Jonathan Swan
Jonathan Swan
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Scoop: Trump regrets following Jared Kushner's advice

Scoop: Trump regrets following Jared Kushner's advice

Kushner and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows walk on the south lawn of the White House, June 23. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesPresident Trump has told people in recent days that he regrets following some of son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner's political advice — including supporting criminal justice reform — and will stick closer to his own instincts, three people with direct knowledge of the president's thinking tell Axios.Behind the scenes: One person who spoke with the president interpreted his thinking this way: "No more of Jared's woke s***." Another said Trump has...

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Jonathan Swan
Jul 1
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Biden campaign to zero in on Trump's mismanagement of COVID inflection points in coming week

Biden campaign to zero in on Trump's mismanagement of COVID inflection points in coming week

Biden met with families who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act and made remarks on his plan for affordable health care, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, June 25. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty ImagesThe Biden campaign plans to focus its messages this week on "the difference between what Joe Biden called for and what Donald Trump did at crucial inflection points" since the pandemic arrived in America, according to a Biden adviser.What we're hearing: Expect the Biden campaign to use footage of Trump golfing, holding rallies, complaining about being mistreated by the media and saying he wanted...

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Jonathan Swan
Jun 28
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Trailing in key states, Trump campaign seeks to rebrand Biden as a danger to America

Trailing in key states, Trump campaign seeks to rebrand Biden as a danger to America

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/AxiosPresident Trump and his top advisers are trying to rebrand Joe Biden as a danger to America — with some aides admitting privately that the "Sleepy Joe" nickname will never gin up the visceral reaction they exploited against "Crooked Hillary" Clinton.Driving the news: The emerging strategy is to claim Biden's mental faculties are diminished and say he can't rein in protesters' most controversial excesses, including toppling a Ulysses S. Grant statue, looting stores, burning buildings and vandalizing St. John's Church.Why it matters: Trump is trailing in key...

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Jonathan Swan
Jun 28
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Kudlow disputes Navarro's claims that China trade talks are off

Kudlow disputes Navarro's claims that China trade talks are off

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow speaks to members of the media outside the West Wing of the White House in January. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty ImagesThe president's chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow disputed comments from Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro, who said Monday night the U.S.-China trade deal is "over."Details: "The U.S. remains engaged with China over the phase one trade deal signed last January and according to trade negotiator Bob Lighthizer the deal is going well. President Trump has made similar comments just recently," Kudlow told me. Driving the news: Navarro...

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Jonathan Swan
Jun 23
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Exclusive: Trump held off on sanctions over Uighur detention camps to secure China trade deal

Exclusive: Trump held off on sanctions over Uighur detention camps to secure China trade deal

Illustration: Aïda Amer/AxiosIn an Oval Office interview on Friday afternoon, President Trump told me that he held off on imposing Treasury sanctions against Chinese officials involved with the Xinjiang mass detention camps because doing so would have interfered with his trade deal with Beijing. Driving the news: Asked why he hadn't yet enacted Treasury sanctions against Chinese Communist Party officials or entities tied to the camps where the Chinese government detains Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, Trump replied, "Well, we were in the middle of a major trade deal."The big picture:...

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Jonathan Swan
Jun 21
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Trump says niece "not allowed" to write book because of nondisclosure agreement

Trump says niece "not allowed" to write book because of nondisclosure agreement

Photo: Screenshot from Simon & SchusterIn his first public comments on the matter, President Trump told Axios that his niece, Mary Trump, is "not allowed" to write her forthcoming book about him because doing so would violate a nondisclosure agreement she signed.Driving the news: "She's not allowed to write a book," Trump told me. "You know, when we settled with her and her brother, who I do have a good relationship with — she's got a brother, Fred, who I do have a good relationship with, but when we settled, she has a total ... signed a nondisclosure."Between the lines: Trump's comments to...

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Jonathan Swan
Jun 21
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Exclusive: Trump cold on Venezuela's Juan Guaidó, would consider meeting Maduro

Exclusive: Trump cold on Venezuela's Juan Guaidó, would consider meeting Maduro

Trump and Guaidó. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesIn an Oval Office interview with Axios on Friday, President Trump suggested he's had second thoughts about his decision to recognize Juan Guaidó as the legitimate leader of Venezuela and said he is open to meeting with dictator Nicolás Maduro.Driving the news: Asked whether he would meet with Maduro, Trump said, "I would maybe think about that. ... Maduro would like to meet. And I'm never opposed to meetings — you know, rarely opposed to meetings.The big picture: Trump also indicated he doesn't have much confidence in Guaidó, who has failed...

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Jonathan Swan
Jun 21
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Trump: Expect "wild evening" in Tulsa, mask optional

Trump: Expect "wild evening" in Tulsa, mask optional

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesPresident Trump defended his decision to move ahead with a controversial large-scale Tulsa rally this weekend amid the pandemic, saying in an interview Friday with Axios that "we have to get back to living our lives" and "we're going to have a wild evening tomorrow night at Oklahoma."Why it matters: Ahead of the rally expected to draw tens of thousands of supporters and protesters, the president's comments underscore his skepticism of the effectiveness of strict enforcement of masks and social distancing to combat the virus that has killed more than 118,000...

