Morning Report — Biden: Economy is fine and polls are wrong

A chronicle of Donald Trump's Crimes or Allegations

Morning Report — Biden: Economy is fine and polls are wrong

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President Biden defended his economic record Wednesday, citing a recent consumer sentiment report that he said backs him up.

His green-eyeshade defense using a university report was not the sort of sales pitch many Democratic candidates preferred from Biden, who visited Racine, Wis., a battleground state that may decide next year’s Oval Office occupant. Trump won Wisconsin by one point in 2016 and Biden won the state by a point in 2020.

The president, comparing his policies with those of former President Trump, rejected polls that show that voters trust Trump on the economy more than they trust Biden.

During an interview with CNN, the president was hard pressed to construct an accessible story about how his economic policies are affecting real Americans.

“We’ve already turned it around,” Biden said from Wisconsin. “The polling data has been wrong all along.”

In an unusual concession about an election-year vulnerability, he added that polls show voters “think the nation’s not in good shape, but [they think] they’re personally in good shape.”

Biden recommended voters “look at the markets’” for reactions to the recent 1.6 percent gross domestic product report for the first quarter, which indicated a slowing economy. Cooling indicators of output are expected to lower inflationary pressures. Democratic presidents for eons have argued that Wall Street bets are not the real economy; Main Street holds the tape measure.

Voters complain about inflation, rising gas prices, high interest rates, unaffordable housing costs and the sticker shock of college tuition. Voters gauge the health of any economy relying on what they see and experience. They blame incumbent presidents when they’re anxious, and they look to political challengers when they’re shopping for change.

Even some of Biden’s closest allies and surrogates have conceded that his economic sales pitch to Americans “is a work in progress.” Election Day is six months away.

Former President Bill Clinton, who transformed George H.W. Bush into a one-term president amid a recession, told an audience two months after his inauguration, I’d a lot rather get beat trying to put people to work than get beat fighting putting people to work.”  

Biden conceded Wednesday that voters have many reasons for worrying their purchase power and their economic well-being have eroded. But he said 15 million jobs have been created during his term and wages are higher. He criticized Trump as invested in the wealthy, not the middle class, and as a spinner of economic promises, many of them illusions.

Reuters: Biden touts $3.3 billion Microsoft data center at failed Foxconn site Trump backed in Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, Trump’s hush money criminal trial resumes today in Manhattan. And House Republicans on Wednesday underscored deep internal divisions by voting with help from Democrats to table a motion triggered by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to try to oust Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.). The vote to shield Johnson was 359-43-7, but both Republicans wound up weakened by the tempest. More about those events, below.


▪ Top Republicans, led by Trump, are refusing to commit to accept November’s election results, raising concerns of a repeat of the violent aftermath of Trump’s loss four years ago.

▪ Handed a leaner budget by Congress, NASA’s Mars projects have taken the biggest hit. The space agency is working to adapt its ambitions.

▪ Former President Jimmy Carter, 99, cast a mail-in primary ballot in Georgia this week, his grandson Jason Carter told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Monica Pearson Show. The elder Carter has been in hospice care at home for more than a year.


© The Associated Press / J. Scott Applewhite | Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Wednesday moved to force a vote to oust Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), all but certain to fail amid opposition from both sides of the aisle.


GREENE FADES: The Speaker on Wednesday easily survived a move by Greene to strip him of the GOP role he’s held for seven months. The House on a bipartisan basis overwhelmingly voted to table the Georgia lawmaker’s efforts to oust Johnson because she believes he’s collaborated with Democrats and backed more U.S. aid to Ukraine.

The Hill: These are the lawmakers who voted against tabling Greene’s measure to oust Johnson.

“I appreciate the show of confidence from my colleagues to defeat this misguided effort,” Johnson said after Wednesday’s vote. “That is certainly what it was … Hopefully,” he added, “this is the end of the personality politics and the frivolous character assassination that has defined the 118th Congress.”

