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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

When he needs to send a message to his foes, Mitch McConnell is the master of subtlety.

What I'm hearing: At the Republican Study Committee meeting this past week, RSC Chairman Mark Walker told members the following story, according to a source in the room and another source briefed on the conversation.

  • On April 17, Walker put out a press release attacking McConnell for opposing the White House’s plan to reverse some of the spending from the latest government funding bill. The release said McConnell cared more about his “backroom deal with Democrats” than about fiscal conservatism.
  • Three days later, Walker had a fundraiser with Mike Pence in North Carolina. Pence and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao flew down to join him.
  • On the tarmac, Chao said to Walker: "Do you know who I am married to?" Walker replied that yes, of course he knew. Then Chao said: "He wanted you to know that he reads everything you put out."
  • Walker gulped and said, “Understood.” And that was that.  

A Chao spokeswoman said: "We have nothing to add."

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
38 mins ago - Health

Experts fear a bad flu season on top of COVID

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Public health officials are warning that the U.S. may be on the verge of a dangerous double whammy: COVID and flu, spreading simultaneously.

The big picture: The Delta variant is still circulating across the U.S., and the Omicron variant isn't far behind. On top of that, experts see potential warning signs of a bad flu season, which could leave millions of Americans vulnerable and strain health care resources.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."

Progressives to file resolution to strip Boebert's committee seats

Rep. Lauren Boebert walking through the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House progressives are planning to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of her committee assignments, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The move, which was first reported by the Washington Post, comes as progressives — anxious to see the right-wing firebrand face retribution for her recent comments — have grown frustrated by Democratic leadership's inaction on the issue.