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► Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to be softening on his resistance to providing federal aid to local municipal governments decimated by the coronavirus. McConnell has spent much of the past week in vocal opposition to helping out local governments, which has not been a popular stance. As The Washington Post reports, McConnell and President Trump may be getting the message:
As states across the country see their budgets decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, attempts by President Trump and top Republican lawmakers to paint the issue in partisan terms have been directly challenged by a growing cast of voices from across the political spectrum.
Republican and Democratic governors are warning of financial calamity if Washington doesn’t provide relief, some GOP lawmakers have joined with Democrats to call for a massive aid bill, and budget experts contend that leaving states to fend for themselves will only prolong the nation’s recovery from the economic shock brought on by the pandemic.
Still, Trump has pushed the idea that a federal aid package would largely benefit fiscally irresponsible states run by Democrats. It’s the latest attempt by the president to cast a partisan frame around a crisis that has ravaged much of the country with little regard for political affiliation.
Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) is the sponsor of The Coronavirus Community Relief Act, a measure to assist local governments which has broad bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate. Neguse discusses this legislation in the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast.
Check out CNN for more on McConnell’s shifting stance on this issue.
► The White House is not happy that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is advising Senators and candidates to avoid defending President Trump on his coronavirus response. From POLITICO:
On Monday — just days after POLITICO first reported the existence of the memo — Trump political adviser Justin Clark told NRSC executive director Kevin McLaughlin that any Republican candidate who followed the memo’s advice shouldn’t expect the active support of the reelection campaign and risked losing the support of Republican voters.
McLaughlin responded by saying he agreed with the Trump campaign’s position and, according to two people familiar with the conversation, clarified that the committee wasn’t advising candidates to not defend Trump over his response…
…The 57-page memo, which was authored by a top GOP strategist, was perceived by Trump aides as giving candidates leeway to avoid backing the president on what could be the defining issue of the 2020 campaign. And they held a series of conversations on Friday and over the weekend figuring out how to respond.
The memo urged GOP Senate candidates to stay relentlessly on message with attacks against China, where the coronavirus originated, when pressed about the pandemic on the campaign trail. When asked about Trump’s response to the pandemic, the document advised candidates to pivot to an attack on the authoritarian country rather than offer an explicit defense of Trump’s response.
It’s hard to argue with the NRSC’s logic here. How do you defend the indefensible?
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) apparently got the memo.
► Colorado is joining forces with other Western states on a shared path toward reducing stay-at-home guidelines. As Denver7 reports:
The Western States Pact is a group of governors from the western states that have a shared vision for modifying the stay-at-home orders and continuing to fight the novel coronavirus. The governors have pledged that health outcomes and science, and not politics, will guide their decisions regarding COVID-19.
The Western States Pact is centered around three core principles: 1) Prioritizing the health of residents, 2) Relying on science, not politics, in making decisions about reducing restrictions, and 3) Working together with other states on a common rollout. Colorado joins Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington in The Western States Pact.
► Governor Jared Polis is reminding Coloradans that we could return to “stay-at-home” status if the new “safer-at-home” program doesn’t slow the coronavirus.
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…
► As The Denver Post reports, a new poll shows that Coloradans remain wary about moving away from social distancing practices:
A majority of Coloradans believe businesses should stay closed until there is more testing available for the new coronavirus, even as nearly half reported that they have lost jobs or income due to the global pandemic.
These results are among the highlights released Monday of a new survey of 1,000 adult Colorado residents, gauging attitudes and opinions on a wide range of questions related to the COVID-19 crisis.
The survey, commissioned by Healthier Colorado and The Colorado Health Foundation and conducted by the Colorado-based polling firm Magellan Strategies, included telephone and online surveys from April 15 to April 21.
The poll found 43% of Coloradans feel the worst of the coronavirus is yet to come, including 55% of African Americans. Communities of color have been disproportionally impacted by COVID-19, both in Colorado and the rest of the country, data has shown.
► As The Washington Post reports, President Trump was warned repeatedly about the coronavirus earlier this year, but he just wasn’t interested in the topic:
U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the novel coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat, according to current and former U.S. officials.
