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Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Ten current and former White House and congressional officials told the Washington Post that President Trump has been urging his top advisers to cut the growing federal deficit, even as he tries to implement pricey programs, like a massive infrastructure package.

The big picture: 2010's Tea Party wave, which propelled many budget-conscious Republicans to power in Washington, was prompted by increased federal spending and concerns of big government that have long been central issues for the GOP. But Trump’s contradictions reflect how conflicted the party has become — even as the Congressional Budget Office said earlier this year that the deficit will approach $1 trillion by the end of 2019's fiscal year.

Trump is not well-versed on the particulars of the federal budget, according to the Post. He had largely expressed no interest in discussing the matter and instead told former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn to simply print more money.

  • "'He’d just say, run the presses, run the presses,' one former senior administration official said, describing the president’s Oval Office orders. 'Sometimes it seemed like he was joking, and sometimes it didn’t.'"
  • The White House did not respond to the Post’s requests for comment.

The details: Trump ordered his Cabinet secretaries last month to identify areas in their respective agencies where they can impose steep budget cuts. But he suggested that some areas, including the military, might be "curtailed slightly," per the Post.

  • Trump has said funding for Medicare and Social Security, two of the government’s most expensive entitlement programs, will remain untouched. And the president's budget proposal set to be released early next year is not expected to include steep tax increases.
  • Yes, but: A frequent Republican argument — backed by budget experts — is that entitlement programs drive most of the spending in the federal budget.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
2 hours ago - Health

Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate

Golden Gate Park. Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty

Counties around the San Francisco Bay Area will adopt California’s new regional stay-at-home order amid surges in cases and ICU hospitalizations, health officials said Friday.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-week stay-at-home order on Thursday that would go into effect in regions with less than 15% ICU capacity. Despite the Bay Area’s current 25.3% ICU capacity, health officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley are moving ahead with a shelter-in-place mandate in the hopes of reducing risk.