Apr 17, 2020

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 423 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: Trump accelerates the unrest

Protesters at the Michigan Capitol rally against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order. Photo: Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal via Reuters 

Today President Trump began fueling reopening protests in some blue states.

  • "LIBERATE MICHIGAN! ... LIBERATE MINNESOTA! ... LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!"

Why it matters: Governors have in place strong public health restrictions and are likely to want to continue to hold the line for some time to come. This was a position Trump publicly supported as recently as yesterday.

  • Michigan in particular has a bad coronavirus outbreak, with a lockdown from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that's among the most severe nationwide.

The ingredients for mayhem, via Axios' Jonathan Swan:

  • Deepening economic desperation: 22 million have filed for jobless benefits, with a second wave of layoffs already underway. More help appears to be coming for small businesses, but Congress is still haggling.
  • Conservative TV and talk radio influencers encouraging protests: "People instinctively know now that however bad this is, it isn't as bad as they all told us," Rush Limbaugh told listeners yesterday.
  • Early signs of big conservative donor money getting behind the protests: In Michigan, one protest was planned by the political adviser to the family of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, WashPost reports.
  • Police departments are stressed: Hundreds of police officers have been quarantined for coronavirus exposure, with some dying. Multiple departments nationwide have reported issues getting PPE.

Between the lines: As we reported in yesterday's PM, public support is strongly on the side of social distancing.

  • 66% of Americans are concerned state governments will lift restrictions too quickly.
  • 73% say the worst is yet to come from the outbreak.

The bottom line: It surely can't be helping individuals and businesses to have the yo-yo effect created by federal and state officials openly arguing about timelines that involve life and death.

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: UPS

UPS containers that are part of FEMA's Project Airbridge, a major effort to fly in PPE to the U.S.

2. Catch up quick
  1. Business update: Congress' game of chicken over small business bailouts could kill many small businesses — Airlines face a long, slow climb despite bailout.
  2. World update: The post-pandemic landscape may favor cars.
  3. Media update: Celebrity doctors and medical experts clash over coronavirus response — Vox Media furloughs 9% of staff amid coronavirus crisis.
  4. News you can use: How to pick the right face mask to wear.
3. 1 fun thing

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Pitchfork, long the go-to music review site for the hipster set, granted Fiona Apple's new album "Fetch the Bolt Cutters" an elusive 10 out of 10, its first perfect review in nearly a decade, notes Axios' Shane Savitsky.

  • Jenn Pelly's review calls the work "a wildstyle symphony of the everyday, an unyielding masterpiece. No music has ever sounded quite like it."

Flashback: The site's last 10 was Kanye West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" on Nov. 22, 2010.