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On the roster: Trump looks for his way back machine in Tulsa - Trump losing with key groups that backed him in 2016 - Momentum grows for Juneteenth national holiday - Lawmakers look to create long-term bailout program - The history of Juneteenth
TRUMP LOOKS FOR HIS WAYBACK MACHINE IN TULSA
By this point four years ago, the Trump rally was fully formed as a political institution. Confrontations with protesters outside, dustups inside, the chants, the soundtrack, the crowd-favorite lines, it was all there.
And through the summer of 2016, the rallies were seemingly constant, with 13 in June of that year alone. The big shows provided a feeling of momentum for the campaign and irresistible fodder for coverage. It seemed like you never knew what might happen or what Trump might say.
Back in those days, Trump was something of a mystery. He talked like no other major party nominee in history and he ran a campaign that truly seemed more like a movement than a traditional quest for office. Admirers, detractors and bewildered observers could all reasonably wonder what on earth a Trump victory might look like -- to imagine the presidency of a man who was part Don Rickles, part Pat Buchanan live on stage two or three nights a week.
But now we do not need to wonder.
Trump has had nearly three-dozen rallies in support of his own re-election since his prodigious touring schedule trying to stave off his 2018 shellacking. The rallies of the early re-election cycle were not “happenings” the way they were in 2016 -- fraught with danger and uncertainty and starring an unpredictable impresario -- and more like a Jimmy Buffett tour, but for MAGAheads instead of Parrotheads.
And that makes sense, because we have an answer to the question that terrified some and thrilled others four years ago: What would happen if the United States of America picked this total outsider -- the first person to serve as president without any prior public service, a trash-talking reality show host, a bare-knuckled media brawler -- as its leader?
The answer turned out to be neither as bad as his critics warned nor as good as his supporters had hoped. Going into the spring of this election year, Trump had managed to put together a mostly successful term in office despite the implacable resistance he faced and his own often dizzying errors.
It wasn’t Reagan ‘84, but neither was it the Armageddon of which Democrats had warned. Trump had a good argument to make to voters on the economy and, whatever his errors on foreign policy, the world remained substantially at peace.
Rallies for a campaign like that aren’t must-see TV. But they are fun for the fans and a good way to keep the candidate busy and cheerful through a long election year. As Robert Earl Keen said, “the road goes on forever and the party never ends.”
But then, Trump’s luck did not hold.
Trump struggled terribly in his response to the coronavirus, veering and switchbacking from the start. Once he found his footing, he could not keep it, thanks in substantial part for his combative personality and desire for the spotlight. And then he said maybe we could inject disinfectants into victims’ lungs... and they decided to turn the spotlight out and move on to the next act.
But just as Trump was leaning so hard on his preferred narrative of declaring the crisis over and touting the “rocket ship” economic recovery, a Minneapolis police officer knelt on an African American suspect's neck for almost 9 minutes, killing the man, George Floyd. And yet again, the same traits that made Trump formidably unpredictable in 2016 failed him.
Given a moment any of his predecessors would have eaten up on a cracker -- national soul searching, public grief, simmering resentments, sweeping societal change -- Trump couldn’t find his appetite. Rather than taking advantage of his office’s unique assets, he got right down on the ground, stripping himself of the massive advantages of incumbency. After an often unsteady response to a bewildering virus, Trump seemed overwhelmed by the moment yet again.
Accordingly, Trump went from the November favorite to June underdog.
It was easy to see in February how the same voters who had taken a chance on Trump in 2016 might be persuaded to stick it out for another round. It would certainly be close, but the odds favored the incumbent.
But now, Trump is way down, trailing Democrat Joe Biden far worse than he ever did Hillary Clinton. The frustration from Trump and his campaign is palpable. They were thinking about poaching Minnesota and New Hampshire, now they're trying to catch up in Arizona and fretting over Georgia.
More than a quarter of the year has passed since Trump’s Oval Office address in March, and by no estimate could anyone say it has been good for him or the country.
This helps us to understand why Trump is so willing to take a big risk on a big indoor rally in Oklahoma on Saturday. The mayor is imposing a curfew because of expected unrest between MAGA enthusiasts and Black Lives Matter boosters and the city’s health director all but begged Trump to not do an indoor, maximum capacity event as coronavirus deaths are climbing.
While these would seem like good reasons not to have a rally, for Trump this are potential upsides. After three years of ho-hum rallies -- fun for fans but not “happenings” -- he gets the chance again to be outrageous, controversial and, most of all, watched.
