HAPPY SATURDAY MORNING, and welcome to what should be an amazingly beautiful Memorial Day weekend in the District and its surroundings.
WE WERE TALKING TO A WHITE HOUSE SOURCE Friday and asked if the president could get through the long holiday weekend without a trip to his country club in Virginia. Golf is open and allowed in Maryland and the commonwealth. This senior White House aide pointed out to us that President DONALD TRUMP hasn’t played in seventy-something days. (But who is counting?!)
POOL REPORT from USA Today’s John Fritze: “Pool is being gathered at the Palm Room doors at 937 am as a damp and cloudy morning gives way to beautiful blue skies.”
… AND THE PRESIDENT has arrived at his club in Virginia, per Fritze.
THE PRESIDENT has no events scheduled today.
WHAT AMERICA IS READING: Arizona Republic: “Questions surround charitable donations: Giving to Ducey’s relief fund could curry favor” … Miami Herald: “DeSantis allows summer camps but localities have final say” … Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “VP calls Ga. reopening ‘example to the nation’” …
PUSH BACK ON GOVS… Wichita Eagle: “Lawmakers vote to limit Kelly’s pandemic authority” … The Oregonian: “Lawyers: Brown exceeded limits of emergency powers”
N.Y. POST, with a photo of JOE BIDEN, and a banner “BIDEN DOES IT AGAIN”: “MEET JOE BLACK”
TALKER … PROPUBLICA: “The Feds Gave a Former White House Official $3 Million to Supply Masks to Navajo Hospitals. Some May Not Work,” by Yeganeh Torbati and Derek Willis: “A former White House aide won a $3 million federal contract to supply respirator masks to Navajo Nation hospitals in New Mexico and Arizona 11 days after he created a company to sell personal protective equipment in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Zach Fuentes, President Donald Trump’s former deputy chief of staff, secured the deal with the Indian Health Service with limited competitive bidding and no prior federal contracting experience.
“The IHS told ProPublica it has found that 247,000 of the masks delivered by Fuentes’ company — at a cost of roughly $800,000 — may be unsuitable for medical use. An additional 130,400, worth about $422,000, are not the type specified in the procurement data, the agency said.”
ON WORSHIPING … JOSH GERSTEIN: “Trump ordered states to open churches. Can he do that?”: “The president’s sweeping pronouncement Friday that states must treat all churches and other houses of worship as essential under coronavirus lockdown orders ‘right now’ was met with a now familiar chorus of reaction from critics and legal commentators that he has no authority to issue such a directive. …
“So far, Trump’s promise to come to the rescue of beleaguered congregations has translated into only modest action. The Justice Department has yet to file a lawsuit on behalf of any church, organization or individual over the impact of state or local lockdown orders. Before Friday, its only court action was submitting what amounted to friend-of-the-court briefs in just two pandemic-related suits involving churches: one against a small Mississippi city and another against Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.
“The claims the federal government has made in the litigation have also been modest. Justice Department lawyers did not advance any argument on par with Trump’s broad assertion Friday that houses of worship are universally essential. Instead, DOJ attorneys have made the narrower argument that some churches are being subject to an unfair double-standard, especially when compared to businesses deemed essential and allowed to remain open, like liquor stores.”
— WAPO: “Study estimates 24 states still have uncontrolled coronavirus spread,” by Joel Achenbach, Rachel Weiner and Isaac Stanley-Becker
LAT … W.H. VS. CALIF., CH. INFINITY: “Los Angeles faces federal concern over coronavirus’ spread, criticism for restrictions,” by Alex Wigglesworth, Luke Money and Noah Bierman … LAT front page: “White House has a message for L.A.”
NYT: “Coronavirus Vaccine Shows Promising Early Results in China,” by Apoorva Mandavilli: “A vaccine developed in China appears to be safe and may protect people from the new coronavirus, researchers reported on Friday.
“The early-stage trial, published in the Lancet, was conducted by researchers at several laboratories and included 108 participants aged 18 to 60. Those who received a single dose of the vaccine produced certain immune cells, called T cells, within two weeks. Antibodies needed for immunity peaked at 28 days after the inoculation.
