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President Trump speaking on his zero tolerance border policy. Photo: Brendan Smialowsky/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's comments defending his zero-tolerance border policy "sent his clearest signal yet ... that he intends to make divisive, racially charged issues like immigration central going into the campaign season," the N.Y. Times' Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman report.

Why it matters: "This fear-oriented approach reflects the degree that Mr. Trump has put his anti-immigration imprint on the Republican Party."

  • "Trump renewed the sort of bald and demagogic attacks on undocumented immigrants that worked well for him politically in his 2016 presidential campaign."
  • Corey Lewandowski, "one of the president’s top political advisers": “People don’t turn out to say thank you ... If you want to get people motivated, you’ve got to give them a reason to vote. Saying ‘build the wall and stop illegals from coming in and killing American citizens’ gives them an important issue.”

N.Y. Times Quote of the Day ... Republican pollster Whit Ayres: “Somehow I don’t think that putting kids in cages is likely to go over very well with suburban moms."

Go deeper

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

7 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.