LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
It’s Easter Sunday within the time of our pandemic. Church buildings are largely empty. And that goes for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, as we’ll hear in a couple of minutes. Individuals are being discouraged from gathering. So clergymen and pastors are holding distant providers. And family and friends who could usually get collectively for brunch or a ham dinner – nicely, they’re making do and making an attempt to maintain a protected distance. That goes for our good friend NPR nationwide political correspondent Mara Liasson as nicely. She joins us now however from her residence. Good morning.
MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: It was simply 2 half of weeks in the past that President Trump mentioned it could be stunning to have packed church buildings on Easter. Clearly, that didn’t come to go. Has his communication concerning the pandemic gotten any extra real looking or dependable since then?
LIASSON: The briefings are nonetheless an actual curler coaster, numerous contradictions and confusion. However what’s attention-grabbing is that the briefings themselves have turn out to be controversial contained in the Republican Occasion. There are members of Congress, Republicans, who’re saying these briefings are usually not serving to Trump. Even The Wall Road Journal editorial web page – fairly reliably conservative outlet – had an editorial headlined “Trump’s Wasted Briefings.” That made the president fairly mad. And he tweeted that The Wall Road Journal was faux information and that it forgot to say the very excessive rankings he will get.
Nevertheless it sounds just like the president’s Republican allies cannot persuade him that, generally, much less is extra, although the briefings aren’t enhancing his standing with the general public. His approval rankings have slipped a bit of bit. That being mentioned, there was no briefing yesterday. And there in all probability will not be one at present as a result of it is Easter.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what do you make of the push and pull we see, day after day, of the general public well being officers saying we won’t let up on social distancing but and the president, who’s clearly and understandably very desperate to get the nation again to work?
LIASSON: Sure. He says that is going to be the most important determination of his life. He’s pulled between political advisors and company leaders who inform him he must open up the economic system quickly and public well being consultants that say, in the event you open it too quickly, extra folks will die. However in the event you open it too late, there will be an financial disaster that might not solely price tens of millions of individuals their livelihoods but additionally imperil the president’s reelection possibilities. And, you understand, consultants say that you simply want about 750,000 exams every week to have the ability to open up the economic system safely to search out out who’s contaminated and who’s not.
And our personal Franco Ordoñez requested the president if he accepts that quantity. And the president’s reply was, do you want it? No. Is it a pleasant factor to do? Sure. So it would not sound like he’ll wait round to get that form of testing capability.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I need to get your learn on two tweets posted lately, one from Trump saying 100 ventilators for Colorado after Senator Cory Gardner requested them, and the opposite from Arizona Senator Martha McSally saying her name to Trump acquired 100 machines promised to her state.
LIASSON: Proper. These are two Republican senators, incumbents up for reelection. Each of them are endangered. They’re trailing their Democratic opponents. And the president needs to assist them. He needs them to take the credit score for getting the tools to their states, though it was the governor who acquired them. And in some methods, that is simply clear politics as normal. The place it will get extra controversial is to the extent that he is being accused of turning the struggle towards the pandemic right into a political soccer.
, Democratic governors have accused the White Home of taking part in favorites. They are saying, as an example, that Florida, an excellent essential battleground state with a Republican governor, will get every part it asks for. In the meantime, Democratic governors get advised by the president that they are asking for greater than they actually need.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Let’s go to the election as a result of there may be one coming. And on Thursday, Joe Biden mentioned he needed to broaden entry to Medicare and forgive some scholar debt. Is it shifting to the left? Is it the Sanders impact?
LIASSON: It’s the Sanders impact. He mentioned that he would let folks purchase – join Medicare at age 60. And he would forgive some scholar debt. What he is doing is rigorously reaching out to the progressive wing of the celebration in a means that he hopes doesn’t alienate fashionable – reasonable suburban voters. He already had adopted Elizabeth Warren’s chapter proposal, as an example. So he is making an attempt to do a cautious dance to unify the celebration. He hasn’t gone as far as to embrace obligatory “Medicare for All.” That is the Sanders proposal that will put everybody on a authorities well being care plan and get rid of personal insurance coverage. And what’s attention-grabbing to me is that Bernie Sanders is just not demanding that he try this. So it tells you, I believe, that the Democratic Occasion is unifying a bit of bit extra simply and sooner than it did in 2016 and even 2008.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is NPR nationwide political correspondent Mara Liasson. Thanks a lot.
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