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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

After 24 hours of brutal coverage of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' defense of scrapping funding for the Special Olympics, President Trump stepped in to claim he was saving a program his own budget had threatened.

Driving the news: "I heard about it this morning," Trump told reporters as he left the White House. "I have overridden my people. We're funding the Special Olympics." It was a bad look for DeVos, but standard operating procedure for Trump.

  • It's a reminder of why his team can never feel safe: He loves to put aides in their place.
  • And it's why at home and abroad, no one is really sure that anyone besides Trump — even a Cabinet member — is speaking for the administration.

Administration officials past and present have told us that Trump savors news coverage that shows him acting unilaterally.

  • Even — one source said especially — when it involved overriding members of his own administration.
  • When Rex Tillerson ran the State Department, Trump used to enjoy telling people to ignore Tillerson and that he — the president — was the only one who mattered.
  • We see this play out on many fronts, from his impulsive use of pardons — often ignoring the usual process — to his zeal for executive orders.

He has shown throughout his presidency that he has no hesitation about countermanding his appointees:

  • Trump is plunging ahead with plans to undo "Obamacare," despite a Politico report that the move came over the opposition of HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General William Barr.
  • In Year 1, he embarrassed Tillerson for trying to negotiate with North Korea: "Save your energy, Rex, we'll do what has to be done."
  • Trump talks about "My generals," as if the nation's command structure were his personal retainers.
  • Then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned after clashing with Trump over withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria.
  • Trump has constantly and publicly tormented his Fed chair, Jay Powell.
  • Ditto Jeff Sessions when he was A.G.
  • Ditto the intelligence community.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

3 mins ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Rising rates may hammer the stock market

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

Stocks are much more vulnerable to interest rate swings than they used to be.

Why it matters: A sharp rise in rates in early 2022 is the key reason the stock market is off to an ugly start. And with the Federal Reserve making noise about trying to keep inflation in check, rates could go higher.

Ina Fried, author of Login
48 mins ago - Technology

Microsoft's Activision Blizzard deal complicates Big Tech regulation

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Microsoft's surprise $68 billion deal to buy Activision Blizzard is adding a fresh twist to the heated debate over which tech companies have monopolies that need to be reined in.

The big picture: The deal could force a question the company has happily ducked for a decade: whether its size and power make it just as deserving of regulatory scrutiny as its Big Tech rivals.