Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox each day. Send your tips and suggestions to [email protected] or tweet me @BrentGriffiths.
Here's what you need to know:
- Biden warns that the pandemic isn't over, but soon most adults will have access to vaccines
- Gun safety groups are frustrated with Biden prioritizing infrastructure
- Emotional arguments from the first day of Derek Chauvin's trial
1. SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS FOR (ALMOST) EVERYBODY: President Joe Biden pledged that 90% of US adults will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine within five miles of their home by April 19. Biden urged governors and local officials to pause reopening efforts, declaring that "the war" against the pandemic isn't over. "Now is not the time to celebrate," he said.
America's potential dual track: The US continues to set new vaccination records. But Biden echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky who expressed fear of the 4th surge in cases. Walensky told reporters she feels an "impending doom" looking at current numbers. Biden is also urging local leaders to reimpose mask mandates.
- Internal CDC data illustrates a concerning picture: "The number of new cases jumped by 11 percent over the past week to a seven-day average of about 60,000 cases, according to an interagency memo dated March 29," Politico reports. "Nationally, the number of new Covid-19 hospital admissions and currently hospitalized patients both increased by 4 percent." In a sign of how quickly things can turn, on March 11 another memo documented decreases across the board.
A shot may also become your ticket, literally: The White House is reportedly exploring a vaccine passport program that would allow people to prove they've been vaccinated before entering venues. The plan would be for the proof to reside on a smartphone app with printed proof available as well. New York already launched its pass, which will be used by Madison Square Garden.
- Final thought: The data continues to show vaccines are incredibly effective. The CDC released real-world evidence of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines showing they are 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections, even asymptomatic cases.
2. Gun safety groups are frustrated with Biden: His decision to prioritize infrastructure over gun control has frustrated advocates, though some remain optimistic that Biden will eventually take action on his own and potentially push for more violence-prevention funding. More on how their patience is running out in our exclusive report.
- Key quote: "We can walk and chew gum at the same time. We can move forward with an infrastructure bill...and spend time talking about this issue as the public health crisis it is," Kris Brown, president of the Brady gun violence prevention group, told Insider.
3. Emotional arguments begin Derek Chauvin's trial: Parts of the viral video of Chauvin pinning George Floyd to the ground were played. Jerry Blackwell, one of the prosecutors, said the former officer "betrayed his badge." Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson said that the "evidence is far greater than nine minutes and 29 seconds," a reference to the time Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck. Here are the other major moments.
4. Biden is reportedly set to unveil his first wave of judicial nominees: The White House is expected to make the announcement possibly as soon as today, Politico reports. Biden plans to name 11 nominees to federal courts, including three Black women. Just 16% of Trump's judicial picks were non-White, a worse rate than George W. Bush and the last three Democratic presidents.
5. A 10th accuser has come forward against Gov. Andrew Cuomo: Sherry Vill accused Cuomo of making unwanted advances, saying the New York Democrat grabbed her face and kissed her without her consent in 2017. Vill said it happened when Cuomo visited her neighborhood after a flood to survey damage and hold a press conference. More on the latest accusation. A lawyer for Cuomo said the governor's actions were in line with how he has greeted constituents.
6.Opposition to Georgia's new voting law is escalating: A leading Black civil rights group is calling for the PGA tour to pull out of the famed Masters tournament held in Augusta, Georgia. Major League Baseball is facing pressure to move its All-Star Game, which is scheduled to be in Atlanta this summer. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines is also facing pushback over its statement on the law. Just the facts: Here's an explainer on the new law.
- Even some Republicans are struggling to defend aspects of the law: Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said "it doesn't make a whole lot of sense" for the law to criminalize giving food and water to voters waiting in line.
7. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:
- 10:00 a.m.: Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff visits a vaccination site in Maryland
- 10:30 a.m.: Witness testimony resumes in Chauvin's trial
- 12:30 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House's daily news briefing
- 2:00 p.m.: Biden signs the PPP extension act into law
8. A Capitol riot suspect allegedly wore a t-shirt that said, 'I was there, Washington, DC, January 6, 2021' when the FBI arrested him: Court documents also state that Garret Miller, the suspect in question, also posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram during and after the riot. On Facebook, he posted a selfie inside the Capitol. When someone commented on it with a congratulatory message, Miller replied "just wanted to incriminate myself a little lol."
- There's a trend of riot suspects posting extremely incriminating evidence: Here's a list of everyone that has been charged so far.
9. A Trump appointee who had sex on the General Services Administration building's roof has a new gig: P. Brennan Hart III, a senior Trump appointee who made national news for having oral sex atop the federal agency's building, is emerging into a more public role. Hart is launching a political action committee called the American Business Federation. More on his new venture here.
10. Insider asked you to figure out the Suez Canal problem: 1,033 people submitted ideas on how they would have MacGyvered or perhaps MacGrubered how to unstick the Ever Given container ship. One prepared a PowerPoint that called for an Airbus aircraft, a long piece of rope, and a helium balloon. Another called for as much salt as possible to be poured into the canal. You can read the rest of the suggestions here.
And yes, many people offered illustrations:
One last thing.
Today's trivia question: Which president established the first designated office for correspondents at the White House? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at [email protected].
- Yesterday's answer: President Ford was the first commander-in-chief to be the butt of an impersonation on SNL, courtesy of Chevy Chase. And he loved it.