“‘This is promising data, but it’s early data,’ said Dr. Dan Barouch, director of vaccine research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, who was not involved in the work. ‘Over all, I would say this is good news.’”
TRUMP TO FLORIDA … “Trump to attend Musk’s SpaceX launch in Florida next week,” by Gary Fineout in Tallahassee and Anita Kumar: “ President Donald Trump plans to travel to Kennedy Space Center in Florida Wednesday to witness the launch of the first Americans into space in nearly a decade, a White House official said Friday.
“Two NASA astronauts will travel aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, owned by tech billionaire Elon Musk, who leads SpaceX and co-founded the electric-car company Tesla.
“Trump was urged to attend next week’s launch by Rep. Michael Waltz, a Republican from northeast Florida whose district includes the northern tip of Cape Canaveral but not the actual launch site. Waltz, in an interview Friday, said Trump got “fired up” when the two men discussed the importance of the event to the evolution of the U.S. space program.
“‘With everything going on, the relaunch of America, the relaunch of our economy, the relaunch of Florida, the symbolism I think is really exciting,’ said Waltz, who plans to fly aboard Air Force One from Washington with Trump for the event.”
WAPO: “Trump administration discussed conducting first U.S. nuclear test in decades,” by John Hudson and Paul Sonne: “The Trump administration has discussed whether to conduct the first U.S. nuclear test explosion since 1992 in a move that would have far-reaching consequences for relations with other nuclear powers and reverse a decades-long moratorium on such actions, said a senior administration official and two former officials familiar with the deliberations.
“The matter came up at a meeting of senior officials representing the top national security agencies May 15, following accusations from administration officials that Russia and China are conducting low-yield nuclear tests — an assertion that has not been substantiated by publicly available evidence and that both countries have denied.
“A senior administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the sensitive nuclear discussions, said that demonstrating to Moscow and Beijing that the United States could “rapid test” could prove useful from a negotiating standpoint as Washington seeks a trilateral deal to regulate the arsenals of the biggest nuclear powers.”
THE ONLINE OMBUDSMAN IN CHIEF: WSJ: “Trump Considers Forming Panel to Review Complaints of Online Bias”: “President Trump is considering establishing a panel to review complaints of anticonservative bias on social media, according to people familiar with the matter, in a move that would likely draw pushback from technology companies and others.
“The plans are still under discussion but could include the establishment of a White House-created commission that would examine allegations of online bias and censorship, these people said. The administration could also encourage similar reviews by federal regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Election Commission, they said.
“‘Left-wing bias in the tech world is a concern that definitely needs to be addressed from our vantage point, and at least exposed [so] that Americans have clear eyes about what we’re dealing with,’ a White House official said.”
NYT’S MAGGIE HABERMAN, JONATHAN MARTIN and NICK FANDOS: “White House Worries About Kelly Loeffler’s Senate Prospects in Georgia”: “President Trump’s advisers are increasingly concerned about Senator Kelly Loeffler’s campaign in Georgia, a newly competitive state where the president’s own poll numbers have tightened against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., according to people briefed on the discussions.
“Ms. Loeffler, a financial services executive with no previous government experience, was appointed to the position in December 2019 after the long-serving Republican, Johnny Isakson, announced he would retire for health reasons. She is running in a special election for the seat this fall, facing nearly two dozen candidates in the jumbled race, including two well-financed Democrats.
“One opponent in particular — Representative Doug Collins, a Republican ally of Mr. Trump — has gained strength in the field. … Ms. Loeffler was invited to join the vice president on the trip by the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, according to people close to Mr. Meadows. Some of Mr. Meadows’s former staff members now work for the senator.
“In response, Mr. Pence’s aides asked Mr. Collins, one of Ms. Loeffler’s rivals, to join the greeting party when the plane landed, to avoid looking as if they were taking sides in the primary race, according to officials briefed on the trip. They also gave Mr. Collins a ride back to the airport in Mr. Pence’s car as the trip wrapped up.”
BIDEN’S APOLOGY, via Quint Forgey and Myah Ward.
MAKING HAY … ALEX ISENSTADT: “Team Trump plans $1M ad blitz after Biden’s ‘you ain’t black’ stumble”: “Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is launching a $1 million digital ad blitz aimed at capitalizing on Joe Biden’s inflammatory remark that African American voters “ain’t black” if they’re considering voting for the president.
