Trump battles health officials over indoor rally

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On the roster: Trump battles health officials over indoor rally - Biden’s veep shortlist isn’t getting shorter - GOP congressman ousted, opening door for Dems - Kilroy was here, and he brought paste 

AP: “After months away from the campaign trail, President Donald Trump plans to rally his supporters next Saturday for the first time since most of the country was shuttered by the coronavirus. But health experts are questioning that decision. Trump will head to Tulsa, Oklahoma — a state that has seen relatively few COVID-19 cases. Yet the Tulsa City-County Health Department’s director told the Tulsa World over the weekend that he wished the Trump campaign would move the date back because of a ‘significant increase in our case trends.’ … Other health experts also cite the danger of infection spreading among the crowd and sparking outbreaks when people return to their homes. The Trump campaign itself acknowledges the risk in a waiver attendees must agree to absolving them of any responsibility should people get sick. … Scientists believe the virus spreads far more easily in crowded enclosed spaces than it does outdoors, where circulating air has a better chance of dispersing virus particles. … The CDC recommends cloth masks in places where people might shout or chant.”

Especially Tulsa’s Health Department director - Tulsa World: “In an interview with the Tulsa World on Saturday, Dr. Bruce Dart said Tulsa is seeing a ‘significant increase in our case trends’ that makes a large gathering like the rally dangerous for not only attendees, but the president himself. ‘I think it’s an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting president want to come and visit our community, but not during a pandemic,’ said Dart. … State officials on Saturday reported 225 new cases of COVID-19, once again marking a new high in daily increases for both the state and Tulsa County. … Dart said his concern stems from a sudden spike in cases he said likely comes from a combination of factors, but not increased testing.”

Supporters will get masks, sanitizer, temperature checks - USA Today: “Supporters who plan to attend President Donald Trump's election rally in Oklahoma this week will be given temperature checks, hand sanitizer and face masks before entering the venue as safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Trump campaign said Monday. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale announced the precautions in a tweet in what appeared to be the first steps the campaign has taken to address coronavirus concerns at the president's first rally in more than three months. Last week, the campaign attempted to shield itself from any virus-related lawsuits from people who might get sick at the rally by including a liability disclaimer on the sign-up page for free tickets to the event.”

Expanded unemployment benefits will end in July - Politico: “National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow reiterated Sunday the $600 additional weekly unemployment benefit created to aid those who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic will end in late July. ‘I mean, we're paying people not to work. It's better than their salaries would get,’ he said on CNN's ‘State of the Union.’ ‘That might have worked for the first couple of months. It'll end in late July,’ he added, saying the extra benefit was necessary during the height of the coronavirus lockdowns. Kudlow said that ‘almost all businesses’ understand the $600 additional benefit is ‘a disincentive.’ He said the Trump administration is instead ‘looking at a reform measure’ that will provide an incentive for returning to work, but it will not be as substantial. ‘It will not be as large, and it will create an incentive to work,’ he said.”

Republicans mark best-ever online fundraising day celebrating Trump - Fox News: “The Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign posted their largest online fundraising day ever on Sunday, bringing in $14 million across three entities on the president's birthday — smashing their previous online fundraising record of $10 million on Oct. 19, 2016. The surge in cash comes as Republicans' war chest continues to dwarf Democrats' holdings, as it has for the entire primary cycle. Trump and the RNC – which have been building a fundraising juggernaut for more than three years – have roughly $255 million cash on hand, compared with the approximately $100 million the Joe Biden campaign and DNC have in their coffers. A competitive primary with numerous candidates on the Democratic side essentially stalled their effort to consolidate donations for months. The RNC, along with the Trump Make America Great Again Committee (TMAGAC) and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (DJTP), received an average online gift of $46, Fox News is told. Trump turned 74 on Sunday.”

Rothman: Trump distracts from Dems infighting - Commentary: “For several weeks, the Democratic Party has been at war with itself. An intraparty feud has broken out among the Democratic officials who govern America’s cities and their constituents who resent being aggressively overpoliced. Racial tensions in dark-blue urban enclaves have spilled into the streets. The public sector unions beholden to Democratic politicians in these municipalities are struggling to preserve their advantages against the forces of reform. The party is divided, almost down the middle, over the efficacy of radical measures that are anathema to the general public. All these conditions should theoretically benefit the incumbent president. So, what does Donald Trump do at this potentially advantageous moment? Randomly exhume the corpses of Confederate dead and put them on a pedestal. Of course.”

