The Note: Sanders keeps Biden and Democratic Party in limbo

Sanders has been brushing aside questions about his campaign.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Former Vice President Joe Biden wants to move on to the general election.

With tense and delicate negotiations continuing on Capitol Hill, he's not the only leading Democrat waiting on Sen. Bernie Sanders. What Sanders wants, and what he's prepared to do to get it, now hangs over a Democratic Party that he's technically still not a part of.

Biden needs Sanders' voters, as his specific outreach to millennials this week makes clear. But he doesn't see value in having to tangle with Sanders himself anymore, telling reporters on Wednesday that there have been "enough debates."

"I think we should get on with this," Biden said.

Sanders has been brushing aside questions about his campaign, saying he is focused on responding to the coronavirus crisis. Yet he skipped a Senate vote Sunday night while staying in Vermont, where his campaign team hosted a livestream focusing on the federal response to the national emergency -- something he's been doing nightly.

Now back on Capitol Hill, Sanders on Wednesday threatened a "hold" on the coronavirus package -- a move that would bring massive procedural delays -- if Republicans removed a provision that would allow some workers to get paid more on unemployment than at their regular jobs.

An amendment that would have capped unemployment benefits failed late Wednesday ahead of the Senate's unanimous approval of the $2 trillion stimulus bill. It now heads to the House for consideration.

Biden is eager to engage with President Donald Trump as he plans to do in the general election. Democrats in Congress know they have to guard against their left, but Sanders' status as a candidate and lawmaker leaves them in an awkward stance.

This crisis has only underscored the importance of Sanders' voice to many of his supporters. But Sanders runs the risk of isolating himself at a moment where he may never have more leverage.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Millions of Americans continue to receive mixed messages from their government officials during this national emergency. Trump too, in attacking the press, is undermining how many residents receive their news and information when they need it most.

Wednesday afternoon, Trump blamed the media for the fact that cities, businesses and schools have told people to stay at home. He tweeted a conspiracy theory that media outlets were working against him and talked about the global pandemic as simply an inconvenient political hurdle for him and his re-election campaign.

Clearly governors and medical experts disagree. Pennsylvania lawmakers worked Wednesday to postpone the state's presidential primary in their state. It is currently set for April 28, well past Easter, the date Trump had said he would like the country "re-open," whatever that means.

Ironically too, the same day that Trump went after news outlets and suggested the crisis was overblown, he celebrated a monumentally and historically expensive government bailout package to provide expanded unemployment insurance to families and economic stimulus to businesses.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said leaders anticipated the economy could need to be floated for three months.

"Hopefully we won't need this for three months. Hopefully this war will be won quicker, but we expect that this is a significant amount of money, if needed, to cover the economy," he said.

The TIP with Meg Cunningham

As some campaigns call on candidates to suspend ad buys in the midst of the national emergency, outside groups are leaping at the opportunity to attack Trump's response to the global pandemic.

Two Democratic Super PACs, which both back Biden, hit the airwaves with ads digging at Trump's response to coronavirus, one alleging that he "let the virus spread unchecked across America." It says, "Crisis comes to every president. This one failed."

One of the buys, which cost a hefty $7 million and will air in consequential swing states, quotes Trump calling the coronavirus a "hoax" and saying that he does not take responsibility for its rapid spread across the country.

Neither of the ads mention or feature Biden, and outright political ads supporting candidates may begin to dwindle in the time of crisis, but outside groups will likely continue to seize the chance to hit Trump on his responses to extreme situations.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Thursday morning's episode features ABC News' Trish Turner, who tells us why there was even more squabbling over the massive coronavirus stimulus plan on Capitol Hill Wednesday. Then, ABC News' Josh Margolin examines the pandemic's epicenter in New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pointing to hospitals as a sign of good news. And, we hear from an emergency room nurse who describes what it's like on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19.

ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. If President Donald Trump has already made fateful choices in the new coronavirus crisis, wait for what's to come. Trump appears unwilling if not unlikely to wait on the advice of medical professionals before nudging American society back to life. It's as stark and bleak a choice as any president can face: human life or economic life. Guest: Ronald Klain, former Ebola response coordinator for President Barack Obama.


  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich appears on ABC's "The View" from Italy.
  • President Donald Trump participates in a G-20 leaders' video teleconference at 8 a.m.
  • The White House Coronavirus Task Force holds a press briefing holds a press briefing at 5 p.m.
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