“The Trump campaign is planning to run a video montage highlighting Biden’s Friday morning comment on ‘The Breakfast Club,’ a popular black radio program. It will also air an ad focusing on Biden’s support for the 1994 crime bill which, the spot says, resulted in mass incarceration and ‘destroyed millions of black lives.’
“Biden set off a firestorm Friday morning when he told the program’s co-host, Charlamagne tha God, that ‘if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.’” The ads
THIS IS KIND OF FUN: STEVE CARRELL plays a campaign manager in a new JON STEWART movie about a retired Marine running for mayor in a small Wisconsin town. Watch the trailer, the movie will be on demand June 26
REGIONAL UNITY! … ARLNow.com: “Arlington Public Schools will ‘likely’ start the new 2020-2021 school year with students staying at home, the interim superintendent told families Friday afternoon.” … WaPo: “Some third-, sixth- and ninth-graders in D.C. public schools could start school in person in early August, weeks before school starts for other students, city officials announced Friday, offering a potential glimpse into a new school year expected to look markedly different from previous ones.”
K STREET FILES: “America’s economic pain arrives on K Street,” by Theo Meyer and Daniel Lippman: “Restaurants, hotels and tourism businesses are getting socked. Now their Washington lobbyists are, too. K Street is in cutback mode: The International Franchise Association, the U.S. Travel Association and the National Rifle Association have all laid off staffers since the pandemic hit. Several law-and-lobbying firms have cut pay across the board and at least one well-connected Washington communications firm has applied for a small business relief loan.”
YIKES! … VIA NYT’S ANNIE KARNI: “Trump’s Press Secretary Displays One of His Checks in a Little Too Much Detail”: “[O]n Friday, Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, did not just reveal that the president was sending his salary to the Department of Health and Human Services to help ‘support the efforts being undertaken to confront, contain and combat the coronavirus.’
“She also displayed the president’s private bank account and routing numbers. The $100,000 check she held up like a prop appeared to be a real check from Capital One, complete with the relevant details. An administration official said mock checks were never used in the briefing.”
CLICKER — “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker — 18 keepers
GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Margy Slattery and the staff of POLITICO Magazine:
— “The Black American Amputation Epidemic,” by Lizzie Presser in ProPublica: “Black patients were losing limbs at triple the rate of others. The doctor put up billboards in the Mississippi Delta. Amputation Prevention Institute, they read. He could save their limbs, if it wasn’t too late.” ProPublica
— “The Haunting of Girlstown,” by Daniel Hernandez in Vox: “It was March 2007 and nearly everyone at Girlstown, a Catholic boarding school in Chalco, Mexico, was panicked. Months earlier, some students had begun complaining of a piercing sensation in their legs. Some were overcome with nausea and fevers. … It was as though the school had fallen under a spell.” Vox
— “Michael Jordan: A History of Flight,” by Wright Thompson in ESPN: “Seeing Michael Jordan as from a specific place, as part of a specific family and history, is maybe the first step toward really seeing Michael Jordan at all.” ESPN
— “How Russia’s Coronavirus Crisis Got So Bad,” by Michele A. Berdy in POLITICO Magazine: “Mistrust, a disorganized response and a president who thought his spring would be a coronation. What could possibly go wrong?” POLITICO
— “During Lockdown, Google Maps Gives My Son a Way Out,” by Brendan Koerner in Wired: “From our kitchen in Queens, he had created a paracosm—a fantasyland. And his journey has led him not to Mordor but to minor-league baseball stadiums.” Wired
— “Inside the Flour Company Supplying America’s Sudden Baking Obsession,” by David Freedman in Medium’s Marker: “How King Arthur Flour found itself in the unlikely crosshairs of a pandemic.” Marker
— “How the Pandemic Turned Brené Brown Into America’s Therapist,” by Sarah Hepola on the cover of Texas Monthly’s June issue: “But for heaven’s sake, the best-selling author, unapologetic cusser, and fifth-generation Texan would rather not be called that.” Texas Monthly
— “My Gallant Gal,” by Terry Teachout in Commentary’s June issue: “I loved. And then I lost my beloved during a pandemic.” Commentary
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at [email protected].
