Where Things Stand: A Trump Fireside Chat

This is your TPM mid-morning briefing.
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 14: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in the Rose Garden at the White House April 14, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trum... WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 14: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in the Rose Garden at the White House April 14, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Trump announced that he is halting funding for World Health Organization WHO. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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April 15, 2020 12:00 p.m.
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We can thank Rush Limbaugh for this one.

Last month, President Trump was gung-ho on an idea that bears striking resemblance to President Franklin Roosevelt’s calming “fireside chats,” meant to ease the minds of Americans battling the economic impact of World War II.

According to the New York Times, Trump pitched the idea as a daily talk-radio show at the White House, during which he would answer American’s questions about the coronavirus outbreak for two hours a day in an attempt to quell fear and panic across the nation. Trump wanted Americans to be able to call in and speak to him directly, according to the Times.

But Trump eventually backed off the fireside chat rebirth when he realized it would likely mean that Limbaugh’s conservative radio show would take a hit. Limbaugh is a massive supporter of Trump and was recently rewarded for that loyalty with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

While Limbaugh’s popularity may have stopped this particular Trump ego-boost from coming to fruition, he appears to have found a consolation prize. Americans can still tune into this COVID-19 task force briefings nearly every day of the week to hear directly from the President, who is often heard peddling false information that comes in direct contradiction with the experts standing next to him.

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

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Matt Shuham is digging into data released by New York City this week that shows the high number of untested but probable COVID deaths at nursing homes.

Kate Riga is reporting on the governor of Missouri’s latest attempt to downplay tension over voting during the COVID-19 outbreak, referring to absentee ballots as a political and not a public health issue.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

Another top Democrat and former 2020 candidate got in line behind former Vice President Joe Biden this morning. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) threw her weight behind the presumptive nominee, just one day after former President Barack Obama endorsed his ex-running mate and two days after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) offered his support. By now, nearly the entire former Democratic primary field of candidates have offered Biden his or her endorsement. The main obstacle ahead of the general election is the coronavirus and the pandemic’s impact on voting.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued her most scathing condemnation of President Trump’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak yet in a letter to colleagues on Tuesday evening, pinning “unnecessary death and disaster” from the outbreak in the U.S. squarely on Trump’s shoulders. We’ll keep an eye on whether other Democratic leaders follow suit.

Today’s Rundown

Trump has a slew of calls today, reportedly all related to his open-the-economy task force:

10:00 a.m. ET: Trump had a call with banking, financial services, food and beverage, hospitality and retail groups.

12:00 p.m. ET: Trump will hold a phone call with health care, technology, telecom and transportation groups.

2:00 p.m. ET: The President will have another call, this time with agriculture, construction, labor, defense, energy, manufacturing and “thought leaders.”

3:30 p.m. ET: Trump will speak with sports groups and leaders.

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

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Chris Cuomo: Actually Never Mind, I’ve ‘Never Been More Grateful’ To Work At CNN! — Cristina Cabrera

What We Are Reading

How The Coronavirus Almost Brought Down The Global Financial System — Adam Tooze

CDC Report Says People In Four Key Cities Are Listening To Stay At Home Orders — Elizabeth Cohen and Wesley Bruer

Amazon Fires Three Employees Who Were Outspoken Critics Of Its Labor Practices — Annie Palmer

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).
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