Where Things Stand: Trump Forced To Butt Heads

This is your TPM early-afternoon briefing.
Response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task Force Deborah Birx speaks as US President Donald Trump listens during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room of the Whi... Response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task Force Deborah Birx speaks as US President Donald Trump listens during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC on April 21, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
April 23, 2020 12:29 p.m.
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Reopen, but not like that.

While it took some goading, President Trump criticized his friend and fellow Republican Brian Kemp on Wednesday evening for his plan to push businesses in his state to reopen, a move that the President has been hyping for weeks.

According to new reporting from CNN, Trump was convinced to speak out against the Georgia governor’s across-the-board plan to reopen the economy in his state after medical experts on his coronavirus task force told him they wouldn’t defend Kemp’s action. Trump also may have been moved by his close ally Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) public criticism of the decision earlier in the day Wednesday.

In a tweet, Graham announced his support for his home state’s minimalistic approach to an economic relaunch and suggested that Georgia’s plan to roll back social distancing by the end of the month was “too fast” and “too soon.”

Regardless, someone was able to convince the President to criticize a governor who has likely been just operating off of Trump’s own push to reopen the country. Great power, great responsibility, etc.

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

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Matt Shuham is digging into Trump’s recently released executive order on halting immigration in the U.S. while the country grapples with the COVID-19 outbreak. Trump announced the new rule via Twitter earlier this week.

Josh Kovensky is reporting on newly released death data from Santa Clara County in California, which might indicate there were more victims of the coronavirus in the state than were previously known.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

Another 4,427,000 unemployment claims were filed in the week ending on April 18, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. That puts the total unemployment claims in the U.S. amid the COVID-19 pandemic at more than 26 million over the past five weeks. We’ll continue updating you on these numbers.

The governor of California has ordered every county in the state to review all autopsies completed between now and December in order to get a better understanding of when the coronavirus outbreak first reached the state. The move comes after health officials announced two people had died of the virus in February, before what was previously believed to be the first COVID-19 death in the United States. We’ll keep an eye on this.

Today’s Rundown

Expect some tweets: The President has no public events on his schedule today.

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

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Las Vegas Mayor’s Interview With Anderson Cooper Was A Spectacular Train Wreck — Cristina Cabrera

What We Are Reading

Numbering The Dead — Shannon Pufahl

Elizabeth Warren’s Oldest Brother Dies Of Coronavirus In Oklahoma — Jess Bidgood

Special Report: Former Labradoodle Breeder Was Tapped To Lead U.S. Pandemic Task Force — Aram Roston and Marisa Taylor

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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