2020 Daily Trail Markers: Majority of Americans disapprove of Trump's protest response, CBS News poll finds
Almost a majority of Americans disapprove of President Trump's response to the protests and the events in Minneapolis, according to a CBS News poll released Tuesday. The new poll also found that 56% of Americans believe the president tweets divide the country, not unite, report CBS News associate producers Eleanor Watson and Sarah Ewall-Wice. The CBS News polling shows that voters have seen more of the president lately than of Joe Biden. About 19% of Americans haven't heard enough about Mr. Trump's response whereas about 42% said they have not heard enough from Biden. Despite his lack of visibility, Biden leads Mr. Trump by 4 points in a head-to-head national matchup in the poll released on Tuesday. Biden has had a 2 to 6 point lead over Mr. Trump since February.
This comes as CBS News found 57% believe police treat white people better than black people, including nearly 8 out of 10 black people. At the same time, separate polling by Monmouth University found 57% now believe that when faced with a "difficult or dangerous situation," police are more likely to use excessive force if the culprit is black, up from 34% in 2016, and overall, 76% of Americans say that racial and ethnic discrimination in the United States is a big problem, while just 7% say it is not. That poll also found 53% say race relations have gotten worse under Mr. Trump, while just 10% say they have gotten better.
Meanwhile, as parts of the country reopen, CBS News polling found 57% believe states reopening over the next few months will make the coronavirus outbreak worse, while only 16% say it will make it better and 27% believe it will have no effect. Americans also continue to believe the virus has a disproportionate impact on minority communities, with 57% saying it will have "a lot" of impact on black communities and 52% saying it will have "a lot" of impact on Hispanic communities. Only 28% said it would have "a lot" of impact on white communities. The majority of Americans still believe the priority should be staying home to stop the spread with 63% to the 37% who believe the priority should be on the economy. Even as stay-at-home restrictions ease, 54% say they'll only go to some public places if they feel safe. Only 19% said they'd go to as many public places as before if those places open.
FROM THE CANDIDATES
In his speech from Philadelphia, Biden said the president was "part of the problem" and not the solution in defeating the "formidable enemies" of systemic racism and the pandemic health effects, according to CBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson and CBSNews.com digital politics reporter Grace Segers. Biden said the anger after George Floyd's death is understandable but he also said this could be a time for unity. If elected, he admitted he would not "get it right all the time" but he pledged to not traffic in fear and to not "fan the flames of hate" or "use them for political gain." The former vice president also ripped Mr. Trump, recommending the president read the Bible he displayed on Monday evening and then telling him to pick up a Constitution to take in the First Amendment. Biden said the country needs more than "talk" and needs to vow "an era of action" to reverse systemic racism. He said Congress and leaders must make a "down payment" on this effort for better policing, adding his voice for the call to ban police chokeholds. Biden may attend George Floyd's funeral next week in Texas, Floyd family attorney Ben Crump told CBS News producer Chris St. Peter. Crump said Biden is welcome to attend and they are awaiting final plans from the campaign.
In the wake of Mr. Trump calling himself "your president of law and order," the president's allies cheered. While Republicans remained largely silent as the White House deployed law enforcement to clear out protesters ahead of his photo op before historic St. John's Church, most Trump Republicans offered their approval. Jason Miller, former senior adviser on Mr. Trump's 2016 campaign, said he found the president's "symbolic move" of walking across Lafayette Park to St. John's Church reminiscent of President George W. Bush's visit to the rubble beneath the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. "Showing that we weren't going to be afraid to retake ground that was ours before, from some act of illegality or terrorism," Miller remarked. "President Trump made that happen last night by appearing in the same place we saw images of the church on fire and absolute chaos the night before." Longtime Trump ally and Republican GOP chairman Steve Stepanek called the President's photo-op outside St. John's a "positive" step in restoring order. "The President said enough is enough. It's going to stop, and it stops right here." CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga says Trump campaign co-chair, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, however, spoke out against the president's first venture outside White House grounds in 48 hours. "If your question is should you use tear gas to clear a path so the president can go have a photo op, the answer is no," Scott told Politico. Republican donor and Trump supporter Dan Eberhart told CBS News that the president did not reach out to all Americans on Monday, but instead addressed the "Bible Belt," in an effort to appear as a strong leader that won't cow to the protests surrounding his home. "The president takes the protests and destruction around the White House as a personal attack against him," Eberhart said. "The left has been protesting against his presidency from the first day in office. In this instance, he promised justice for Floyd's family, but it did not make a difference. From his perspective, the protests are because he's the president."
