The TAKE with Rick Klein
There's consistency here. President Donald Trump said in late February that COVID-19 will "disappear," and he said Wednesday "that at some point that's going to sort of just disappear -- I hope."
Hope, though, isn't a political strategy. To the extent one can be divined from this moment, Trump is focused rather singularly on race -- and with particular language that may alienate more than it unites any perceived base.
Veteran GOP pollster and strategist Frank Luntz is warning that the words Trump uses -- not just racist references, but also calling himself a "warrior" and repeating mantras such as "law and order" -- are turning off the kinds of voters Republicans need across the nation's suburbs.
"It's not that they're turning against him for what he's doing. They're turning against him because of what he's saying," Luntz said on the ABC News "Powerhouse Politics" podcast.
As for the pandemic, what Trump is doing and not doing continues to stand out. Red states are seeing the kinds of infection rates that some assumed would only happen in blue states, and Trump saw masks as a weapon in culture wars more than a weapon against infection from early on.
Trump is used to defining his own realities, in politics and otherwise. But the nation continues to grapple with crises that are being lived and felt too broadly to be talked away -- leaving the president searching through an old playbook for answers.
The RUNDOWN with Karen Travers
As the nation grapples with how to address systemic racism, the president appears even more eager to fan the flames of division.
In a series of tweets since Sunday, the president has doubled down on controversial positions -- many of which look to turn back the clock on social justice as cities and states march onward.
Wednesday, the president again criticized a New York City plan to paint the words "Black Lives Matter" on the street outside Trump Tower on 5th Avenue, saying the move is "denigrating this luxury avenue" with a "symbol of hate."
A recent Pew poll found 67% of Americans say they support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Late Tuesday night Trump threatened to veto the $740 billion Defense Authorization bill if it includes an amendment changing the names of the 10 U.S. military bases named after Confederate soldiers. Tuesday he also argued in favor of rolling-back Obama administration fair housing rules, aimed at ensuring communities address racial discrimination in housing. The president's claim that integration efforts started under the Obama administration were "having a devastating impact on these once thriving suburban areas" is demonstrably false and inflammatory.
Lately it feels the president is not reading the room -- that he's totally missing the mood of the nation right now.
Maybe he's just reading his room, sending the message he thinks his diehard base wants to hear, but polling does not suggest that it's working.
The TIP with Justin Gomez
It will be a very different trip for Vice President Mike Pence Thursday as he travels to Florida to meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis to hear how the state is responding to the coronavirus pandemic amid a dramatic new spike of cases in the state.
Pence last met with DeSantis in May and the two opted not to wear masks and held a photo op inside a restaurant to highlight DeSantis allowing them to partially reopen.
Now, Pence and his coronavirus task force have been heavily pushing for the use of masks in public as 16 states, including Florida, have seen a record number of new cases in the last seven days.
Pence's trip to Florida was originally scheduled to be part of his "Faith in America" campaign events, but a campaign official told ABC News that they were postponed "out of an abundance of caution."
ONE MORE THING
Joe Biden is surging in the polls and in his bank account. The former vice president, in conjunction with the Democratic National Committee, announced a massive fundraising haul for June, raising $141 million, and $282.1 million last quarter, both record sums that outpace the numbers released by President Donald Trump’s reelection effort earlier Wednesday night.
ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Thursday morning's episode features ABC News Chief Business and Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, who previews Thursday's economic data as concerns about COVID-19 testing delays grow. ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl tells how President Donald Trump continues to push back against the alleged Russian bounty program in Afghanistan. And, ABC News Senior Washington Reporter Devin Dwyer explains why the National Park Service is having a reckoning over race. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. Congress should proceed with legislation that calls for a study into military bases named after figures of the Confederacy, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., told ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on Wednesday, despite the fact that President Donald Trump threatened to veto the bill if such language was present. https://bit.ly/2w091jE
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