“As the safety of the whole is the interest of the whole, and cannot be provided for without government, either one or more or many, let us inquire whether one good government is not, relative to the object in question, more competent than any other given number whatever.” – John JayFederalist No. 4

Smithsonian: “In retrospect, perhaps toasting the success of a new medication he helped invent with several shots of vodka in Moscow was not a good idea. However, it was too late to go back. English research scientist Stewart Adams was faced with the consequences of his actions: a serious hangover. As he woke up that morning in 1971, Adams realized he needed to do something to relieve his throbbing headache, so he could coherently deliver an important speech at a pharmacological conference in a few hours. He reached for that new drug and swallowed a 600-milligram dose. Voila! … While the drug had been tested for pain in clinical trials, no one had yet tried it on an alcohol-induced headache. … Stewart Adams and his associate John Nicholson invented a pharmaceutical drug known as 2-(4-isobutylphenyl) propionic acid. It was later renamed ibuprofen and is now one of the world’s most popular nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)...”

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Trump: 41.8 percent 
Biden: 50.2 percent 
Size of lead: Biden by 8.4 points
Change from one week ago: First week of average
[Average includes: CNN: Trump 41% - Biden 55%; NBC News/WSJ: Trump 42% - Biden 49%; NPR/PBS/Marist: Trump 43% - Biden 50%; IBD: Trump 42% - Biden 49%; Monmouth University: Trump 41% - Biden 52%.]

(270 electoral votes needed to win)
Toss-up: (103 electoral votes): Wisconsin (10), Ohio (18), Florida (29), Arizona (11), Pennsylvania (20), North Carolina (15)
Lean R/Likely R: (186 electoral votes) 
Lean D/Likely D: (249 electoral votes)
[Full rankings here.]

Average approval: 40.6 percent
Average disapproval: 55 percent
Net Score: -14.4 points
Change from one week ago: ↓ 2 points
[Average includes: CNN: 40% approve - 57% disapprove; NPR/PBS: 42% approve - 55% disapprove; IBD: 42% approve - 52% disapprove; Gallup: 39% approve - 57% disapprove; CBS News: 40% approve - 54% disapprove.]

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NYT: “Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s advisers have conducted several rounds of interviews with a select group of vice-presidential candidates and are beginning to gather private documents from some of them, as they attempt to winnow a field that features the most diverse set of vice-presidential contenders in history. The search committee has been in touch with roughly a dozen women, and some eight or nine are already being vetted more intensively. Among that group are two contenders who have recently grown in prominence, Representative Val Demings of Florida and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta. One well-known candidate, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, has lost her perch as a front-runner. And some lower-profile candidates, like Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, are advancing steadily in the search process. The New York Times spoke to an array of people who are familiar with the vice-presidential search and the activities of the Biden team, and the interviews yielded the fullest picture yet of the list of candidates Mr. Biden is considering, who is advancing and who may be fading, and the dynamics at play.”

Biden brings in massive haul in small dollar donations - Bloomberg: “Joe Biden’s campaign has transformed the virtual fundraisers made necessary by virus-related lockdowns into a money machine, drawing in tens of thousands of small-dollar donations from supporters eager to engage with celebrities or Biden allies. Biden pulled in $16 million from small donors in April, more than three times the $4.9 million President Donald Trump raised in small amounts for the month. Hosts that included breakout Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg, celebrity yoga instructor Kyle Miller and 1970s ‘Wonder Woman’ star Lynda Carter. Campaigns report their May numbers to the Federal Election Commission on June 20. Unlike in-person fundraisers, which require travel, extensive planning and money to execute in strategically chosen locales, online events cost almost nothing to produce, allowing the campaign to innovate and take chances.”

Drucker: Well-heeled Republicans for Biden making their mark - WashEx: “Never Trump Republicans are coordinating efforts to oust President Trump, even consulting with Democratic groups in a bid to deploy resources efficiently and compare notes on effective messaging strategy. Republican Voters Against Trump, a new addition to the Never Trump ecosphere, is planning to spend $10 million on television and digital advertising in key battleground states. The group is focused on transforming Republican voters who backed Trump in 2016 into supporters of presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Top strategists at RVAT regularly touch base with Project Lincoln, a Never Trump group of prominent establishment Republicans already on the air with ads targeting the president. Both stay in touch with top Democratic outside groups, such as American Bridge, a liberal organization dedicated to opposition research, in a bid to maximize their campaign to take down Trump.”

The Roanoke Times: “Rep. Denver Riggleman, a first-term Republican from Nelson County, whose libertarian views and decision to officiate a same-sex marriage set in motion an intra-party challenge, lost his bid for renomination on Saturday. Bob Good, a former Campbell County supervisor and Liberty University employee, defeated Riggleman, whom President Donald Trump had endorsed, with 58% of the vote. Good has described himself as a ‘bright red Biblical and constitutional conservative.’ Good said he looks forward to making the district ‘bright red again.’ … Following his win, Good needs to resolve a problem with his failure to file his candidate qualification paperwork to the Virginia Department of Elections before the June 9 deadline. He filed it on Friday. ...Good’s team has been reassuring people they are confident the Board of Elections will grant him an extension. The Republican Party of Virginia has requested the deadline be extended, arguing the deadline is usually the day the state-run primary is held.”

