The TAKE with Rick Klein
President Donald Trump famously said he loves “my generals.”
But in the wake of an already infamous photo-op, and amid a national reckoning over Confederate symbolism and the politics of race and justice, some of those same generals are presenting a leadership challenge for Trump.
Last week, Trump’s former defense secretary and White House chief of staff — former generals, both — questioned the president’s leadership after protesters were cleared for his St. John’s Church photo-op. Now Trump’s current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, is apologizing for being part of that same event.
Trump defied his own Pentagon on Wednesday by declaring he “will not even consider” proposals to rename military installations that honor Confederate generals. On Thursday, the Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committee voted to require the bases be renamed within three years.
Former Vice President Joe Biden added a twist this week by saying he was “damn proud” of military leaders taking a stand against the president. He added a prediction that military officials would step in to force Trump out of office if he refused to accept the results of the election.
“I promise you, I’m absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch,” Biden told Trevor Noah on “The Daily Show.”
The Trump campaign quickly replied that Biden is wrong to suggest he won’t honor the results of the election.
Trump is staking his future on a return to normalcy for the country, with a weekend at Bedminster, a graduation address at West Point and then a campaign rally next week being planned.
His challenge is that this remains a moment that does not feel normal — either to voters or to a growing number of generals, both on and off Team Trump.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
This week, Democrats continued to offer policy proposals to the two major crises hitting America — both the ongoing threat of the coronavirus as well as the call for police reforms and answers to structural disparities along racial lines.
Their ideas were sweeping and highly controversial. On the federal level they will be hard to pass. But the fact that Democrats kept offering bills and new plans made it obvious this week that Republicans have struggled to do so.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., has been a noteworthy exception, of course, leading his party’s efforts on their own bill of possible police reforms. Whatever Scott and his team come up with will have an easier time winning presidential approval, for sure, but the text of Scott’s bill was delayed until next week at the soonest.
Democrats introduced their major legislation days ago.
This week the United States also hit a shocking milestone in the pandemic — 2 million diagnosed cases of COVID-19. Although hospitalizations for the novel coronavirus were on the rise in at least eight states, the president has talked in the last few days about getting back to large-scale rallies without many specifics about how to do that safely.
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As a point of comparison, the presumptive Democratic nominee Biden pitched his own plan for “an effective re-opening that jumpstarts the economy,” which included ideas around guaranteed testing, guaranteed paid leave and plans for reopening schools.
The TIP with Kendall Karson
Democrats’ virtual convention in Wisconsin kicks off on Friday. But not that convention.
On Friday, the Wisconsin Democratic Party is holding its state convention, a scaled-down, one-day affair happening entirely online. The event might be an abbreviated version, compared to the initially planned weekend-long gathering, but it still serves as the opener for the Democratic National Convention, set for the week of Aug. 17.
While Republicans settled on splitting their entirely in-person convention, keeping official business in Charlotte, North Carolina, and moving Trump’s acceptance speech and the coronation he desires to Jacksonville, Florida, the format for the Democratic convention is still in flux. Last month, the Democratic National Committee’s rule-makers approved a measure to allow for remote voting at the quadrennial event, but last week, DNC Chair Tom Perez signaled that some portion of the event will be in-person in Milwaukee.
“It’s not an either-or — you either have a full convention or you have a virtual convention. There are gradations in between,” he said.
Still, the party will get an early dry-run, previewing a possible virtual convention two months before their own, with Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and a slate of prominent Democrats, taking the virtual stage to gin up enthusiasm among the party’s most loyal in one of the most crucial battleground states in 2020.
ONE MORE THING
Strong majorities of Americans oppose the movement to “defund the police” and some of its most significant goals, specifically reshuffling funding away from law enforcement to support mental health, housing and education programs, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Friday finds.
BRINGING AMERICA BACK
The pandemic unemployment assistance program, which adds $600 a week on top of state unemployment benefits, is set to end July 31, and lawmakers are grappling with whether it should be extended. Read this story and more by checking out Bringing America Back, an ABC News feature that highlights the day’s top stories in economic recovery and medical preparedness amid the coronavirus pandemic.
ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. Friday morning’s episode features ABC News Chief Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas who tells us about the ABC News investigation, which found a stark disparity in the arrest rates of black people compared to whites. ABC News Chief Global Affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz explains why more top military officials are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s church photo-op. Then, ABC News Chief National correspondent Matt Gutman joins us from Seattle, where a group of protesters have claimed an area of the city for themselves. And, ABC News contributor professor Austan Goolsbee explains why the stock market showed more coronavirus jitters Thursday. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEKEND
Vice President Mike Pence travels to Pittsburgh and participates in a listening session with faith and community leaders at Covenant Church at 11:30 a.m., has lunch at a restaurant in Springdale, Pennsylvania, at 12:45 p.m. and tours and speaks to employees at Oberg Industries in Sarver, Pennsylvania, at 2:50 p.m. Former Vice President Joe Biden participates in an AFSCME tele-town hall Friday at 1:15 p.m. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin holds its state convention on Friday. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at West Point’s graduation on Saturday. Sunday on ABC’s “This Week”: ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos goes one-on-one with Fair Fight founder Stacey Abrams. And the Powerhouse Roundtable discusses all the week’s politics with former New Jersey Governor and ABC News Contributor Chris Christie, former Chicago Mayor and ABC News Contributor Rahm Emanuel, Associate Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and ABC News Contributor Leah Wright Rigueur and Democracy for America CEO and ABC News Contributor Yvette Simpson.
Download the ABC News app and select “The Note” as an item of interest to receive the day’s sharpest political analysis.
The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day’s top stories in politics. Please check back Monday for the latest.
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