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2020 Daily Trail Markers: Trump says he spoke to George Floyd's family

Amid ongoing protests in Minneapolis, President Trump said Friday afternoon that "it's very important that we have peaceful protesters and support the rights for peaceful protesters. We can't allow a situation like happened in Minneapolis to descend further into lawless anarchy and chaos." Mr. Trump said he spoke with the family of George Floyd and demanded the Department of Justice and FBI expedite investigations into the Minnesota man's death. "It's a local situation but we're also making it into a federal situation. And it's a terrible thing. We all saw what we saw," Mr. Trump added. As violence initially boiled over in the streets of Minneapolis Thursday night, Mr. Trump posted a string of reactions on Twitter, CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga reports. "These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen," he tweeted. "Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"  Before being tweeted by the president, the phrase "looting leads to shooting" was uttered by Miami Police Chief Walter Headley as well as presidential candidate and notorious segregationist Governor George Wallace in the 1960s. Mr. Trump told CBS News White House Correspondent Paula Reid he did not know the historic origins of the phrase, but felt it was "very accurate." He added, "Frankly it means when there's looting people get shot, and they die."  

Mr. Trump's tweet was quickly flagged by Twitter as "glorifying violence." But Twitter also determined that it may be in the public's interest for the tweet to remain accessible. In an effort to amend his words, Mr. Trump followed up on Twitter Friday afternoon, writing that his use of the phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" was "spoken as a fact." He added, "It's very simple, nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media. Honor the memory of George Floyd!" Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale defended Mr. Trump's initial response. "When riots erupted in that city and elsewhere, he warned on Twitter that looting could quickly turn into violence," said Parscale, in a statement. He added, "A man has died, a police officer is charged with murder, an American city is in chaos, and Democrats and the media see only a political opportunity and a chance to make money."

Earlier Friday, former Vice President Joe Biden said during livestream remarks that he had spoken with Floyd's family members. He also promised justice for Floyd, CBS News campaign reporter Bo Erickson reports. Without naming the president or referencing his tweets about "looting" and "shooting", Biden said "this is no time for incendiary tweets" and "no time to encourage violence." Biden also aimed to speak about a larger problem of racism in the United States. "We can't ignore that we are in a country with an open wound right now—a wound far older and deeper than…George Floyd's killing — and his brutal, brutal death captured on film," Biden said during a fundraiser Thursday evening. "People all across this country are enraged and rightly so…Every day African-Americans go about their lives with [the] constant anxiety and trauma of wondering 'Will I be next?' sounds like an exaggeration, but it's not."

Vice President Mike Pence, while in Georgia, said his prayers are with the families of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, according to CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar. Pence called Floyd's death "tragic" and said "we have no tolerance for racism in America. We have no tolerance for violence inspired by racism in America. And as President Trump said, justice will be served." The vice president added that "we also believe in law and order in this country, and while we condemn violence against property or persons, we will also always stand for the right of Americans to peacefully protest and let their voice be heard." Pence said there are "great challenges" facing the United States but added he has "confidence" that just as Americans have stepped up to protect the health and well-being of their family and community, "we will overcome the challenges that we face of racism in America. And we will come together as a nation and be stronger and better than ever before."

The killing of Floyd, 46, at the hands of Minneapolis police officers was captured on camera and has sparked protests across the country for days. CBS News reported that demonstrators set a Minneapolis police precinct on fire Thursday evening, the third consecutive day of protests. At a press conference Friday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said the ashes from the fires in Minneapolis and St. Paul are "symbolic of decades and generations of pain, of anguish unheard," CBS News campaign reporter Jack Turman reports. "I will not patronize you as a white man without living those, those lived experiences of how very difficult that is," Walz said. "But I'm asking you to help us. Help us use humane ways to get the streets to a place where we can restore the justice, so that those that are expressing rage and anger and demanding justice are heard." Asked for his reaction to the president's tweets about the National Guard, Walz said he spoke to the president Thursday evening and added that Trump's tweets are "just not helpful." He continued, "The city of Minneapolis is doing everything they can."

