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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

Updated 5 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Silver medalist Lilly King of Team USA (left) embraces gold medalist Tatjana Schoenmaker of Team South Africa on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women's 200m breaststroke final on July 30. Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images

🥇 : U.S. gymnast Suni Lee wins gold in the women's individual all-around

🚣‍♀️: Team USA women's eight rowing fails to reach the podium

🤸🏾‍♀️: Simone Biles reacts to "love and support" after withdrawing from all-around gymnastics and team finals, citing her mental health

🏊: Olympic swimmer Ryan Murphy wins Silver in 200m

📷: In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 6 highlights

🗓: The Olympic events to watch today

🏃‍: Female Olympians push back against double standard in uniforms

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Former Michigan Sen. Carl Levin dies at 87

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) in 2014. He died Thursday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) died Thursday, his family and the Levin Center at Wayne Law — which bore his name — confirmed. He was 87.

Why it matters: The Detroit native served for 36 years in the U.S. Senate, serving twice as chairman of the Armed Services Committee and is credited with helping overturn the military's “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Military members will be included in Biden's new COVID guidance

Joe Biden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Members of the military will be required to get vaccinations or face regular testing, social distancing, mask mandates and restrictions on travel for work, the the Pentagon said on Thursday evening.

Why it matters: The policy was announced for federal workers and onsite contractors earlier on Thursday, part of several new Biden initiatives to get more Americans vaccinated and slow the spread of the Delta variant.