The chamber voted 359-43-7, with Johnson receiving expected support from Democrats and Republicans alike. The final vote — which was widely expected amid bipartisan opposition to Greene’s gambit — deals a major blow to the Georgia Republican. Only 11 Republicans supported Greene’s motion, while 196 voted to keep Johnson in the Speaker’s chair. Democrats overwhelmingly voted to save Johnson, with 163 in support of keeping him and 32 against.

Johnson, who won the gavel in October following the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), will remain in the top job, but is now in the precarious position of being a GOP Speaker propped up by Democrats.

Members loudly booed Greene as she called up the resolution and jeered when she read it aloud. As she recited the measure, airing her grievances against Johnson in a more than 10-minute speech, Republicans lined up on the House floor to shake the Speaker’s hand and pat him on the back. Still, Greene made clear that even if her attempt to depose the Speaker were unsuccessful, she still saw value in publicly undermining him (The Hill and The New York Times).

“If he remains Speaker with” Democrats’ help, she said on social media, “he’s fully compromised.”

Politico: Tallies from the vote to defeat Greene’s effort to oust Johnson from the Speakership.

CNN: “Congressional version of temper tantrum”: GOP lawmakers react to Greene’s move to oust Johnson.

The Hill: Trump said Wednesday it was “not the time” for Greene’s attempt to oust Johnson from the top job in the House, warning the effort displayed “disunity” in an election year.

FLIPPING THE SCRIPT: Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) push to finish work on the bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) reauthorization has put him square in the middle of a Senate fight, a position that is a far cry from those his colleagues are used to as he takes a mini-detour from his role as a conservative rabble-rouser. Cruz, the top Republican on the Commerce Committee, has played the lead role for the party throughout the push to re-up the FAA’s authority ahead of Friday’s deadline.

But the irony is not lost on lawmakers who have watched Cruz up close and personal, especially on government spending battles throughout the years.

“It’s been entertaining to be able to watch,” one Senate Republican told The Hill’s Al Weaver before quoting the movie “Airplane!” “What’s the old Hollywood joke? The foot’s on the other hand.”

Republican lawmakers on Wednesday went after the leaders of prominent U.S. K-12 school systems over what they say is a lack of enforcement when antisemitic incidents occur in their districts. New York City Public Schools Chancellor David Banks rebutted assertions and pushed back on lawmakers’ claims that the entire New York City public school system is antisemitic, noting that while some members of Congress have said antisemitic things, he does not cast all of Congress as antisemitic (The Hill). 


The House will meet at 10:30 a.m. Friday for a pro forma session.

The Senate will convene at noon.

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10 a.m. Biden at 4:30 p.m. will welcome the Las Vegas Aces to the East Room as winners of the 2023 WNBA finals. Biden will travel to San Francisco, arriving at 8 p.m. PST, where he will remain overnight.

Vice President Harris will join Biden at the White House to mark the victory of the Las Vegas Aces as WNBA champions.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will speak this morning at the World Food Prize Laureate ceremony at the State Department. This afternoon, he attends a Diplomatic Security Memorial Ceremony at the department.

First lady Jill Biden will visit Oregon, California and Arizona through Saturday. She headlines a fundraiser in Portland, Ore., at 2 p.m. local time today before flying to San Francisco to speak at a second fundraiser at 6:15 p.m. local time in Kentfield. She will remain in California overnight.

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff will address Latino Victory Foundation’s Latino Talks 2024 event at 8:15 p.m. at The Hamilton Live in Washington, D.C. 


© The Associated Press / Tsafrir Abayov | Israeli tanks at the border with Gaza on Wednesday.


NO U.S. WEAPONS: Biden on Wednesday warned the U.S. would stop supplying Israel with offensive weapons including bombs and artillery shells if Israeli forces launch an invasion of Rafah. His new red line emerges weeks after U.S. public demonstrations over the conflict in Gaza and months after he and other U.S. officials warned Israeli counterparts about the humanitarian repercussions of any military offensive in Rafah.

“Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers,” told CNN. “I made it clear that if they go into Rafah — they haven’t gone in Rafah yet — if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities — that deal with that problem.”

