caitlin Oprysko
HOUSE DEMOCRATS have a caucus conference call at 2 p.m. today, and we anticipate Speaker NANCY PELOSI will give an update on the status of her talks with Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN.
Good Tuesday afternoon.
SCOOP, via NAHAL TOOSI: The State Department has decided to grant Indonesian Defense Minister PRABOWO SUBIANTO a visa to enter the U.S., according to a person familiar with the department’s actions. Subianto is expected to visit sometime later this month. He had long been blacklisted by the U.S. due to his alleged role in human rights abuses dating back decades. A State Department spokesperson declined to comment, citing confidentiality rules governing visas. But it’s worth noting that China has embraced the Indonesian official amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.
AT 1600 PENN … CNN’S KEVIN LIPTAK, KAITLAN COLLINS and JEFF ZELENY: “At least one staffer — who is military personnel directly assigned to support the President in the Oval and residence — tested positive over the weekend, according to a person familiar with the matter. As Trump returned home, a supply of medical gowns, goggles and respirator masks had been secured for use by his health and security teams — and potentially residence staffers — should they need to come into close proximity to the President.
“And a temporary suite of offices had been arranged on the ground floor of the executive mansion, adjacent to the White House medical suite, according to a person familiar with the plans. Trump’s working space was adjusted both in the interest of constantly monitoring the still-convalescing President and in the hopes of keeping him out of the West Wing, where staffers are contending with a growing coronavirus outbreak.” CNN
CNN’S BARBARA STARR: “Senior Pentagon leadership quarantining after exposure to coronavirus”: “The top US general, Gen. Mark Milley, and several members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are quarantining after a top Coast Guard official tested positive for coronavirus, several US defense officials tell CNN.
“The Vice Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Adm. Charles Ray, tested positive on Monday. Ray recently attended several meetings at the Pentagon in secure areas with members of the Joint Chiefs. Multiple defense officials tell CNN that senior Pentagon leadership who had been in proximity to Ray have been tested and are awaiting results.”
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK … PROJECT YELLOWSTONE this week launched a $2 million digital ad campaign, starting in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Arizona, “encouraging historically under-represented communities such as Latinos and African Americans to vote early.” One of the Spanish-language ads, focusing on the Puerto Rican community in Florida
HMM — “Florida extends voter registration deadline after website failure,” by Gary Fineout in Tallahassee: “Registration will be open for an additional seven hours, from noon to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Secretary of State Laurel Lee said in a written statement. The move should short-circuit a lawsuit that civil rights and voting groups were preparing to file early Tuesday. …
“In a written statement, she said the site’s failure appeared to be linked to ‘unprecedented volume and traffic’ and that her office ‘will work with our state and federal law-enforcement partners to ensure this was not a deliberate act against the voting process.’ The portal went down Monday afternoon, hours before the midnight deadline for registering.”
TRADE WARS — “U.S. goods trade deficit in August hits record high,” by Doug Palmer: “The monthly U.S. trade deficit in goods hit a record high in August, despite President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign promises to reduce it dramatically by negotiating new trade deals and getting tough on unfair foreign trade practices, a Commerce Department report showed on Tuesday.
“The overall trade deficit was $67.1 billion, reflecting a surplus in services trade with the rest of [the] world — the highest since 2006. The deficit for U.S. goods trade by itself was $83.9 billion, the highest ever recorded. The report also showed that U.S. exports to China continue to lag behind the pace needed to meet Trump’s goal under a ‘phase one’ trade deal signed in January.” POLITICO
DEEP DIVE — “PPP Money Abounded — but Some Got It Faster Than Others,” by WSJ’s Yuka Hayashi, Anthony DeBarros and Amara Omeokwe: “The Journal compared PPP borrower data for zip codes in Washington’s central business district—which includes K Street law firms and lobbying shops—against those for low-income neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River, where commercial areas are dotted with small Black-owned firms, non-profit organizations and churches.
“There was a wide gap between the two areas in terms of when borrowers got their money, according to a review of lending data released by the Small Business Administration, which oversaw the program with the Treasury Department. In the central business district, about 80% of companies that received loans before the program ended Aug. 8 had gotten loan approval within the first month of its April 3 launch, the data shows. By comparison, just 38% of borrowers in the areas east of the Anacostia River that ultimately received loans had been approved in that first month. A similar pattern played out across the country.” WSJ
AD WARS — “Biden makes ad push into rural Ohio as early voting begins,” by AP’s Julie Carr Smyth and Thomas Beaumont in Columbus, Ohio: “The new spots will air on radio in rural, traditionally Republican areas of the state, the campaign told The Associated Press, as well as on TV in Dayton. That adds to television advertising already announced in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati and on Black radio stations. The campaign declined to give specifics on how much the Ohio ad blitz is costing. It’s part of Biden’s $280 million general election ad reservation.”