Former MPD officer Derek Chauvin — who was recorded kneeling on Floyd's neck for minutes before he died — was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday. Three other officers at the scene of the incident have been fired, but many elected officials are calling for more. "It's not enough to fire the officers—they must be held accountable and an investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department's practices must be opened," California Senator Kamala Harris tweeted Thursday. CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro reports that Stacey Abrams looked to the election to hold leaders accountable. "Law enforcement, district attorneys, mayors, attorneys general, judges, legislators and governors must be held responsible—and their actions will be on the ballot in November," she tweeted on Friday. CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell says that Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida said the president continues to demonstrate that he is "unfit" for the office he holds. "This isn't just about what's happening in Minnesota. This is about America as a nation. The nation is on fire and the President of the United States is standing there with gasoline," said Demings during a virtual event hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action Friday. "If he wants to bring America together, then talk about what justice looks like. Talk about the persons involved needing to be held accountable."

Former President Obama also weighed in, calling for a thorough investigation and change in what's deemed "normal" in America, reports Navarro. "We have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal'— whether it's while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in the park," he wrote. "This shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America. It can't be 'normal.' If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better."

FROM THE CANDIDATES

PRESIDENT TRUMP

Mr. Trump announced Friday that he's "terminating" the United States' relationship with the World Health Organization, claiming China has total control over it. As he listed a litany of grievances with China, the president announced he's suspending the entry of certain Chinese nationals and sanctioning Chinese officials who have eroded Hong Kong's freedom. CBS News Digital White House reporter Katie Watson reports the president for weeks has expressed frustration with China, blaming the communist country and in part the W.H.O. for the spread of the deadly virus that has left more than 100,000 dead in the U.S. "Our actions will be strong, our actions will be meaningful," Mr. Trump said. But he hasn't always been so harsh on China. In the early days of the pandemic, the president applauded Chinese President Xi Jinping for his handling of the pandemic. "China has been working very hard to contain the coronavirus," the president tweeted on January 24. "The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!"

Mr. Trump will kick off in-person fundraising events next month, CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga confirms. The move reverses a temporary pause in in-person fundraising caused by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. According to a campaign senior official, Mr. Trump is set to host a June 11 event at a private home in Dallas, Texas, as well as a June 13 outdoor fundraiser at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Political organizers are working to ensure event safety for the president and his attendees, with the White House medical unit and Secret Service evaluating all guests before they're admitted to the sanitized venue. Each attendee will be required to test negative for the coronavirus on the day of the event, pass a temperature screening, and fill out a health questionnaire. Events will be kept to approximately 25 guests total, per fundraiser. The Trump campaign and RNC joint fundraising committee will cover the cost of administering tests. Mr. Trump last conducted a political fundraiser on March 6 at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. It was his sixth fundraiser this year and 99th since taking office. Politico was the first to report this story.

VEEPSTAKES

AMY KLOBUCHAR

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith of Minnesota were joined by 26 of their Senate colleagues in writing a letter to Attorney General William Barr calling for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to investigate the "patterns and practices of racially discriminatory and violent policing" in the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), reports CBS News campaign reporter Jack Turman. "Those responsible must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law in order to serve justice for George Floyd and his loved ones," the letter says. "And we must work toward justice for the community, which means ensuring that the MPD accounts for and eliminates any unconstitutional police practices. It is imperative that the Department of Justice do its part toward that end."

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM

PARTY PLANNING

Republican officials planning their party's convention swapped their list of demands with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper this week, ahead of the August event in Charlotte. On Monday, Mr. Trump threatened to move his party's convention from North Carolina if Cooper did not lift restrictions imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic to allow for "full attendance."  CBS News campaign reporters LaCrai Mitchell and Nicole Sganga report the event is expected to draw thousands of attendees amid the state's recovery. Hours after North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper called on the Republican National Committee to outline how the party plans to conduct a safe national convention, the RNC sent a list of health and safety protocols for approval on Thursday. The memo, addressed to the Democratic governor, came with a hard deadline of June 3. The letter from GOP officials makes no mention of wearing face masks, which is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, and which is a measure that the president does not follow. The RNC also promised "anti-bacterial gel will be widely available" in the arena and an "aggressive sanitizing protocol" will be in place for all public areas.  Party officials three weeks ago hired physician Dr. Jeffrey Runge as a senior adviser for convention planning. Cooper's administration fired back with its own letter Friday, requesting Republican officials outline plans to test convention participants and indicate whether the president still intends to host "people together in a crowd-like" setting without social distancing or face coverings. The letter asked the RNC to clarify how many people would be in attendance, a detail not specified in the party's initial memo. "While North Carolina is now in Phase 2 of easing restrictions, this past week we had our highest day of new lab confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state, and we have increasing numbers of people hospitalized with COVID-19," Cooper wrote in his memo to McDaniel and Kelly. "The status of COVID-19 infections in our state and in the Charlotte area continues to rapidly evolve, thus, it will be important to have several scenarios planned that can be deployed depending on the public health situation." The letter from North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services marks the most recent development in an ongoing saga that began with a series of tweets from the president earlier this week. The president said Monday that Cooper would need to make "a fast decision" about whether the party could hold its convention at full capacity.

