WASHINGTON — If it’s Friday … President Biden talks infrastructure as his voting rights push appears all but dead. … Biden also plans executive action on police reform. … Super PAC attacks Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. … And TODAY celebrates 70 years on the air.
But first: Former President Donald Trump is bringing the 2022 roadshow to Arizona this Saturday for his first rally of the midterm-election year.
And the event will include Arizona Republicans like Kari Lake (a candidate for governor) and Mark Finchem (running for secretary of state) who have trumpeted Trump’s attacks on the 2020 presidential election — and have earned the former president’s endorsement.
In fact, one way Trump has wielded power after Jan. 6 and leaving office is through his endorsements — 93 of them in total, according to NBC News’s count — both in GOP primaries and general elections. He’s endorsed many incumbents and high-profile challengers, but is also attempting to boost some political novices with his political strength, too.
Of these 93 endorsements:
73 are men, 20 are women
35 are candidates for the U.S. House
15 are U.S. Senate candidates
12 are running for governor
15 are challenging GOP incumbents
59 have questioned the 2020 election results, including by voting against the Electoral College certification in Congress.
In addition to questioning the 2020 election result, 10 candidates who received Trump’s endorsement attended his rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump’s win/loss record in these races will be one good metric to gauge his ultimate political strength, particularly in GOP primaries. First up on that primary calendar is March 1 in Texas, where Trump has backed 21 candidates — the most of any state — from governor down to county judge.
And there could be more endorsements to come. Trump has yet to take a side in wide open GOP Senate primaries in Arizona, Missouri and Ohio, and gubernatorial primaries in a handful of competitive races. So stay tuned.
Data Download: The number of the day is … 5
That’s the number of states where Trump has endorsed at least five candidates — Texas (21 candidates), Michigan (13), Florida (9), Georgia (5) and Arizona (5).
The former president has a preferred slate for almost every statewide office in the Lone Star State: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and land commissioner, along with a large slate of congressional endorsements and a few down-ballot races.
Ten of Trump’s endorsements in Michigan are at the state legislative level, as he’s declared the state “needs a new legislature” that would not “refuse to conduct a Forensic Audit.”
Trump’s endorsements in his adopted home state of Florida are largely incumbent members of Congress. And his moves in Georgia and Arizona come in two states he focused on significantly in the wake of his 2020 loss.
Other numbers you need to know today
148,731: The seven-day average of Covid hospitalizations in the U.S., per an NBC News analysis, which is a new record.
808,518: The seven-day average of new, daily Covid cases in the U.S., per NBC News analysis.
1,890: The seven-day average of daily Covid deaths in the U.S., per NBC News analysis.
3: The number of missile tests North Korea has conducted this month, including firing two short-range ballistic missiles early Friday.
$1.85 billion: That’s how much student loan servicer Navient agreed to pay to settle accusations of predatory lending and deceptive practices.
123.3 degrees: The recorded high temperature (in Fahrenheit) in Onslow, Australia, which matches the highest temperature ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere.
Tweet of the day
White House goes 1 for 2 at the Supreme Court
But while Biden definitely had a bad day on Thursday, the Supreme Court news wasn’t all bad, despite the headlines.
The White House went 1 for 2, essentially.
“The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked the Biden administration’s rule requiring larger businesses to ensure that workers are vaccinated against Covid-19 or wear masks and get tested weekly,” NBC’s Pete Williams writes.
“But the court said a separate mandate requiring vaccinations for an estimated 20 million health care workers can be enforced.”
Five Democratic groups (Black Voters Matter Fund, Collective PAC, End Citizens United/Let America Vote, Latino Victory Fund, and the League of Conservation Voters) announced Thursday they will only endorse senators “who take all necessary measures” to pass Democrats’ voting-rights bills.
Now that Sen. John Thune is running for re-election, Trump’s allies are taking aim at the South Dakota Republican. NBC’s Marc Caputo reports that Trump’s pollster, Tony Fabrizio, conducted a survey for an outside group that tested Thune against Gov. Kristi Noem and Rep. Dusty Johnson (both have said they won’t run for Senate).
Senate Majority PAC goes after GOP Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin.
The super PAC Honor Pennsylvania is up with its first spot attacking Mehmet Oz in the GOP Senate primary, dropping $911,000 on ads criticizing the TV doctor, according to AdImpact.
GOP Senate candidate David McCormick told NBC10 Philadelphia that he now lives full time in Pennsylvania. “People talk about, ‘How could you possibly know what’s going on in Pennsylvania and what it’s like to be in towns with working class families?’ I grew up in them,” he said.”
McCormick also dodged multiple questions about the 2020 election. “There were numerous irregularities. I also said that President Biden’s the president. We need to move forward,” McCormick said.
McCormick also picked up an endorsement from Army veteran Sean Parnell, who had Trump’s backing in the Senate race before ending his campaign after losing a custody battle. Parnell’s estranged wife accused Parnell of verbal and physical abuse, which Parnell denied.
ICYMI: What else is happening in the world
Ukraine is combating a major cyber-attack amid tensions with Russia.
The Republican National Committee is threatening to pull out from future presidential debates hosted by the Commission on Presidential debates.
The head of the Oath Keepers, an extremist group, is among the 11 people charged with “seditious conspiracy” for their role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
The House’s Jan. 6 committee is subpoenaing tech giants who have so far provided an “inadequate” response to information requests.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Thursday she’s been looking into whether to charge Republicans who put forward an alternate slate of 2020 electors, and has referred the investigation to federal prosecutors.