The Trump campaign took shots at Biden's address to the nation, today. "Joe Biden's campaign made it clear that they stand with the rioters, the people burning businesses in minority communities and causing mayhem, by donating to post bail for those arrested," Trump campaign senior advisor Katrina Pierson wrote. "He has obviously made the crass political calculation that unrest in America is a benefit to his candidacy." The President tweeted out his response. "Sleepy Joe has been in politics for 40 years, and did nothing," the President wrote. "Now he pretends to have the answers. He doesn't even know the questions. Weakness will never beat anarchists, looters or thugs, and Joe has been politically weak all of his life. LAW & ORDER!"
Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois blasted Mr. Trump's Rose Garden address on threatening to deploy the military to quell protests across the nation if local officials cannot eradicate the violence. CBS News campaign reporter Jack Turman says Duckworth also addressed peaceful protesters outside the White House being driven out by tear gas so the president could participate in an apparent photo op outside St. John's Episcopal Church. "Tear-gassing peaceful protesters is not leadership, it's cowardice," Duckworth said in a statement. "Threatening military force and imprisonment against Americans exercising their Constitutional rights is not Presidential, it's tin-pot dictatorial." Duckworth added that leaders need to listen to citizens advocating for justice and to "not silence them with force."
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer testified before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Tuesday on the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic, reports CBS News campaign reporter Jack Turman. The governor said she was grateful for the support the federal government has provided thus far, but she also outlined some challenges the state has faced in obtaining personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing supplies. The Democratic governor said that when the state is expecting shipments of supplies from the federal government, the shipment does not "reflect what we are planning for." Whitmer said Michigan has the capacity to conduct more tests per day, but added that the lack of a national strategy around testing has inhibited the state from reaching its testing capability. "Until there's a centralized procurement and allocation with real time information about what's coming so that we can do our planning, it's going to be hard for us to hit those numbers that, that we all know are, are necessary to understanding how fast COVID-19 is so we can prevent the spread," Whitmer said. Representative David McKinley of West Virginia, a Republican, grilled Whitmer on waiting until March 26 to request a major disaster declaration from the president and on her state's coronavirus response in nursing homes. Whitmer replied, "I'm not going to go toe-to-toe with you on every allegation that you've alleged." Whitmer continued, "The United States lost valuable time in the early days of COVID-19, when we could have been planning, when there could have been a national strategy, when the use of the DPA could have been used not for meat production, but for swabs, which we still don't have enough of." The Michigan Republican Party criticized Whitmer's testimony as "another platform to bash the Trump administration's coronavirus response." Michigan Republican Party Chairman Laura Cox said, "Despite her partisan testimony before Capitol Hill today, Michiganders know the truth about Governor Whitmer's actions." Cox added, "She has used this pandemic to raise her national profile at the expense of the people of our state who are suffering."
LIFE AFTER 2020
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey said he and Harris will be releasing a comprehensive police reform proposal in the coming days, reports CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro. The proposal, Booker says, takes into account the work of the Congressional Black Caucus and will be centered around police accountability. In his remarks on the Senate floor, Booker said the proposal will create an accountability, and give "back faith to the people that have lost it." He continued in his remarks, "I confess to you even something that's hard to admit, that the spirit and courage and grit being shown by the people on streets, not in the comfortable halls of the Senate—I want to tell you right now that that is not enough. It is essential, but it is not enough. These things are necessary but not sufficient."