MEDIAWATCH — Avi Asher-Schapiro will be a digital rights correspondent for the Thomson Reuters Foundation. He previously was a senior technology correspondent at the Committee to Protect Journalists.
NSC ARRIVAL LOUNGE — Ricky Gill is now director for Russia at the NSC. He most recently was senior adviser at the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations.
HHS ARRIVAL LOUNGE — Allie Hoover is now a special assistant in the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs at HHS. She most recently worked in public affairs at Treasury.
TRANSITIONS — Anjana Rajan is now chief technology officer at Polaris, an anti-trafficking NGO. She most recently was a tech policy institute at the Aspen Institute and is a Callisto alum. … Natalie Szmyd has started as associate director of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation. She previously was special assistant in the office of the White House liaison at HHS.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Rob Saliterman, head of growth platform partnerships at Stripe and an alum of Snap, Google and Bush 43, and Lara Crystal, co-founder of Minibar Delivery, on Thursday welcomed Mia Sloan Saliterman. She came in at 7 lbs and 3 oz and 19.3 inches long and joins big brother Sam. Pic
— Drew Harwell, an artificial intelligence reporter for the Washington Post, and Leanna McKenzie, a nurse practitioner at Children’s National Hospital in D.C., welcomed Ellia on Monday, May 18. Pic … Another pic
BIRTHWEEK (was Friday): Ross Terry, research analyst at the DCCC (h/t Arif Hasan).
BIRTHDAYS: Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) is 7-0 … William Minor, partner at DLA Piper, is 53 … WaPo’s Dana Priest … ABC’s Mary Bruce … NBC’s Ilyas Kirmani and Danielle Dellorto … CNN’s Nate McDermott and Adam Levy … Matt Nussbaum … Tom Heinemann … Blake Rollins … Shekar Narasimhan … Mallary Tenore Tarpley is 35 … Megan McKinley, finance coordinator at the NRSC, is 26 (h/t Caitlin Oprysko) … Jacob Gladysz … Comcast’s Anna Gohmann … Jerry Goldfeder … Nicole Gill … Melanie Fonder Kaye … Mark Sullivan (h/t Teresa Sullivan) … Joyce Li, policy adviser to the NYC deputy mayor for operations … London Evening Standard editor George Osborne is 49 … PhRMA’s Sarah Sutton is 31 …
… Reuel Marc Gerecht is 61 … Mel Lukens, director of advance at HHS … Norm Brownstein … Stephen Marks is 74 … Andrea Hiller … Adrienne Cisneros-Selekman … Rachel MacKnight … Jorge Martinez, chief of staff and EVP at York Exponential, is 48 (h/t John McElligott) … Casey Greenfield … Entergy’s Nick Culp … Washington Examiner’s Anna Giaritelli is 31 … Rob Keast … Cameron Smith … Brian Bakst, political correspondent for Minnesota Public Radio News … Alan Auglis … John Gonzalez … Lucy Cook … Vivian Graubard … Georgiana Bloom … Katherina Lemus … Connie Sammarco … Mitch Albom is 62 … Jeff Kujan is 32
THE SHOWS (Full Sunday show listing here):
CNN “State of the Union” (Dana Bash is hosting): Kevin Hassett … New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy … Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) … Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.)
FOX “Fox News Sunday”: Deborah Birx … Mark Parkinson … Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Panel: Josh Holmes, Donna Brazile and Jonah Goldberg. Power Player of the Week: Tom Day.
NBC “Meet the Press”: Peter Hotez … Dan Barouch … Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine … Robert O’Brien. Panel: O. Kay Henderson, Andrea Mitchell and Jeh Johnson.
ABC “This Week”: Deborah Birx … Tom Bossert and Atul Gawande. Panels: Jonathan Karl, Pierre Thomas, Julie Pace … Chris Christie and Rahm Emanuel.
CBS “Face the Nation”: Robert O’Brien … Michael Chertoff … Geoff Ballotti … Eric Rosengren … Scott Gottlieb.
Sinclair “America This Week with Eric Bolling”: Megyn Kelly … Roger Stone … Rudy Giuliani … Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) … Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) … Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).
Gray TV “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren”: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) … Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) … Tom Frieden.