5 min read

Wake Up To Politics - April 30, 2020

I’m Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP world headquarters in my bedroom. It’s Thursday, April 30, 2020. 187 days until Election Day. Have questions, comments, or tips? Email me.

Coronavirus: Latest updates

New unemployment figures: More than 3.8 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to Labor Department figures released this morning. The new data brings the six-week total to 30.3 million people who have sought jobless benefits since the coronavirus pandemic began — or approximately 1 in 5 American workers.

"There is no precedent for figures like this in modern American history," notes the Washington Post.

Fauci hails new coronavirus treatment: "An experimental drug for the coronavirus has a proven benefit, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases."

"'The data shows that remdesivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery,' Fauci said at the White House on Wednesday. The data he referred to is from a large study of more than 1,000 patients from multiple sites around the world. Patients either received the drug, called remdesivir, or a placebo."

"Results from clinical trials are typically published in medical journals after review from outside experts. That hasn't happened yet with this latest study, but Fauci said that the results were so promising, there is 'an ethical obligation to immediately let the placebo group know so they can have access' to the drug." (NBC News)

  • "It has proven that a drug can block this virus," Fauci declared of the remdesivir trial results.

Trump administration pushes spies to link virus to Wuhan lab: "Senior Trump administration officials have pushed American spy agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that a government laboratory in Wuhan, China, was the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, according to current and former American officials. The effort comes as President Trump escalates a public campaign to blame China for the pandemic."

"Some intelligence analysts are concerned that the pressure from administration officials will distort assessments about the virus and that they could be used as a political weapon in an intensifying battle with China over a disease that has infected more than three million people across the globe."

"Most intelligence agencies remain skeptical that conclusive evidence of a link to a lab can be found, and scientists who have studied the genetics of the coronavirus say that the overwhelming probability is that it leapt from animal to human in a nonlaboratory setting, as was the case with H.I.V., Ebola and SARS." (New York Times)

  • Trump has ratcheted up his rhetoric concerning China in recent days, telling Reuters that Beijing "will do anything they can" to prevent him from winning re-election in November.

U.S. death toll passes 60K: As of 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time, there have been 1,040,608 cases of the coronavirus confirmed in the United States, as well as 60,999 deaths from the virus. Globally, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 3,212,262, and the confirmed deaths number 228,299.

  • The White House signaled optimism about the course of the virus Wednesday, calling its response to the virus a "great success story" even as the death toll climbed. "We’re on the other side of the medical aspect of this, and I think that we’ve achieved all the different milestones that are needed," Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, told Fox News. "The federal government rose to the challenge, and this is a great success story."

2020 campaign: Latest updates

Trump presented with lagging internal polls: President Trump last week was presented with internal polling results that showed him lagging behind Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in several key states, CNN reported.

According to the network, Trump berated campaign manager Brad Parscale (who was patched in over the phone) for the lagging poll numbers during a meeting with advisers Friday evening, even threatening to sue Parscale. The president denied the report — which was later confirmed by the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Associated Press — in a tweet late Wednesday.

"Just told that Fake News @CNN is falsely reporting that I was recently shouting at my campaign manager over made up nonsense," Trump wrote. "Actually, he is doing a great job, I never shouted at him (been with me for years, including the 2016 win), & have no intention to do so. Just FAKE NEWS!"

  • "I'm not losing to Joe Biden," Trump said at one point during the Friday meeting, according to the Post. He told Reuters in an interview Wednesday: "I don't believe the polls. I believe the people of this country are smart. And I don’t think that they will put a man in who’s incompetent."

Biden names VP search committee: As speculation mounts over who he will pick as his running mate, Joe Biden formally launched his vice presidential selection committee this morning.

The committee will be led by former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, Delaware Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Biden's Senate and vice presidential counsel Cynthia Hogan. They will be assisted in the vetting process by former White House Counsel Bob Bauer, former White Hosue Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco, and campaign general counsel Dana Remus.

Biden has already pledged to name a woman as his running mate — Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Stacey Abrams are said to be top prospects on the table — a promise that has become more complicated as he's faced a sexual assault allegation in recent days.

  • According to the New York Times, Biden is facing "increasing pressure from the left" to address the allegation from his former Senate aide, Tara Reade. The ex-VP has yet to respond to the claim himself, although his campaign has issued a denial.

Let the ad wars begin: "Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is about to launch its first major TV ad offensive of the general election — a move that comes as the president attempts to reverse a dangerous slide six months out from the election."

"The campaign is expected to spend seven figures on a nationwide advertising blitz touting Trump’s performance managing the coronavirus crisis, according to two people familiar with the plans. The spots will begin Sunday and air for a week."

"The campaign expected to follow with a second wave of ads unloading on Joe Biden." (Politico)


*All times Eastern

President Donald Trump will meet with Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ) at 11 a.m. and deliver remarks on "protecting America's seniors" at 4 p.m.

  • Murphy will be the third governor in three days to sit down with President Trump, joining Govs. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Jon Bel Edwards (D-LA). Trump also met with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) last week.

Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Kokomo, Indiana, where he will tour the GM/Ventec Ventilator Production Facility at 1:45 p.m. and participate in a roundtable discussion with employees there at 2:25 p.m.

  • This will be Vice President Pence's fifth trip outside of Washington, D.C., this month. (President Trump has not left the White House since March 28, although he is planning a visit to Arizona next week.) Pence provoked controversy in a visit to Mayo Clinic on Tuesday, when he declined to wear a face mask in violation of the clinic's policy.

The Senate will meet for a pro forma session at 3 p.m.  

The House is not in session.

The Supreme Court has no conferences or oral arguments scheduled.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will participate in an Instagram Live Q&A with soccer star Megan Rapinoe at 2:45 p.m. and participate in a virtual fundraiser in the evening.

*All times Eastern

Thanks for reading! If you enjoy Wake Up To Politics, please consider donating to support me and my work, listening to my podcast with St. Louis Public Radio, and spreading the word about the newsletter to your friends and family. If this newsletter was forwarded to you, go to wakeuptopolitics.com to subscribe and learn more.