Where Things Stand: Trump’s Fed Up With Democracy

This is your TPM mid-morning briefing.
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 13: U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive at the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House A... WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 13: U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive at the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House April 13, 2020 in Washington, DC. On Monday President Trump tweeted that he will be the one to make the decision to re-open the states in conjunction with the Governors and input from others. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS
April 14, 2020 11:45 a.m.
EDITORS' NOTE: TPM is making our COVID-19 coverage free to all readers during this national health crisis. If you’d like to support TPM's reporters, editors and staff, the best way to do so is to become a member.

His impeachment acquittal may have left him with the impression that he holds the keys to an unbound presidency. And he may be stoking secret pipe dreams that the pandemic will delay the presidential election. But President Trump is clearly getting increasingly fed up with the fact that he is leading a democratic nation and not something more totalitarian.

In the past few days Trump has suggested on multiple occasions that his power to force states to reopen their economies is absolute, an ideology that the U.S. Constitution strictly prohibits, even in a time of crisis. While he’s quietly cobbling together a new “Opening Our Country” task force this week to kickstart the reopening of the economy in May, the federal government can’t push these measures without the cooperation of governors.

But, as is often the case, precedent is nothing more than a technicality to this president. This morning he doubled down on these claims, suggesting that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) doesn’t actually have the “independence” as governor that he thinks he has, before suggesting that “a good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch.”

Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following:

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Matt Shuham is looking into reports that former President Barack Obama will endorse his former VP Joe Biden in his 2020 presidential bid. The move would come just one day after Biden’s former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) officially endorsed Biden’s bid after dropping out of the race last week. The 2020 presidential primaries have been rocked by the coronavirus pandemic and states are scrambling to determine how to continue to hold elections amid social distancing orders.

Kate Riga is digging into the election results in Wisconsin that came out last night, in which the liberal candidate for state Supreme Court beat the conservative, despite the Election Day hurdles primarily forced by Republican members of the state legislature.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

Despite the White House’s assurances that Trump doesn’t intend to fire the top doctor on his coronavirus task force, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced legislation this week that would protect Dr. Anthony Fauci from any of Trump’s publicity-fueled wrath. Over the weekend, Trump retweeted a video clip of Fauci speaking to CNN that included the hashtag #FireFauci, a move that Fauci has dismissed as a legitimately held belief. We’ve been monitoring this back-and-forth since Fauci first broke publicly with Trump’s various inaccurate claims about COVID-19 and we’ll keep an eye on Fauci’s fate.

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort joined the ranks of high profile inmates calling for their release from prison to avoid becoming diagnosed with the coronavirus as the disease spreads rapidly in prisons across the U.S. Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen made a similar request last month. We’re looking out for any reaction to the requests from the President.

Today’s Rundown

11:30 a.m. ET: Trump will have a meeting with recovered COVID-19 patients in the Cabinet Room.

3:30 p.m. ET: Trump will meet with health care executives.

5:00 p.m. ET: The White House coronavirus task force will hold its press briefing.

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Ohio GOP Gov. Rejects Immediate Reopening Of Economy: ‘That’s Just Not Going To Happen’ — Cristina Cabrera

What We Are Reading

State Department Cables Warned Of Safety Issues At Wuhan Lab Studying Bat Coronaviruses — Josh Rogin

If You Can’t Stop Staring At TV Anchors’ Home Backgrounds, You’re Not Alone — Stuart Emmrich

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: