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2020 Daily Trail Markers: Biden hits Trump for George Floyd comments

The United States unemployment rate dipped slightly to 13.3% in May, as employers added about 2.5 million jobs, the Labor Department reported on Friday. The report stunned many economists and analysts who were projecting millions of job losses for a second straight month and is an indication that some people are getting back to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic, reports CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster.

In April, 20.5 million jobs were lost, sending the unemployment rate to 14.7%, the highest number since records began in 1948. The 13.3% unemployment rate reported in May is the second-highest monthly rate recorded by the Labor Department. The job gains were not spread equally, though. White unemployment fell from 14.2% in April to 12.4% in May and the Hispanic unemployment rate fell from 18.9% to 17.6%. However, black unemployment ticked up slightly from 16.7% to 16.8% and Asian unemployment was up from 14.5% to 15%.

According to University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics acknowledged that the overall unemployment rate was likely underreported and may be closer to 16% due to some technical measurement issues. That would have also been a decline from April if the same metrics were used. One bit of good news in the report, according to Wolfers, is that about three-quarters of the rise in unemployment reflects temporary layoffs who could return to work. The bad news, he notes, is that permanent job losses have risen by more than a million since February.

FROM THE CANDIDATES

JOE BIDEN

In a 13-minute-long speech on Friday from Dover, Delaware, Joe Biden's attention first went to admonishing President Trump for saying it was a "great day" for George Floyd and equality, CBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson reports.  "George Floyd's last words: 'I can't breathe, I can't breathe' have echoed all across this nation and quite frankly around the world," Biden said, "For the president to try to put any other words in the mouth of George Floyd — I frankly think is despicable." Biden agreed the economic upswing was good news but he added there is much more work to be done. The former vice president criticized Mr. Trump for "basically hanging a mission accomplished banner" and "spiking the football" on re-opening the country's economy after it was forced to shut down because of the COVID-19 outbreak. He zeroed in on the racial disparities among those still unemployed and said the president was "oblivious" to the financial pain of Americans. He prodded the president to "step out of his own bunker" to see it for himself.  For his part, Biden offered no new additional concrete solutions to move the economy forward but he said his full economic rejuvenation plan was coming soon. This week Biden has been connecting tackling racial injustice by tackling economic inequality. He said Friday at Delaware State University, a local HBCU, that ensuring healthcare coverage was the first step in that plan.

PRESIDENT TRUMP

Mr. Trump celebrated the reversal of sinking unemployment numbers Friday from behind the Rose Garden podium proclaiming, "Today is probably, if you think of it, the greatest comeback in American history. But it's not going to stop here. It's going to keep going." At the close of the president's remarks, CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga says Mr. Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, providing flexibility to small businesses in loan forgiveness. A reporter asked how today's job numbers signal a victory with unemployment numbers inching upwards for black and Asian-Americans. The president dismissed the question with a flick of his hand, then suggested a strong economy would help address racial inequality. "You are something," the president sniped back. Mr. Trump also called upon the nation's governors to "call me" amid nationwide protests of the death of George Floyd. Singling out governors from New York and New Jersey, Mr. Trump said, "I hope they also use our National Guard. Call me. We will be ready for them so fast their heads will spin. We did it in Minnesota, in Minneapolis. We were incredible." Mr. Trump made no mention of proposed legislative changes to address police brutality, but called it a "great day" for George Floyd. "Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement, regardless of race, color, gender or creed, they have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement," Mr. Trump said. "They have to receive it. We all saw what happened last week. We can't let that happen. Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that's happening for our country. This is a great day for him, it's a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality."  

Following his address, the president traveled to Maine to attend a business roundtable and tour a producer of medical swabs for coronavirus testing. During his remarks to members of the fishing industry, Mr. Trump took aim at presumptive Democratic nominee Biden for his openness to defunding of police departments. "They say they're going to defund the police. In other words, they're not going to pay police," Mr. Trump said. "They don't want to have any police. And Biden has bought into it, although he doesn't know what's going on. He just doesn't know." While Biden has said very little on defunding the police, he remarked "I think it makes sense" when asked Thursday about Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's plans in that city. The former vice president also added that the response should vary from community to community. "It's all about treating people with dignity," Biden said.

Mr. Trump's reelection campaign will invest yet another $10 million on TV and online ad buys – this one centered on the president's economic "transition to greatness," Sganga reports. The new spot jumps on Friday's announcement of 2.5 million jobs created in May amid coronavirus recovery, plus Mr. Trump's work in "bringing devastated industries back" and "getting direct cash relief to families." "The great American comeback has begun… Renewing. Restoring. Rebuilding. Together, we'll make America great again," the voiceover reads in part.

The Trump campaign announced Jason Miller will be joining the Trump campaign as a senior adviser, a senior campaign official confirms to CBS News White House producer Sara Cook. In his new role, Miller — a former spokesperson to the President's 2016 presidential campaign— will provide additional support to campaign manager Brad Parscale. Miller will assist in shaping campaign strategy, coordinating between the campaign and White House. He starts work for the campaign, immediately. 

