Feb 25, 2019

Trump's "slenderizing" ties

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In his book, "Let Me Finish," Chris Christie answers a question about Donald Trump that has long perplexed me: Why are his ties so ridiculously long?

What he's saying: Christie, who was the first high-profile Republican elected official to endorse Trump's 2016 campaign, describes what Trump was like backstage before rallies. "Donald choreographed every last detail...he produced me, too, or tried to," Christie writes.

  • 'I want your tie to be longer,' he said. 'It's slenderizing.'
  • 'I'm not retying my tie,' I told him. 'My tie is fine. I think yours is too long.'
  • 'No, no,' he shot back at me. 'Mine is the perfect length. It makes you look thinner.'

Bonus: Christie describes a completely bonkers scene from Trump's 2016 debate prep. General Michael Flynn, whom Christie describes as "a train wreck from beginning to end," suggested that Trump pivot back to being pro-choice to "knock Clinton off guard."

  • "No sir," interjected Kellyanne Conway, according to Christie. "That's not a good thing to do."
  • Our thought bubble: Had Trump followed Flynn's advice, we would now be writing about President Hillary Clinton. Trump would've still achieved a record evangelical vote in 2016 — but instead of a record high, it would've been a record low for a Republican.

Go deeper ... Trump 101: He is definitely not a health nut

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Japan to close schools through late March to control coronavirus outbreak

A couple takes photos in front of the Olympic rings in Tokyo. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday that the government will ask elementary, middle and high schools around the country to close until late March as an attempt to contain its novel coronavirus outbreak, AP reports.

Why it matters: The government's decision — impacting 12.8 million students across 34,847 schools — comes as concerns mount about the spread of the virus in Japan, which has 189 confirmed cases and hundreds more abroad the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeper: The latest coronavirus updates

What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A poor response to the coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it’s still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts.

Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

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Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

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