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First Read: Trump Clashes with Big Business

First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally on May 25, 2016 in Anaheim, California.Spencer Platt / Getty Images

First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.

Trump vs. Big Business

Maybe the most remarkable part of Donald Trump’s anti-trade speech yesterday was the reaction from Republican-leaning big-business groups. “Setting Things Straight: NAFTA has NOT been a disaster for the U.S.,” tweeted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has doled out millions upon millions of dollars to GOP candidates over the last few years. The president of the National Association of Manufacturers added, “@realDonaldTrump you have it backward. Trade is GOOD for #mfg workers & #jobs. Let’s #MakeAmericaTradeAgain.” There is no doubt that Trump is making a play for some Bernie Sanders supporters (“The people who rigged the system are supporting Hillary Clinton because they know as long as she is in charge nothing will ever change,” Trump said yesterday). But by doing so, he’s making a break with the modern Republican Party -- Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush were all for free trade; so are most Republicans currently serving in Congress. Bottom line: Yesterday’s speech by Trump was something that no Republican presidential nominee in the last 60 years would have delivered.

Hillary’s boxed in on trade

But that doesn’t mean that Hillary Clinton can take advantage of that break (beyond the fundraising advantage). Indeed, she’s boxed in on trade -- by Trump, by Sanders (who, it appears, continues make opposition to the TPP trade accord a condition for his ultimate endorsement), and by President Obama (who supports TPP and sees it as a final legacy achievement). And then there’s the standard operating procedure for Democratic presidents to oppose trade while on the campaign trail but back it when in the Oval Office, which Trump emphasized yesterday. “But have no doubt that she will immediately approve [TPP] if it's put before her, and that is guaranteed. Guaranteed. She will do this just as she's betrayed American workers for Wall Street and throughout, throughout her career. Her whole career, she has betrayed the American worker. She's trying to put on a good front now. She will betray you again.”

Mind the education gap

As Trump yesterday gave his anti-trade speech outside of Pittsburgh and then later appeared in southeastern Ohio, it’s worth pointing out the SIGNIFICANT education gap in the latest NBC/WSJ poll. Trump leads Clinton by 23 points, 54%-31%. among whites without a college degree. But among whites with college degrees or more, Clinton has a one-point advantage, 44%-43%. Why is this a big deal? As Ron Brownstein wrote last month, “In the history of modern polling dating back to 1952, no Democratic presidential candidate has ever carried most college-educated whites; even Lyndon Johnson fell slightly short during his 1964 landslide… From 1952 through 1980, in fact, no Democratic nominee reached even 40 percent with college-educated whites, except Johnson.”

San Bernardino, Orlando, Istanbul -- the New Normal

Yesterday, while commenting on the deadly terrorist attack in Istanbul, Secretary of State John Kerry called it “daily fare.” “According to press reports at least ... are dead and some 40 wounded and we are still collecting information and trying to ascertain what happened and who did it and I won't comment further on it except to say this is daily fare, and that is why I say the first challenge we need to face is countering non-state violent actors for a host of reasons.” Bottom line: It has become the New Normal. And that isn’t a good place to be.

Clinton outspends Trump in battleground states, $26 million to $0

Hillary Clinton and her allies continue to dominate the presidential battleground-state airwaves, outspending Donald Trump and pro-Trump groups this month, $26 million to $0, according to ad-spending data from SMG Delta. For the week, it’s $7.5 million to $0 in the eight battlegrounds of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia. And when you add future ad reservations, it’s $140 million to $0. Of Team Clinton’s $26 million this month, the Clinton campaign has spent nearly $9 million in ads this month, while affiliated outside groups like the pro-Clinton Super PAC Priorities USA have chipped in an additional $17 million. The sole pro-Trump advertiser, Rebuilding America Now, has aired commercials on national cable TV, not in the battlegrounds – at a price tag of $1.2 million so far. Here are the numbers:

Battleground State Ad Spending (In June)

  • Colorado: Team Clinton $2.9 million, Team Trump $0
  • Florida: Team Clinton $7.3 million, Team Trump $0
  • Iowa: Team Clinton $1.6 million, Team Trump $0
  • North Carolina: Team Clinton $2.3 million, Team Trump $0
  • New Hampshire: Team Clinton $1.2 million, Team Trump $0
  • Nevada: Team Clinton $2.5 million, Team Trump $0
  • Ohio: Team Clinton $5.6 million, Team Trump $0
  • Virginia: Team Clinton $2.4 million, Team Trump $0
  • Total: Team Clinton $25.8 million, Team Trump $0

Battleground State Ad Spending (To Date + Reserved Time)

  • Total Team Clinton: $140 million
  • Total Team Trump: $0

Veepstakes Watch

Asked about the VP pick, Mary Fallin touted her experience … Scott Brown will attend a fundraiser for Donald Trump in Boston today, while a big crowd of protestors is expected outside the event… The Atlanta Journal Constitution puts some decent odds on Newt Gingrich… Rick Scott got a shout out from an unlikely source -- the White House -- for his aggressive push for Zika funding in the face of congressional gridlock… POLITICO writes about the “left’s beef with Tim Kaine”… The Baltimore Sun looks at how a pick of Tom Perez would influence labor groups… And Roger Simon theorizes that Elizabeth Warren has actually hurt her chances by outshining Clinton on the campaign trail.

On the trail

Donald Trump holds a rally in Bangor, ME at 4:00 pm ET. Don’t forget to check out the political unit’s rolling minute-to-minute coverage of all the latest 2016 developments at the On the Trail liveblog at