HAVE YOU SEEN “THE BIG LEBOWSKI”? WALTER — played by John Goodman — is not a big fan of DONNY, played by Steve Buscemi. During one of their famous bowling scenes, WALTER says to DONNY: “You have no frame of reference, Donny. You’re like a child who wanders in in the middle of a movie.”
DONNY, in this case, bears more than a passing resemblance to President DONALD TRUMP. HIS TWEETS TUESDAY about the Covid stimulus talks seem like he’s awaking from a monthslong slumber, unbriefed by his advisers and unaware of his surroundings as he enters the fray.
TRUMP PULLED OUT OF THE TALKS at 2:48 p.m., citing the nearly $1 trillion difference between the GOP and Democratic negotiating stances — which many had been privately suggesting he do for some time. Then at 9:54 p.m., he suggested Congress pass “25 Billion Dollars for Airline Payroll Support, & 135 Billion Dollars for Paycheck Protection Program for Small Business,” and a $1,200 stimulus check for every American.
MAN, WHAT A STRATEGY! If you think you’ve heard this before, it’s because you have! Republicans have been suggesting stand-alone bills for months. Speaker NANCY PELOSI has even said that she would pass a stand-alone airline relief bill — one of her chairs tried last week, and the GOP blocked it. If TRUMP had pushed for this a month ago, when Congress was in session, it might have had a chance of being successful.
THIS COMES TOWARD THE MIDDLE OF A BEFUDDLING week for TRUMP.
HE TESTED POSITIVE for the coronavirus, and landed in Walter Reed Medical Center. …
… HIS DOCTOR has given a series of murky news conferences, which have, at times, been undermined by the president himself or his aides.
… HE TOOK A RIDE AROUND WALTER REED to visit fans, which was widely portrayed as irresponsible.
… HE LEFT THE HOSPITAL MONDAY, and made a point of taking his mask off as he got to the White House. Then he said people shouldn’t feel like Covid dominates their lives — tell that to the 207,000 people who died.
… AT LEAST 17 OF HIS AIDES have the coronavirus. Top aide STEPHEN MILLER is the most recent to test positive.
… THE JOINT CHIEFS are quarantined.
OK, THIS IS THE LAST TIME WE’LL DO THIS. The substance of why Covid relief talks fell apart: 1) The two sides were roughly $1 trillion apart. 2) The GOP on Capitol Hill didn’t want a $2 trillion bill. They wanted an $800 billion to $1.5 trillion bill. That never changed, no matter how many times Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN huddled with PELOSI. Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL was never going to ignore the majority of his conference, which didn’t want a big bill. 3) No one can really speak for TRUMP, other than TRUMP.
— WAPO’S ERICA WERNER and JEFF STEIN: “During Tuesday’s call, McConnell suggested to Trump that Pelosi was stringing him along and no deal she cut with Mnuchin would command broad GOP support to pass in the Senate, according to two people with knowledge of the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss it.”
— WSJ: “Stocks End Lower After Trump Puts Halt to Stimulus Talks,” by Sam Goldfarb and Anna Isaac
IS THIS THE END OF COVID RELIEF TALKS? Honestly, who knows.
NEW … ONE MASSIVE AND ONE BIG FUNDRAISING HAUL …
— MASSIVE: CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP FUND, a super PAC that backs House Republicans, raised $77.4 million last quarter — more than double what it did in the same quarter in 2018 ($33 million), when all CLF did was talk about how much money it raised and how great it was. It’s their biggest quarter ever — the closest they’ve come is $51 million in the second quarter of 2018. CLF is going to be a big boost for Republicans down the stretch — and they’ll need it.
— BIG: IVANKA TRUMP headlined two fundraisers Tuesday, which raised a combined $10 MILLION for the TRUMP reelection campaign. She’s raised $25 MILLION in six events in 2020.
PRESIDENT’S NUMBERS DROP … WAPO’S ASHLEY PARKER and JOSH DAWSEY: “A GOP group working to elect Senate Republicans conducted polling over the weekend in four states — Colorado, Georgia, Montana and North Carolina — as Trump was hospitalized. The president’s numbers dropped ‘significantly’ in every state, falling by about five points in all four. ‘The president is in real trouble,’ said one of the group’s operatives, who is also close to the White House.”
Good Tuesday morning. 21 DAYS until Election Day.
NYT, A1: “Trump’s Return Leaves White House in Disarray as Infections Jolt West Wing,” by Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni: “The White House that President Trump woke up in on Tuesday morning was in full-blown chaos, even by the standards of the havoc of the Trump era.
