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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Republicans are increasingly concerned not only about President Trump’s daily briefings but also his broader plan to ease the nation out of the virus crisis and back to work. This concern is acute — and spreading. 

Why it matters: Trump can easily address the briefing worries by doing fewer, but the lackluster bounce-back planning is what worries Republicans most. 

  • Some think he has only weeks to figure it out. The consequences of failure would be a November defeat, some warn. 

Trump built his re-election pitch on the idea the U.S. has seen historic prosperity under his leadership, but now the economy is in shambles.

  • "The next 4-8 weeks is really going to decide whether Trump gets re-elected," Stephen Moore, Trump's former nominee for the Fed board, told Axios.

Club for Growth President David McIntosh, a former Indiana congressman and ally of Vice President Pence, says not enough attention is being paid to the post-virus economy.

  • "I don't think [Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin] has yet started thinking about that long-term, how do we incentivize the rapid recovery or the V-shape bounce back?" he told Axios.
  • "I understand their planning process, to deal with emergency, but now it's time to start thinking of the exit strategy."

Some Trump aides and Republican lawmakers increasingly believe his daily briefings are hurting him more than helping, "and are urging him to let his medical experts take center stage," the N.Y. Times reports.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Trump "sometimes drowns out his own message," and told him "a once-a-week show" could be more effective.

The conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page hit him yesterday with "Trump’s Wasted Briefings," saying they often deteriorate "into a dispiriting brawl between the president and his antagonists in the White House press corps":

Every reporter knows the way to get a TV moment, and get a pat on the back from newsroom pals, is to bait Mr. Trump with a question about his previous statements or about criticism that someone has leveled against him. Mr. Trump always takes the bait.

🐦 Trump took the bait, tweeting:

  • "The Wall Street Journal always 'forgets' to mention that the ratings for the White House Press Briefings are 'through the roof' ... & is only way for me to escape the Fake News & get my views across. WSJ is Fake News!"

What's next: Trump, increasingly frustrated with the pandemic's bite on the economy, is preparing to launch a second coronavirus task force focused on economic recovery.

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

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Go deeper

32 mins ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.