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
President George W. Bush said he is "anguished by the brutal suffocation of George Floyd," in his first statement released Tuesday on the death of the Minneapolis man in police custody, reports CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga. The forty-third president noted he has resisted speaking out on the matter because he does not wish to lecture. "It is time for us to listen. It is time for America to examine our tragic failures — and as we do, we will also see some of our redeeming strengths," Mr. Bush. "It remains a shocking failure that many African Americans, especially young African American men, are harassed and threatened in their own country. It is a strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future. This tragedy — in a long series of similar tragedies — raises a long overdue question: How do we end systemic racism in our society?" In stark contrast to Mr. Trump's remarks Monday from the Rose Garden, the former president called for leaders to listen to the aggrieved. "Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America — or how it becomes a better place." Mr. Bush wrote "The rule of law ultimately depends on the fairness and legitimacy of the legal system. And achieving justice for all is the duty of all. This will require a consistent, courageous, and creative effort. We serve our neighbors best when we try to understand their experience. We love our neighbors as ourselves when we treat them as equals, in both protection and compassion. There is a better way — the way of empathy, and shared commitment, and bold action, and a peace rooted in justice."
CBS NEWS COVID CHRONICLES
Recent college graduate Emily Knell was a weekend away from starting a new job helping struggling elementary students when the coronavirus pandemic put the next phase of her life on hold. "They cannot really give me any answers as to when I can expect to go back to work," she said. "And since I didn't technically start, I can't get unemployment. I haven't had a paycheck since February." Knell, who graduated early from Penn State University last summer and moved home to work and pay off student loans before graduate school, said she's now working one day a week for her father and has deferred her student loans. She said the virus has thrown her life into a state of "limbo." Millions of students graduating are beginning a new phase of their lives as the coronavirus pandemic shattered the world around them. They're facing the worst job market since the Great Depression, and some companies have even been forced to revoke internships and full-time job offers. CBS News is chronicling what has changed for the life of residents of some of the biggest battleground states in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. In Pennsylvania, over a dozen interviews with students graduating or who recently graduated from college pieced together a mosaic of stories about change, disappointment and uncertainty. New graduates have moved back home mid-semester, lost job opportunities or otherwise had their plans altered by the pandemic. Although change is inherent in graduation at every level, for members of the Class of 2020, the pandemic presents an entirely new level of uncertainty.
Read more of their stories here from CBS News campaign reporter Zak Hudak on CBSNews.com.
In the latest development of an ongoing saga about the Republican National Convention being held in Charlotte this fall, CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell reports that North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told reporters Tuesday that the likelihood of the gathering being hosted in Charlotte depends on the willingness of the GOP to scale back. "They have demanded a full 19,000-person crowd at the inside arena in Charlotte. We've continued to say we want to talk with you about a scaled-down convention but we cannot guarantee you that at the end of August, you can have a full arena," said Cooper during a press conference Tuesday. "And we're still waiting for answers to our health questions about how they would take steps to protect people about social distancing and facemasks and we have not heard a response from that." The press conference came minutes after RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted a statement saying that the RNC has "an obligation" to delegates and the president to visit "multiple cities and states" that have expressed interest in hosting the event. "We have now communicated to Governor Cooper's office multiple times that we would like to showcase Charlotte and the wonderful state of North Carolina to the world by hosting the convention we contracted for nearly two years ago," tweeted McDaniel. "It is unfortunate the Governor is dragging his feet on giving us any guidance as to how to move forward with plans to safely conduct our convention…" Congressional members from both Carolinas joined the North Carolina Republican Party and a state North Carolina representative on Tuesday morning to call on Cooper to outline clear steps for the RNC to take as it plans for the Charlotte-based convention. Republican leaders have called on the Democratic governor to greenlight the party's proposal by tomorrow, June 3.
President Trump tweeted Tuesday night that North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper "forced" him to seek another state for the convention. Mr. Trump tweeted "Roy Cooper and his representatives refuse to guarantee that we can have use of the Spectrum Arena" and he said Cooper is still in "shelter-in-place mode." Mr. Trump added that the convention would bring in "millions of dollars" and "would have showcased beautiful North Carolina to the World."
