May 4, 2017

Breitbart campaigns for Mark Meadows as House Speaker

Breitbart, the right-wing news outlet with close ties to the White House, is now openly campaigning for Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows to become Speaker of the House.

Shortly after the healthcare vote, a source familiar with Breitbart's editorial operations called Axios to preview their campaign for Meadows:

"Mark Meadows is the acting Speaker of the House. Expect Breitbart coverage to reflect that."

On Breitbart's homepage: An image of Meadows that wouldn't look out of place on a presidential campaign. In case that wasn't clear enough, a headline in the top corner of the website read: "SPEAKER MEADOWS?"

None of this should be surprising. Breitbart's editorial team, led by Matthew Boyle, has had a vendetta against Ryan from day one. Just weeks after Ryan took the Speakership, Steve Bannon sent an internal email saying the "long game" was for Ryan to be out of a job by spring. On Breitbart conference calls Bannon used to call Ryan "the enemy," and attack him as a "globalist" who was too soft on immigration. While the two have since patched over their differences — and even found common ground on tax reform — the animus toward Ryan lives on among Breitbart's editorial leadership.

"It's clear that Paul Ryan was just field-stripped by the House Republican conference on health care," the source said of Thursday's healthcare vote. "Negotiations on major elements of President Trump's agenda must be negotiated by other Republican members of the House including the Tuesday Group and the Freedom Caucus."

Side note: Meadows is far from a beloved figure outside of the Freedom Caucus. House leaders mostly loathe him and words like "sociopath" are freely used in private conversations about him. Nor has it been entirely smooth for Meadows within his own group. Two Freedom Caucus members publicly dropped out of the caucus this month. A senior GOP aide said this to Axios about Meadows' prospects for Speaker: "Meadows would never get 218 votes. Not even close. He's despised by many in our conference."

Go deeper

The right and left internet loves Anthony Fauci

Data: Newswhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

If you feel like you're suddenly spending a surprising amount of your days thinking and talking about Anthony Fauci, you're not alone. He's become the third-most talked about person online, according to data from NewsWhip provided to Axios.

Why it matters: Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Health office that deals with infectious diseases, has quickly become a household name, and one of the few household names with (mostly) bipartisan credibility.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,014,673 — Total deaths: 52,973 — Total recoveries: 210,335Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 244,678 — Total deaths: 5,911 — Total recoveries: 9,058Map.
  3. 2020 updates: The Democratic National Committee said its July convention will be postponed until August because of the coronavirus. A federal judge declined to delay Wisconsin's April 7 primary election.
  4. Jobs latest: Coronavirus unemployment numbers are like a natural disaster hitting every state.
  5. Public health latest: Anthony Fauci called for all states across the U.S. to issue stay-at-home orders. The FDA will allow blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period, citing "urgent need."
  6. Business latest: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said oil companies are eligible for aid from new lending programs the Federal Reserve is setting up, but not direct loans from his department.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier who sounded alarm about coronavirus.
  8. 1 future thing: In developing countries, consequences of COVID-19 could be deeper and far more difficult to recover from.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Mark Meadows considers new White House press secretary

Photos: Alyssa Farah, Defense Department; Stephanie Grisham, Alex Wong/Getty Images; Kayleigh McEnany, Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has privately discussed bringing on Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah or Trump campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany as a new White House press secretary, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: Meadows' start on Tuesday as Trump's new chief presents a chance to overhaul a press shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.