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Trump tries to sweep away all that came before him

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 arrives to speaks at an event on police reform, in the Rose Garden of the White House
President Donald Trump arrives to speaks at an event on police reform, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, June 16, 2020.Evan Vucci / AP

WASHINGTON — Not only has President Trump tried to pretend that the coronavirus no longer exists, he often pretends like his predecessors — as well as their actions and accomplishments — don’t exist, either.

That’s especially true when it comes to Barack Obama, as NBC’s Ben Kamisar observes.

During yesterday’s unveiling of his police reform executive order, Trump claimed neither Obama nor Joe Biden “even tried to fix this…because they had no idea how to do it.” (In fact, Obama implemented several policies aimed at reforming the police, but Trump’s administration rolled those back.)

Last week, Trump claimed he’s “done more for the Black community than any other president,” adding that while President Lincoln did well, the “end result” is “always questionable.” (Lincoln freed the slaves.)

Trump has claimed Obama left the military’s ammunition stockpile bare. (The stockpile wasn’t bare.)

He said that he signed the biggest tax cut in American history. (Not nearly.)

And he routinely says he’s gotten more done generally than any president in history. (Not even close.)

Bottom line: A large part of Trumpism and “Make America Great Again” is predicated on the idea that no other president has tried or succeeded before.

But the historical record doesn’t back up that erasure.

For a president who recently warned about the consequences of “denying history,” he’s been happy to ignore the historical record when it comes to his own accomplishments.

North Korea also blows up Trump’s top foreign policy achievement

And the more that Trump blusters, the more it reminds us of just how hollow his record actually is.

Latest case in point: North Korea and foreign policy.

Trump’s outreach to North Korea HAD been arguably his top foreign-policy achievement. But now?

“North Korea on Tuesday demolished an inter-Korean liaison office in a town on the border with South Korea in an escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” per NBC News.

Ask yourself: Where has Trump had a foreign policy win? Relations with China? Nope. Middle East peace? Not even. Better relations with Iran? Come on.

Trump did get his NAFTA 2.0 – the trade deal with Mexico and Canada.

But that’s about it.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

2,150,112: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 44,184 more than yesterday morning.)

117,631: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 834 more than yesterday morning).

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

A quarter: The share of the confirmed coronavirus in Alabama that have come in the last two weeks.

9: The number of Texas big-city mayors who asked Gov. Greg Abbott this week for the authority to require mask-wearing. (While Abbott has encouraged Texans to wear masks, he has balked at the idea of imposing penalties on those who don’t.)

2,392: The number of new Covid-19 cases reported on Tuesday in Arizona, a record high for the state

Tweet of the day

2020 Vision: Meet Biden VP possibility Michelle Lujan Grisham

As part of our occasional look at some of the contenders to be Joe Biden’s running mate, today we examine New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Strengths: As a high-ranking Latina from the southwest, she’d add racial and geographic diversity to the ticket. She’s received good reviews on her response to the coronavirus crisis, and she brings deeper leadership experience to the table than some other contenders. Her background in health care and aging could be particularly relevant during the pandemic fallout.

Weaknesses: She’s not well-known outside of her reliably blue home state, and critics would be sure to go after her ties to a company that ran a high-risk insurance pool.

Other potential oppo hits: Foes on both sides of the aisle have attacked her over her ties to Delta Consulting, a firm that she helped co-found in 2008. The company was paid $2 million by the state between 2014-2017 to run New Mexico’s high-risk insurance pool, which critics say should have been rendered obsolete by Obamacare. (She divested from the company in 2017, but it’s still run by a former campaign treasurer.) Lujan Grisham also had to amend her congressional financial disclosure in 2013 after understating her income from Delta Consulting, a discrepancy she called “an honest mistake.”

Ad watch from Ben Kamisar

Today’s ad watch goes back to Kentucky, where a serious ad war is taking place before next week’s Democratic Senate primary in the Bluegrass State.

Charles Booker has been criticizing Amy McGrath for saying during a June debate she hadn’t attended a protest. He launched an ad Tuesday prosecuting the same point.

As McGrath continues to flood the airwaves, one of her new ads from Tuesday centered on the death of George Floyd and the protests we’ve seen across the country. But the ad doesn’t mention Breonna Taylor or David McAtee, two Kentuckians killed by police this spring.

McGrath has spoken about Taylor in the past, and her campaign manager, Mark Nicholas told NBC News in a statement that McGrath “has talked with African-American mothers about the pain and fear they feel after the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and David McAtee.”

But her decision not to include Taylor’s name in the ad sparked more criticism from Booker. He blasted McGrath on social media, calling the ad “exploiting our pain” and calling on McGrath to “say her name.”

Senate Republicans to unveil their police reform bill

After President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday on policing, Senate Republicans will be releasing their own bill this morning, entitled the JUSTICE Act. The question is how much political capital will be left for the White House, congressional Republicans and congressional Democrats to hammer out a bill as public outcry over police brutality remains.

Per NBC News’ Capitol Hill team, Trump’s executive order “would leverage federal grant money to encourage police departments to meet a set of standards, including a ban on chokeholds except when an officer's life is at risk.” But the Supreme Court already ruled that deadly force is allowed only when police officers fear for their own safety or that of others. And activists have called for a national ban on all chokeholds, which was the kind of force used to kill George Floyd – and a use of force that Democrats and Republicans have said is ripe to end.

While the House-passed Democratic bill would end chokeholds and no-knock warrants in drug cases, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that bill is a non-starter: “That's a non-starter, the House version is going nowhere in the Senate. It's basically typical Democratic overreach to try to control everything in Washington, we have no interest in that.”

You can read more about the president’s executive order, the House Democrats’ bill and the upcoming Republican Senate bill here.

The Lid: It’s up to you, New York, New York

Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we previewed next Tuesday’s primary contest between longtime incumbent Eliot Engel and progressive challenger Jamaal Bowman.

ICYMI: What ELSE is happening in the world

Asked if he would attend a Trump rally like the one planned in Tulsa — indoors and with no distancing requirements — Anthony Fauci said “of course not.”

NBC’s Jane Timm fact checks Trump’s assertion that President Obama didn’t take action on police reform.

Here is Trump’s full executive order on policing.

The Nebraska Democratic Party is calling on their Senate nominee to step down after revelations that he made sexually suggestive comments about a female staffer.

Elizabeth Warren decried the corrupting influence of big-dollar fundraisers. But the one she just held on Joe Biden’s behalf raised $6 million.

The Trump administration is suing to delay publication of John Bolton’s book.

The Senate Ethics Committee is dismissing its insider-trading inquiry into Sen. Kelly Loeffler.

A shooting at a recent Albuquerque protest highlights that protests about racial justice are attracting some fringe actors with their own agendas.