The Note: Trump the 'warrior' vs. Trump the 'cheerleader'

Despite optimism, Trump acknowledges there won't be a return to normalcy soon.

May 6, 2020, 6:01 AM

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Two big things are happening at the same time. A scared nation is in the midst of a terrible public-health crisis with no end in sight, while a restless nation pushes toward resuming life as we once knew it.

To those ends, President Donald Trump told ABC News' David Muir that he'd rather be a "cheerleader for our country" as opposed to "Mr. Doom and Gloom." That tension is defining this political moment, with the administration changing its focus to economic recovery even as the president acknowledges that more lives could very well be lost because the country is now whirring back to life.

"We have to bring it back, and that's what we're doing," the president told Muir.

President Donald Trump speaks with ABC News' David Muire in Phoenix on May 5, 2020.
ABC News

From the start, Trump has shown more comfort in championing his own successes -- and belittling his political opponents -- than in preparing the nation for what it's now experiencing. This remains a crisis, though, that people are both living through and worried about living through, making leadership harder to spin at this moment.

Even in the president's optimism comes acknowledgments that there won't be a return to normalcy any time soon. In one telling exchange, Muir asked the president if he would be comfortable with the election becoming "a referendum on your handling of the pandemic."

"Well, I am and I'm not," Trump said. "You know, it's a very -- it's a very interesting thought."

The RUNDOWN with Kendall Karson

With briefs in a consequential Supreme Court case on the Affordable Care Act due Wednesday, Democrats are marking the date with a renewed push on health care, putting Trump in their crosshairs to underscore the president's attempts to dismantle the ACA and bring the winning election issue for the party back to the forefront.

The Supreme Court already announced it won't decide the fate of Obamacare until next term, with a decision not expected until after the 2020 election. Meanwhile, the new campaign, which is a coordinated effort between the Democratic National Committee and battleground state parties, according to a Democratic official, aims to undercut the president on the key issue across a slate of five states that could ultimately define the outcome of the 2020 election.

The push also comes against the backdrop of the coronavirus, which is wreaking havoc on the country as confirmed cases top 1.2 million.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters building stands in Washington, Aug. 22, 2018.
Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

"Even in the midst of a pandemic, Trump and Republicans are in court, continuing to push their health care agenda that would rip away coverage protections for people with pre-existing conditions and spike health care costs for hard-working Americans," said David Bergstein, the DNC's battleground state communications director. "Just like it was in 2018, health care will be a defining issue of this election, and Democrats across the battlegrounds are joining with voters to hold Trump accountable for his toxic record."

The national party, through local events planned in the battleground states of Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, alongside state and congressional leaders and voters, seeks to highlight the voices of those on the frontlines: nurses, health care workers and those with pre-existing conditions.

As Democrats go on offense on the critical issue, at the same time, the presumptive Democratic nominee's campaign also has health care-oriented events planned for Wednesday. Dr. Jill Biden will hold two virtual events with nurses in Michigan -- a potential early preview of the coordination between the campaign and the party committee.

The TIP with Meg Cunningham

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama entered the conversation in the highly watched race to replace former Congresswoman Katie Hill in a Los Angeles-area special election, endorsing Democrat Christy Smith in her race to fill the seat.

It was Obama's first down-ballot endorsement of the cycle, and it couldn't have come sooner: voters are set to meet the deadline to return their ballots next Tuesday. California is no stranger to voting by mail, but the stakes for this election are high for Democrats after Hill flipped the seat blue in 2018.

A screen grab from a video released by BidenForPresident shows former President Barack Obama endorsing Joe Bidens White House bid through a video message on April 14, 2020.
BidenForPresident/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

The National Republican Congressional Committee seized on Obama's show of support, calling it an emergency move by the Smith campaign as the race gets down to the final hours. Voters have been returning their ballots for weeks, though, so it's unclear if Obama's coveted endorsement came in time sway large swaths of voters.


President Donald Trump acknowledged there might be more deaths from COVID-19 as the country reopens. "It's possible there will be some because you won't be locked into an apartment or a house or whatever it is," he told ABC "World News Tonight" Anchor and Managing Editor David Muir in an exclusive interview Tuesday. Read this story and more by checking out Bringing America Back, an ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in economic recovery and medical preparedness amid the coronavirus pandemic.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir, who tells us about his exclusive interview with President Donald Trump. Then, ABC News Chief National correspondent Matt Gutman explains why some grocery stores are rationing meat purchases. And, ABC News' Conor Finnegan and Elizabeth McLaughlin tell us the tale of a plan gone wrong to oust Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.

ABC News' "Powerhouse Politics" podcast. Dr. Richard Besser, the former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who is now president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, joins ABC News Political Director Rick Klein and Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl on the podcast.

FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast. On Friday, former Vice President Joe Biden personally denied a sexual assault allegation made by Tara Reade, one of his former Senate staffers. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the team reviews how elected Democrats and voters are reacting to the accusation so far and what it means for Biden politically. They also check in on where we are in the course of the coronavirus pandemic and weigh the effect on the 2020 election of a likely third-party run for president by Rep. Justin Amash.


  • President Donald Trump signs a proclamation in honor of National Nurses Day at 12:15 p.m., has lunch with Vice President Mike Pence at 12:45 p.m. and meets with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds at 2 p.m.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden participates in a virtual Biden for President finance event. Later, he participates in a virtual event with the Human Rights Campaign.
  • Dr. Jill Biden hosts a virtual roundtable with nurses from Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan, at 1 p.m. She attends a virtual meeting of the Michigan Democratic Party Black Caucus at 2:30 p.m. Later, she attends a virtual organizing event with supporters at 4:15 p.m.
  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds a briefing at 4 p.m.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

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