BATTLEGROUND SUBURBIA — “Moving the flip zone: Democrats march deeper into suburbia,” by AP’s Angeliki Kastanis, Josh Boak and Dario Lopez-Mills in Phoenix: “At around 800 households per square mile, the blue of Democratic areas starts to bleed into red Republican neighborhoods. A purple ring — call it the flip zone — emerges through the suburbs. …
“An Associated Press analysis of recent election results and density shows Democrats in Arizona moved the flip zone 2 miles deeper into the suburbs from 2016 to 2018, reaching right to the northern edge of Interstate 101 in Phoenix into areas filled with cul-de-sacs of homes and backyards large enough for swimming pools. The shift helped them win a Senate seat for the first time in 24 years. The AP’s analysis essentially maps the challenge Trump and his Republican Party are facing today.” AP
HEADS UP — “ISIS terrorists known as the ‘Beatles’ likely to be brought to U.S. in coming days,” by NBC’s Anna Schecter and Courtney Kube: “Two of the British Islamic State terrorists dubbed the ‘Beatles,’ accused of involvement in the murders of U.S. hostages in Syria, are likely to be brought to the United States in mid-October, according to two government officials.
“The men, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, who are being held in U.S. military custody in Iraq, are accused of taking part in the kidnappings of international hostages, including U.S. aid workers Kayla Mueller and Peter Kassig and U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. Kotey and Elsheikh admitted their involvement in the captivity of Mueller for the first time in an interview obtained exclusively by NBC News, which aired in July. Mueller was tortured and sexually abused before her death in 2015.” NBC
BATTLING BIG TECH — “Big Tech Was Their Enemy, Until Partisanship Fractured the Battle Plans,” by NYT’s Cecilia Kang and David McCabe: “For all the divisions in Washington, one issue that had united Republicans and Democrats in recent years was their animus toward the power of the biggest tech companies. That bipartisanship was supposed to come together this week in a landmark House report that caps a 15-month investigation into the practices of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. …
“But over the past few days, support for the recommendations has split largely along party lines, said five people familiar with the talks, who were not authorized to speak publicly because the discussions are private. On Monday, the Democratic staff on the House Judiciary Committee delayed the report’s release because they were unable to gain Republican support.
“Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on the committee, has asked his colleagues not to endorse the Democratic-led report, said two people with knowledge of the discussions. And Representative Ken Buck, a Republican of Colorado, has circulated a separate report — titled ‘The Third Way’ — that pushes back against some of the Democrats’ legislative recommendations, according to a copy obtained by The New York Times.” NYT
WSJ: “Jewish Lawmakers Face ‘Alarming’ Anti-Semitic Tweets, Report Says,” by Rachael Levy: “Jewish members of Congress are facing anti-Semitic attacks on Twitter in the lead-up to the November election, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League. ‘The findings of this report, while limited, are alarming and, unfortunately, not surprising,’ said the ADL, which reviewed 5,954 tweets directed at 30 Jewish members of Congress who are up for re-election in November.
“The ADL, in its first-ever report on Twitter content, said it analyzed tweets over a one-month period in July and August. … Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, both New York Democrats, received the largest share of the tweets reviewed in the monthlong period, the ADL said.” WSJ
THE NEW COLD WAR — “U.S., Australia, India, Japan discuss China’s growing power,” by AP’s Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo: “U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that China’s increasingly assertive actions across the region make it more critical than ever for four Indo-Pacific nations known as the Quad to cooperate to protect their partners and their people from Chinese ‘exploitation, corruption and coercion.’
“Pompeo made the remark at a meeting in Tokyo with the foreign ministers of Japan, India and Australia, who together make up the Quad. The talks were the group’s first in-person meeting since the coronavirus pandemic began.” AP
SPOTTED at the National Review Institute’s virtual seventh annual William F. Buckley Jr. Prize Dinner Gala: honorees James L. Buckley and Virginia James, Rich Lowry, Edwin Feulner and Peter Travers.
WEEKEND WEDDING — Kara Swisher, host of NYT’s “Sway” podcast, contributing writer to the NYT opinion section and co-host of “Pivot” for New York Media, and Amanda Katz, former senior editor for investigations at CNN and a Boston Globe alum, got married Saturday. They wed at the Peristyle in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, with only immediate family and a few close friends, including Lydia Polgreen, whose wife Candy Feit introduced them. The couple plan to do a big ceremony in 2021.Pics
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Joseph Riley, director for Indo-Pacific security at the NSC, and Rachel Riley, a consultant at McKinsey, today welcomed Jacob Walker Riley, their first child.