Israel has launched “targeted strikes” against the southern Gaza city where more than a million Palestinians have taken shelter, though Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said a full-scale invasion is on the horizon.

Biden has grown increasingly frustrated with Netanyahu in private, and last month suggested in a call with the prime minister that the U.S. could reassess its support for Israel if it did not do more to protect civilians and humanitarian workers (The Hill and The Wall Street Journal).

Politico: In closed-door talks with U.S. officials, the Israeli government has expressed “deep frustration” at both the Biden administration’s delay of a weapons shipment and U.S. confirmations to the media of the once-private halt.

ProPublica: Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Israeli units accused of serious violations have done enough to avoid sanctions. Experts and insiders disagree.

NEGOTIATORS FROM ISRAEL AND HAMAS met in Cairo on Wednesday amid a renewed international push for a cease-fire in Gaza, though Israeli officials said that major gaps remain. In a sign of the growing urgency, Netanyahu met CIA Director William Burns on Wednesday afternoon in Israel, The New York Times reports. Burns has been shuttling across the region in recent days to try and clinch a cease-fire deal that would see the release of hostages held in Gaza and Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

Hamas announced Wednesday it was unwilling to make more concessions to in truce negotiations, although talks were still under way in Cairo aimed at pausing Israel’s seven-month-old offensive (Reuters).

The World Health Organization said Wednesday that the closure of the Rafah border crossing in Gaza meant health services in the southern part of the enclave would run out of fuel in three days. While Israel said it reopened a key Gaza border crossing in Kerem Shalom after a rocket attack, the United Nations said no aid has entered (Yahoo News and The Washington Post).

“All the fuel that entered Gaza went through Rafah crossing,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, president of Refugees International. “The whole aid operation runs on fuel, so if the fuel is cut off, the humanitarian operation collapses. Water can’t be pumped. Lights cannot be kept on in hospitals. Vehicles cannot distribute aid.”

The Hill: The top House Republicans with oversight of U.S. foreign and military affairs slammed the Biden administration Wednesday for pausing a shipment to Israel of an estimated 3,000 heavy bombs.

The Washington Post: Israel’s seizure of the Gaza-Egypt crossing plunged the aid community into crisis, severing key supply lines and stranding international aid workers.

NPR: The U.S. military pier off Gaza may soon be operating. Aid workers question its role.

The New Yorker: Gaza’s unexploded-bomb crisis: Clearing the territory of ordnance and rubble could pose a challenge unseen since the Second World War.


FEDERAL CASES: Judge Aileen Cannon’s indefinite delay on Tuesday of Trump’s documents trial is placing yet another hurdle in the former president’s pathway to seeing trial in any of his federal cases ahead of the election. The Hill’s Rebecca Beitsch reports Trump’s other federal trial is also facing roadblocks to reaching trial before the election, with proceedings in his Jan. 6 case on pause until the Supreme Court resolves a bid by the former president to toss the case by arguing he is immune from prosecution. If the cases don’t reach trial before November and Trump wins, his Justice Department would almost certainly drop all charges.

The Hill: Senate Democrats are venting their fury over Cannon’s decision to cancel the start date of the documents trial, accusing the Trump appointee of “deliberately slow-walking” the case.

A GEORGIA APPEALS COURT agreed Wednesday to review a lower court’s decision not to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) from prosecuting Trump in his election interference case in the state (The Hill). 

HUSH MONEY TRIAL: Trump’s hush money trial will resume today with cross-examination of adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who testified earlier this week. Judge Juan Merchan, during a Tuesday sidebar conference, warned the former president for “cursing audibly” while Daniels was testifying (The Hill).

“I understand that your client is upset at this point, but he is cursing audibly, and he is shaking his head visually and that’s contemptuous. It has the potential to intimidate the witness and the jury can see that,” Merchan said during the brief sidebar, which took place just before the court’s morning break.

The Hill: Is Trump still publicly railing about a New York gag order and fines for violations imposed on him by Merchan? You bet.


© The Associated Press / Charlie Neibergall | Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., pictured in April, at one time had a brain parasite and was diagnosed with other health issues including memory difficulties and atrial fibrillation, a common heart disorder, according to records and reporting by The New York Times.


