Where Things Stand: Breaking Their Own Rules

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WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 05: U.S. President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn before boarding Marine One and departing the White House May 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump is traveling to Phoenix, Arizona to tour... WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 05: U.S. President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn before boarding Marine One and departing the White House May 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump is traveling to Phoenix, Arizona to tour a Honeywell International's face mask production operation, which has increased manufacturing capabilities of N95 respirators in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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May 6, 2020 12:14 p.m.
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During the Passover, first daughter Ivanka Trump was shredded in the media for traveling to her father’s resort to celebrate, breaking the White House’s own “essential travel” rules.

While President Trump has spent the last month essentially advocating against the rules his own White House established amid a pandemic, it is still stark to witness how much the narrative has changed in the last several weeks. Yesterday Trump traveled to Arizona, without a mask on for any of his public appearances, to tour a mask production facility and to deliver a brief speech. And his has another trip planned for next week.

The vice president has been doing the same — albeit, at least with a mask most of the time — and has an event scheduled in Iowa later this week.

While Trump has denied reports that he intends to disband his coronavirus task force, he did admit that he may “add or subtract” some members of the team when appropriate. He’s stopped doing the daily COVID-19 press briefings. He’s invited numerous governors and local officials to the White House for visits. You can’t ignore the political maneuvering here. While praising Republican governors for reopening their states and standing in support of protesters who are angered by stay-at-home orders, he’s setting his reelection campaign up to be a “Trump vs. the pandemic” sideshow that will likely rile up voters most devastated by a decimated economy.

But as outbreaks in rural and middle America experience a spike, there’s a chance this message could fall on deaf ears by November 2020.

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

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Josh Kovensky is writing about a letter sent by former President Barack Obama in March 2020 in which he argued Republican attempts to probe his former VP and Ukraine-related matters would contribute to “Russian disinformation” efforts.

Kate Riga is covering the ongoing saga in Michigan and Republican members of the state legislature’s latest clash with the Democratic governor: they’re suing her.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

While he pushes forward with plans to reopen his state amid the pandemic, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) privately admitted in a phone call last week that doing so will cause a spike in COVID-19 infections in his state. We’ll be following any backlash to this admission.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is currently being hospitalized for a gallbladder infection. Her office said she will continue participating in oral arguments remotely. We’ll keep you updated on her condition.

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

Josh Kovensky reports on new data that shows a recent outbreak spike in rural parts of the country while infections in urban areas start to decline. The data was compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation and shows that infection rates are happening at higher rates in rural areas than they have been in city settings.

Earlier reporting on COVID-19 outbreak trends:

Today’s Rundown

12:15 p.m. ET: Trump will sign a National Nurses Day proclamation.

12:45 p.m. ET: The President and vice president will have lunch.

2:00 p.m. ET: Trump will meet with the governor of Iowa in the Oval Office.

4:00 p.m. ET: The White House press secretary will hold another press briefing.

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

POTUS Has A Meltdown Over Anti-Trump GOP PAC Ad Blasting His Handling Of Outbreak — Cristina Cabrera

What We Are Reading

Sally Quinn Modeled The Erotic Hero Of Her 1991 Bestseller On…Anthony Fauci — Benjamin Wofford

Government Scientist Neil Ferguson Resigns After Breaking Lockdown Rules To Meet His Married Lover — Anna Mikhailova, Christopher Hope, Michael Gillard and Louisa Wells

A Georgia Man Was Chased And Killed While Jogging, His Mother Says — Amir Vera

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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