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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

When a frustrated adviser once tried to convince President Trump to consider a strategic plan, the president launched into a story about his friend Mike Tyson, the former world heavyweight boxing champion.

What he's saying: "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth," Trump said, echoing a famous Tyson quote.

I had asked the adviser whether Trump ever expressed frustration that his West Wing lacked enough of a plan for the crises ahead.

  • "He gets frustrated when there is a plan," the adviser said. "He’s not a guy who likes a plan. ... There’s an animosity towards planning, and there’s a desire to pick fights that have nothing to do with us."

Trump used the Tyson quote as evidence that detailed strategic plans are pointless and said, in the adviser’s recollection, "We’ve just gotta fight every day and that’s how we win."

  • "We can plan all this stuff out but it’ll change," the president continued. "So let’s just not go through the effort."
  • The adviser said that Trump's "main view was that all this stuff wasn’t predictable, ... which is unfortunately not accurate. ... It absolutely is predictable."
  • A second source, a senior administration official, confirmed Trump has used that Tyson quote to make his point about the pointlessness of planning.

A third senior official insisted that the Tyson example is not entirely representative and said that while Trump doesn’t personally like discussing plans he likes to know there is a plan.

  • Other officials insist he prefers to wing it, keeping loose and flexible and avoiding locking himself into even the vaguest plans.

For Trump’s part, he often claims there is a plan, but he just won’t reveal it.

  • During the campaign, he said he had a secret plan to defeat ISIS.
  • Trump tweeted Saturday: "I just watched a Fake reporter from the Amazon Washington Post say the White House is 'chaotic, there does not seem to be a strategy for this Shutdown. There is no plan.' ... I do have a plan on the Shutdown."

Why it matters: Trump's aversion to planning has been evident throughout his administration.

  • You see it now with his handling of the shutdown, which he entered without a clear conception of an exit ramp, according to aides.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Clarence Thomas says Supreme Court could be "most dangerous" branch

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Justice Clarence Thomas on Thursday, during rare public remarks at the University of Notre Dame, warned against politicizing the Supreme Court.

Driving the news: Thomas, the court's longest-serving member, said that the justices do not rule based on "personal preferences" and that politicians should not "allow others to manipulate our institutions when we don’t get the outcome that we like," per the Washington Post.

FTC releases findings on how Big Tech eats little tech

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: An Rong Xu/Washington Post via Getty Images

Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan signaled changes are on the way in how the agency scrutinizes acquisitions after revealing the results of a study of a decade's worth of Big Tech company deals that weren't reported to the agency.

Why it matters: Tech's business ecosystem is built on giant companies buying up small startups, but the message from the antitrust agency this week could chill mergers and acquisitions in the sector.

First look: Biden's economic case for green cards

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) is promoting the economic benefits and costs of providing green cards to millions of unauthorized immigrants in a blogpost being released on Friday, according to a draft provided to Axios.

Why it matters: The post comes as the fate of millions of immigrants, including those with Temporary Protected Status or DACA protections, rests with Congress — and the Senate parliamentarian.