MEDICAL MATTERS: Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 70, has faced previously undisclosed health issues, including a parasite that he said ate part of his brain and died there (The New York Times). He has been hospitalized at least four times for atrial fibrillation, a common heart arrythmia that increases the risk of stroke, and he was previously diagnosed with mercury poisoning. “I have cognitive problems, clearly,” he said in the 2012 deposition. “I have short-term memory loss, and I have longer-term memory loss that affects me.”  He says he has recovered from memory loss and has no aftereffects from the brain parasite. He declined to release his medical records, the Times reported.

CNN: Kennedy is officially on ballots in five states — Michigan, Utah, Hawaii, Delaware and California. His campaign says it’s gathered enough signatures to put him on the ballot in two more battlegrounds, North Carolina and Nevada, as well as Ohio, Idaho, Nebraska and Iowa.

Brick and mortar: Trump lobbied late Tuesday on social media in favor of keeping a new FBI building in Washington, although selection of a Maryland location was completed. It would be “the centerpiece” of his plan to “totally renovate and rebuild” Washington, D.C., if elected, he added. Keeping a new FBI headquarters in the nation’s capital, according to Trump, would be “important for ending violent crime, which I will do, quickly,” he wrote in all caps (The Hill).


▪ The Republican gubernatorial primary in West Virginia has tightened since March, according to the latest survey by Emerson College Polling/The Hill. State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is leading with 28 percent support, followed closely by former state Rep. Moore Capito with 25 percent. Businessman Chris Miller was in third with 19 percent, and West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner was in fourth with 12 percent; 16 percent of respondents said they were undecided. 

▪ What if Biden and Trump are tied in the Electoral College after Election Day? Here’s why such an unlikely occurrence would help Trump over Biden.

▪ Trump is using the audition process for his eventual running mate to create an army of surrogates willing to defend him and echo his talking points while he is tied up in a Manhattan courtroom. “They’re all out there campaigning,” Trump told Spectrum News 1 in Wisconsin. “It might actually be more effective this way because, you know, every one of them thinks they could be chosen.”

▪ What issues would make Americans protest — even if they could be arrested? A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll shows abortion and civil rights lead the list.

▪ In Arizona, election workers are being trained with deepfakes to prepare for 2024. “By the end of the second day, you’re like: Trust no one,” said one county recorder who completed the training.

▪ FreedomWorks, the conservative organization that helped turn Tea Party protesters into a national political force, is shutting down, in a casualty of the ideological split in a Trump-dominated Republican Party.

▪ Here’s how officials are planning for demonstrations and security upheaval at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago this summer.


■ I’m Jewish. Here’s why I voted against the Antisemitism Awareness Act, by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), guest essayist, The Washington Post.

■ Biden’s cybersecurity plan has a huge funding gap, by Mark Montgomery and Michael Sugden, opinion contributors, The Hill.


© The Associated Press / Sergei Bobylev-Sputnik-Kremlin | Russian President Vladimir Putin was inaugurated Tuesday in Moscow for his fifth term.

Take Our Morning Report Quiz

And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Alert to Vladimir Putin’s inauguration for a fifth term Tuesday, we’re eager for savvy guesses about the Russian president, who has another six years to lead close to 144 million people.

Be sure to email your responses to and — please add “Quiz” to your subject line. Winners who submit correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame on Friday.

Putin, 71, began his KGB career where?



New York


British photographer Platon recently recounted to CNN how Putin during a 2007 portrait shoot enthused in fluent English that his favorite Beatle was ______.

Paul McCartney

John Lennon

Ringo Star

George Harrison

When Putin travels abroad, what do bodyguards reportedly collect and return to Russia, supposedly to maintain his personal security and secrecy?

Superman pajamas


Poop and urine

Cone of Silence

The Russian president in 2007, aware of then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal fear, was accused of trying to rattle her by releasing _____ during a joint press conference?

Armed guards dressed as Stasi

Bavarian Oompah band

His black Labrador, Koni

Swarm of bees

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