As protests continue across the country, new CBS News polling finds 58% of Americans disapprove of President Trump's handling of race relations, while 33% approve. CBS News political unit associate producers Sarah Ewall-Wice and Eleanor Watson report the polling breaks down further along party lines with 72% of Republicans approving while 92% of Democrats disapprove. African-Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of the president's overall job performance and his handling of race relations.
At the same time, more Americans are now saying racial discrimination impacts both treatment by police and chances of getting ahead. Eight in 10 Americans feel discrimination against African-Americans exists today, including half who say there is a lot of discrimination and 31% who say there is some. CBS News polling also found 52% believe white people have a better chance of getting ahead, up from 39% in polling conducted in 2015. At the same time, 57% of Americans now believe police are more likely to use deadly force against a black person.
A majority of both white and black people believe race relations in the U.S. are generally bad, with just 17% saying they're getting better. Forty-two percent say they're getting worse, while 39% say they're staying the same. According to previous CBS News polling, more Americans believe the state of race relations is more negative than it was a year ago.
More Americans now believe there is more racial discrimination by police than they did in 2016. Four years ago in 2016, 43% of Americans said police are more likely to use deadly force against a black person, and Wednesday's poll shows 57% of Americans now say there is discrimination.
In response to the death of George Floyd, a majority of Republicans like most Democrats and independents do not think the force used by the Minneapolis police officer was justified.
FROM THE CANDIDATES
Joe Biden is connecting President Trump's response to the ongoing protests of American police brutality to the protests at Tiananmen Square 31 years ago today in China, CBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson reports.
Those pro-democracy protests against the communist Chinese government in 1989 were also led by young people and Biden is pointing to Mr. Trump's remarks decades ago calling those protests a "riot" and commending China for showing "the power of strength." Biden is drawing a parallel with the ongoing police brutality protests in the U.S., characterizing the president's response as the "language of authoritarians" in an effort "to sow hate and division." Biden is also trying to foil a common attack line from the president who often accuses Biden of being too soft on China.
Later today, Biden is expected to hold a virtual town hall with actor Don Cheadle and young Americans. Local Delaware leaders told Biden earlier this week he needs to do a better job at hearing directly from young people during this time and it appears he is taking their advice.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
Beginning next week, organizers for the Trump campaign will hit the pavement again, resuming in-person organizing for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit. CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga reports Trump Victory – the joint campaign operation between the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee will "flip the switch" on campaign field organizing throughout June, returning to door-knocking and in-person voter registration in reopening states.
"Just as Trump Victory was able to transition to virtual campaigning in less than 24 hours, our teams across the country will seamlessly adapt again just as efficiently," RNC National Press Secretary Mandi Merritt told CBS News.
GOP volunteers and staff members will adhere to local health and safety guidelines, abiding by capacity limits and exercising social distancing, an RNC official tells CBS News. Though no concrete plans have been made, the campaign hopes to host office openings featuring campaign surrogates, including Donald Trump Jr. in future months.
President Trump will headline in-person, private fundraisers next week in Texas and New Jersey limited to about 25 people each. According to a senior campaign official, Trump campaign staff have returned to the Trump headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, this week. While not all staff have returned full time, multiple senior campaign officials have been operating out of the campaign's Virginia locale for nearly a week. Campaign officials tell CBS News they are "taking appropriate precautions" when it comes to social distancing and sanitation.
President Trump met with his senior campaign advisers Thursday to discuss internal polling and campaign strategy, in a series of meetings spanning well over an hour, according to senior officials in attendance. Sganga and White House producer Fin Gomez report the president requested the meetings this past weekend, as demonstrations spread through the nation in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minnesota. Campaign manager Brad Parscale, RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, deputy campaign manager Bill Stepien, the president's polling team, chief of staff Mark Meadows and senior White House officials sat down with the president in the Oval Office to pore over recent poll numbers.
Vice President Mike Pence did not attend, but poked his head into a wide-ranging discussion with senior communications officials and surrogates that followed in the Cabinet Room. The president appeared in "high spirits" according to those in attendance. He asked multiple questions about his campaign surrogates. He wanted to know, namely, who's out carrying the campaign's message on his behalf as he responds to three crises from inside the West Wing.
The president talked at length with campaign senior adviser Katrina Pierson and RNC senior communications adviser of black media affairs Paris Dennard about the campaign's efforts to "attract black voters." Pierson told the president there was a four-figure uptick in engagement with black voters following Joe Biden's "You Ain't Black" comment on "The Breakfast Club" radio show.
Trump allies tell CBS News the president has expressed interest and concern over recent poll numbers in battleground states. According to a senior campaign official, as he left today's meetings, the president turned back to deliver a final message to attendees five months out from the election: "We're going to win."
LIFE AFTER 2020
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker commented on the latest charges against the Minneapolis officers involved in the death of George Floyd in an interview with the Washington Post Thursday. Booker said, "I think the up charges are very, very good things and give some sign of hope that there will be justice done in a country which has under-prosecuted police officers who have done wrong."
