May 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Report: GOP recruiting pro-Trump doctors to promote America reopening

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Republicans are recruiting "pro-Trump" doctors to promote America's speedy reopening in media appearances, according to an audio recording obtained by AP.

Why it matters: President Trump has repeatedly used doctors to legitimize his credentials and policies. The president's physician Sean Conley on Monday released a letter backing Trump's decision to begin taking hydroxychloroquine, but he did not explicitly say whether he actually prescribed Trump the drug.

  • Trump has been pushing for the U.S. to reopen after months of social distancing in response to the coronavirus pandemic, going against the advice of some medical professionals, including director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci.

The state of play: The recruitment plan was discussed on a May 11 conference call with a senior Trump re-election campaign staff member and organized by CNP Action, an affiliate of the conservative Council for National Policy.

  • Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh, who confirmed the plan to AP, said, "Anybody who joins one of our coalitions is vetted."
  • "And so quite obviously, all of our coalitions espouse policies and say things that are, of course, exactly simpatico with what the president believes. ... The president has been outspoken about the fact that he wants to get the country back open as soon as possible," Murtaugh said.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,919,364— Total deaths: 364,459 — Total recoveries — 2,490,221Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,745,606 — Total deaths: 102,798 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.

Zuckerberg says Trump’s “shooting” tweet didn’t violate Facebook’s rules

Mark Zuckerberg at the 56th Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany on February 15. Photo: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Facebook did not remove President Trump's threat to send the National Guard to Minneapolis because the company's policy on inciting violence allows discussion on state use of force, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in a post on Friday.

The big picture: Zuckerberg's statement comes on the heels of leaked internal criticism from Facebook employees over how the company handled Trump's posts about the Minneapolis protests and his unsubstantiated claims on mail-in ballots — both of which Twitter has now taken action on.

Trump says he spoke with George Floyd's family

President Trump in the Rose Garden on May 29. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on Friday that he had spoken with the family of George Floyd, a black resident of Minneapolis who died after a police officer knelt on his neck on Monday.

Driving the news: Former Vice President Joe Biden said via livestream a few hours earlier that he, too, had spoken with Floyd's family. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee implored white Americans to consider systemic injustices against African Americans more broadly, Axios' Alexi McCammond reports.