Jun 11, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 488 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: The spark Trump lit at Lafayette Square

Trump walks past police in Lafayette Park after visiting outside St. John's Church. Photo: Patrick Semansky, File/AP

In a flash, the culture wars seem to be leaving President Trump behind — and his photo op last week seems to have accelerated the process.

Why it matters: Lafayette Square, which sits just across Pennsylvania Ave. from the White House, became a focal point after police used tear gas and batons to clear protesters and journalists out of Trump's way.

  • “Gas us. Shoot us. Beat us. We’re still here,” said a sign hung on the tall black fence erected to wall off the park, the AP reports.
  • “I’m still going back to Lafayette Square because it is the epicenter of our democracy,” 28-year-old D.C. resident Lia Poteet — who was injured during the demonstration — told the AP.

The 10 days since Lafayette Square have not been kind to Trump:

  • The joint chiefs chair publicly apologized for his participation. "I should not have been there," said Gen. Mark Milley today.
  • His defense secretary Mark Esper publicly disagreed with him about invoking the Insurrection Act to use active duty military to police U.S. cities. So did his previous defense secretary, James Mattis.
  • His Senate allies broke with his Confederacy defenses: Only two, Sens. Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton, opposed an amendment to the annual defense funding bill that pushes to rename bases that honor Confederate generals. This was after Trump vowed no changes would be allowed.
  • His House allies aren't riding to his defense: Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he isn't opposed to renaming the bases, and House Democrats are working on a bill to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.
  • Across the South, statues honoring Confederate generals are coming down in states ranging from Virginia to Alabama and Kentucky to Florida.
  • And NASCAR has publicly banned the display of the flag at its events, a suggestion that would have been inconceivable not so long ago.
  • The kicker: A majority of Americans support NFL players kneeling, Axios' Jeff Tracy reports, citing a Yahoo News/YouGov poll.

The bottom line: Trump staked out his side of the culture wars a long time ago, but that side seems to be shrinking fast.

2. Chart du jour
Expand chart
Data: Civiqs; Chart: Axios Visuals
3. Catch up quick
  1. Another 1.5 million Americans filed jobless claims last week. The number of Americans continuing to receive unemployment benefits after initially applying dipped slightly to 20.9 million. Go deeper.
  2. Local commerce in San Francisco saw the heaviest decline from stay at home orders, followed by Chicago, New York and Detroit. Go deeper.
  3. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that shutting down the economy again to stop the spread of the coronavirus is not an option. Go deeper.
  4. Stocks had a bad day: The S&P 500 ended the day down nearly 6%, and the Dow was down nearly 7%.
  5. With a personal video from Tim Cook, Apple launched a $100 million project focused on the systemic barriers to opportunity and dignity faced by the black community, with special emphasis on education, economic equality and criminal justice reform. Go deeper.
4. 1 helpful thing

An artist painting a mural to owner George Floyd in Oakland, Calif. Photo: Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images

Artists across the country are painting murals with messages of love and support after many businesses closed their shops following riots and protests over the police killing of George Floyd, reports Axios' Rashaan Ayesh.

  • Why it matters: By painting murals, artists both beautify the towns while peacefully expressing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Mike Allen