Jan 21, 2017

Breitbart's next target: Merkel

Michael Sohn / AP

One of the more contentious — and consequential — international relationships is set to be that between Donald Trump and the German leader Angela Merkel.

Bloomberg reports interesting details today:

Merkel has been poring over old interviews and video of Donald Trump, seeking clues on how to influence the incoming U.S. president when they first meet, according to two people familiar with her preparations...Merkel is trying to take the new president's measure while gearing up her own campaign for a fourth term in Germany's fall election, where she's already using Trump as a foil. The chancellery in Berlin has reached out to Trump's transition team to suggest an early meeting, which would give Merkel a chance to get Trump's ear and counter his dismissive views on the European Union, NATO and free trade, according to another government official.

Can we make a suggestion? If she's not already done so, Merkel should put the nationalist populist website Breitbart News near the top of her reading list. Breitbart is planning to open a new bureau in Berlin.

  • A source familiar with Breitbart's plans has told Axios that one of the central goals of the Berlin website will be to attack Merkel for her open borders policies. This mirrors Trump's publicly stated contempt for Merkel's decision to open Germany to refugees (Trump says they're a Trojan Horse for Islamist terrorists.)
  • Breitbart is also planning a Paris bureau, which will support the presidential candidacy of nationalist leader Marine Le Pen. And this all comes after Breitbart invested heavily in their London bureau — including forging close ties to UKIP leader Nigel Farage — to promote the Brexit movement.

Why this Matters: The Trump-Merkel relationship could have major implications for the future of the European Union. Steve Bannon, the former chair of Breitbart who is now Trump's chief strategist, has carved himself a deliberately undefined and broad brief. Unlike Reince Priebus, who will be handling daily operations as chief of staff, Bannon will have free rein to think big picture and influence not just messaging but big picture strategy, including national security and foreign policy.

Anybody who thinks Trump will moderate his views towards globalism, NATO, and the European Union would be well served understanding the depth of opposition to these concepts within the Bannon-Stephen Miller-Jeff Sessions elements of the President's inner circle.

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Cuomo: Engaging in politics during coronavirus crisis is "anti-American"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Monday press briefing that he won't get into a political tussle with President Trump — calling it "counterproductive" and "anti-American" — as his state deals with the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.

The backdrop: Trump said during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" earlier Monday that Cuomo has received high polling numbers during the outbreak because New York has received federal aid.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 755,591 — Total deaths: 36,211 — Total recoveries: 158,527.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 148,089 — Total deaths: 2,599 — Total recoveries: 4,886.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30 — Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan.
  4. State updates: At least 30 states have issued stay-at-home orders to residents. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said more than 9,500 people have been hospitalized.
  5. Business latest: Macy's will furlough the majority of it's workers this week, as the chain's stores remain closed.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Axios co-founder Roy Schwartz discusses his experience being diagnosed with the virus.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Maryland and Virginia issue coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued stay-at-home orders on Monday, with exceptions for residents engaged in essential services, including health care and government functions.

The big picture: The states are the latest to announce policies to enforce social distancing, which have affected almost 250 million Americans. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide had been asked to stay home as of last week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health