Ocasio-Cortez rakes in big bucks for primary - Fox News: “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., once again proved her fundraising prowess by raising $2.4 million in just two months as she kicks up her campaign operation before her June 23 primary election, according to federal campaign finance reports she filed this week. Her April and May cash haul brings the total raised for her reelection bid to more than $10.5 million, making the freshman rep among the best fundraisers for the Democrats, along with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., federal elections records show. Ocasio-Cortez, 30, is facing a spirited Democratic primary challenge from former TV journalist and CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who is running as a pro-business moderate in the Queens and Bronx district. She's hit Ocasio-Cortez for opposing Amazon bringing one of its headquarters to New York. Caruso-Cabrera raised $930,000 during the same two-month period, bringing her total to more than $2 million for the entire election cycle.”

Dem establishment rallies to save Engel from Ocasio-Cortez-backed challenger - Politico: “House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and Rep. Adam Schiff are endorsing Rep. Eliot Engel, the pair of Democratic heavyweights offering their full support as the embattled New Yorker fights to hold onto the seat he’s represented for more than three decades. Clyburn, the No. 3 House Democrat, and Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, have considerable influence within Democratic politics. Both men praised Engel for his longtime service to his Bronx district and tenure as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in statements exclusively obtained by POLITICO on Sunday.”

Markey gets radical as he seeks to fend off Kennedy -  Politico: “The Massachusetts Democratic Senate primary faded into the background here in recent months as the coronavirus pandemic overshadowed everything else. But if the most recent Senate debate between Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy III is any indication, that’s about to change. The incumbent senator derided Kennedy on Monday as a ‘progressive in name only’ and called him out for working for a conservative Republican district attorney early in his career. Markey also slammed the four-term congressman for failing to lead on any number of issues, ranging from ‘Medicare for All’ to climate change to the militarization of law enforcement. Markey didn’t have much choice but to let it rip. He’s trailed Kennedy in most public polls taken this year, has less money in the bank and the Covid-19 crisis has served to complicate his task of capturing attention against the scion of the state’s most prominent political family.”

Republicans shift focus to China - NYT: “When Senator Martha McSally, one of the most politically endangered Republicans, was asked last month about reports that President Trump had brushed away warnings from his own aides about the looming threat of the coronavirus, she promptly pivoted. ‘I learned the day I entered the military, never trust a communist,’ Ms. McSally answered. ‘China is to blame for this pandemic and the death of thousands of Americans.’ … Fighting for their political lives amid twin domestic crises — a pandemic that has battered the economy — vulnerable Republican senators running for re-election are working to divert voters’ gazes half a world away and make their races a referendum on China. The tactic, party strategists say, is a way for Republicans to avoid defending the president’s handling of the virus, which has been met with widespread public disapproval, and instead offer up an alternative issue that already inspires fear and skepticism among voters.”

SupCo rules gay workers protected from job discrimination, in big win for LGBT rights - Fox News

Pergram: What will November be about? - Fox News

Cuomo threatens to shut down again as social-distancing rules get broken - Fox News

“Hey, Ron, somebody asked me about your investigations, and I wasn’t that nice.” – Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, running into Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., after speaking with Politico about the probes of prominent Dems and former Obama administration officials.

“You outkicked your coverage in your response to Rick Randell on the cause of the Civil War. As you must know, the six Deep South states that originally seceded cited protection of their slavery-based agricultural society, but the remaining Confederate states, led by Virginia, didn’t secede until after Lincoln announced his intent to use military force to compel their return to the Union, a clear violation of a state’s right as commonly understood at the time. (A few decades earlier Abolitionists in Massachusetts had debated their own secession.) You came closer to the mark on your second try, that secession caused the war – not slavery or state’s rights. The South did not declare war – Lincoln’s provocations in South Carolina and Florida notwithstanding. Lincoln simply refused to allow secession. Under what provision of the Constitution did he do so? The real question is why did Lincoln choose war? Why didn’t he even call Congress back into session to debate the issue? Why did he refuse to meet with the South’s peace delegation in DC to discuss an amicable path forward? Why did he unilaterally author military incursions into South Carolina and Florida, in violation of the truce that followed secession and with the clear intent to provoke the South into firing the first shot? It’s often said, with misplaced pride, that the US endured a Civil War and half a million deaths to end slavery. The reality is that slavery, having outlived its economic reason for being, ended peacefully in the entire Western world with the cruel exception of the US. Because Lincoln chose war.” – Chris Sales, Fort Collins, Colo.

