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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

California wildfire explodes in size, destroys historic town

Battalion Chief Sergio Mora looks on as the Dixie fire burns through downtown Greenville, Calif. on Aug. 4, 2021. Photo: Josh EdelsonAFP via Getty Images

The small Sierra town of Greenville, California, was heavily damaged on Wednesday night into early Thursday as the Dixie Fire surged northward amid high winds, extremely dry air and hot temperatures.

The latest: The Dixie Fire, California's biggest blaze, continued to threaten communities in Plumas County into Thursday night, as more mandatory evacuation orders were issued in the region.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Top labor leader Richard Trumka dies unexpectedly at 72

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who led the largest federation of unions in the country for over a decade, has died at 72.

The big picture: Trumka began working as a coal miner in 1968 and would go on to dedicate his life to the labor movement, including as president of the 12.5 million-member AFL-CIO beginning in 2009.

Biden signs bill awarding Congressional Gold Medals to officers who responded to Jan. 6 attack

President Biden, joined by Vice President Harris, lawmakers and members of law enforcement and their families, signs legislation to award Congressional Gold Medals to law enforcement in the Rose Garden. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Biden signed legislation awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the law enforcement officers who defended the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Why it matters: The Congressional Gold Medal is Congress' "highest expression of national appreciation," notes the New York Times.