The Hill's Campaign Report: Officials in spotlight over coronavirus response

Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail. 




New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo his starkest executive order yet in New York’s response to COVID-19, also known as coronavirus on Friday. The mandate says that 100 percent of the New York workforce must stay home, except for those who work in essential services. “I accept full responsibility. If someone is unhappy, blame me,” Cuomo told reporters.

Additionally, Cuomo ordered that those over the age of 70 and those with compromised immune systems remain indoors at all times. People in these groups should only venture out for solitary exercise, and that “all vulnerable persons should wear a mask in the company of others.” 

The move and the coverage of the order is the latest example of how Cuomo, who was seen as a potential 2020 candidate before ruling out a bid, has become a national figure in the fight against coronavirus. Cuomo is 62, and last year said he intends to seek a fourth term in the governor’s mansion in Albany.

Cuomo’s daily briefings, which typically take place right before the White House briefings on the coronavirus, have become must-see television for New Yorkers and Americans across the U.S., looking to get more information on the crisis. 

“He [gives] people a place to tune into, to tune into for information, and that’s if you’re an American voter who has questions,” Jon Reinish, a former aide to Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Warren, Pressley introduce bill to make it a crime for police officers to deny medical care to people in custody Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers MORE (D-N.Y.) said. “That’s also though, if you’re the media, you had a place to point your camera when you needed answers. And it was right at Gov. Cuomo.” 

The governor has also received praise from a number of unexpected figures on the other side of the aisle, including former New York City Mayor Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiSunday shows preview: Protests against George Floyd’s death, police brutality rock the nation for a second week Piers Morgan, Rudy Giuliani in furious debate over Trump: ‘You sound completely barking mad’ Rudy Giuliani calls on Cuomo to remove Bill de Blasio MORE (R). 


President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE, who sparred with Cuomo earlier this week, praised him and California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCoachella, Stagecoach canceled for 2020 Here’s where your state stands on mail-in voting Urgency mounts for a contact tracing army MORE (D), on Friday, saying he applauded them for their latest actions on combating the virus. 

–Julia Manchester 



Progressives are debating what should come next for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.), whose once-promising second presidential bid has been all but snuffed out by former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE. Sanders is publicly giving the appearance of winding down his campaign after a string of blowout losses that has pushed Biden to a near-insurmountable lead in delegates. Jonathan Easley reports.



Michael Brendan Dougherty: Bernie didn’t have what it takes

Justin Ward: Biden can’t beat Trump but Bernie can

Will Bunch: Warren lost but became president of ideas



Four senators sold stocks shortly after a January briefing in the Senate on the novel coronavirus outbreak, unloading shares that plummeted in value a month later as the stock market crashed in the face of a global pandemic. It’s important to note here that there are different reasons around some of these sales.

But it is a growing controversy for two of the lawmakers, Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrExclusive investigation on the coronavirus pandemic: Where was Congress? Trump asserts his power over Republicans FISA ‘reform’: Groundhog Day edition MORE (R-N.C.) and Kelly LoefflerKelly LoefflerKoch-backed group launches ad campaign to support four vulnerable GOP senators Jon Ossoff to challenge David Perdue after winning Georgia Democratic primary Candidates headed to runoffs in Georgia House race to replace Doug Collins MORE (R-Ga.), both of whom were at a classified briefing on Jan. 24 and unloaded their equities shortly after. Loeffler was appointed to fill former Sen. Johnny Isaakson’s (R-Ga.) seat only a few months ago, and she faces reelection in November. Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsKoch-backed group launches ad campaign to support four vulnerable GOP senators Jon Ossoff to challenge David Perdue after winning Georgia Democratic primary The Hill’s Campaign Report: Bad polling data is piling up for Trump MORE (R-Ga.) will also be on the ballot in the jungle primary.

Loeffler maintains that she had no control over her portfolio, which she said is run by a third party.

Burr has denied wrongdoing, saying he did not use classified information in his decision to sell stocks. On Friday, he also asked for the Senate Ethics Committee to launch an investigation into his stock trading.


Read more

Four senators sold stocks before coronavirus threat crashed market, by Sylvan Lane

Burr requests ethics investigation into stock sale, denies wrongdoing, by J. Edward Moreno




Former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergEngel scrambles to fend off primary challenge from left It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned MORE will transfer $18 million to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and plans to consolidate his massive campaign organization behind the national party in an effort to defeat President Trump in November. The gift of money and organization mark a huge windfall for the DNC, which has not been remotely competitive with the Republican National Committee (RNC) on either front in recent years. Jonathan Easley reports.

Republicans and some reporters pointed out that the gift appeared to be a questionable workaround of campaign finance laws.


The RNC raked in more than $26 million last month, giving the party its best February fundraising haul in history. Max Greenwood reports.


Costs for the federal government to make it safe for voters to participate in the general election could add up to $2 billion, should the coronavirus still be a concern in November, a new study by an independent think tank shows. Marty Johnson reports.




The majority of Americans now approve of President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, a reversal from just one week prior, according to a new Ipsos/ABC News poll.



(Keep in mind these dates could change because of the outbreak.)


April 4:

Alaska Democratic primary

Hawaii Democratic primary

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Wyoming Democratic caucuses


April 7:

Wisconsin Democratic primary


April 26:

Puerto Rico Democratic primary


April 28:

Delaware primaries

New York primaries

Pennsylvania primaries

Rhode Island primaries



SPREADING CHEER:  Americans are trying to make the best of a very stressful situation. The latest example of that can be seen in neighborhoods across the country in the form of Christmas lights. 

Here’s some pictures we saw on Twitter of folks trying to spread some cheer in this moment of uncertainty

And, hey, if you’re three months behind taking your decorations down, you’re ahead of the game! 

We’ll be back on Monday with all of the latest news in politics. Please stay safe and healthy!

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