Asked if Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley should resign following the response to peaceful protesters outside of the White House, CBS News campaign reporter Jack Turman reports Booker said, "I think that there is just a complicity with, with things that – where people are showing a loyalty to party over, over loyalty to country."
Booker also talked about the conversations that he had with family members about how to protect himself growing up as a black man in America.
"The conversations I had with my parents and other elders in my family – and that's not unique to me – this is an experience that so many African-American men were taught at a very early age to be afraid, to take measures to protect yourself," Booker said. "That just jogging in your neighborhood, reaching for a cell phone, shopping in a mall, all of these things can end up entangling your life."
CBS NEWS COVID CHRONICLES
TEXAS TRADE SCHOOL STUDENTS
CBS News is chronicling what has changed for the lives of residents of some of the biggest battleground states in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Today we take a look at how trade school students on Texas have been affected by the virus – like Cindy Trejo, 36, a medical assistant, who has been able to use her vocational training on the front lines fighting COVID-19, even as her family has been devastated by the virus. Others, like Kia McGuire, a single mother raising three children, had been attending Barbers Inc. Trade School in Beaumont, Texas until her schooling was put on hold for safety precautions. With her schooling delayed, CBS News campaign reporter Cara Korte says McGuire now has to wait out the pandemic to see if the job she had lined up pre-COVID19 will still be waiting for her.
ISSUES THAT MATTER
Nearly 1.9 million American workers filed for unemployment benefits last week and another 623,000 filed for benefits under a federal program covering self-employed and gig workers, the Labor Department reported on Thursday says CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster.
While the number of initial jobless claims is still far greater than any weekly number prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been steadily declining for the last nine weeks. More than 42 million Americans have filed traditional unemployment benefits since the pandemic forced businesses to close in mid-March, but some of those people have returned to work.
About 21.5 million Americans were still collecting unemployment benefits, known as continuing claims, for the week ending May 23, according to the Labor Department. But an analysis from the Economic Policy Institute finds that looking at all unemployment programs, 37.2 million people are either receiving benefits or have applied for benefits and waiting to hear if they will receive them. That's nearly a quarter of the American workforce.
On Friday, the government is expected to report 8 million jobs lost in May, on top of 20 million lost in April. Earlier this week, the Congressional Budget Office projected the coronavirus pandemic could shrink the economy by $8 trillion over the next decade.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the California Democratic Party moved on Wednesday to intervene in two lawsuits from Republicans that would block the state from implementing vote-by-mail initiatives, according to CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar.
Last month the National Republican Congressional Committee, the California Republican Party, and the Republican National Committee joined forces in a lawsuit against California Governor Gavin Newsom. The GOP-led lawsuit aims to reverse Newsom's executive order to automatically send every registered voter a ballot ahead of the November presidential election.
Republicans claim Newsom's order is a power grab and automatically sending registered voters in the state a ballot will lead to increased fraudulent activities. The DCCC and the CA Democratic Party argue that the state's "decision to implement a primarily all-mail system for the election is not only reasonable, but constitutionally required to ensure all eligible California voters" can participate in the election safely.
The Democrats motion to join Newsom as defendants in the lawsuit was granted Wednesday. According to a recent survey from the California Public Policy Institute, an overwhelming majority of likely California voters (73%) say sending vote-by-mail ballots for the November election to all registered voters is a good idea, while just 24% say it is a bad idea. Among likely Democratic voters in California, 94% support expanding vote-by-mail compared to 63% of independents and just 37% of Republicans who think it is a good idea.
Separately, a new CBS News poll finds that most Americans say their family has been financially affected in some way by the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdowns, according to CBS News Election & Survey Unit's Fred Backus and Jennifer De Pinto.
Almost one in five Americans describe the impact as a hardship. Larger numbers describe it as inconvenient or difficult but would not go so far as to call it a hardship. Most Americans, however, remain optimistic that jobs will come back.
Americans with lower incomes are more likely to feel the effects. A quarter of Americans earning less than $50,000 a year say the financial impact has been a hardship, compared to just 11% of Americans earning $100,000 a year or more. Americans who say the impact is a hardship report having a harder time meeting their bills and obligations: nearly half (45%) say they are not making enough to do so.
Most Americans overall think the economic impact of the coronavirus will be felt equally by white communities and communities of color, though 31% think it will impact communities of color more. Blacks are more likely than whites to say it will impact communities of color more.
There are partisan differences as well. Fifty-two percent of Democrats think communities of color will be impacted the most. Most Republicans (86%) and independents (68%) think both communities will be impacted equally.
Most report no change in optimism when they compare themselves now to before the pandemic. However, Americans with lowest incomes do tend to be more pessimistic than those who earn more. And six in 10 expect jobs in their communities that have been lost during the coronavirus outbreak to come back as the economy improves. Americans of all income levels, in all regions of the country, and in the cities, suburbs, and rural areas alike all have confidence that jobs will return.