After months on defense, this must feel to the president like he’s getting back on offense. Of course, that’s must have been how he felt as he readied to march across Lafayette Park.
Re-elections are not like open-seat campaigns. Trump is asking voters to give him four more years, years voters must assume will be a lot like the first four. A high-stakes, high-controversy rally must feel like a chance to recapture the energy and excitement of four years ago. But there is no rewind button on political movements.
Trump may get out of Tulsa having avoided serious consequences if he is lucky and his team is very skillful in its execution. But if there is chaos, Trump will not be the beneficiary as he would have been four years ago.
THE RULEBOOK: UNION LABEL
“WE HAVE seen the necessity of the Union, as our bulwark against foreign danger, as the conservator of peace among ourselves, as the guardian of our commerce and other common interests, as the only substitute for those military establishments which have subverted the liberties of the Old World, and as the proper antidote for the diseases of faction, which have proved fatal to other popular governments, and of which alarming symptoms have been betrayed by our own.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 14
TIME OUT: DEAR OLD DAD
Business Today: “The history of Father's day goes back to 1908 when a church in West Virginia held a sermon to honor 362 men who were killed the previous year in a coal mining explosion. This was the country's first-ever event to strictly honor fathers. In the same year, a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd started her quest to establish Father’s Day as a national holiday. Dodd was one of six raised by her single father and thought fathers should be honored the same way as mothers. After a year of petitioning her local community and government, Dodd's home state of Washington celebrated its first official Father's Day on June 19, 1910. Later, the celebration of Father’s Day spread from state to state, and after a long fight, it was finally declared a national holiday in 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed it into law.”
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NATIONAL HEAD-TO-HEAD AVERAGE
Trump: 41 percent
Biden: 50.6 percent
Size of lead: Biden by 9.6 points
Change from one week ago: Biden ↑ 0.4 points; Trump ↓ 0.8 points
[Average includes: Fox News: Trump 38% - Biden 50%; Quinnipiac University: Trump 41% - Biden 49%; CNN: Trump 41% - Biden 55%; NBC News/WSJ: Trump 42% - Biden 49%; NPR/PBS/Marist: Trump 43% - Biden 50%.]
BATTLEGROUND POWER RANKINGS
(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.]
TRUMP JOB PERFORMANCE
Average approval: 42 percent
Average disapproval: 54.8 percent
Net Score: -12.8 points
Change from one week ago: ↑ 1.6 points
[Average includes: Fox News: 44% approve - 55% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 42% approve - 55% disapprove; CNN: 40% approve - 57% disapprove; NPR/PBS/Marist: 42% approve - 55% disapprove; IBD: 42% approve - 52% disapprove.]
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TRUMP LOSING WITH KEY GROUPS THAT BACKED HIM IN 2016
Fox News: “Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden continues to lead President Donald Trump in the race for the White House… In the head-to-head matchup, the poll finds Biden leads Trump by a 50-38 percent margin. That 12-point advantage is statistically significant, and up from Biden’s 8-point lead last month (48-40 percent). … Independents prefer Biden over Trump by 39-17 percent, but another 43 percent are undecided or supporting someone else. Biden’s lead comes from the backing of black voters (+79 points over Trump), those under age 30 (+37), suburban areas (+22), women (+19), and voters ages 65+ (+10). Trump, on the other hand, is underperforming his vote share among key groups, such as white evangelical Christians (+41 points) and rural voters (+9). In 2016, he won white evangelicals by 64 points and rural areas by 27. … Over half of seniors (52 percent) and a plurality of women (46 percent) think ‘cares’ describes Biden. Larger numbers of both groups say it does not apply to Trump (57 percent seniors and 60 percent women).”
Dems complains about Biden’s lack of swing-state infrastructure - Bloomberg: “Joe Biden’s campaign has only begun to hire top officials in key states, leaving him without senior staff in battlegrounds like Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida, alarming some Democrats who say the leadership vacuum could hinder the party’s efforts to defeat President Donald Trump in November. The campaign said Friday that Jessica Mejia, Biden’s California state director during the Democratic primaries, will be the Arizona state director while Andrew Piatt, the manager of Kyrsten Sinema’s successful 2018 Senate campaign, will be a senior adviser. Those roles in other states have not been filled. The Arizona hires are an exception to a process that has moved more slowly than campaign officials had initially indicated, according to four Democratic officials briefed on the campaign’s operations who requested anonymity to disclose private conversations. The officials said campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon and senior adviser Greg Schultz have acknowledged that the campaign missed its self-imposed deadline for leaders in the battleground states to be in place by the start of June and has moved it to July 1.
