People gather at a makeshift memorial honoring victims outside Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Government health experts were told not to post anything related to mental health, violence or mass shootings without prior approval following this month's El Paso and Dayton shootings, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: That happened as President Trump was making claims about the link between mental illness and mass shootings that contradicted research on the subject.

  • While Trump said, "Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger. Not the gun," researchers have found that most mass shooters haven't been diagnosed with a mental illness.
  • An HHS employee told the Post that "no doubt this was meant to prevent anybody from making any statements that might contradict the president."

Context: The Obama administration didn't make similar stipulations regarding health agencies' communication following mass shootings, per WashPost.

The other side: "It's the department's long-standing practice to not get ahead of the president's remarks," HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley told the Post. "Any suggestions that this was a formal policy put in place related to social media, or meant to stymie work on this issue, are factually inaccurate."

Go deeper: America's mental health problem isn't mass shootings

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 19,193,661 — Total deaths: 716,735 — Total recoveries — 11,611,029Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 4,918,927 — Total deaths: 160,737 — Total recoveries: 1,598,624 — Total tests: 59,652,675Map.
  3. Politics: White House recommends Trump issue executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus — Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.

Trump: "We are going a different way" on coronavirus aid

President Trump. Photo: Jim Watsonn/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday that his administration is "going a different way" with coronavirus aid after negotiations with congressional Democrats stalled again, suggesting he will use an executive order to address stimulus spending.

What he's saying: "Pelosi and Schumer only interested in Bailout Money for poorly run Democrat cities and states. Nothing to do with China Virus! Want one trillion dollars. No interest. We are going a different way!" Trump tweeted.

Trump's swift, sweeping China offensive

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump's rhetoric on China has tended to run hotter than his actions — until now.

Why it matters: Even at the height of Trump's trade war, his administration never hit China as hard, as fast, and on as many fronts as it is right now.