Mar 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Conservative agenda sweeps federal courts

President Trump. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

During his first three years in office, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s assistance, President Trump was able to name nearly as many appellate judges as President Obama appointed over two terms, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Trump repeatedly boasts about the number of judges he has appointed while campaigning for re-election. The New York Times review of Trump's judicial appointees found the president is significantly breaking "with the norms set by his Democratic and Republican predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush."

The state of play: "More than one-third of the Trump appointees have filled seats previously occupied by judges appointed by Democrats," the Times writes.

  • Two-thirds of Trump appointees are white men, The Times calculates.
  • The new judges are picked for their strong conservative background, and at least seven have held jobs with Trump's campaign or administration.
  • Trump has appointed as many judges to the federal appeals court during his first terms as former President Obama did over two terms.

Go deeper: How Trump is reshaping the courts

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Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.

2019 stock market gains still leave Trump behind his predecessors

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The S&P 500 has jumped 42% under President Trump — according to market data from the inauguration through 2019's final day of trading.

Why it matters: Trump uses the stock market's surge as a barometer of his presidency's success — one that, along with the 50-year low unemployment rate, he's sure to continue to tout as the 2020 election approaches — but the gains under him lag those under former Presidents Barack Obama, when stocks rebounded from the lows of the financial crisis, and George H.W. Bush.

WHO official leads criticism of Trump's coronavirus response

President Trump with members of the new coronavirus task force at the White House on Wednesday. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Ezekiel Emanuel, special adviser to the director general of the World Health Organization, told MSNBC Wednesday he found "most" of what President Trump said at his briefing on the novel coronavirus "incoherent."

The big picture: As the number of confirmed cases reaches 60 in the U.S., the top health professional — who was a health policy adviser in the Obama administration — is among several leading figures, in particular, Democrats, to criticize the president for his response to the outbreak.

Go deeperArrowFeb 27, 2020 - Health