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Photo: Diego Donamaria/Getty Images for SXSW

One of President Trump's most reliable applause lines at his rallies is his plan to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces.

He now has a big new backer. Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, endorsed the idea during a "Recode Decode" podcast with Kara Swisher. When Swisher asked about the Trump Space Force, Musk said: "Well, this may be a little controversial, but I actually like the idea. I think it’s cool. You know, like, when the Air Force was formed, there was a lot of like pooh-poohing."

"[I]t’s basically defense in space," Musk continued. "And then I think also it could be pretty helpful for maybe expanding our civilization ... expanding things beyond Earth."

  • "I think we could just have a base on the moon, for example. A base on Mars. Be great to expand on the idea of a Space Force."
  • "[F]or explorers ... anyone who has an exploratory spirit — and I think that especially applies to a country like the United States, where ... it’s kind of the distillation of the spirit of human exploration — I think the idea of being out there among the stars and among the planets is very exciting."
  • "I do think it will become obvious over time that a Space Force is a sensible thing to do."

P.S. When Swisher asked about the power that’s held by Facebook and Google and others, Musk said tech could use more regulation:

  • "It probably makes sense — if something is responsible for a public good, and could potentially negatively affect elections or something like that — that there probably should be some regulatory oversight to ensure that we’re not negatively affecting the democratic process. That the quality of news is good and not unduly influenced. These seem like sensible things."

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Technology

TikTok gets more time (again)

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The White House is again giving TikTok's Chinese parent company more to satisfy national security concerns, rather than initiating legal action, a source familiar with the situation tells Axios.

The state of play: China's ByteDance had until Friday to resolve issues raised by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which is chaired by Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin. This was the company's third deadline, with CFIUS having provided two earlier extensions.

Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.

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