IN THE HOUSE
Recent Facebook posts by a woman paid by Mike Garcia's campaign, in California's 25th District, show inflammatory comments about the nationwide protests over police brutality. In one of the posts, she shared a meme of President Obama that reads, "How do you know when the virus isn't working anymore? They shift to a racial war."
The woman, Victoria Redstall, was previously paid $870 by the Garcia campaign for photography and web services. She's also been seen introducing Garcia at campaign events and conducted an interview with him in February before his March 3 primary.
"Why aren't these bastards being shot with rubber bullets (or worse)? These aren't protests. - This is Anarchy! Leave our Heroes/Law Enforcement alone," another post reads. In one post, she shares an article about protests coming to the Santa Clarita area and says, "These bastards are now coming to our town...watch out we have a lot more cops here than these scumbags now."
Garcia's campaign spokesperson Lance Trover told CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro Redstall had a brief contract and does not work for the campaign.
"Congressman Garcia vehemently disagrees with Ms. Redstall's comments, and as a first generation American who served our country finds them disgusting and believes they have no place in our dialogue. Once he learned of those he immediately asked they be taken down," Trover said.
Garcia appeared on a Trump campaign livestream event Tuesday night and said, "The reaction that we're seeing in terms of the violence and the looting is not the right answer...Lawful, legal protests are a good thing…Unfortunately, it's taken a turn for a lot more violence in some cases and looting. We are a country of law and order."
In New Jersey's 2nd District, Democratic candidate Amy Kennedy is still dealing with a super PAC, funded by $500,000 from her husband Patrick Kennedy, that spent money to attack her opponent Brigid Callahan Harrison. Patrick Kennedy, a former Rhode Island Congressman, defended his funding of the super PAC to the New Jersey Globe, saying that it is needed to combat the "machine" in South Jersey "that doesn't give anyone else a fair shot, but Amy does have a shot because her last name is Kennedy."
He added that he wishes people "were half as concerned about where" Harrison gets her money, and said "my wife may be beholden to me," but that Harrison is "beholden" to George Norcross, a businessman that helped fuel Jeff Van Drew's Congressional run as a Democrat. Amy Kennedy has asked the Blue Organizing Project super PAC, which has spent $75,000 for anti-Harrison ads and $40,000 in polling, to refrain from spending in this race.
"It's great to have a husband who is so passionate about helping me and I am grateful for his unwavering support and encouragement during this campaign," she told Navarro. "But, what everyone who knows me knows is that, unlike Van Drew, who pledged his undying support to Donald Trump and has spent more time raising money for him than helping the people of South Jersey during this crisis, I will never be beholden to anyone other than the people of South Jersey. "
Nearby in New York, progressive challenger Jamaal Bowman was endorsed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez late Wednesday night. Bowman is looking to unseat Congressman Elliot Engel, a 30-year incumbent that is currently the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Ocasio-Cortez unseated an established Democrat in her 2018 primary win over Joe Crowley, partly by painting her incumbent as absent in the district, a central message in Bowman's campaign.
The campaign says it has been able to raise $204,000 in the past two days and will report $427,000 overall in this last pre-primary fundraising period.
"Eliot Engel's biggest advantage is money, and the fact that we're now competitive with a 31-year incumbent when it comes to fundraising shows just how much trouble he is in," Hayes said.
Engel's campaign recently said they would not seek an endorsement from The New York Times, due to an op-ed published by Senator Tom Cotton about using the military against protestors.
"No real progressive leader can morally accept the paper's endorsement," Engel said in a statement. "We must stand with those protesting the paper's policy, and reject their consideration until this and all similar columns are struck from the Times archives and an apology is issued by the editorial board and publisher."
IN THE SENATE
Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper did not appear at a virtual ethics hearing Thursday even after a district judge ruled late Wednesday that he cannot block a subpoena to testify, reports CBS News political unit associate producer Eleanor Watson.
Hickenlooper has been called to testify before the Independent Ethics Commission in Colorado about private flights he took while he was governor. The Public Trust Institute, a conservative group, has accused Hickenlooper of violating ethics laws by taking these flights.
Hickenlooper has called for in-person hearings in August so he can face his accusers. His team filed an appeal before the virtual hearing's scheduled start time, but the hearing went forward without Hickenlooper present. According to a spokesperson for the commission, the hearing was continued to tomorrow, after finding Hickenlooper in contempt.
The Commission indicated it may discuss sanctions tomorrow for the failure to appear. There is also a separate action, filed by the Commission and pending in the district court, to enforce the Commission's subpoena.
"John Hickenlooper has made clear he will testify in person. Today's debacle of a hearing has made clear that WebEx doesn't work for a legal proceeding like this," said Melissa Miller, a spokeswoman for Hickenlooper, referring to the video conferencing program. "We will be opposing the motion to enforce the subpoena."