“Aides said the president’s voice was stronger after his return from the hospital Monday night, but at times he still sounded as if he was trying to catch air. The West Wing was mostly empty, cleared of advisers who were out sick with the coronavirus themselves or told to work from home rather than in the capital’s most famous virus hot spot. Staff members in the White House residence were in full personal protective equipment, including yellow gowns, surgical masks and disposable protective eye covers. …
“Mr. Trump, diagnosed with Covid-19 last week, was still livid at his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, whose effort on Saturday to tamp down the rosy portrait of Mr. Trump’s condition given to reporters by his chief doctor was caught on camera. Other officials were angry with Mr. Meadows for not even trying to control the president. …
“Some White House staff members wondered whether Mr. Trump’s behavior was spurred by a cocktail of drugs he has been taking to treat the coronavirus, including dexamethasone, a steroid that can cause mood swings and can give a false level of energy and a sense of euphoria. … On Monday night, some of the staff members still at the White House had gathered to watch Mr. Trump’s return. When he defiantly took off his mask on the Truman Balcony for a made-for-television moment, aides said it was of course a statement. But they also wondered if the face covering was making it harder for the president to breathe.”
GRIM PREDICTION — “Fauci: There could be 300,000 to 400,000 Covid deaths unless precautions taken,” by Matthew Choi
FROM 30,000 FEET … JOHN HARRIS column: “Trump’s Chickens Come Home To Roost. So Do America’s.”
NEW — MCCONNELL plans to take a shot at criticism of AMY CONEY BARRETT’S religious views this morning: “The ongoing attacks by Senate Democrats and the media on Judge Barrett’s faith are a disgrace. … Only our self-parodying liberal media would call it a scandal that a young person in graduate school found community in shared religious beliefs and met their future spouse. Most Americans would call that a beautiful story. … Every Supreme Court Justice in history has possessed personal views. Judges have a job to do and they swear to do it impartially. It is the definition of discrimination to assert that Justice Barrett’s particular faith makes her uniquely unqualified for this promotion.”
AHEAD OF TONIGHT’S VP DEBATE … CHRIS CADELAGO: “How Kamala Harris has stacked up as Joe Biden’s No. 2”: “Joe Biden’s selection of Harris has excited Democrats. She’s helped him raise money at a record clip. She is Biden’s highest-profile surrogate to swing-state cities like Milwaukee, Detroit and Philadelphia, with a particular focus on courting voters of color, including African Americans and Latinos.
“Harris appears solo and alongside Biden in TV ads, a rarity for a VP contender, and stars in digital videos pumped out by the campaign. She’s become the 77-year-old nominee’s emissary to pop culture, making appearances with musical icons, sitting for podcasts geared toward non-political audiences and drawing millions of views for brief videos of her stepping off the plane in Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers. The verdict: Harris, with a few exceptions, has hit her marks.”
NEW … POLITICO/MORNING CONSULT POLL: 43% of voters expect HARRIS to best VP MIKE PENCE tonight. 37% say PENCE will come out on top.
— TRUMP still leads BIDEN when it comes to who is viewed as a better steward of the economy. 46% say TRUMP is more trusted, and 42% say BIDEN.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — The DNC WAR ROOM is sending out a memo this morning laying the groundwork for where they want to hammer PENCE at tonight’s debate: all pandemic, all the time. The memo
HAPPENING TODAY — ANNA will moderate a WOMEN RULE virtual conversation at 1 P.M. on the VP debate with MAYA HARRIS, JEN PALMIERI and CHRISTINE PELOSI. Register to watch
NEW: POLITICO is joining ProPublica’s Electionland, a project that tracks how Americans vote and examines voting problems across the country. Electionland also runs a tip line for voters to identify voting issues. Electionland HQ … The tip line
BATTLE FOR THE SENATE — “Susan Collins goes for the jugular with her career on the line,” by Burgess Everett: “Susan Collins generally keeps an even keel. But she’s had it with Sara Gideon. ‘She will say or do anything to try to win,’ Collins said of her opponent in a 30-minute interview in her Capitol quarters last week. ‘This race is built on a foundation of falsehoods. And trying to convince the people of Maine that somehow I am no longer the same person.’
“Collins wasn’t done as she accused Gideon of ‘defaming my reputation and attacking my integrity’ in their increasingly nasty race. For good measure, the Maine Republican added that Gideon’s campaign was being run as an arm of Chuck Schumer’s Washington operation, scolded Gideon, the statehouse speaker, for not reconvening the legislature amid the pandemic and challenged Gideon’s handling of a sexual misconduct scandal.
“Perhaps most pointedly, she suggested that Gideon is from away — a serious charge in a state that can turn its nose up at outsiders. ‘I grew up in Caribou, I’ve lived in Bangor for 26 years. My family’s been in Maine for generations. She’s been in Maine for about 15 years and lives in Freeport,’ Collins said acidly of Gideon, who was born and raised in Rhode Island. ‘That’s a big difference in our knowledge of the state.’” POLITICO
TRUMP’S WEDNESDAY — The president has no public events scheduled.
ON THE TRAIL … BIDEN will attend virtual fundraising events.
— HARRIS will participate in the VP debate in Salt Lake City. DOUG EMHOFF will join Paid Leave for the United States Action Fund for a pre-debate “Conversations on Care.” Afterward, he’ll attend the debate.
