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The Republican silence on what's happening in Portland is jarring

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.
Image: Portland
A federal officer tells fellow officers to arrest a protester in front of the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse on July 21, 2020 in Portland, Ore.Nathan Howard / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The Republican silence on what’s happening in Portland is jarring: If you’ve followed American politics over the last 10 years, you might be surprised that Republicans are more outraged at Liz Cheney than they are federal armed agents that just tear-gassed a city’s mayor.

What happened to “Don’t tread on me”?

What happened to states’ rights?

What happened to freedom of speech and assembly?

It’s easy to understand in our current politics why elected Republicans aren’t speaking out against the Department of Homeland Security forces in liberal, urban Portland. (Sen. Rand Paul is one exception.)

But if you lived through the Obama Era, this Republican silence is jarring.

And the next time they’re out of power from the White House, it will only undercut future efforts by them to decry federal overreach.

America’s partisan divide over race stands out in NBC News/WSJ poll

The nation’s two political parties couldn’t be more divided over the issue of race after George Floyd’s death and the protests that followed it, according to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll numbers we released earlier this week.

One party believes that discrimination of Blacks and Latinos exists (between 80 and 90 percent of Democrats say this); the other party doesn’t (just 15 to 26 percent of Republicans).

One party believes that America is a racist society (82 percent of Democrats); the other party doesn’t (30 percent of Republicans).

One party believes President Trump has made it more acceptable for people to be racist (79 percent of Dems); the other party doesn't (18 percent of GOPers).

One party has a positive view of Black Lives Matter (83 percent of Dems); the other party doesn’t (11 percent of GOPers).

And one party’s members want to remove Confederate monuments either by being destroyed or put in a museum (81 percent of Dems); the other party doesn’t (16 percent of Republicans).

White Democrats vs. white Republicans on race

And if you think this partisan divide over race is due to Democrats having more Blacks and Latinos in their ranks, just see below.

The differences between white Democrats and white Republicans couldn’t be starker.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

3,989,346: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 79,832 more cases than yesterday morning.)

144,183: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 1,224 more than yesterday morning.)

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

$1 trillion: The price tag on the tentative agreement Senate Republicans and the White House have reached to address the next round of coronavirus relief

$3.4 trillion: The cost of the recovery bill Democrats have already passed in the House

More than half: The number of states that now have mask-wearing mandates

At least 76 percent: The share of voters who are eligible to cast a ballot by the mail in the fall, according to a study by the Washington Post.

72: The number of House Republicans who joined with Democrats to vote to remove statues of Confederate leaders from the Capitol.

45 percent to 44 percent: The head-to-head between Biden and Trump in Texas, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

Tweet of the day

2020 Vision: Obama, Biden discuss health care

In the latest release of the Biden campaign’s conversation between Barack Obama and Joe Biden, the two men discuss health care and Biden’s son, Beau, per NBC’s Mike Memoli and Marianna Sotomayor.

Biden: “I remember when Beau was toward the end, and the only person I told the detail all the time as you, because you had a right to know exactly what my, and he only had months left to go. And I used to sit there and watch him in the bed and in pain and dying and glioblastoma, I thought to myself, what would happen if his insurance company was able to come in, which they could have done before we passed Obamacare and said, you have outrun your insurance. You're about to suffer the last five months of your life in peace. You're on your own. All the things that it did, that it was so profound, an impact on people. It was like, it took them a while until they started to take it away to realize what was happening.”

Obama: “I mean, you and I both know what it's like to have somebody you love get really sick. And in some cases to lose somebody, but that loss is compounded when you see the stress on their faces, because they're worried that they're being a burden on their families. They're worried about whether the insurance is gonna cover the treatments that they need. I couldn't be prouder of what we got done. 20 million people have health insurance that didn't have it because of what we did.”

Where Senate Republicans agree and disagree on the relief bill

Senate Republicans announced Wednesday night that they “reached a fundamental agreement” with the White House on the next phase of coronavirus relief, per NBC’s Hill team.

While the particulars of the bill remain fluid, Republicans still are not totally in sync on it, and Democrats haven’t begun to weigh in.

Here’s what our Hill team can report will be in the proposal:

  • $25 billion for testing total ($9 billion from earlier packages plus $16 billion in this package).
  • $70 billion for K-12 schools: Half of that will go to all schools on a per capita basis, and the other half will go to costs for schools that have re-opened.
  • $30 billion for colleges/universities which is not tied to reopening.
  • $5 billion for governors to use at their own discretion.

And what are we waiting to know?

  • There is an agreement to provide more direct stimulus payments to Americans, but what that amount looks like and what income levels that will cover is still not public.
  • There is no agreement on additional unemployment insurance benefits at this point.
  • Whether or not a payroll tax cut will be in this bill.

The Lid: We are never, ever getting back together

Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we looked at a big schism in the GOP and what it might mean for the party.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Joe Biden says that Trump is the first racist president.

Mike Bloomberg’s gun control group is pouring millions into races in eight states.

The White House cafeteria is closed after a worker tested positive for coronavirus.

The Biden campaign is going on the offensive on the Senate GOP’s probe of Burisma.

The Trump administration is sending more federal agents to Chicago and Albuquerque.

Mike Pompeo’s wife is coming under scrutiny from some State Department insiders.