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Ben Carson addresses last summer's Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Ben Carson, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has told confidants he wants to start a think tank after President Trump leaves office next month.

Why it matters: Carson's planning signals his private recognition of what many Trump loyalists won't say publicly: Donald Trump will not serve a second term — at least not consecutively. The secretary has not publicly acknowledged Joe Biden's election win but is preparing for a future outside the federal government.

Background: Carson, a neurosurgeon by trade who competed with Trump for the Republican Party's 2016 presidential nomination, wants to start an organization that will promote Trump's policies and foster bipartisan dialogue, a source in his inner circle told Axios.

  • It's unclear how any such group would be funded or mesh with any entity Trump launches in exile. The closest the source came to defining policy focuses was to say it would include "increasing self-sufficiency" and "promoting religious freedom."

Another focus: Carson wants to "heal the wounds of divisiveness," the source said.

  • It would be a very tall order indeed, as Trump's unstinting efforts to create and exacerbate such wounds show no sign of abating.
  • Just this week, the president retweeted a missive saying two Georgia Republican officials who acknowledged Biden's win will shortly be going to jail.

Be smart: As much as Carson may plan for his future or show fealty to Trump in the process, he can't forget the president lambasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week for saying publicly that Biden — not him — will be inaugurated as president next month.

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden on Trump's impeachment trial: "I think it has to happen"

President Biden told CNN Monday that he believes the impeachment trial of former President Trump "has to happen," but he does not think 17 Republicans will join Democrats to vote to convict.

Why it matters: Biden's comments are most concrete he has made about his views on Trump's second impeachment.

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries to passengers and crew on Saturday, per a company statement.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were estimated to be traveling on the westbound Empire Builder train from Chicago to Seattle and Portland when eight cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak said early Sunday.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court is set to hear a challenge Wednesday to a vaccine mandate planned for New York City school employees.

Why it matters The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system. But a judge on Friday temporarily blocked the measure, per AP.

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