Where Things Stand: 2020 On His Mind

This is your TPM mid-morning briefing.
US President Donald Trump listens to a question during a COVID-19 pandemic briefing at the White House March 16, 2020, in Washington, DC. - The first human trial to evaluate a candidate vaccine against the new corona... US President Donald Trump listens to a question during a COVID-19 pandemic briefing at the White House March 16, 2020, in Washington, DC. - The first human trial to evaluate a candidate vaccine against the new coronavirus has begun in Seattle, US health officials said, raising hopes in the global fight against the disease. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
March 31, 2020 11:32 a.m.

While President Trump was moved on Sunday by the grim data experts showed him on death projections sans tight social distancing measures, there was another set of numbers that reportedly pushed Trump to abandon his Easter pipe dream.

According to a new New York Times report, before Trump’s public appearances on Sunday, his political advisers showed him polling data regarding voter opinions on social distancing measures. The advisers told Trump that the majority of voters preferred to see social distancing maintained to prevent further spread over sending Americans back to work to resuscitate the economy before the worst is over.

The possible political ramifications, combined with dire data, reportedly propelled Trump to call off his Easter deadline of reopening the economy and to extend social distancing measure until the end of April — a stunning reversal from a president who spent the previous week pushing an economy-centric agenda. Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following:

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Tierney Sneed is looking into the uptick in COVID-19 cases in Louisiana, as state officials prep to possibly become a new virus outbreak hot spot.

Josh Kovensky is reporting on an outbreak at a Los Angeles nursing home. He’s also working on a story about the new federal waiver of the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which requires hospital emergency rooms to treat every patient that walks through the door. The blanket federal waiver allows emergency rooms across the U.S. to  divert patients away from their campuses for testing.

As TPM reported earlier this month, health officials in Washington state were advocating for the change as hospitals became overrun with coronavirus patients.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told the co-hosts of “Morning Joe” on Tuesday that she and Trump haven’t spoken to each other since the State of the Union address in early February, when she famously tore her copy of the President’s speech in half after he finished speaking. “I don’t know what I would learn in a conversation with the President,” Pelosi said. Trump reacted to the interview with a tweet, saying other than her criticism of him, the interview wasn’t bad.

Gov. Illinois J.B. Pritzker (D) said yesterday that the President’s administration only sent surgical masks when the state requested specialized N95 masks, which are far more effective in protecting health care workers from getting infected with COVID-19. Other state governors have also complained about the administration’s feet-dragging when it comes to medical supply requests.

Today’s Rundown

2:30 p.m. ET: Trump will hold a phone call with network service providers in the Oval Office.

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

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Trump Openly Admits Voting Reforms In COVID Relief Bill Would Endanger Republicans — Cristina Cabrera

What We Are Reading

FBI Warns Of Potential Surge In Hate Crimes Against Asian Americans Amid Coronavirus — Josh Margolin

Group Behind Central Park Coronavirus Tent Hospital Asks Volunteers To Support Anti-Gay Agenda — Jake Offenhartz

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