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Steve Scalise. Photo: NurPhoto/Getty Images

On his Air Force One flight to Louisiana earlier this week, President Trump tried to persuade Rep. Steve Scalise to run for governor of Louisiana, according to two sources familiar with the president's private conversation.

Why it matters: The president's personal appeal to the second highest ranking Republican in the House shows how determined Republicans are to knock off Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.

  • As Louisiana's largest daily newspaper, The Advocate, reported: "Edwards' re-election bid has already drawn national interest from Republicans hoping to unseat the only Democratic governor in the Deep South."
  • Scalise has previously said he's not running.

Behind the scenes: As Trump travelled to southwestern Louisiana on Tuesday with several members of Congress, including Scalise, the president pulled out polling numbers to show Scalise how popular Trump is in Scalise's home state, according to a source with direct knowledge.

  • Trump told Scalise that he would win easily if he ran for governor and that he should think about entering the race.
  • Trump told Scalise that his congressional district was safe, that another Republican could win his seat, and that "everyone" in Louisiana "loves" Scalise, so he'd have the best chance of beating the Democratic incumbent governor.

Trump also told Scalise that he could help him win — which is why he showed him the polling of his own popularity in Louisiana. (According to Morning Consult's tracking of Trump's approval ratings across the country, Louisiana is tied for third — trailing Wyoming and Alabama — when it comes to states whose voters favor Trump.)

Between the lines: Scalise seemed flattered by Trump's pitch, but politely dismissed the idea, according to a source with direct knowledge. The election is in October and the deadline to enter the race is early August.

Go deeper

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations were "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 6 hours ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand, which were later lifted.

6 hours ago - World

North Korea launches 4th suspected missile test this month

A news broadcast in Seoul, South Korea, of an apparent North Korean missile test on Monday morning local time. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's military fired "two suspected short-range ballistic missiles" eastward from Pyongyang on Monday morning local time, per South Korean and Japanese officials.

Why it matters: The fourth such launch since Jan. 5 comes days after North Korea's military warned of "stronger" action if the U.S. moved to have more sanctions imposed on the country.