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Governors put leadership contrast with Trump on display

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at the State Capitol in Albany on April 22, 2020.Michael Brochstein / Sipa USA via AP

WASHINGTON — President Trump spent his Wednesday sending yet more mixed messages about reopening the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, and asking his CDC director to explain how he was misquoted (when the director said he was quoted accurately).

By contrast, we saw some of the nation’s governors — Democrats and Republicans — spend their day in a much different way.

“Truth and facts, truth and facts. That's how we operate here in the state of New York,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at his daily news conference yesterday. “Give me the truth and give me the facts.”

“I am deeply concerned by the anti-Semitic sign at Ohio’s Statehouse during a recent protest rally. The sign was vile and disgusting. While even disgusting speech is constitutionally protected, it still demands condemnation,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tweeted last night.

More DeWine: “The recent Internet post by Ohio State Senator Andrew Brenner, likening Ohio’s Department of Health Director’s actions to fight coronavirus to those taken by the Nazis in Germany during World War II, must also be condemned.”

Also on Wednesday, Fox News released a poll showing that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s job-approval rating her in state is 16 points higher than Trump’s in the battleground state (63 percent for Whitmer versus 47 percent for Trump).

A year ago, the Democratic governors running for president couldn’t catch a break – they barely registered in polls, had a difficult time qualifying for the debates, and ultimately had to drop out of the 2020 race.

Now? Many governors — of both parties — have seen their political stock soar during this coronavirus pandemic (though there have been a few notable exceptions).

Just look at our recent NBC News/WSJ poll, which found 66 percent of voters trusting the coronavirus information from their governor — versus 36 percent trusting Trump.

And the big reason why is the very different approach they’ve taken in performing their job.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

842,928: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 33,173 more than yesterday morning.)

47,582: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 2,762 more than yesterday morning).

4.48 million: The number of coronavirus tests that have been administered in the United States so far, according to researchers at The COVID Tracking Project.

88 percent: The share of covid-19 patients who were put on ventilators in New York’s largest hospital system who later died, according to a new study.

Another $30 million: The amount of China’s most recent additional donation to WHO.

60 days: The length of the White House’s order to “pause” immigration (with several exceptions.)

Another example of how the 2020 race is on the back burner

On Wednesday, Democratic VP possibility Stacey Abrams said something that ordinarily would have launched dozens of stories and takes.

Instead, it was yet another reminder of how the 2020 presidential race, which normally drives out all other political news, has taken a backseat to the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden is definitely facing pressure from leading African-American Democrats to pick a woman of color has his VP. It’s there.

But right now, that story – and others regarding the 2020 race – just aren’t getting any oxygen.

At least not yet.

Tweet of the day

2020 Vision: Biden’s ahead in both Michigan and Pennsylvania

Two Fox News polls released Wednesday show Joe Biden leading President Trump in Michigan and Pennsylvania by 8 points in each state among registered voters.

Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac poll of Florida finds a 4-point race in the state: Biden 46 percent, Trump 42 percent.

Ad Watch from Ben Kamisar

Today’s Ad Watch heads to northwest Georgia and the battle to replace retiring GOP Rep. Tom Graves for a look at a few *very different* ways to message on coronavirus.

In Clayton Fuller’s recent spot in the deep-red district, he begins by talking about how he was called up by the Air National Guard for coronavirus response, before pivoting to his work as a prosecutor who will stand with President Trump.

In another advertisement, neurosurgeon John Cowan blasts “weak Republicans” like Mitt Romney and “deranged Democrats” like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nancy Pelosi before shooting a prop with a sign “COVID-19” written on it.

And in a third spot, Marjorie Taylor Greene calls fines for violating social distancing orders “a dose of Chinese-style socialism,” warning that America could become “a socialist nation under China’s thumb.”

One coronavirus crisis, three very different ways to message on it.

The Capitol Hill debate over remote voting

This afternoon, the House is expected to vote on and pass the interim coronavirus relief bill which passed the Senate on Tuesday. However, the House will not be voting on a remote or proxy voting system like Democrats initially pushed for.

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had encouraged a vote on new remote voting procedures – given the issues in members traveling during the pandemic – she backed off on Wednesday after Republican opposition. Per NBC’s Capitol Hill team, Republican leadership accused Pelosi of running things like a “dictatorship” when she announced the remote voting bill early Wednesday morning. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said, “Speaker Pelosi shouldn't try to be pushing people away or try to be holding everybody's vote as a proxy so that she can run everything as a dictatorship that's not what this great democracy is all about.”

Instead, according to our Hill team, Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy agreed to task a bipartisan group of House members to review a remote voting by proxy system and the safety concerns of reopening the House fully.

The Lid: We are the world

Don’t miss the pod from yesterday — Earth Day! — when we checked in on Americans’ views on protecting the environment.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Alex Seitz-Wald looks at how Trump’s own home county in Florida is ramping up its vote-by-mail efforts.

Al Gore has endorsed Joe Biden.

Mitch McConnell is tapping the brakes on a new round of coronavirus aid, at least so far.

And McConnell also says that cash-strapped states should seek bankruptcy rather than count on federal aid, a statement that’s gotten him in some hot water even among a few Republicans.

Georgia congressman and Senate candidate Doug Collins is siding with the president over GOP Gov. Brian Kemp when it comes to lifting distancing requirements.

Politico looks at how prominent leaders of the Me Too movement have reacted to a woman’s accusation against Joe Biden.

The Koch network is explicitly rejecting in-person anti-lockdown protests.