MONEY MATTERS

BIDEN V. TRUMP

It's hard to believe it's nearly June, but that means presidential candidates are facing their latest fundraising deadline, according to CBS News political unit associate producer Sarah Ewall-Wice. Ahead of the end of the month, the Biden campaign gave itself a $6 million fundraising goal in six days. "With $3 million left to go before Sunday night, we need to keep up our momentum today," read an email sent to supporters on Friday. It's a sharp increase from the $1.5 million goal the Biden campaign set for itself in the last week of February before the former vice president had won a single primary. Meanwhile, according to a fundraising email, the Trump campaign set itself an $8 million goal by the end of the month. While Biden is closing the gap in terms of end of month fundraising targets, Mr. Trump's campaign has a massive cash advantage. At the end of April, it along with the RNC and related committees had more than $255 million cash on hand. In mid-May, Biden's campaign manager revealed he had $103 million cash on hand.

PAC ATTACK

Pro-Trump super PAC America First Action has poured $7.5 million into advertisements that zero in on likely presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga reports that digital, cable and broadcast advertisements as well as flyers will target voters in the political battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. The month-long push will begin June 4 – the day after the Trump campaign's current ad-buy is scheduled to end in those three states. Last month, America First Action spent $10 million on a #BeijingBiden campaign portraying former Vice President Joe Biden as soft on China.

SMALL BILLS

The platform used by Democrats for fundraising announced a milestone this week. According to ActBlue, it has raised $5 billion dollars from grassroots donors since its founding in 2004. CBS News political unit associate producer Sarah Ewall-Wice says this includes $1 billion that was raised in just the last six months. ActBlue had previously announced last November that it had raised $4 billion since its founding. "Hitting this milestone so quickly is yet another indicator that small-dollar donors on the left are more fired up for this election than ever," said ActBlue Executive Director Erin Hill in a statement. The milestone comes as candidates and organizations have had to move their fundraising efforts nearly completely online due to the pandemic.   

STATE-BY-STATE

ARIZONA

CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin says Mr. Trump this week celebrated a new $100 million infusion of federal money into a light rail expansion in Arizona, trumpeting "very exciting news" for an infrastructure project that had been fiercely opposed by members of his own party in the swing state last year and championed by Phoenix's Democratic mayor. "We are losing hundreds of millions of dollars on light rail that we should be using to hire more public safety officers and to repair our roads," local GOP lawmaker Sal DiCiccio had decried on Facebook in 2019.

CALIFORNIA

California Governor Gavin Newsom spent the first 10 minutes of his press conference on Friday discussing George Floyd's death. Newsom said millions of Americans are trying to come to grips with the situation, adding "there is deep anger, there is deep frustration, and there is deep fear." CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar reports Newsom said the hearts, minds and culture of Americans needs to change, not just laws. He said America "predominantly values power, dominance, and aggression over care, empathy, and collaboration." Those values that "we seem to be so attracted to as a nation" are not serving us anymore, Newsom said. The California Governor also said the state is working with local leaders to prepare for any planned protests. "I pray that all of us that want to express ourselves do so thoughtfully and gently but forcefully in terms of expressing themselves, as they, and as they must, so that we collectively can not only hear your voice but we can resolve to do something with the lesson that we learn."