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Jonathan Swan
Jun 20
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Trump aides argue for overture to African Americans at Tulsa rally

Trump aides argue for overture to African Americans at Tulsa rally

Trump supporters at his upcoming rally site in Tulsa. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty ImagesSome advisers to President Trump are urging him to lean into Juneteenth during his rally in Tulsa tomorrow.Why it matters: Aides have been looking for ways to give Trump opportunities to hype the policies he believes have helped African Americans during his presidency — including criminal justice reform, support for historically black colleges and universities, and opportunity zones.The context: Between the pandemic and nationwide protests, Trump is hurting with swing voters who like his policies but hate...

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Jonathan Swan
Jun 19
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Biden campaign plans to hammer Trump with attacks in states where COVID-19 cases are rising

Biden campaign plans to hammer Trump with attacks in states where COVID-19 cases are rising

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty ImagesThe Biden campaign plans to hammer President Trump this week with targeted attacks in battleground states where COVID-19 infection rates are rising — including Florida and North Carolina.The big picture: A campaign official said the attacks, delivered in press calls and high-level surrogate virtual events, will focus on his reopening of the economy.In a statement to Axios, Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield previewed the Biden campaign's message for this week:Trump campaign's response: "Biden has been lobbing ineffective partisan bombs from his...

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Jonathan Swan
Jun 14
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Trump's loyalty enforcer steamrolls Cabinet officials in campaign to reshape top agencies

Trump's loyalty enforcer steamrolls Cabinet officials in campaign to reshape top agencies

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios Photo: Alex Wong/Getty ImagesPresident Trump, in a highly unusual new effort, has begun making significant staffing changes inside top federal agencies without the consent — and, in at least one case, without even the knowledge — of the agency head, according to officials familiar with the effort.Why it matters: This campaign — helmed by Trump's loyalty enforcer, a 30-year-old former body man who now runs hiring for the government — is part of the systematic purging or reassigning of those deemed insufficiently supportive of Trump.Behind the scenes: Trump...

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Jonathan Swan
Jun 14
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Concerned about "brutal" internal polling, Trump's top aides plot new theme

Concerned about "brutal" internal polling, Trump's top aides plot new theme

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/AxiosPresident Trump's top political advisers, in a private meeting last week, said their boss needs to add more hopeful, optimistic and unifying messages to balance his harsh law-and-order rhetoric.Why it matters: They're deeply concerned about "brutal" internal polling for the president in the aftermath of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and George Floyd's killing.Behind the scenes: During a meeting of top political advisers at campaign headquarters on Thursday afternoon, the president's 2016 campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, raised a question...

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Jonathan Swan
Jun 7
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Republican National Convention search expands across Sun Belt

Republican National Convention search expands across Sun Belt

Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their families on the last night of the Republican National Convention in Ohio in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images.The Republican National Committee is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it , people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.Driving the news: The RNC's executive committee voted Wednesday night to allow most of the convention to move — with only a smaller, official portion remaining in Charlotte — after North Carolina's governor said...

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Jonathan Swan
Jun 4
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Inside the secret talks to overhaul the Republican Party platform

Inside the secret talks to overhaul the Republican Party platform

Jared Kushner. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty ImagesFor the past six months, top Trump campaign officials, reporting to Jared Kushner, have been working on a radical overhaul of the Republican Party platform.Driving the news: The Trump campaign's Bill Stepien has been leading the process, working with campaign colleagues and the Republican National Committee. As with all significant campaign matters, they've been reporting back to Kushner.Behind the scenes: At noon on Dec. 19, 2019, Kushner shared some of his thinking with colleagues in the Secretary of War Suite in the Eisenhower...

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Jonathan Swan
May 24
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McConnell to Trump: Next coronavirus bill must be under $1 trillion

McConnell to Trump: Next coronavirus bill must be under $1 trillion

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesDuring a meeting at the White House on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stressed to President Trump that the next coronavirus relief package cannot exceed $1 trillion, and should be narrowly focused on getting money in people's hands immediately, sources familiar with the meeting tell Axios.The big picture: Senate Republicans' backlash against House Democrats' $3 trillion bill has been so severe that it has eased pressure on McConnell to act instantly on a "phase 4" bill, and McConnell is focused on ensuring that the next bill is much...

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Jonathan Swan
May 21
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The doctor vs. the White House: Fauci to warn Senate of death risk if economy reopens too soon

The doctor vs. the White House: Fauci to warn Senate of death risk if economy reopens too soon

Anthony Fauci during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in April. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesDr. Anthony Fauci's on the Hill today — to warn the country of the dangers of reopening too quickly — precisely undercuts what President Trump and the White House are trying to achieve this week.The state of play: Trump and his team around convincing Americans that they had enough testing and personal protective equipment to begin to safely return to work — and Trump has been publicly chiding blue-state governors for keeping their states closed longer than he'd...