The repeated warnings were conveyed in issues of the President’s Daily Brief, a sensitive report that is produced before dawn each day and designed to call the president’s attention to the most significant global developments and security threats.
For weeks, the PDB — as the report is known — traced the virus’s spread around the globe, made clear that China was suppressing information about the contagion’s transmissibility and lethal toll, and raised the prospect of dire political and economic consequences.
But the alarms appear to have failed to register with the president, who routinely skips reading the PDB and has at times shown little patience for even the oral summary he takes two or three times per week, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified material. [Pols emphasis]
Director of Harvard Global Health Institute: “I think most Americans need to know the reason we are shutdown, our economy is shutdown is because we’ve had inadequate testing.” pic.twitter.com/nzqnjWVftf
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) April 27, 2020
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) loves signing him some letters.
► As 9News reports, Colorado banks and small businesses are preparing for round two of the Paycheck Protection Program.
► You can file this story under, “No Shit, Sherlock.”
► Denver Mayor Michael Hancock talks with CNN about extending a “stay-at-home” order in Colorado’s largest city.
► Westword provides an update on Weld County’s efforts to ignore common sense and expert advice on slowing the spread of coronavirus.
AT LAST: POLITICAL NEWS THAT IS (MOSTLY) NOT ABOUT CORONAVIRUS…
► As POLITICO reports, Republicans are getting nervous about lagging behind Democrats in being prepared for an increase in mail balloting:
Coronavirus has campaigns rushing to put voting by mail at the center of their general election strategies — and some Republicans worry they’ve already fallen behind, as President Donald Trump dismisses the method and drives doubt about mail voting among the GOP base.
Multimillion dollar programs urging mail voting in November are already coming together, as both parties envision a social-distancing election featuring a spike in absentee ballots, according to interviews with more than a dozen campaign strategists, party committees and outside groups. Organizing Together, a field-focused group founded by Obama alumni, is partnering with Priorities USA, the Democratic super PAC blessed by Joe Biden’s campaign, to air digital ads in battleground states educating voters on how to cast ballots by mail. The Democratic National Committee called vote-by-mail programs a top priority.
But while conservative campaigns and groups like Americans for Prosperity are planning to pump more spending into their own mail programs to drive turnout, there is growing concern among Republicans that this month’s Wisconsin elections — which saw Democrats capture a state Supreme Court seat after pivoting aggressively to encourage supporters to vote by mail — demonstrate a lack of Republican readiness to wage a campaign dominated by absentee ballots.
As The New York Times reports in a profile on Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, the Republican’s support for mail balloting has been a big success in a key swing state:
He also split decidedly with Mr. Trump by encouraging a nearly all-mail primary election on Tuesday. While the president has spread the false claim that voting by mail entails “a lot” of fraud, Mr. DeWine pushed universal absentee ballots for voters’ safety. Ohio’s secretary of state on Monday called the effort a success, with nearly 1.5 million mail ballots cast. [Pols emphasis]
► Former Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is doing some online stumping for Democrat John Hickenlooper’s U.S. Senate campaign:
► The Colorado Secretary of State’s office is challenging a ruling from a Denver judge that appears to allow Democrat Michelle Ferrigno Warren to appear on the June Primary ballot for U.S. Senate despite the fact that Warren came nowhere close to gathering the required number of petition signatures. The Colorado Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from SOS Jena Griswold.
► Momentum seems to favor Democrats in the fight to re-take majority control in the U.S. Senate.
► House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “has proven her competence during times of crisis.” This is probably not a quote you would expect to hear from Republican Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez), but Tipton put it in writing.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► As Talking Points Memo explains, Dr. Kelli Ward, the chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party and an actual doctor of osteopathic medicine, is encouraging anti-social distancing protestors to “dress up” as doctors and nurses to confuse the media, or something.
► Denver’s popular annual PrideFest celebration will be a virtual affair this year. If you love online parades, you’re in luck!
► Here’s The New York Times story about President Trump’s daily work schedule that has The Big Orange guy all riled up.
► Remember Sweden’s big boast about how it was fighting coronavirus by not asking people to stay at home? Yeah, that didn’t work at all.
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