Newsom was asked about Mr. Trump's tweets attacking California's vote-by-mail plans for November. Mr. Trump has claimed Newsom is sending ballots to anyone in the state no matter where they live or how they got here, but the governor's executive order automatically sends ballots only to registered voters. "I think this is a sideshow," Newsom said of the president's tweets about vote-by-mail and his threats to shut down social media platforms. "This has been a diversion tactic much more than anything else," he added. Newsom said he is focused on "trying to unite this country not along the lines of Democrats or Republicans," saying, "I will engage in conversation and debate with and about the president, with and about the issues that appear on the nightly news, but none that are more important and pressing than the issue of race relations in this country and addressing the public health of an entire diverse population."

INDIANA

There are concerns large numbers of Indiana voters may not receive their absentee ballots in time to vote in Tuesday's primary, reports CBS News campaign reporter Adam Brewster. According to the Indy Star, Marion County Clerk Myla Eldridge, whose county includes Indianapolis, has asked the secretary of state to extend the deadline for receiving absentee ballots. Currently, the deadline to return them is noon on Tuesday. "What a shame it will be for voters and candidates if thousands of votes sit in stacks uncounted under these circumstances," Eldridge said in the letter to Secretary of State Connie Lawson. There have reportedly been a variety of issues in Marion County, including some people "who applied over email were told they never applied for one despite receiving a confirmation from the county election division" and some households where one person received a ballot and the other did not. "With the obvious and intended increase in mailed ballots, what is the compelling rationale for not extending the time for their receipt by county election boards?" Eldridge said in the letter. Lawson responded to Eldridge in a letter on Friday criticizing Marion County for not taking action sooner, saying her office has been willing to help and there were earlier times to do so. "Marion County repeatedly indicated its capacity to manage this Primary Election," Lawson said in her letter. "Lack of prior planning and preparation are not sufficient reasons to change deadlines. In fact, extending this deadline will not help as many Marion County voters haven't received a ballot. Deadlines are in place for security and accountability purposes." Lawson also said she spoke to Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett about the concerns and he plans to send more staff to help with absentee ballot processing.

MINNESOTA

The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party announced they will be postponing their state convention that was scheduled to occur this weekend, reports CBS News campaign reporter Jack Turman. Ken Martin, the DFL party chairman, said in a statement that it is not the time for a "partisan political rally." Martin added that postponing the convention was the "only appropriate course of action given the grief and anger gripping much of our state and nation following the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent unrest sweeping the Twin Cities."

NEVADA

The Nevada State Democratic Party is ramping up its "voter protection" team, helmed by Buttigieg campaign alum Emily Goldman, ahead of an election already fraught with litigation over changes prompted by the pandemic. Compared to past cycles, CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin reports the state party says they are planning their largest program to date manning their election day hotline, observing at polling sites, and liaising with county election officials. Rachana Desai Martin, who led Democrats' voter protection efforts in Nevada for 2016, was recently tapped by Biden's campaign to lead their national program.

CONGRESSIONAL COVERAGE

IN THE HOUSE

After seeing House Democrats take the majority by winning 30 districts in 2018 that President Trump had won just 2 years earlier, House Republicans immediately seized on these seats as their path back to the majority, reports CBS News political unit broadcast associate Aaron Navarro. In total, Republicans need a net gain of at least 17 seats to flip the chamber back. They're specifically energized around the 13 "ruby red" districts where Mr. Trump won by more than 6 points in 2016. However, vulnerable "frontline" House Democrats have had a prolific fundraising year so far — 26 of these members have more than $2 million cash on hand. After recent redistricting in North Carolina, Democrats are also expected to add two more seats to their ranks and have laid out an offensive effort across the map and especially in Texas, where retirements and close 2018 race results have kept Democrats optimistic. Congressional primaries in many of these districts have yet to take place, and Republican recruits are facing some massive fundraising deficits, compared to the incumbents they're challenging. But Republicans believe that because these freshman Democratic members now have records in Congress they can run against, they'll be able to capitalize on Mr. Trump's support in these districts to help flip the House. Republicans are also encouraged by their recent win in California's 25th District special election, where Mike Garcia, a former Navy fighter pilot and the son of a Mexican immigrant, in May became the first Republican to flip a House seat in California held by a Democrat since 1998. A memo by Tom Emmer, chair of the House Republican campaign arm, said the committee will "run the same playbook in November that Democrats ran so well against the GOP in 2018: Exploiting the legislative records of our opponents with our diverse field of candidates."

Read more about the House races to watch here

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