The TAKE with Rick Klein

President Joe Biden’s first endorsement of the 2022 congressional primaries was a strange one in terms of both timing and strategy — and the signals it sends about the president’s thinking will resonate through the voting season that’s about to commence.

Late Saturday, the announcement came from the campaign of Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., that Biden endorsed Schrader, with a statement citing his role in helping “pass much of my agenda into law” and his ability to represent Oregon and “all of America.”

White House officials had previously said the president would most likely not endorse in Democratic primaries. Oregon’s May 17 primary hasn’t been top of mind for most strategists, and Schrader is a little-known figure in national politics.

To the extent that Democratic activists know Schrader’s name, it’s mainly been for his opposition to progressive priorities that Biden actually supports. He opposed a $15 minimum wage and a proposal to contain prescription drug prices, and he initially voted against last year’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill.

He also enraged colleagues shortly after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol when he likened the swift impeachment push to an attempted “lynching” of then-President Donald Trump, as ABC News’ Ben Siegel reported at the time.

PHOTO: Representative Kurt Schrader questions witnesses at a committee hearing in Washington, June 23, 2020. Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILERepresentative Kurt Schrader questions witnesses at a committee hearing in Washington, June 23, 2020.

All of that earned Schrader a primary challenger in Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who has been endorsed by four county Democratic parties, a range of progressive groups and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. In an interview last week with The Washington Post’s David Weigel, McLeod-Skinner called Schrader “the Joe Manchin or Oregon” and warned that he would lose the general election because the Democratic base has soured on him.

A Biden aide told ABC News that the president is being “strategic” in where he’s offering support and will be endorsing other “incumbents who have been with him on votes and supporting his agenda.” The fact that Schrader was his first endorsement was primarily a function of the voting calendar, the aide indicated.

Biden’s statement said Schrader has been with him “when it mattered most.” In this race, though, the argument some Democrats are using to try to oust the incumbent is exactly the opposite.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

As the Biden administration moves forward with an appeal to a judge’s ruling that struck down the federal mask mandate on public transit, health experts are sounding the alarm about the risk of undermining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This is not going to be the last of the need for public health measures we’ve taken for any crisis,” Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday. “And what could be the crisis of tomorrow?”

The Biden administration hasn’t called for a stay that would have allowed the mask mandate to remain in place while the issue works its way through the courts, indicating that the appeal may not be as much about preserving the soon-to-expire mandate as it is about ensuring that the CDC can put public health-related measures in place in the event of another pandemic.

PHOTO: Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, on "This Week" with Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz, April 24, 2022.ABC NewsDr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, on “This Week” with Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz, April 24, 2022.

Before U.S. District Court Judge Kathryn Mizelle ruled that the mask mandate exceeded “the CDC’s statutory authority,” the mandate had only been extended until May 3.

Despite COVID-19 infection rates increasing 10% or more in 38 states and territories due to omicron subvariants, the case numbers are still significantly lower than at previous points in the pandemic.

“The U.S. public is done with the pandemic, even though the virus is not done with us,” Osterholm said Sunday. “And we have to recognize that in public health.”

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

While former President Donald Trump rallied in Ohio this weekend, his political influence was unfolding in Michigan, a 2020 battleground state he lost by over 154,000 votes.

On Saturday, Michigan Republicans nominated Trump-endorsed “Big Lie” candidates Kristina Karamo and Matt DePerno to run against incumbent Democrats in respective contests for secretary of state and attorney general. If Karamo and DePerno are successful in November, they will hold positions directly involved with validating future election results as Michigan’s top elections and law enforcement officials.

PHOTO: Kristina Karamo, who is running for Michigan Republican party's nomination for secretary of state, speaks at a rally hosted by former President Donald Trump near Washington, Mich., April 02, 2022.Scott Olson/Getty ImagesKristina Karamo, who is running for Michigan Republican party’s nomination for secretary of state, speaks at a rally hosted by former President Donald Trump near Washington, Mich., April 02, 2022.

As reported by ABC News’ Lalee Ibssa, DePerno, a lawyer, filed suit seeking to audit the 2020 election results in Antrim County; however, those efforts were dismissed by a Michigan court Thursday. Karamo was part of the Supreme Court lawsuit that was eventually rejected seeking to overturn the 2020 results after claiming she personally witnessed election fraud in Detroit.

Although their endorsements still need to be officially confirmed by a party vote in August, the pair will now road test how well Trump’s most ardent supporters can fare in statewide executive races amid ongoing fractures within Michigan’s Republican party. The party’s move to nominate the nation’s first 2020 conspiracy theorists to run in major battleground contests creates a complicated political landscape that has some Democrats pouncing.

“My opponent is more focused on peddling divisive fake conspiracies & lies than providing competent, customer-service driven leadership,” said incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in a tweet, adding that Karamo will “undermine our democracy.”

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

32. That’s the percentage of Republicans who said they had “a great deal” of confidence in the scientific community in 2021, according to data from the General Social Survey. That is significantly less than the share of Democrats (65%) and Independents (44%) who said the same and, what’s more, marks a stark acceleration of distrust in the scientific community among Republicans from 2020 to 2021. As FiveThirtyEight’s Monica Potts writes, being anti-science is now increasingly part of many Republicans’ identity, especially Republicans living in rural America. Read more from Monica on what it means for the U.S., especially as it pertains to another major crisis where trust in the scientific community is needed.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. “Start Here” begins Monday morning with new reporting on the wartime visit to Kyiv by top U.S. officials as Ukraine calls for more weapons. ABC News’ Marcus Moore is in the region. Then, ABC News’ Devin Dwyer previews a Supreme Court case involving a football coach who was fired for praying on the field. And, ABC News’ Ines De La Cuetara is in Paris after French President Emmanuel Macron defeated a far-right rival for reelection.http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • President Joe Biden receives the president’s daily brief at 11:30 a.m., then Biden welcomes the Tampa Bay Lightning to the White House to celebrate their 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup championships at 2 p.m.
  • Press secretary Jen Psaki holds a briefing at 3 p.m.
  • The Senate will convene at 3 p.m. and will resume consideration of a Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System nominee.
  • The House will meet in Pro Forma session at 12:30 p.m.
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R.-Calif., will lead a Republican delegation to Texas to visit the U.S.-Mexico border.
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