MUST READ … NYT’S MIKE SHEAR, KATIE BENNER and MIKE SCHMIDT: “‘We Need to Take Away Children,’ No Matter How Young, Justice Dept. Officials Said”
BLOOMBERG: “Exxon, Oil Rivals Shield Their Carbon Forecasts From Investors,” by Akshat Rathi and Kevin Crowley
BEYOND THE BELTWAY — “St. Louis couple indicted for waving guns at protesters,” by AP’s Jim Salter in St. Louis: “A grand jury on Tuesday indicted the St. Louis couple who displayed guns while hundreds of racial injustice protesters marched on their private street. Al Watkins, an attorney for the couple, confirmed to The Associated Press the indictments against Mark McCloskey, 63, and Patricia McCloskey, 61. A spokeswoman for Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner declined comment.
“The McCloskeys, who are both attorneys, have become folk heroes among some conservatives. They argue that they were simply exercising their Second Amendment right to bear arms, and were protected by Missouri’s castle doctrine law that allows the use of deadly force against intruders. The case has caught the attention of President Donald Trump, and Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has said he will pardon the couple if they are convicted.”
VALLEY TALK — “Landmark Google-Oracle fight heads to Supreme Court without RBG,” by Steven Overly: “Google will defend itself against Oracle’s charge that it stole code to build its Android operating system before the Supreme Court on Wednesday — and Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s absence may be pivotal in a ruling that could shake up Silicon Valley’s business model.
“The case is one of the first to be heard by the now 8-member court and Ginsberg’s death likely means one less vote in Oracle’s favor, legal scholars say. It also creates the possibility the remaining justices could split and leave the tech world in limbo on a crucial issue — who controls code that underpins much of modern technology.” POLITICO
— WSJ: “House Panel Says Big Tech Wields Monopoly Power,” by Ryan Tracy: “America’s biggest technology companies have leveraged their dominance to stamp out competition and stifle innovation, according to a Democratic-led House panel, which said Congress should consider forcing the tech giants to separate their dominant online platforms from other business lines.
“The report released Tuesday from Democratic staff of the House Antitrust Subcommittee capped a 16-month inquiry into the market power of Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc. Republicans issued a separate response endorsing strong antitrust enforcement targeting the companies but didn’t endorse many of the Democrats’ policy prescriptions. It also accused the companies of bias against conservative viewpoints.”
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at [email protected].
IN MEMORIAM … A FREE E-BOOK celebrating ALICE MAYHEW, the legendary Simon & Schuster editor who died earlier this year. With contributions from Jill Abramson, Taylor Branch, Steven Brill, David Brooks, Jimmy Carter, C.J. Chivers, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Walter Isaacson, William Shawcross, Amy Wilentz, Bob Woodward and dozens of others. The book
WEEKEND WEDDING — Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Nadine Arslanian got married Saturday in an intimate ceremony and small outdoor reception with friends and family. Pool report: “Even though they kept the celebration small due to Covid, the couple had an amazing time dancing the night away!” Pic … Another pic
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Amanda Fleming, deputy director of development at Public Citizen. What she’s been reading: “‘What If Trump Refuses to Concede?’ in The Atlantic last month was terrifying. I’m really trying to remain hopeful this country can turn itself around, but all of my greatest fears were outlined in that article. I should probably read more fiction for the rest of 2020.” Playbook Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: DNC Chair Tom Perez is 59 (h/t Teresa Vilmain) … Russian President Vladimir Putin is 68 … Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) is 65 … NYT’s Charlie Savage … retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. Oliver North is 77 … Katrina vanden Heuvel … Chris Krueger of Cowen … Alice Lloyd … GWU professor Sean Aday is 53 … Suz Redfearn … CNN’s Elizabeth Hartfield … Barbara Martinez … Bill Sweeney, SVP for government affairs at AARP … CNN’s Laura Ly (h/t Eric Levenson) … Stephen Jackson, director of policy at the Ripon Society … Kate Berner, VP at SKDKnickerbocker … Roll Call photographer Tom Williams is 46 (h/t Tim Burger) … Michael Rosengart, associate at Boies Schiller Flexner … Todd Weiler …
… Tara Napier Harrison, head of corporate affairs at BP (h/t Geoff Morrell) … Arie Lipnick … Jay Korff … former Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes … David Gellman … Jackie Murphy … Holly Arthur … Mark Orlowski, executive director and founder of the Sustainable Endowments Institute … Allison Worsham … Gavin Carson … Adam Fetcher … Brandon Hurlbut, co-founder of Boundary Stone Partners … Mike Hotchkiss, deputy spox for Princeton, the pride of the University of Missouri and a diehard St. Louis Cardinals fan (h/t Ben Chang) … Catherine Jaynes … Jim Ramsey … Rick Hutto … Jen Hengstenberg … Mary Cox … John Hedgecoth … Mike Hotchkiss … Kenneth Marcus is 54
Credit: Source link