Photo: Olivier Douliery, Pool / Getty Images

In this era of drones and driverless cars, President Trump often sounds and feels like a man from the bygone days of station wagons and smokestacks.

"He feels he’s the personification of the American dream. ... That means building things, going back to the era of his dad. He assumes the rest of the country pines for that. "
— A source close to President Trump

The source added: "He's not necessarily saying we need to go back to the past. He's saying we need ... the principles that made us successful in the past."

  • We see it in a "Mad Men" mentality that infuses his rhetoric, policies and personal life. 
  • We see it in his attention to coal over forward-looking international trade.
  • We see it in testosterone-tinged chest thumping, in person and on Twitter.
  • We see it in his focus on steel and aluminum, when the next great war may be cyber- and satellite-driven.
  • We see it in his push for a Pennsylvania Avenue military parade (with "a lot of plane fly-overs"), expected to cost tens of millions of dollars.
  • We see it in his response to #MeToo.
  • We heard it in Trump's wistful remarks about Route 66 when speaking last summer in Springfield, Mo., birthplace of the now-outmoded Mother Road: "For many decades, Route 66 captured the American spirit. The communities along this historic route were a vivid symbol of America’s booming industry."

Even his diet and health routine are retro: golfing as exercise (with a cart), and a diet heavy on burgers and thick steaks.

Be smart: Trump's instincts and measures of success look back, while our most fearsome competitor, China, is projecting ahead with an emphasis on artificial intelligence and globalization. 

  • But the nostalgia Trump evokes is a key part of his hold on his electorate —tapping into a lingering fear about a changing America that leaves many in his base feeling like strangers in their own land. 

P.S. The White House says President Trump will attend Friday's funeral for the Rev. Billy Graham in Charlotte, N.C.

Go deeper

Two officers shot in Louisville amid Breonna Taylor protests

Police officers stand guard during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Ben Hendren/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Louisville Metro Police Department said two officers were shot downtown in the Kentucky city late Wednesday, just hours after a grand jury announced an indictment in the Breonna Taylor case.

Driving the news: Metrosafe, the city's emergency services, said it received reports of a shooting at South Brook St. and Broadway Ave., near the area where protests were taking place. A police spokesperson told a press briefing the injuries of both officers were not life-threatening. One officer was "alert and stable" and the other was undergoing surgery, he said.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 31,778,331 — Total deaths: 974,436 — Total recoveries: 21,876,025Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,943,078 — Total deaths: 201,930 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: CDC director says over 90% of Americans have not yet been exposed to coronavirus — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
  4. Politics: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tests positive for coronavirus — Poll says 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
  5. Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
  6. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  7. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.
  8. Future: America's halfway coronavirus response

Biden: Breonna Taylor indictment "does not answer" call for justice

Former Vice President Joe Biden. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday condemned the grand jury indictment of a Louisville police officer who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March in a botched drug raid that led to her death, saying in a statement the decision "does not answer" for equal justice.

The big picture: Biden called for reforms to address police use of force and no-knock warrants, while demanding a ban on chokeholds. He added that people "have a right to peacefully protest, but violence is never acceptable."

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