Aug 27, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 538 words, a 2-minute read.

⚡️ Joe Biden is considering a modified return to the campaign trail after Labor Day, with short, surgical travel to swing states in the closing two months of the race, people familiar with the discussions told Axios' Hans Nichols. Go deeper.

1 big thing: Louisiana dodges massive storm surge

Buildings and homes are flooded in Cameron, Louisiana, in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. Photo: David J. Phillip via AP

A rare relief in the 2020 grind: The worst-case scenario hasn't yet come to pass with Hurricane Laura.

  • The storm surge in Louisiana was 9 to 10 feet vs. the possibility of 20, and wind damage is easier to repair than massive flooding.
  • The death toll currently stands at four, and Interstate 10 is closed because a casino riverboat is jammed under one of its bridges.

The big picture: This was still a monster Category 4 hurricane at landfall.

  • “It looks like 1,000 tornadoes went through here. It’s just destruction everywhere,” Brett Geymann told the AP.
  • 600,000 people are without power, and 100,000 are potentially without access to clean water.

What's next: There's a “chlorine gas chemical fire” near Lake Charles, Louisiana, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

  • Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a shelter in place order as a result of the fire, telling residents to close windows and doors and turn off their A/C units.
2. RNC preview: Finale night

Vice President Mike Pence shakes hands after speaking last night at Fort McHenry. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

On Night 4 of the Republican National Convention, President Trump will deliver a wildly different speech than Joe Biden gave last week, Axios' Alayna Treene tells me.

  • Trump will offer a blistering rebuke of Biden’s record and his decades as "a failed" elected official in a closing address that will declare November as a battle between “us vs. them,” campaign officials tell Axios.
  • Biden's speech didn’t mention Trump by name once, but instead used the platform to share his personal story and offer himself as “an ally of the light.”
  • Trump will say Biden is “an empty shell of a candidate” and a “Trojan Horse” for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, said Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh.
  • Trump will also go into “granular detail” about his second-term agenda.

Trump is expected to address the shooting of Jacob Blake and make reference to Kenosha as part of a larger discussion of unrest in the U.S.

  • Trump's speech will be delivered from the White House South Lawn, a departure from presidential norms.

The campaign is especially excited about an appearance by Alice Johnson, whose prison sentence Trump commuted. 

Other speakers include:

  • Ivanka Trump, who will call her father the “people’s president"
  • House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • Former Democratic Congressman Jeff Van Drew, who switched parties during impeachment
3. Catch up quick
  1. The Federal Reserve is now willing to allow inflation to drift higher than its typical 2% target for periods of time — and won't be tempted to hike rates to offset rising prices when the unemployment rate gets too low. Go deeper.
  2. NBA players will resume the playoffs, perhaps as soon as tomorrow, after boycotting last night's games in a stand for racial justice spurred by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, ESPN reports.
  3. Joe Biden told MSNBC that Trump is "rooting for more violence, not less" in cities facing unrest due to protests against police brutality. Go deeper.
  4. Iowa's Republican governor closed all bars, nightclubs and breweries in six counties across the state after a spike in positive coronavirus cases, specifically among young adults, the Des Moines Register reports.
  5. 🎧 Axios Re:Cap interviewed Renee Montgomery, point guard for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream and co-founder of More Than A Vote. Listen here.
4. 1 smile to go

A photo from NBC's "Customer Safari." Photo: Tyler Golden/NBC via Getty Images

Some normalcy is returning to TV this fall, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

  • NBC will "slowly rollout original dramas and comedies — as well as 'The Voice' — starting in October with Martin Gero's social distance series 'Connecting' and the return of 'Superstore.'"
  • "The network's strategy is similar to what ABC is doing. ... CBS, sources say, is also targeting a November return."
  • "Fox and The CW, meanwhile, plan to launch new and returning series in 2021, allowing productions ample time to adjust to a new normal that includes extensive safety protocols to film during the pandemic."
Mike Allen