Giuliani runs point for Trump in debate about debates - Politico: “President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has tapped former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to spearhead a campaign to press for more debates this fall… Giuliani held a Thursday afternoon conference call with Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chairman of the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates. During the call, Giuliani and Parscale pushed for the debates to begin before early voting starts. They also requested a fourth debate. The commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It has scheduled three presidential debates: Sept. 29 at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, Oct. 15 at the University of Michigan, and Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville. … More debates, Trump advisers contend, mean more chances for Biden to embarrass himself. Biden's campaign dismissed Trump's request.”
Trump stokes fears about mail-in voting - Politico: “President Donald Trump called mail-in voting the biggest threat to his reelection and said his campaign's multimillion-dollar legal effort to block expanded ballot access could determine whether he wins a second term. In an Oval Office interview Thursday focusing on the 2020 election, the president also warned his party in blunt terms not to abandon him and cast Hillary Clinton as a more formidable opponent than Joe Biden, despite Biden's commanding lead in polls. The president’s assertion that mail-in voting will endanger his reelection comes as states across the country are rushing to accommodate remote voting in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of voters could be disenfranchised if they decide to stay home on Election Day rather than risk contracting the virus at crowded polling stations. But Trump and his campaign argue, despite a lack of evidence, that widespread mail-in voting will benefit Democrats and invite fraud. The Republican Party is spending tens of millions of dollars on a multifront legal battle.”
Trump faces more limits on social media - Politico: “Facebook and Twitter on Thursday clamped down on social media posts by President Donald Trump and his reelection campaign, including content and ads that featured a Nazi symbol used in World War II to identify certain prisoners in concentration camps. Trump's reelection campaign posted content and ads that featured the red inverted triangle, which once marked political dissidents like Communists and Social Democrats, and a variation of which was used to label Jewish political prisoners. The posts and ads were removed for violating Facebook’s policy against organized hate, a company spokesperson confirmed Thursday afternoon, which ‘prohibits using a banned hate group's symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol,’ he said.”
MOMENTUM GROWS FOR JUNETEENTH NATIONAL HOLIDAY
Texas Tribune: “U.S. Sen. John Cornyn on Thursday afternoon announced that he will introduce bipartisan legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. ‘As we do every year, tomorrow Texans will celebrate Juneteenth and the 155th anniversary of the end of slavery in our state,’ the state’s senior senator said in a floor speech Thursday. Cornyn is not the first Texas lawmaker to take similar steps toward celebrating Juneteenth — a day commemorating the emancipation of slaves in Texas on June 19, 1865. On Monday, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, introduced a resolution aiming to recognize the historical significance of the holiday. Her measure has more than 200 cosponsors.”
Top State Department official quits over Trump’s response to racial unrest - Axios: “Mary Elizabeth Taylor, the first black woman to serve as assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, resigned from the State Department on Thursday in apparent protest of President Trump's response to weeks of nationwide unrest over the killing of George Floyd, the Washington Post reports. ‘Moments of upheaval can change you, shift the trajectory of your life, and mold your character. The President’s comments and actions surrounding racial injustice and Black Americans cut sharply against my core values and convictions,’ Taylor wrote in a resignation letter obtained by the Post. ‘I must follow the dictates of my conscience and resign as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs,’ Taylor said in her letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.”
Pelosi takes down portraits of speakers tied to Confederacy - NYT: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered portraits of four speakers who served the Confederacy to be removed from the Capitol on Thursday, the latest in a wave of efforts across the country to purge public spaces of historic symbols associated with racism and oppression. On the eve of Juneteenth, the day that honors the end of slavery in the United States, Ms. Pelosi, of California, banished the paintings from the speaker’s lobby, the grand corridor outside the House chamber where the portraits of her predecessors are displayed. As Cheryl L. Johnson, the House clerk, and six reporters looked on, workers for the architect of the Capitol mounted ladders and carefully removed the paintings, wheeling them off and leaving empty hooks and blank patches of wall where they had hung in gilded frames.”
