Republican Reps. Steve King and Liz Cheney. Photos by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call and Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Republican conference chair Liz Cheney condemned remarks made by her GOP colleague Steve King Thursday as "abhorrent" and "racist," and said they "should have no place in our national discourse."

The backdrop: In a New York Times article about his hard-line views on immigration, King was quoted as saying, "White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” After the article was published, King issued a statement rejecting the notion that he's a racist, claiming that he considers himself "simply a nationalist" and an advocate for Western values.

The big picture: The Iowa congressman has faced scrutiny in the past over inflammatory remarks he's made about race and immigration. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, was the first Republican leader to come out against King when he denounced his racist rhetoric in October. King is now facing a primary challenge from Iowa state Sen. Randy Feenstra.

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Biden releases 2019 tax returns ahead of debate

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign released his 2019 tax returns on Tuesday, showing that he and his wife, Jill, paid nearly $300,000 in federal taxes last year.

Why it matters: The release, timed just hours before the first presidential debate, comes days after a bombshell New York Times report said that President Trump paid only $750 in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017. Biden's team is hoping to make the tax contrast a sticking point during their showdown.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:15 p.m. ET: 33,454,037 — Total deaths: 1,003,571 — Total recoveries: 23,204,219Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:15 p.m. ET: 7,165,067 — Total deaths: 205,476 — Total recoveries: 2,794,608 — Total tests: 102,342,416Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  5. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  6. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.

NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

New York City's coronavirus positivity rate has ticked up to 3.25%, its highest since June, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The jump — from 1.93% on Monday — came on the first day that public elementary classrooms reopened in the city after months of closures, but guidelines state that all public schools will have to shut if the citywide seven-day positivity rate stays above 3%.