Vice President Mike Pence on Friday visited Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, where he met with Bishop E.W. Jackson and other community leaders. Pence once again said justice will be served for George Floyd. "We have no tolerance for violence against any individual in this country, no tolerance for police brutality, and no tolerance for rioting in the streets or looting, the destruction of property, or the claiming of innocent lives, including the lives of law enforcement." CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar reports Pence said that is one of the reasons Mr. Trump "took the strong action earlier this week, working with governors, to deploy resources and personnel to our streets." The vice president also said he is "pleased" to report that the violence has been quelled and there is now space for peaceful protestors to continue to raise their voices. Pence said it is "because of the efforts of law enforcement and other personnel, we've moved past the violence that we saw in our streets."

ISSUES THAT MATTER

POLICING REFORM

In the wake of widespread protests across the country following the police killing of George Floyd, federal lawmakers are beginning to craft their legislative response, CBS News digital politics reporter Grace Segers and CBSN political reporter Caitlin Huey-Burns report. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is leading the effort and will introduce a package on Monday focused on police reform. One measure is a bill proposed by Representative Hakeem Jeffries that would ban police chokeholds. Jeffries, the chairman of the House Democratic caucus, introduced the legislation in 2015, after the killing of Eric Garner who said, "I can't breathe" when placed in a chokehold. The proposal was endorsed by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden earlier this week. Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar introduced a proposal that calls on the Justice Department to investigate individual instances of racial profiling and police brutality and would establish all-civilian review boards to investigate police misconduct. Pressley has also signed on to legislation put forth by independent \Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan that would make it easier to sue police officers by ending qualified immunity protections. In the Senate, Democratic Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris are planning to unveil legislation that would establish a standard for police use of force. The bill would also include provisions on gathering data of police misconduct and reforming training policies. Republican Senator Rand Paul and Democratic Senator Brian Schatz also previously introduced a bill in 2015 to establish limits and improve transparency on the transfer of military-grade equipment to police departments. Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham, a Republican, set a hearing on police misconduct for June 16.

VOTE-BY-MAIL

Amber McReynolds, CEO of National Vote at Home Institute, told CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar "the coronavirus has really expanded the extreme vulnerabilities in in-person voting," adding the public health pandemic has also brought forward a solution in vote-by-mail that is "effective in many states." McReynolds, who helped re-write Colorado's election laws to include mail-in ballots for registered voters, has been working with states like Kansas, Wyoming, and Alaska to find voting solutions ahead of the November presidential election. McReynolds said the model in Colorado, which has been replicated in part by other states like California, "has proven to be more resilient in terms of dealing with emergencies like COVID." She added that the current situation "requires extraordinary creativity to make sure voters can vote." McReynolds said moving forward, she'll be keeping an eye on states that have recently passed legislation to expand vote-by-mail including the battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania. "They are seeing huge expansions, huge numbers of voters requesting ballots and so we are really trying to make sure they've got the right processes, procedures, and implantation," McReynolds said. An important part of the process that needs to be dealt with by state legislatures is allowing election officials to process mail-in ballots ahead of Election Day, according to McReynolds. She said legislation that would allow processing of ballots ahead of time will mean election results are released in a timely manner. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, many state legislatures are currently not in session and are starting to run out of time with the November election less than five months away. She added that a lot of states have "outdated laws" and "election officials have one hand tied behind back, and they're trying to do what they can to serve voters in a lot of situations where policies are flawed and outdated." Recent polls indicate overwhelming support for vote-by-mail. Despite the challenges in the process and a ticking clock to solve the issues, McReynolds said she is "confident" that voters will continue to demand to vote-by-mail.

STATE-BY-STATE

CALIFORNIA

California Governor Gavin Newsom said he wants to standardize how law enforcement across the state deal with protests and called for abolishing strangleholds. CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar reports the governor said he wants to end a technique for subduing suspects, known as carotid restraint, which allows officers to wrap their arms around a suspects' head and apply continued pressure. The move comes amid nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, who died after an officer pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes. Newsom said he would back legislation that is in progress to ban the practice statewide. "Across this country we train techniques on strangleholds that put people's lives at risk," Newsom said. He added that the practice hasn't stopped violence or the mistrust that exists between communities and the police. As protests and demonstrations over Floyd's death continue across the country, Newsom said protesters should not be harassed. "Protesters have the right to protest peacefully. Protesters have the right to do so without being arrested, gassed, be shot at with projectiles," Newsom said. The California governor has been hesitant about criticizing President Trump while the state and the administration worked to respond to a public health pandemic. But in recent days, Newsom has changed his tone and earlier this week rejected Trump's call to deploy armed troops as a "deflection from an administration that's on the ropes." Newsom also denounced Mr. Trump's move to deploy tear gas and shoot protesters outside the White House with rubber bullets so he could pose for photos outside a church in Washington D.C. as "shameful political theater."

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