The Hill’s Campaign Report: Trump, Biden spar over coronavirus response

Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail. 


It’s a bit of a dead zone on the campaign trail, with candidates isolating at home and the primary elections put on hold as the nation seeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

But President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are giving us a window into their expected general election fight, with the two sparring Monday over the government’s response to the coronavirus in televised interviews.

Trump this morning went on one of his favorite shows, Fox & Friends, to accuse Biden of relying on lengthy technical statements put together by his campaign team to criticize him.

“If Sleepy Joe was president, he wouldn’t even know what’s going on,” Trump said. 

And the president said he thinks New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who has been praised for his response to the coronavirus, would be a more formidable candidate.

“I think he’d be a better candidate than Sleepy Joe,” Trump said. “I wouldn’t mind running against Andrew. I don’t mind running against Joe Biden.”

Biden fired back in the afternoon on MSNBC, demanding the White House get medical supplies to states facing a shortage.

He also hit the president for feuding with the Democratic governors who have been critical of the White House response.

“We don’t need the kind of talk the president is using,” Biden said. “In fact, the president has to stop the belittling of the governors with whom he disagrees.”

And Biden called on Trump to allow his health adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, to be the public face of the administration’s response, calling him a “truth-teller.”

“What they’re doing right is letting Dr. Fauci speak more often. He’s a truth-teller,” Biden said.

“They should let Dr. Fauci and the experts run the show, speak more. Let them lay out exactly what’s happening,” he added. “Just tell the truth to the American people. They’re tough. They can take it, but don’t mislead them.”


Biden describes Fauci as a ‘truth-teller,’ by Julia Manchester

Biden defends Michigan governor after Trump attacks, by Tal Axelrod


Pessimism over the economy is growing as the shutdown from the coronavirus pandemic has led to a spike in unemployment. The president’s job approval rating is up, with a majority approving of the way he’s responded to the virus. But the coronavirus has dented the economy, which could hurt Trump’s reelection efforts in November. Jonathan Easley reports. 


Douglas Schoen: Coronavirus makes campaign season treacherous for Joe Biden.

Harvey Mansfield: Sanders’s revolution stalled, but his platform lives on.

Bill Schneider: Biden’s VP choice more important than ever.

The Oklahoman: Tom Coburn, Oklahoma patriot.


A strong majority of voters say they don’t believe it’s safe to hold primary elections right now because of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a new poll. The latest Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll found that 57 percent of voters said that holding primary elections risks exposing too many people to the virus. Sixty percent said that if their state held a primary election this week, the risk of exposure would factor into their decision of whether or not to vote. This comes as many states have postponed their primaries and are searching for ways to expand access to mail-in or absentee ballots. Jonathan Easley reports.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) came under fire from Trump after he sought to hold up a more-than $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant reports. That could spell trouble for Massie in June when he’ll face off against Republican Todd McMurtry in a primary. Massie represents Kentucky’s deep-red 4th District. And while a Republican is almost certain to win there in November, Massie’s attempt to throw up procedural roadblocks on Friday could fuel conservative critics’ accusations that he’s insufficiently loyal to Trump.


Washington Post-ABC News national

Biden: 49 percent

Trump: 47 percent

Fox News national

Biden: 49 percent

Trump: 40 percent


Senate Majority PAC (SMP) is reserving nearly $70 million in fall advertising across five critical Senate battleground states. The bookings include $15.7 million in Arizona, $5.2 million in North Carolina, $13.1 million in Iowa, $9.6 million in Maine and $25.6 million in North Carolina. Republican incumbents are fighting off well-funded Democrats in each of those states. The reservations from SMP, the top Senate Democratic super PAC, came just a week after Senate Leadership Fund SLF, the super PAC aligned with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), booked more than $67 million in fall advertising in the same states.


(Keep in mind these dates could change because of the outbreak.)

April 7:

Wisconsin Democratic primary

April 10:


April 17:


April 26:

Puerto Rico Democratic primary

April 28:



SOME GOOD NEWS: As journalists, we recognize that it’s really difficult to find any good news during these trying times. We would much rather be reporting on happier subjects over a pandemic any day of the week. 

However, we are happy to report that “Jack Ryan” and “The Office” star John Krasinski is making our jobs a heck of a lot easier with the launch of his new YouTube show, “Some Good News” or “SGN.”

It all started with a tweet from Krasinski asking folks to share good news stories with him. 

And he was completely inundated with stories! 

“Well, desperately seeking my fix somewhere else, I reached out to all of you this week, asking — nay, begging — for some good news. And boy, did you deliver,” Krasinski said dressed as a news anchor.

The actor highlighted a number of good news stories around the world, before conducting interviews with a 15-year-old named Coco, whose friends and family threw her a surprise parade after she finished her chemotherapy treatment.

Krasinski even interviewed his former co-star, Steve Carell, in honor of the 15th anniversary of “The Office.”

You can watch SGN here.

For more good news be sure to check out The Hill’s Selfless Acts page, where our reporters are detailing how Americans are helping each other through the coronavirus pandemic.

We’ll be back on Tuesday with the latest campaign news!

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