As the country grapples with the coronavirus and nationwide protests, seven states and D.C. are holding presidential primaries on Tuesday with 479 delegates up for grabs, reports CBS News political unit associate producer Eleanor Watson. Biden is the presumptive Democratic nominee, but he is still 460 delegates away from clinching the nomination, according to the current CBS News delegate estimate. Vote tallies will start coming in Tuesday evening, but final results may require a few days or longer given that many states are using vote-by-mail and some counties have already warned it will take a couple of days to count ballots. Biden picked up early wins in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, CBS News projected. The early results give him at least 129 more delegates, putting him at 1,683 delegates total out of the 1,991 needed to officially clinch the Democratic nomination. The states holding presidential primaries Tuesday night are Indiana, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Dakota.
The Democratic Super PAC Priorities USA is out with a new television ad today that features video from Mr. Trump's remarks Monday from the Rose Garden as protesters were violently cleared from the park outside the White House, reports CBS News political unit associate producer Sarah Ewall-Wice. The minute-long ad titled "Antithetical" will run as part of a seven-figure weekly ad buy in the battleground states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. In it, Mr. Trump claims to be a president of "law and order" and an "ally of all peaceful protesters," but the video shows people with their hands up being tear gassed and shoved by law enforcement officers in full tactical gear. It also uses clips from interviews of both retired lieutenant general Russel Honoré and Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington slamming the President and his use of St. John's Church for a photo-op. Priorities USA plans to spend $200 million by the end of the year. At the same time, the anti-Trump PAC The Lincoln Project just started airing its latest ad taking aim at the president, titled "Treason," which focuses on the confederate flag appearing at past Trump events, as well as uses the President's comments on the Charlottesville rally in 2017. According to data from Kantar/CMAG, the ad first aired Tuesday morning in the battleground state of North Carolina. In the past two days, The Lincoln Project has spent more than $500,000 on ad buys in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida and DC.
The Republican National Committee and Nevada's Republican party have sued a Nevada county for public records they say could shed light on deliberation over changes to the county's upcoming all-mail primary. The decision by Clark County, Nevada's largest by population, to send mail ballots to all registered voters had been trumpeted last month by Democrats as a victory. But Republicans have decried the move as a "shady backroom deal," prompting the GOP to send a letter to Nevada's attorney general in late May demanding an investigation over a "potential Nevada open public meeting violation and election irregularities." In an email to CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin, county spokesperson Dan Kulin said, "This lawsuit is based upon suspicions not facts and we expect to prevail." Democrats late Monday also dismissed news of the lawsuit as "just more of the same from Trump and Republicans," denouncing the court filing as "continuing their campaign of disinformation to undermine the integrity of the election process."
Pennsylvania's primary election on Tuesday is offering a glimpse into the preferences of Democrats and Republicans for voting during a pandemic, reports CBS News campaign reporter Zak Hudak. Nearly 20 times as many voters as in the 2016 primary in the state have applied for mail-in voting, allowed without an excuse for the first time in the state. The battleground state has about 800,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, and Democrats have vastly outnumbered Republicans for mail-in ballot requests, according to Pennsylvania State Department data. Nearly a third of registered Democrats have applied to vote-by-mail, but only about 16% of Republicans have. As the deadline to vote by mail approached in the state, elections lawyers and county officials warned that many residents who applied to vote by mail would receive their ballots with too little time to get them back to elections offices by June 2. Governor Tom Wolf on Monday issued an executive order delaying the deadline for mail-in ballots to arrive by a week in six counties, including the populous Philadelphia and Allegheny counties. The Department of State has approved polling place cuts of up to 60% across Pennsylvania, but by nearly 90 percent in the Allegheny County. At the Fulton Elementary School in Pittsburgh's 11th Ward, a line snaked down the street by late afternoon, with voters reporting waiting up to 45 minutes. Some voters there had applied to vote by mail, but never received a ballot. Faith Cotter, a Democrat from East Liberty, said she and her fiancé applied for mail-in ballots in mid-April, long before the May 26 deadline, but never received them. "I have asthma, so I've been staying inside except going for jogs and stuff like that," she said. "I didn't plan to be here in person. "
IN THE HOUSE
While Congressman Steve King's race is the biggest storyline in Tuesday's House primaries, a Republican primary in nearby Indiana was also one to watch, reports CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro. Since Congresswoman Susan Brooks announced this would be her last term serving Indiana's 5th district, 15 Republicans have filed for the open seat. Brooks currently serves as a recruitment chair for the National Republican Congressional Committee, and her retirement came amidst a record low amount of Republican women serving in the House. Her potential successors included Treasurer Kelly Mitchell and newcomer Beth Henderson, though State Senator Victoria Spartz ended up winning the nomination on Tuesday night. Former State Representative Christina Hale has locked up the nomination for Democrats, who have put this central Indiana seat on their target list. Another open seat race is in Indiana's 1st district, currently represented by Democrat Peter Visclosky. Fourteen Democrats and six Republicans filed for this district which encompasses parts of the Chicago southwest suburbs and Gary, Indiana.
