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► It won’t shock you to know that President Trump is again behaving like an irresponsible jerk, but even this seems like a bit much for The Big Orange Guy. As The Washington Post reports, Trump took to Twitter on Friday morning to ENCOURAGE protestors who are mad at state governors for not letting them die of coronavirus.
We wrote yesterday about the sheer ridiculousness of these “protest” rallies, which do not at all reflect the opinions of the vast majority of Americans as indicated by numerous public polls. Does President Trump think that state governors are acting inappropriately? Probably not, but any opportunity to goose his base must not go un-seized.
Meanwhile, POLITICO looks at President Trump’s three-part “strategy” to re-open the country amid the coronavirus outbreak, which is mostly about telling the nation’s governors to take the lead. Trump also announced the creation of the “Opening Up America Again Congressional Group” that includes every Republican U.S. Senator except Mitt Romney. This is different (we think) than the “Council to Reopen America” that counts first son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump among its members.
Here in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis says that social distancing measures won’t be relaxed until more widespread coronavirus testing is available.
► As Vox.com reports, the Texas Attorney General is literally threatening criminal prosecution against any groups that advocate for people to request a mail-in-ballot because they are worried about COVID-19:
On Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s (R) office released a letter arguing that a Texas law governing who may obtain an absentee ballot must be read very narrowly — so narrowly that it could potentially disenfranchise millions of voters during the coronavirus pandemic.
The letter went even further than that, threatening criminal prosecutions against activists who encourage many younger voters to vote absentee.
The next day, a state trial judge in Austin rejected Paxton’s reading of this absentee ballot law, holding that Texas voters should have broad access to absentee ballots during the pandemic. But it is far from clear that Judge Tim Sulak’s order will survive contact with higher Texas courts.
All nine State Supreme Court Justices in Texas are — SURPRISE! — Republicans, so
if when Paxton appeals this case, it will be heard by friendly ears.
► Erik Maulbetsch of The Colorado Times Recorder goes into great detail in examining how Republican operatives manufactured a “scandal” that they have used as the basis of expensive and misleading advertisements:
The groups have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into amplifying a single misleading news headline that created a false impression that an obscure line item in the governor’s budget has something to do with the terrorist attacks of 2001.
That misnomer about 9/11 has not been repeated by the mainstream media since first appearing in print last fall, but that has not stopped the groups from airing that attack for weeks.
► The Denver Post looks at the last gasps of the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which ran out of money this week. Colorado officials are already pushing for more small business support in the next big Congressional relief package.
If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…
SERIOUSLY, THERE WILL BE NON-CORONAVIRUS NEWS MOMENTARILY…
► Dr. Anthony Fauci completely owned Fox News talking muppet Laura Ingraham during an interview on Thursday. Undaunted, Ingraham then spoke to a different “doctor”: Phil. Talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw “launched into his theories about what might happen if people don’t return to work and school soon. In doing so, he cited incorrect statistics and repeated talking points Fauci and other experts have disputed.”
Of course this happened.
► Stephen Collinson of CNN ponders why President Trump seems to be taking a victory lap on the coronavirus:
President Donald Trump’s big nation-opening announcement at the White House on Thursday was, by his own previous billing, meant to position him as a dynamic leader restoring American life and unleashing the snoozing US economy on a rocket-like recovery trajectory.
But instead it came across more as a victory lap over a crisis that is not yet nearly over. And it exposed the tied hands of a President now hostage to a deadly pandemic that is not yet under control, his own inability to provide diagnostic testing that could ease a safe opening and state governors who will make all determinations on when to ease the shutdowns.
Trump announced a three-phase plan to restore economic life, state by state, one careful step at a time. The new recommendations crafted with scientists, experts and medical professionals suggested that for many states, the kind of roaring reopening previewed by Trump in recent days will cede to a long, slow trudge towards a new kind of normality.
So much winning.
► Colorado Public Radio looks at how Coloradans plan on using their federal stimulus checks.
► If you think it’s complicated to talk about coronavirus with your kids, imagine trying to do it with other people’s kids.
► The Colorado Springs Independent reports on how difficult it is to get news about positive COVID-19 tests on military bases and installations.
► Governor Jared Polis signed an executive order to speed the process of getting nursing students into the workforce.
