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Sen. Ben Sasse walks to the Senate from the subway to vote in June. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) has dialed up his spicy slams of President Trump, including this swipe at yesterday's signing ceremony: "The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop."

Why it matters: Trump increasingly looks — to business and to fellow Republicans — like a loser in November. So they're more likely to create distance to save their own skins. Sasse also won his May primary, further freeing him.

Earlier, Sasse had this to say as the White House and Democratic leaders negotiated a new coronavirus rescue package:

The swamp should stop pretending there’s some thoughtful negotiation happening here. ... The White House is trying to solve bad polling by agreeing to indefensibly bad debt. This proposal is not targeted to fix precise problems — it's about Democrats and Trumpers competing to outspend each other.

After the Lafayette Square fracas, Sasse said: "I'm against clearing out a peaceful protest for a photo op that treats the Word of God as a political prop."

On intelligence about Russian bounties: "Number one, who knew what when? Did the commander in chief know and, if not, how the hell not? What is going on in our process?"

  • "And, number two, what are we gonna do to impose proportional cost in response? In a situation like this, that would mean Taliban and GRU [Russian military intelligence agency] body bags."

On Trump's plan to withdraw troops from Germany: " Chairman Xi and Vladimir Putin are reckless — and this withdrawal will only embolden them."

On a report Trump might withdraw troops from South Korea: "{This kind of strategic incompetence is Jimmy Carter-level weak."

Flashback ... Sasse in his maiden Senate speech in 2015: "Everything cannot be simply Republicans versus Democrats. ... I promise you that I plan to speak up when the next president of my party exceeds his or her proper powers."

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
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Go deeper

Updated Oct 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trumpworld coronavirus tracker

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

An outbreak of COVID-19 has struck the White House — including the president himself — just weeks before the 2020 election.

Why it matters: If the president can get infected, anyone can. And the scramble to figure out the scope of this outbreak is a high-profile, high-stakes microcosm of America's larger failures to contain the virus and to stand up a contact-tracing system that can respond to new cases before they have a chance to become outbreaks.

39 mins ago - Health

U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record

Expand chart
Data: COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

The United States reported 88,452 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a single-day record, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The country confirmed 1,049 additional deaths due to the virus, and there are over 46,000 people currently being hospitalized, suggesting the U.S. is experiencing a third wave heading into the winter months.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day.
  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. Sports: MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
  5. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.