Where Things Stand: Not All Fall In Line Behind The Next Great Political Divide

This is your TPM early-afternoon briefing.
Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden (L) departs the Delaware Memorial Bridge Veteran's Memorial Park after paying respects to fallen service members in New Castle, Delaware, May 2... Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden (L) departs the Delaware Memorial Bridge Veteran's Memorial Park after paying respects to fallen service members in New Castle, Delaware, May 25, 2020. - Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, emerged from more than two months of seclusion on May 25, wearing a black face mask during a visit to lay a wreath on the day the United States honors its war dead. Biden's last public appearance was March 15 when he faced off against his former Democratic rival Bernie Sanders for a debate in a television studio held with no live audience. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
May 27, 2020 12:55 p.m.
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If President Trump had his way, mask-wearing would play a crucial role in whatever us-versus-them narrative he attempts to spin for his reelection.

The President has repeatedly refused to wear a mask in public and during appearances at the White House. He went after former VP and 2020 rival Joe Biden for wearing a mask to a Memorial Day event this week and the new White House press secretary had to contort herself to defend his attacks. He told a reporter yesterday that his mask-wearing was just part of a seemingly repugnant effort to be “politically correct.”

Biden has since shot back, calling our dear leader an “absolute fool” for waging a war against basic safety and chalking the whole debate up to the brand of “macho stuff” that would only gain public footing in the age of Trump.

This is all while the nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci continues to urge public officials to wear masks to set an example for the public.

Trump’s break with his own health experts is old news at this point. But in recent days members of his own party — and one of his closest allies — have refused to back up his effort to craft this new political narrative.

Just last night Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) painted mask wearing as a matter of basic human empathy, not politics. And Trump hype-man Sean Hannity — once viewed as a shadow chief of staff to the President — last night derided Lake of the Ozarks vacationers’ blatant disregard for basic social distancing guidelines.

“If you can’t social distance, please wear the mask. … Do it for your mom, your dad, your grandma, your grandpa,” Hannity said, referring to the practice as “common sense.”

While there are plenty of loyalists who have hitched themselves to this particularly baffling wagon, a movement can’t and won’t stick if even the sycophants won’t fall in line.

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

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Josh Kovensky just published a piece you should check out about the spike in the publication of obituaries around the country as COVID-19 ravaged the U.S.

Tierney Sneed is covering the latest news out of Florida’s ex-felon voting case. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced yesterday he will appeal a federal judge’s recent decision to shut down a GOP effort to force ex-felons to pay off their fines before being allowed to vote.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

Now election interference is real. President Trump accused Twitter last night of “interfering” in the election after the social media giant instated a “fact check” flag on his erroneous tweets about mail-in-voting. Trump’s waged a war against the practice in recent days as states across the U.S. attempt to expand vote-by-mail options to accommodate for possible pandemic-related complications to voting in November.

Ric Grenell, who just left his gig as acting director of national intelligence, is reportedly going to join the Trump reelection campaign. Grenell will likely assume a senior role and help with fundraising efforts.

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

Matt Shuham reports on a new guideline from the CDC that suggests anti-body tests shouldn’t be used to determine reopening decisions for workplaces and schools.

Earlier coverage of CDC COVID-19 guidelines:

Coming Up

11:00 a.m. ET: Trump met with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

12:20 p.m. ET: Trump and the first lady will leave the White House to head to the Kennedy Space Center. They’ll tour the crew quarters at 3:00 p.m. ET and will view the liftoff for the DEMO-2, the SpaceX launch with two U.S. astronauts at 4:33 p.m. ET.

7:10 p.m. ET: The pair will depart NASA and head back to the White House.

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

White Woman Who Called Police On Black Man In Viral Video Says Her ‘Entire Life Is Being Destroyed’ — Cristina Cabrera

What We Are Reading

A Third Of Americans Now Show Signs Of Clinical Anxiety Or Depression, Census Bureau Finds Amid Coronavirus Pandemic — Alyssa Fowers and William Wan

WATCH: 10 Local TV Stations Pushed The Same Amazon-Scripted Segment — Tim Burke

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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