The Note: Biden, Trump confront pivotal moments 6 months out from election

It isn’t a stretch to see this as a defining moment for both Trump and Biden.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Society is fundamentally different than it was just weeks ago, so insert any caveats about what isn’t known about the coming months.

The president’s rage against recent polls comes as federal social-distancing guidelines expire and the nation moves toward opening up. His handling of the COVID-19 crisis stands at a new low in new ABC News/Ipsos polling out Friday morning, with just 42% approval against 57% disapproval.

Trump himself is itching to get moving even if the country isn’t quite there yet. He’s planning official visits to Arizona and Ohio next week in advance of promised “massive rallies” down the line, with his campaign launching new ads touting his leadership and attacking Biden.

As for Biden, a “Morning Joe” interview Friday will be his first direct public comments about a sexual assault allegation from a former Senate aide.

It will be a closely watched moment for a candidate looking to unify his party and convince voters that he has evolved with the times. It won’t be easy for him to signal that accusers have a right to be heard -- even while saying this particular accuser is making things up.

The country may not be focused on politics at this moment. But as that aspect of life comes back with all the rest, the candidates are facing key choices with new layers of complications.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

“We want the virus gone and we want to have a vibrant economy,” President Trump said, sharing a communal aspiration.

“I want people to go out and see football games, baseball games, basketball games and hockey and golf and all of the sports and not worry about getting sick and violently ill,” he added.

Sadly, wanting something to be true cannot make it so.

According to the new ABC News/Ipsos polling only a minority of Americans would be ready to resume typical day-to-day activities if lockdown orders were lifted immediately.

Only one in five respondents said they would be likely to go to a bar or a sporting event in a large stadium. Fewer than half too said they would likely send their child to school.

The poll results continued to show a partisan divide in the thinking and anxiety among Americans related to the virus. Democrats are more concerned about getting the virus and Republican respondents said they would be more likely to go out if rules and regulations changed, though still only 36% said they would likely go to a bar.

A majority of Americans agreed they would likely go back to work and get a haircut.

Economics has always been a social science and opening doors is very different than customers crossing thresholds.

The TIP with Will Steakin

Amid a string of anti-lockdown protests, including Thursday in Michigan which saw protesters -- some armed -- storm the state capitol demanding an end to stay-at-home orders, over 50 demonstrations are set to kick off across the country on Friday organized by a pro-Trump group with ties to the president, including in coronavirus hot spots like New York City and Los Angeles.

Women for America First, a pro-Trump group chaired by ex-tea party chair Amy Kremer -- who ran the main super PAC backing Trump in 2016 -- has helped organize dozens of anti-lockdown protests for Friday and Saturday, according to the group’s website.

The group says the aim of the protests is to push back against "state government tyrants” and maintains the gatherings will be “drive-in” rallies. But when asked about protesters potentially violating social distancing guidelines at the slew of protests, Kremer told ABC News she “can’t control what people do.”

While demonstrations have popped up in states over the last few weeks against guidelines to combat the coronavirus, Americans overwhelmingly favor restrictions related to containing the coronavirus and fear moving too quickly to reopen the economy, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released last week.


Despite the damaging economic toll of the coronavirus, the country remains apprehensive about a return to normal, with Republicans far more likely to be willing than Democrats to restart day-to-day activities immediately, as states begin to loosen restrictions, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday.


Bringing America Back is an ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in economic recovery and medical preparedness amid the coronavirus pandemic. These stories delve into the key steps America is taking -- or needs to take. Stay on top of the latest developments regarding states' social distancing measures, advancements in the treatment of COVID-19 and more.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Friday morning’s episode features ABC News ‘Nightline’ co-anchor Juju Chang, who takes us across the country as more states ease stay-at-home restrictions. ABC News Senior Foreign correspondent Ian Pannell explains why Germany is watching new COVID-19 case numbers closely, while Brazil shrugs off a rash of deaths. And, ABC News’ Linsey Davis tells us about efforts to test underserved communities in Philadelphia.

FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast. As April comes to an end, about half of the states in the nation are beginning to reopen from COVID-19-related shutdowns. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, Professor Crystal Watson of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health discusses the criteria that should be met in order for states to reopen. States that are currently reopening have largely not met those criteria.


  • President Donald Trump has lunch with Vice President Mike Pence at 12:30 p.m., participates in a presidential recognition ceremony at 4:15 p.m. and then travels to Camp David.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden participates in a virtual fundraising event.
  • Sunday on ABC’s “This Week:” With the 2020 presidential election just six months away, Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz speaks exclusively with Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez.
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    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back Monday for the latest.