In New York, long-ime Congressman and current House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel was caught on a hot mic during a local press conference about Monday's protests in the Bronx. Engel is heard asking Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for a speaking slot, and after being told that there's too many people already on the list, Engel said twice, "If I didn't have a primary, I wouldn't care." In response, Diaz Jr. said, "Don't do that to me. We're not going to do this." Engel is facing a competitive primary against progressive Jamaal Bowman, who was recently endorsed by two other Democratic challengers. "This is so incredibly painful to watch from @RepEliotEngel. It hurts," Bowman Tweeted. "We need to be taking care of our communities right now – whether it's election season or not. It's clear that we need new leadership in #NY16."
IN THE SENATE
Republican senators were asked by reporters in the halls of the Capitol about Mr. Trump's visit to St. John's on Monday night. Many senators ignored the question or said they had not seen the footage, but CBS News Capitol Hill producer Alan He reports Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine strongly criticized the president's photo-op. "All of us are upset at the fire that was set at the church, a historic house of worship for many, many presidents," Collins said, "But I thought that the president came across as unsympathetic and as insensitive to the rights of people to peacefully protest." Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska also said "I did not think that what we saw last night was the America that I know." In a press conference after the Senate GOP's weekly lunch, CBS News political unit associate producer Eleanor Watson reports Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters about the events that sparked the protests, "I think we all agree egregious wrongs have been done, much of it recorded," and added, "peaceful protest is what we need and there is much work still to be done in America with regard to race relations."
The Democratic gubernatorial primary between businesswoman Whitney Williams and Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney is the biggest unknown out of Tuesday's primaries in Montana. Cooney has served alongside Governor Steve Bullock since 2016 and has been endorsed by Senator Jon Tester and Bullock, who has enjoyed relatively high approval ratings in the state. Cooney is also an established figure in Montana politics, as he began serving in the state legislature in 1976. But Williams slightly leads in fundraising, and has received some outside help and investment from groups like EMILY's List. In place of the usual preelection rallies, Williams has been holding "Get Out The Vote" rallies over Zoom. CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro reports her "Big Sky Bright Future" rally on Monday featured actor Ben Affleck (a part-time resident of the state) and NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo, who said he'd visit the state a couple times to do some social work as a member of the Atlanta Hawks. "Montana is not a new place to me... I know that state very well. I know we're here for Whitney, but for me, I'm here for a special friend," he said in his pitch of Williams to voters, adding that he's traveled with her in Africa for philanthropic work. "She's had a passion in helping people...to make sure the future of our society is really protected." On the Republican side awaits either Montana's at-large Congressman Greg Gianforte, Attorney General Tim Fox or state Senator Al Olszewski. Gianforte previously ran as the state's Republican candidate in 2016, and is poised to clinch the nomination again this cycle due to outpacing his opponents in fundraising (and personal loans). One other thing to watch for in Montana today is how their change to sending absentee ballots to registered voters will go, something the state has not done before.
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