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Trump again downplays coronavirus with indoor campaign rally

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: President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at Xtreme Manufacturing on Sept. 13, 2020 in Henderson, Nevada.
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at Xtreme Manufacturing on Sept. 13, 2020 in Henderson, Nevada.Ethan Miller / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — On Sunday morning, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel defended President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, saying on “Meet the Press” that the president “took decisive action early on” and that “he saved lives with the actions he has taken.”

On Sunday night, Trump held a political rally in Nevada. Indoors. With few who wore masks. Despite the state prohibiting indoor gatherings beyond 50 people. And despite the company that hosted the rally restricting gatherings and meetings to no more than 10 people.

"Tell your governor to open up your state," he said last night.

As the coronavirus has infected at least 6.5 million Americans and killed at least 195,000, Trump’s rally underscored — just like that Tulsa one in June, or the GOP convention events last month — what he told journalist Bob Woodward.

“I wanted to always play [the coronavirus] down. I still like playing it down because I don't want to create a panic.”

Nevada’s governor, Democrat Steve Sisolak, blasted the Trump rally as “reckless” and “selfish.”

“The president appears to have forgotten that this country is still in the middle of a global pandemic,” Sisolak tweeted.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

6,544,234: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 117,167 more than Friday morning.)

195,172: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 1,986 more than Friday morning.)

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

$100 million: How much Mike Bloomberg says he’s committing to help Joe Biden in Florida.

Trump is still stuck in the low 40s

See something familiar about the recent poll numbers in the presidential race?

They (mostly) have Trump’s numbers in the low 40s, particularly in the battleground states.

  • Arizona: Biden 47 percent, Trump 44 percent (CBS/YouGov)
  • Minnesota: Biden 50 percent, Trump 41 percent (NYT/Siena)
  • Minnesota: Biden 50 percent, Trump 41 percent (CBS/YouGov)
  • Nevada: Biden 46 percent, Trump 42 percent (NYT/Siena)
  • New Hampshire: Biden 45 percent, Trump 42 percent (NYT/Siena)
  • Wisconsin Biden 48 percent, Trump 43 percent (NYT/Siena)

41. 41. 42. 42. 43. 44.

What would you say if you saw any other incumbent — say, Democrat Heidi Heitkamp or Republican Dean Heller — with those types of numbers?

The one exception to the results above was a national Fox News poll (among likely voters) showing Biden at 51 percent and Trump at 46 percent.

2020 Vision: Bloomberg’s big bucks

Former New York City Mayor and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg committed to spend $100 million in Florida to help Joe Biden win the state in November, per NBC’s Josh Lederman.

According to a Bloomberg spokesperson, the goal is to free up the Biden campaign to spend money in other states like Pennsylvania, while forcing Republicans to spend heavily to defend Florida (Trump won the state in 2016 by just about 1 percentage point).

The latest NBC News/Marist poll showed Biden and Trump tied in the state with 48 percent of likely voters saying they’d cast their votes for them, respectively. President Trump responded to Bloomberg’s announcement on Twitter saying that he thought Bloomberg was “through with Democrat politics after spending almost 2 Billion Dollars” on his own run.

On the campaign trail today

Joe Biden, from Delaware, delivers remarks on climate change at 1:00 p.m. ET. President Trump, after receiving a briefing in California on the wildfires there, travels to Phoenix for a campaign roundtable with Latinos. Mike Pence stumps in Wisconsin.

Ad Watch from Ben Kamisar

The Biden campaign dropped a series of Spanish-language TV ads over the weekend as Democrats continue to raise alarms about the campaign’s standing with Hispanic voters.

Those worries from Hispanic leaders and prominent politicians like Bernie Sanders have been prompted in part by a series of pollsshowing Biden underperforming particularly with Hispanics in Florida.

The new Biden spots hit on a variety of issues — they contrast Trump’s handling of the coronavirus with Trump’s handling of the pandemic over the last six months and try to fact-check Trump’s claims about Biden’s economic record. The spots are airing so far in states with significant Hispanic populations like Florida, Nevada and Arizona.

Trump has been targeting Hispanic voters in recent days too — his campaign is holding another Latino’s for Trump event in Arizona after yesterday’s event in Nevada.

The Lid: Comey’s October surprise

Don’t miss the pod from Friday, when we looked back on the final two weeks of the 2016 presidential election – to help explain how Trump pulled off his upset win four years ago.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

There’s a push to recruit more young people to be poll workers.

Democrats used to hate “dark money.” Now they’re beating the GOP at it, NBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald writes.

Sixteen year-olds may soon be able to vote in local elections in San Francisco.

Top Latino Democrats are raising concerns about Biden’s campaign. (Bernie Sanders is, too.)

Biden is building a legal war room.

Both Biden and Trump are condemning the shooting of two sheriff’s deputies in Los Angeles.

Trump is heading to California to see the state’s forest fires.