Where Things Stand: Raging Against His Own Machine

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WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 19: U.S. President Trump speaks to the press after meeting with Republican Senators in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, May 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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May 20, 2020 12:14 p.m.
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President Trump and many of his top officials all vote-by-mail.

But as we reported earlier this month, there’s a reason you would never know that.

Especially after this morning’s unhinged Twitter rant against states who have begun sending all registered voters applications for voting by mail. The President made the baseless suggestion that he could pull funding from states that embrace this practice as a pandemic and a presidential election collide.

As he rages against a system that he openly takes advantage of, Trump is also breaking with his own party. While the recent decision in Michigan was made by a Democratic secretary of state, Nevada’s secretary of state is a Republican. Multiple red states — Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and West Virginia — have in recent weeks bucked their party, Trump and right-wing think tanks in order to expand vote-by-mail in their states. It is the most logical solution to a pressing dilemma: how do we justly hold a crucial election during a public health crisis that has no anticipatable end?

But the myth of widespread voter fraud lingers, conveniently hyped by the man whose ego is intrinsically tied to his reelection.

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

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Kate Riga is covering Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s press conference this morning. He addressed reports on his role in the firing of his department’s inspector general.

Tierney Sneed is digging into Trump’s latest threat to withhold funding from states expanding vote-by-mail and whether he actually has any legal standing to say or do so.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

The Pompeo saga continues: New reporting shows that the secretary of state was in fact aware that the now-former State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was investigating the Trump administration’s Saudi arms deal when he recommended that Trump fire the watch dog. Pompeo reportedly turned down a request from Linick to be interviewed as part of the probe. We’ll continue monitoring the fall-out here.

The Republican running against Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in November unveiled her allegiance to the QAnon conspiracy theory after sealing a primary win in Oregon on Tuesday night. “I stand with President Trump, I stand with Q and the team,” she said in a video posted to Twitter. “Thank you anons and thank you patriots. And together, we can save our republic.” QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory that, among other things, places President Trump at the forefront of a mystical effort to expose the “deep state.”

If You Read Anything On COVID-19 Today, Read This

Tierney Sneed reports on the lengths to which the Republican state officials in Texas are pushing to keep voters from invoking COVID-19 as a legitimate excuse to qualify for absentee voting.

Earlier coverage of pandemic voting:

Coming Up

12:30 p.m. ET: Trump will have a phone call with the “national Hispanic community.”

3:00 p.m. ET: The White House press secretary will hold a briefing.

4:00 p.m. ET: Trump will meet with the governors of Arkansas and Kansas.

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Report: Trump Won’t Hold Obama Portrait Ceremony In WH, Rejecting Tradition — Cristina Cabrera

What We Are Reading

Alison Roman’s NY Times Column ‘On Temporary Leave’ After Chrissy Teigen Feud — Maxwell Tani

Fired State Department Watchdog Was Probing Protocol Office — Nahal Toosi

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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