[Ed. note: I know you and those who hold dear this view of Lincoln as the villain of the story are sincere and earnest. And I know from years of hard-earned experience that no argument I am going to make – constitutional, political or moral – is likely to dissuade you, Mr. Sales. And I don’t agree with those who might say it makes you a bigot or a disloyal American to argue that we would have been better off if 150 years ago we proceeded as two nations instead of one and saw the continuation of state-sanctioned human chattel slavery for another two or three decades before it petered out into some variant of the apartheid-style system imposed after Reconstruction. There’s certainly enough wrong with how things worked out to imagine something different may have been better and you are free to imagine alternatives. I know you and your cohorts imagine the world today would have been better through the dissolution of the Union and expansion of slavery for a generation more. But we will never know, because a one-term congressman from Illinois, against all odds, snagged the Republican nomination and then won the presidency with a popular plurality thanks to a three-way-split among the Democrats. He got to make the real history and it was he who got to put the final seal on the Founders’ vision and intent for our republic. We are free to imagine what might have been and indulge in thought experiments, and they can be interesting indeed. But I am sorry that you guys have to go without the valuable instruction Lincoln’s life and astonishing success provides us. Maybe consider envisioning a world in which the Union dissolves after President John Breckenridge is elected 1860 and can’t keep North and South together anyway. In that alternate history you could at least get the benefit of Lincoln’s wisdom, like his 1838 Lyceum Address, without it being clouded by your resentment for his crushing the rebellion.]

“...your response to Mr. Randall in Friday's newsletter was spot on about Virginians deciding what to do with their own monuments. Might you continue that thought with the ‘however...’ part about what happens when you try or succeed in removing historic items? How are future generations to learn that we (society) have made strides to right the wrongs of our past countrymen if our kids are never taught why a certain statue or named street ‘is’ for lack of a better term. Growth requires learning from past mistakes, not removing them.” – Mark Hoffman, Des Moines, Iowa

[Ed. note: Statues of bad guys are not so tricky. Nobody wondered why Iraqis didn’t want statues and murals of Saddam Hussein around or why Romanians were happy to take down the tributes to Nicolae Ceaușescu. Black Memphians would understandably feel the same way about a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, father of the first iteration of the Ku Klux Klan and author of the massacre of hundreds of black prisoners of war at Ft. Pillow. Giant statues celebrate and honor. That’s what they’re for. I suppose one could argue that the statue, erected in 1905, is a reminder of how bigoted and spiteful city leaders in Memphis were at the time. But that context would be lost without establishing lots of contemporary displays explaining the statue’s continued presence despite the repudiation of the man it honored. Hardly seems worth it to preserve a statue to a genocidal maniac. So, I don’t think keeping a 20-foot-tall statue of Mr. Firstest-With-The-Mostest was necessary or helpful in “learning from past mistakes.” But genocidal maniacs make for easy answers. It gets more challenging when we get to names like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Here the fight isn’t over learning from our mistakes but the fact that many -- most? -- Americans believe they should still be honored. And what about their monuments, memorials and namesakes? Here the argument isn’t the watery business about learning from mistakes, but a real defense that these men, despite their failings, deserve our respect and gratitude. The Founders do not belong in the same category as the Confederates, and different arguments apply. The Founders generation renamed many places and things that were intended to honor the British monarchy (though many tavern keepers were happy that their last king and first president shared a first name). It’s natural for these kinds of honors to be reconsidered in time. What remains to be seen is if Americans are still fond enough of our system and its founding to fight to celebrate the men who made it possible. And that’s not a cause helped by both sides lumping Washington in with the likes of Forrest.]

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

Fox News: “A woman in London decided to redecorate one of the rooms in her house and started stripping the wallpaper. As she peeled back the layers, she says she uncovered a message that had been hidden behind the walls for over two decades. Charlotte Morrison spoke with Fox News, saying that finding the message made the hours spent stripping the wallpaper worth it. She uploaded a photo of the note to Facebook, which reads, ‘If you ever need to wallpaper this room again, it will take eight rolls of wallpaper. I bought just six rolls at £17 (about $21) per roll. I didn’t have enough (it really pissed me off).’ The note was simply signed ‘Jon’ and was dated Dec. 21, 1997. After posting the picture on Facebook, it received over 17,000 likes and was shared over 14,000 times. Amazingly, the post eventually reached Jon’s family, who contacted Morrison. ‘It really made me chuckle and I’m just pleased that (Jon’s) relative contacted me and I could tell him how his note made so many people laugh,’ she explained.”

“‘Dying is easy. Parking is hard.’ Art Buchwald's little witticism nicely captured his chosen path to a good death: mocking it to the very end.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on March 5, 2007.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.