► Former State Senator Kevin Lundberg knows better than you about coronavirus, so he and his group of freedom fries are pushing for Gov. Jared Polis to hurry up and re-open the state. From 9News:
“We’re saying that the governor needs to take the mandates off, so the people of Colorado can do what they think is best for their individual lives, for their families, for their businesses,” said Republican State Sen. Kevin Lundberg, who is part of the Freedom Force effort, in an interview with Next with Kyle Clark on Thursday. “I’ve talked to dozens of people in the last few days who give me the problems that this is creating, and of course the big one is that it has literally shut the state down and that is not sustainable.”…
…The former state senator acknowledged that Colorado Freedom Force did not consult public health experts about the impact of lifting the stay-home order now.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that public health doesn’t have all the answers,” said Lundberg. [Pols emphasis]
Use the search bar at right to see how this is classic Lundberg nonsense.
► Colorado hospitals expect a continued PPP shortage, but as The Denver Post reports, things are at least improving.
► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is totally pro-testing!
► Alex Burness of The Denver Post looks back at a big story this week when Gov. Jared Polis was asked to comment on criticisms comparing stay-at-home orders to Nazism.
► As Colorado Public Radio reports, big transportation infrastructure projects in Colorado are getting delayed by the coronavirus.
► Chaffee County is now closed. Do not go to Chafee County.
HERE IT IS: POLITICAL NEWS THAT IS (MOSTLY) NOT ABOUT CORONAVIRUS…
► The “Unaffiliated” newsletter by The Colorado Sun neatly summarizes the state party “conventions” taking place this weekend:
The Colorado Democratic Party will host a remote assembly vote for the U.S. Senate race to determine which candidates to put on the ballot, as well as votes on who will serve as delegates to the national party convention. The results are expected to be announced later that day.
The Colorado Republican Party will hold an actual event (and stream it on their website) including the Pledge of Allegiance, speeches from top elected officials and more. The party’s vote will start Saturday, but remain open for multiple days with the results announced April 25.
Results from the State GOP Assembly are less relevant in 2020 because there are no competitive top-tier Primary battles brewing.
► President Trump’s border wall is not much of a barrier, as The Washington Post reports:
Smugglers sawed into new sections of President Trump’s border wall 18 times in the San Diego area during a single one-month span late last year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection records obtained by The Washington Post via a Freedom of Information Act request.
The breaches and attempted breaches were made between Sept. 27 and Oct. 27, according to CBP records, with five of the incidents occurring on a single day, Oct. 10. The agency withheld information about the specific locations of the incidents, citing law enforcement sensitivities. The agency said the average cost to repair the damage was $620 per incident.
The records do not indicate whether the one-month span last year is a representative sample of how frequently people are trying to breach new sections of Trump’s border barrier, which are made of tall steel bollards partially filled with concrete and rebar. The Post reported last November that smuggling crews armed with common battery-operated power tools — including reciprocating saws that retail for as little as $100 at home improvement stores — can cut hack through the bollards using inexpensive blades designed for slicing through metal and stone.
► As Chris Cillizza notes for CNN, President Trump’s brief polling “bump” is deader than dead:
The latest data from Gallup and a slew of other national polls conducted this month suggest that while Trump clearly benefited from a sort of rally-’round-our-President effect in the early days of the pandemic’s grips on the country, that bump has now disappeared.
Gallup’s latest poll, released on Thursday, shows Trump’s approval rating at 43% — down 6 percentage points from where he was in late March in the same poll…
…The reason for the drop — just as the reason for his temporary rise — seems nearly certain to be perceptions of his handling of the coronavirus crisis. In a new Pew national poll, two-thirds of respondents said they though he had reacted “too slow” to the coronavirus pandemic. That same poll showed a majority of Americans (52%) saying that Tump was making the situation seem better than it actually was.
Always keenly aware of his poll numbers, Trump has grown desperate for good news among this recent slump. On Thursday, he tweeted this: “.@OANN Poll “Gives President Trump a 52% Approval Rating in North Carolina, and a seven point lead over (Sleepy) Joe Biden.”
► Here’s your reminder that Brian Watson was relatively close to being Colorado’s State Treasurer in 2018.
► Frankly, if Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) agrees with you, then you’re probably doing it wrong.
► Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy may well be President of the United States someday soon.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Ryan Lizza chronicles a behind-the-scenes look at a White House coronavirus briefing for POLITICO.
► America’s meat industry could be in trouble.
► Nobody likes Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie.
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