Jobs report delivers surprising good news, but how long will it last?

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.
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A woman wearing a facemask enters a building where the Employment Development Department has its offices in Los Angeles, California on May 4, 2020.Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images file

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By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Carrie Dann and Melissa Holzberg

WASHINGTON — So much for those expectations that the U.S. unemployment rate was going to reach 20 percent with today’s report.

The unemployment rate actually declined — from 14.7 percent to 13.3 percent — with the U.S. economy adding 2.5 million (!!!) jobs in May.

It’s hard to reconcile those numbers with the 40 million Americans who have filed unemployment claims during the pandemic. And it’s very possible that these numbers eventually get revised.

Nevertheless, today’s numbers are good news.

And President Trump is taking a victory lap — for now at least.

“Really Big Jobs Report. Great going President Trump (kidding but true)!” he tweeted.

Tweet of the day

Murkowski and Romney vs. the rest of the GOP Senate

Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney yesterday praised former Defense Secretary James Mattis’ criticism of President Trump.

Other Republican senators either defended Trump or refused to engage. Here’s a rundown via NBC’s Liz Brown-Kaiser and NBC’s Capitol Hill team:

Murkowski: “I was really thankful. I thought General Mattis’ words were true, and honest, and necessary and overdue."

Romney: “General Mattis’ letter was stunning and powerful. General Mattis is a man of extraordinary sacrifice. He's an American patriot."

Sen. Lindsey Graham: To Gen. Mattis, I think you're missing something here my friend. You're missing the fact that the liberal media has taken every event in the last three and half years and laid it at the president's feet. I'm not saying he's blameless, but I am saying that you're buying into a narrative that I think is quite frankly unfair.”

Sen. Ron Johnson: “I respect General Mattis he is every right to express his opinion. That’s his opinion.”

Sen. Rick Scott: I think everybody has a right to their opinion of what’s going on.”

Sen. Tim Scott: “I think the president is actually working towards uniting the country.”

Sen. John Cornyn: “Well, I have a very high regard for General Mattis, and I thought he was an excellent Secretary of Defense, and of course had long and distinguished service in the Marines. But I think it's hard to, it's hard to divide the country unless there are two sides. And I think by just blaming the president. He's only looking at half of the half of the equation.

Sen. Rob Portman: I don’t agree with Mattis that it’s all divisive, because it’s not. If you listen to his actual words on the prepared remarks, including the speech that he gave two days ago. He was saying, in my view, the right things about bringing people together. But it’s more about tone.”

Murkowski and Romney (and sometimes Susan Collins) versus the rest of the GOP caucus — it’s been that way for a while.

And last night, Trump went after Murkowski, spelling out that he’ll campaign for her defeat in 2022.

“Few people know where they’ll be in two years from now, but I do, in the Great State of Alaska (which I love) campaigning against Senator Lisa Murkowski. She voted against HealthCare, Justice Kavanaugh, and much else...,” he tweeted.

“...Unrelated, I gave Alaska ANWR, major highways, and more. Get any candidate ready, good or bad, I don’t care, I’m endorsing. If you have a pulse, I’m with you!”

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

1,880,518: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 21,917 more than yesterday morning.)

108,840: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 1,086 more than yesterday morning).

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

75: The age of a peaceful protestor who appeared to be knocked down by police in Buffalo, according to video of the incident

Around 1.8 million: The number of Americans who filed for first-time unemployment last week

More than one-in-five: The share of American families with a zero or negative net worth.

2020 Vision: (Not-so) Good Charlotte

“As Republicans scramble to reboot the GOP convention, one option gaining traction is a multistate affair with major speeches and rallies in a variety of cities, according to three people familiar with the discussions,” NBC’s Monica Alba, Carol E. Lee and Kristen Welker report.

“Part of the appeal of the roadshow approach is that it could allow President Donald Trump to claim having commanded the highest-attended convention audience in history, they said, and to accept his renomination with all the fanfare he envisioned. ‘I think it's going to be a glorified rally,’ a person familiar with the conversations said of the president's keynote address.”

More: “After canceling plans this week to hold the GOP convention in Charlotte, North Carolina — plans years in the making — Trump and the Republican National Committee are surveying at least seven states and nine cities as possible alternatives.”

Ad Watch from Ben Kamisar

America First Action, the Trump aligned super PAC, is out with three new ads aimed at cutting Joe Biden down in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The Michigan and Wisconsin spots play on the loss of manufacturing jobs to China, while the Pennsylvania spot warns Biden’s climate plan would cost fossil-fuel jobs.

Part of a $7.5 million ad buy that runs through the Fourth of July holiday, the spots start right after the Trump campaign finished its own buy of $5 million in one week.

And both groups appear to have gotten the same memo — while it’s unclear how America First Action is splitting up its ads across each market, there’s some key overlap between the markets that the super PAC plans to air ads in and many of the top markets (per gross rating points) the Trump campaign just finished advertising in.

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Following concerns and allegations that several deployed officers in D.C. were not wearing any identifying gear while in riot gear during protests, House and Senate Democrats are working on pieces of legislation to make sure law enforcement officers must show their name and the agency they work for, per NBC’s Capitol Hill team.

One bill by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer would require federal officers in uniform responding to 1st Amendment assemblies to have their agency and names clearly marked.

Virginia Democrat Rep. Don Beyer is working on the other bill in the House.

“These people could be anybody. They were almost granted impunity from anything they would do because of the difficulty of identifying,” Beyer said.

The Lid: One-on-one

Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we looked at the state of the 2020 race based on the most recent head-to-head polls.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Researchers have retracted a study warning of the dangers of hydroxychloroquine.

CBP is asking contractors for ideas about how to make Trump’s border wall less vulnerable.

Joe Biden continued his virtual listening tour on racial issues yesterday.

A pro-Trump super PAC has launched a new flight of ads in key states.

The New York Times looks at why D.C. was flooded with troops even while the mayor objected.

Trump is headed to Maine — even though the state’s Democratic governor is worried about security issues.

Here’s how coronavirus is complicating turnout in New York’s June 23 primaries.