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Jonathan Swan
May 12
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Scoop: Trump officials' dysfunction harms delivery of coronavirus drug

Scoop: Trump officials' dysfunction harms delivery of coronavirus drug

Photo: Doug Mills/Getty ImagesA complete breakdown in communication and coordination within the Trump administration has undermined the distribution of a promising treatment, according to senior officials with direct knowledge of the discussions.Why it matters: The drug, remdesivir, hasn't made it to some of the high-priority hospitals where it's most needed, and administration officials have responded by shifting blame and avoiding responsibility, sources said.Where it stands: Gilead Sciences, the company that makes remdesivir, donated hundreds of thousands of doses to the federal...

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Jonathan Swan
May 8
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Collins fears testing woes could make senators "super-spreaders"

Collins fears testing woes could make senators "super-spreaders"

Collins wears a mask as she departs a Senate hearing. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Getty ImagesSen. Susan Collins took issue Thursday with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision not to accept the White House's speedy coronavirus tests, worrying in a private lunch with GOP colleagues that untested senators could become "super-spreaders" when they return to their home states.Driving the news: The pushback was part of a broader airing of concerns in today's Republican Senate lunch, in which McConnell defended the political necessity of his move, according to several people familiar with the...

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Jonathan Swan
May 7
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Trump wants to replace FBI director Wray but may restrain himself during election year

Trump wants to replace FBI director Wray but may restrain himself during election year

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty ImagesPresident Trump is not happy with FBI director Christopher Wray and would love to replace him, according to three sources who've discussed the matter with the president.But Trump has been deferring to Attorney General Bill Barr and is unlikely to remove Wray before the election, these sources said.Behind the scenes: Trump's dissatisfaction with Wray — whom he nominated for the post in 2017 after firing Jim Comey — is nothing new. A source who has discussed the FBI director repeatedly with the president said Trump "has never felt like Wray was his guy" and does...

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Jonathan Swan
May 3
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Capitol Hill physician says he can't test every senator for coronavirus

Capitol Hill physician says he can't test every senator for coronavirus

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty ImagesThe Capitol's attending physician told senior Republican staff in a conference call today that he doesn't have the equipment to do either rapid or widespread testing of the 100 senators who return to work Monday, per two sources familiar with the call.Driving the news: Congressional doctor, Brian Monahan, told the staff he didn't have access to the 15-minute tests the White House has been using. And he said he didn't have enough supply to test asymptomatic senators — he would only be testing people who are ill or show symptoms of the coronavirus.Behind the...

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Jonathan Swan
May 1
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Birx, Fauci to take "back seat" as White House shifts to economic message on coronavirus

Birx, Fauci to take "back seat" as White House shifts to economic message on coronavirus

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/AxiosThe White House plans to shift its coronavirus messaging toward boosting the economy and highlighting "success stories" of businesses, reducing its public emphasis on health statistics, according to two officials familiar with the planning.Driving the news: The Coronavirus Task Force — and the doctors who've become household names, Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci — "will continue but take a back seat to the forward-looking, 'what's next' message," a White House official told Axios.What we're hearing: "Expect to see a pivot from the White House in the days...

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Jonathan Swan
Apr 26
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Why Trump went off on Georgia's Republican Gov. Brian Kemp

Why Trump went off on Georgia's Republican Gov. Brian Kemp

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesOne of the more surprising recent political moments was when President Trump Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. It's rare — and politically damaging — for a Republican official to get steamrolled the way Kemp did last week.Why it matters: Trump was encouraging governors to "liberate" their states, which anti-lockdown protesters saw as an endorsement. He offered guidelines for reopening the economy safely but said he'd leave it up to the governors to decide what was right for their states.Behind the scenes: Two sources who've discussed Kemp with...

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Jonathan Swan
Apr 26
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Trump plans to cut daily coronavirus briefings

Trump plans to cut daily coronavirus briefings

Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of disinfectants Lysol and Dettol, Friday that its products cannot be injected or ingested to combat coronavirus after President Trump suggested the possibility during Thursday's task force briefing.What Trump said: "I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets inside the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that."New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that President Trump was...

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Jonathan Swan
Apr 24
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CDC lab for coronavirus test kits may have been contaminated

CDC lab for coronavirus test kits may have been contaminated

A researcher works in a laboratory developing testing for the coronavirus. Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty ImagesA top federal scientist sounded the alarm about what he feared was contamination in an Atlanta lab where the government made test kits for the coronavirus, according to sources familiar with the situation in Atlanta.Driving the news: The Trump administration has ordered an independent investigation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab, and manufacturing of the virus test kits has been moved, the sources said.Why it matters: At the time the administration is under...

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Jonathan Swan
Mar 2
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