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Trump's coronavirus briefings are back, but the trust isn't

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: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks with the coronavirus task force during a briefing in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on March 23, 2020.Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — On Tuesday afternoon, President Donald Trump will resume those daily coronavirus press briefings he held in March and April.

The decision to fire up those briefings again comes after slipping poll numbers for the president, after more than 140,000 Americans have died from the virus (including some 80,000 since Trump’s last briefing in April), and after Sunday’s 5,000-word New York Times look into how Trump gave up his leadership role on the issue.

But it’s one thing to restart the briefings. It’s another to regain the public’s trust on the coronavirus.

According to the online NBC News|SurveyMonkey weekly tracking poll on social, health and economic matters, 68 percent of adults say they trust their governor more than Trump when it comes to reopening businesses in their area.

That includes 92 percent of Democrats, 78 percent and even 42 percent of Republicans.

By comparison, just 26 percent say they trust Trump more than their governor.

And that trust deficit comes as:

  • 71 percent say they’re “very worried” or “somewhat worried” that they or someone in their household will be exposed to the coronavirus;
  • 91 percent are worried that the coronavirus will have a negative economic effect on the U.S.;
  • and 74 percent are worried that it will negatively affect their household finances, per the poll.

And Trump’s trust deficit comes as he’s fired off seven tweets this morning (as of publication time), and only two of them having anything to do with the coronavirus.

They include:

"Thank you for the good reviews and comments on my interview with Chris Wallace of @FoxNews. We may have set a record for doing such an interview in the heat. It was 100 degrees, making things very interesting!"

"Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!"

"You will never hear this on the Fake News concerning the China Virus, but by comparison to most other countries, who are suffering greatly, we are doing very well - and we have done things that few other countries could have done!"

NBC News/WSJ poll on Race in America

And we have more poll numbers for you this morning — on the issue of race in America.

Among the findings from our new batch of numbers in the latest NBC News/WSJ poll:

  • Just 26 percent of voters believe that race relations are either “very good” or “fairly good.”
  • 56 percent of voters say that American society is racist, including 78 percent of Blacks, 60 percent of Latinos, 51 percent of whites, but just 30 percent of Republicans (versus 82 percent of Democrats).
  • But voters are split, 46 percent to 44 percent, on whether racial discrimination is built into society versus coming from individuals who hold racist views.
  • More voters believe that people of color experience discrimination than they indicated before in past surveys on this question.
  • 29 percent of voters say white Americans receive too many special advantages, including 44 percent of white Democrats – but just 7 percent of white Republicans.
  • 50 percent of voters say that Trump has made it more acceptable for people to hold racist views, versus 14 percent who say he’s made it less acceptable; 33 say he’s made it as acceptable as it was before.
  • 57 percent support the protests after George Floyd’s death in Minnesota.
  • By a 52 percent-to-45 percent margin, voters say it’s appropriate for pro athletes to kneel during the national anthem in protest of racial equality – a reversal from a similar NBC/WSJ question in 2018, when just 43 percent said it was appropriate.
  • By a 51 percent-to-47 percent margin, voters say Confederate monuments should be removed (either destroyed or put in museums) instead of left in place (either with a plaque explaining their historical significance or as they are).
  • And 51 percent of voters have a positive view of Black Lives Matter – up from 38 percent who had a positive view in July 2016.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

3,855,155: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 61,711 more cases than yesterday morning.)

141,966: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 546 more than yesterday morning.)

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

$2.1 trillion: The price tag on a deal clinched by the European Union for a budget and coronavirus recovery.

Just 23 percent: The share of Americans in a new NBC|SurveyMonkey poll who called the current state of the U.S. economy “good” or “excellent.”

52 percent: The share of voters who now say it is appropriate for an athlete to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial inequality, per a new NBC News/WSJ poll.

51 percent: The share of voters who say that Confederate monuments should be removed from public spaces. Ten percent say they should be removed and destroyed, while 41 percent want them confined to museums.

Tweet of the day

2020 Vision: Biden says four Black women are on his VP short list

Appearing on Joy Reid’s new MSNBC show, “The ReidOut,” Joe Biden said that he has four African-American women on his VP short list, but didn’t commit to picking one as his running mate.

“I am not committed to naming anybody but the people I have named and among them are four black women. So, that decision is under way right now,” he said.

A campaign official stressed to NBC’s Mike Memoli and Marianna Sotomayor that there are CURRENTLY four Black women on the shortlist, pointing out that Biden “went on to say the process continues, so that wasn’t definitive.”

Ad watch from Ben Kamisar

The Trump campaign is doubling (tripling? quadrupling?) down on its tough-on-crime strategy with a new ad that envisions an elderly woman being attacked by a home invader. As the masked person breaks in, the woman’s television plays news about proposals to cut police budgets and a misleading Fox News clip claiming Biden supports defunding police.

The spot is striking, and it plays right into the Trump campaign’s attempts to argue that the country would descend into chaos under Biden. But recent polling shows that it’s Biden with a 9-point lead on the question of who American adults trust more to handle crime and safety.

Stuck in the middle with you

Despite a promise that the GOP’s Senate coronavirus relief package is coming soon, negotiations between the White House and Senate Republicans are stuck as the president is demanding a payroll tax cut is included in the bill, and that funding for testing is reduced or zeroed out, NBC’s Hill team reports.

South Dakota Sen. John Thune said a payroll tax cut isn’t “something that changes anyone’s behavior” and said that he’s “not a fan of that.” But the White House might think that some of these negotiations are already done. The president’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said the payroll tax cut is “part of the proposal,” and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said “it’s in the bill.”

And when it comes to testing, high ranking senators are publicly pushing back against the president’s wishes. Senate Health Committee Chair Sen. Lamar Alexander said “we should fund testing as generously as it needs to be funded.” And Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt said “I just think that’s wrong” when it comes to cutting testing funds.

The Lid: Interest rate

Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we did a deep dive into voter enthusiasm for the fall.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Trump is threatening to send federal troops to major American cities, prompting outcry and accusations of authoritarianism.

Georgia Democrats have picked the leader of the state party to replace Rep. John Lewis on the ballot in November.

The sheriff of Jacksonville, Fla., says he can’t provide security for the Republican National Convention because the planning is so unclear.

Centrist Democrats are giving Biden a lot of running room on spending and the national debt, should he be elected.

Michael Cohen’s book manuscript reportedly contains first-hand accounts of racist comments President Trump made about Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela.

A group of more than 250 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have endorsed Joe Biden.