Sunday morning talking heads

There’s only one small silver lining to a full-spectrum national disaster — a much meatier guest list on the weekly Sunday shows. This morning brings us the vice president of the United States, the Speaker of the House, the Senate minority leader, the Secretary of the Treasury, and an array of governors puzzling out how to balance restarting the economy with preventing a second wave of infection.

Mike Pence will chat with “Meet the Press” and “Fox News Sunday” about the new federal benchmarks for reopening for business and why Trump is screeching about “LIBERATING” states like Michigan and Minnesota when they haven’t met those benchmarks yet. Nancy Pelosi will follow him on “Fox News Sunday” to berate Trump about the lack of testing needed to safely reopen and to show off the many varieties of tasty frozen treats in her well-stocked refrigerator as working-class Americans starve. Meanwhile, Chuck Schumer will talk to “State of the Union” about testing and the heinous Democratic roadblock of refunding the Paycheck Protection Program. How many small businesses should be allowed to die while Chuck and Nancy haggle with McConnell over their policy wishlist? Schumer will tell us, followed by Steve Mnuchin to make the case for, uh, not letting small businesses die.

The governors booked this morning are more interesting since they’re on the front lines of the debate over reopening. Notably, the three Republicans who have been most outspoken in resisting Trump’s demands to end the lockdown orders sooner rather than later are all scheduled to react to the new benchmarks. It’s obvious why the Sunday shows would want them on; the media loves a good “red-on-red” brawl. It’s less obvious why the governors themselves would want to risk making themselves targets for Trump. Whatever the reason, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts will appear on “Face the Nation,” Larry Hogan of Maryland will speak to “State of the Union,” and Mike DeWine of Ohio will chat with “Meet the Press.” DeWine has already said he’ll reopen parts of his state on May 1 but hasn’t been specific about details. He’s in a much tougher position politically than Baker and Hogan, whose home states are reliably blue.

All three will be asked about Trump’s “LIBERATE” tweets on Friday, as will the fourth governor booked this morning: That’s Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, who’s become Trump’s top foil among purple-state governors. She’ll talk to “Meet the Press” and “State of the Union” about what she imagines Trump’s calls for “liberation” might entail and the timeline she sees for easing restrictions in her state.

Deborah Birx will also be on, appearing on “Face the Nation” to try to maintain the illusion that Trump’s going to give even a moment’s thought to his own benchmarks while pressuring governors to reopen. The full line-up is at the AP.

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