LAWMAKERS LOOK TO CREATE LONG-TERM BAILOUT PROGRAM
Politico: “Washington’s massive small business rescue is ending after delivering more than half a trillion dollars to millions of employers. Now, everyone from key lawmakers to the Federal Reserve says it may not be enough. That’s spurring a debate in Washington over how to provide a new lifeline to the beleaguered businesses. While there is still $130 billion left unspent in the so-called Paycheck Protection Program, lobbyists say that's because there were onerous restrictions — chiefly that businesses are prohibited from borrowing a second time, so if they're out of money, they're out of luck. Others say that many potential borrowers were largely left out of the process, including minority employers, who often don’t have relationships with bankers. Still others are looking for a longer-term solution: There is emerging bipartisan support for new government-backed lending that would last much longer than lawmakers first envisioned with the Paycheck Protection Program, which was designed to delay mass layoffs in the early days of the pandemic.”
Dems raise the stakes on infrastructure plan to $1.5 trillion - The Hill: “House Democrats unveiled a $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan Thursday that calls for a huge increase in funding to repair roads and bridges while expanding broadband access in rural areas. Democrats described the bill as the biggest legislative effort to fight climate change, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) saying the package would ‘make real the promise of building infrastructure in a green and resilient way.’ ‘It's job-creating in its essence, but it's also commerce-promoting. So it grows the economy of our country,’ she said. The legislation is the latest attempt to advance an infrastructure package that has been discussed since the early days of the Trump administration but continuously fails to gain traction. Though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he does not want to include infrastructure with coronavirus relief, passage of the House measure could put added pressure on the upper chamber to take action next month. House Democrats have passed their $3 trillion HEROES Act and Senate Republicans have yet to draft their next COVID-19 relief package.”
AUDIBLE: A DIFFERENT KIND OF JOB SECURITY
“I feel confident about reelection, if only because I don't think anyone else will want the job.” – Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams said in a tweet about conducting his first election under a pandemic.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY
Tune in this Sunday as Chris Wallace sits down with Dr. Tom Inglesby from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, senior adviser to the Biden campaign Symone Sanders and senior adviser to the Trump campaign Mercedes Schlapp. Watch “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.” Check local listings for broadcast times in your area.
#mediabuzz - Host Howard Kurtz has the latest take on the week’s media coverage. Watch #mediabuzz Sundays at 11 a.m. ET.
FROM THE BLEACHERS
“For those wondering why Bolton chose not to testify in Congress when it would have helped impeachment and instead saved his story for the book the answer is very simple. Yes, he could make money this way. But in Congress he would have been under oath and have to tell the truth! Think about that while you read the book.” – S. Willis, Toronto, Canada
[Ed. note: Wouldn’t you suppose that a person who is as rotten as you say Bolton is -- a person who would invent a massive, intricate parcel of lies in order to further damage the credibility of the commander in chief he served for a year and a half -- would have very little compunction about lying to Congress. If he were willing to undertake the monstrosity you allege, contempt of Congress would be chicken feed.]
“If Trump is saying that Bolton’s book is all lies, how can he then say that there is classified information in it? He can’t have it both ways, right?” – Jackson Sperry, Chaska, Minn.
[Ed. note: Both things could be true. If Bolton came out with a book of cookie recipes (“The Cookie Duster” presumably) and included one state secret on page 335 between the SALT-ed caramel snaps and the NATO-range squares, the book would still divulge classified information. But the Justice Department isn’t really even arguing that anymore. The administration’s case now seems to be that the falsity of the book is itself the national security risk, undermining vital international arrangements. It doesn’t really matter though since the book is most certainly coming out. One supposes the extraordinary efforts by the Justice Department had in mind an audience of one.]
“I just wanted to thank you for great reporting. This world is so crazy right now I’m only reading about the news and listening to I’ll Tell You What podcast each week.” – Tiffany Rose, Crestwood, Ky.
[Ed. note: We are grateful to be of service! We wish you and yours a lovely Ohio Valley summer.]
Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.
THE HISTORY OF JUNETEENTH
NatGeo: “At the stroke of midnight on January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation came into effect and declared enslaved people in the Confederacy free—on the condition that the Union won the war. The proclamation turned the war into a fight for freedom and by the end of the war 200,000 black soldiers had joined the fight, spreading news of freedom as they fought their way through the South. Since Texas was one of the last strongholds of the South, emancipation would be a long-time coming for enslaved people in the state. Even after the last battle of the Civil War was fought in 1865—a full two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed—many enslaved people still did not know they were free. Some 250,000 enslaved people only learned of their freedom after Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865 and announced that the President had issued a proclamation freeing them.”
AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The headless clone solves the facsimile problem. It is a gateway to the ultimate vanity: immortality.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on June 24, 2001.
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.