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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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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.

Go deeper

Between the lines of Trump's RNC speech

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

After spending four years pushing away all but his hardest core, President Trump used the Republican National Convention to try to belatedly reel back big swaths of the electorate who like his policies but don't like him.

The state of play: The Trump campaign is gambling that even Americans who hate his style will ultimately vote on what they think affects them most directly.

Pelosi: "I don't think that there should be any debates"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she doesn't believe there should be any debates between President Trump and Joe Biden because she believes Trump "will probably act in a way that is beneath the dignity of the presidency."

Why it matters: Her statement isn't likely to make the Biden campaign happy, as the Trump campaign has attempted to paint Biden as senile and hoping to avoid a direct confrontation. Biden, however, has repeatedly said that he "can hardly wait" to debate the president.

Ben Carson defends Trump against accusations of racism at RNC

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson defended President Trump against accusations of racism at the Republican National Convention on Thursday.

Why it matters: Carson, the only Black member of Trump's Cabinet, has become a loyal ally and defender of the president since running against him in the 2016 Republican primary.

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