Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 14, 2020

Harold Maass
Trump at a press briefing
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

1.

Trump uses coronavirus briefing to attack critics

President Trump used Monday's White House coronavirus briefing to push back against criticism of his administration's handling of the crisis. Before experts were given time to update the public on the crisis, Trump presented a campaign-style video to portray his response as timely, and lashed out at critics and press coverage, particularly over the administration's failure to act aggressively to prevent the outbreak from spreading in February. "We really have done this right. The problem is the press doesn't cover it the way it should be," Trump said. The U.S. death toll from coronavirus rose to more than 22,000, with more than 580,000 confirmed cases. The number of cases worldwide has reached roughly 2 million. [CNN, The Hill]

2.

Sanders endorses Biden

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday endorsed his former rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Joe Biden. "We need you in the White House," Sanders told the former vice president. "And I will do all that I can to see that that happens." Biden responded by telling Sanders: "I'm going to need you. Not just to win the campaign, but to govern." Sanders' formal support was seen as a strong signal to Sanders' intensely loyal followers, and a potentially important factor as Biden tries to win over young progressives. An expected endorsement from another of the primary field's top progressives, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), could reinforce Biden's pitch to progressives. [The New York Times]

3.

Governors unite to plan for reopening regional economies

Two groups of governors, one from the East Coast and the other from the West, announced Monday that they were joining forces to develop coordinated plans to eventually reopen their economies. The governors plan to roll back coronavirus restrictions slowly, to avoid new spikes of infections. New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Rhode Island are forming the Eastern regional council, while California, Washington, and Oregon are forming the Western one. The announcement came as the White House unveiled its new council to stimulate the federal economy and reopen businesses. President Trump, who has said he hopes to reopen parts of the economy as soon as possible, said he had the "total" authority to overrule the governors. "The president of the United States calls the shots," he said. [Axios, The New York Times]

4.

Navy confirms sailor from USS Theodore Roosevelt died of coronavirus

A sailor from the USS Theodore Roosevelt, whose captain was ousted after warning of a coronavirus outbreak, has died from COVID-19 complications, the Navy confirmed on Monday. The sailor, whose name wasn't released, tested positive for the coronavirus on March 30 and was admitted into intensive care on April 9. This is the first confirmed death of one of the ship's sailors from COVID-19. More than 500 sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for the coronavirus, and four more sailors were reportedly admitted to the hospital over the weekend. Earlier this month, Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved of duty after writing a letter sounding the alarm about a coronavirus outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, writing "sailors do not need to die" and calling for action "now." [CNN]

5.

Supreme Court to hear arguments via telephone

From May 4 to May 13, the Supreme Court will hear arguments for 10 cases over the phone for the first time in its history. While some state and federal courts have heard cases remotely for a while, this is the first time the Supreme Court will hear arguments without physically being together. The court's next session will include a case on faithless electors in the electoral college and a case combining House Democrats' and New York state prosecutors' subpoenas for President Trump's financial records. The Supreme Court has already delivered decisions remotely since the COVID-19 pandemic began, though that wasn't a new practice for the court. The decision to let Wisconsin's primary continue during the pandemic was delivered remotely, but the court had postponed future arguments until deciding to proceed on Monday. [Bloomberg]

6.

Liberal beats Trump-backed incumbent for Wisconsin Supreme Court seat

Democrats won a significant victory in Wisconsin's election for a state Supreme Court seat on Monday when the liberal challenger was declared the upset winner of last week's election over a conservative incumbent backed by President Trump. The liberal candidate, Jill Karofsky, beat Justice Daniel Kelly by more than 90,000 votes as of Monday night, a margin of victory that surprised members of both parties in a potentially crucial presidential battleground state. Also, former Vice President Joe Biden was declared the winner of last week's controversial Wisconsin presidential primary, which was held despite a last-minute effort by the state's governor to delay in-person voting due to the coronavirus outbreak. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, handily won against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has since suspended his campaign and endorsed Biden. [The New York Times]

7.

Trump administration asks Congress to extend census deadlines

The Trump administration on Monday urged Congress to push back data collection deadlines for the 2020 Census as the country enters its second month of coronavirus shutdowns. The Census Bureau earlier delayed the deadlines by weeks and suspended field operations, but now the Trump administration wants Congress to allow several more months for census forms to be collected and tallied. The new plan calls for reopening field offices in June and allowing data collection to continue to Oct. 31, rather than stopping in mid-August as currently planned. The deadline for delivering redistricting data to states would be pushed back by four months to July 31, 2021. [The Washington Post]

8.

Death toll from violent storms reaches 30 in South

The death toll from violent storms and tornadoes that crashed through the South rose to at least 30 people on Monday. It was the deadliest flurry of tornadoes in the United States in six years. More than 1 million homes and businesses lost power as dozens of tornadoes were reported. Eleven people were killed in Mississippi, nine in South Carolina, and eight in Georgia. Falling trees and other wind damage also killed people in Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Forecasters said the region would get calmer weather on Tuesday, with a slight chance of continuing severe weather in pockets of southern Georgia and Florida but only a low threat of more tornadoes. [USA Today]

9.

Immigration detainees say protective gear scarce in detention centers

Detained asylum seekers are calling for guards to give them masks to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, The Associated Press reported Monday. Three detainees told the AP that guards in the Otay Mesa Detention Center, run by a private prison company in San Diego, refused to hand over masks until detainees signed a form saying they could not hold the company liable if they were infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has started to reduce the number of people in detention in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. The number of coronavirus cases at Otay Mesa Detention Center jumped from one case to 12 last week. Seventy-two detainees in 12 states have now tested positive. [The Associated Press]

10.

ESPN asks highest paid talent to take pay cut

ESPN on Monday asked about 100 of its highest paid commentators, writers, and analysts to accept a voluntary pay cut to help save the jobs of colleagues as college and professional sports remain on hiatus due to the coronavirus crisis. The cuts would last three months and amount to 3.75 percent of the affected employees' annual salaries. "Today, I am asking you something that I never imagined I would," ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said to the selected employees in a Monday email that was obtained by The Washington Post. ESPN executives already have taken a pay cut of 20 percent to 30 percent, depending on their seniority level. ESPN's parent company, Disney, recently announced it would furlough thousands of workers due to the crisis. [The Washington Post]