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Photo: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Former Republican presidential candidate and ex-CEO of Godfather's Pizza Herman Cain, 74, has died almost a month after being hospitalized for coronavirus.

The big picture: Cain, the co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, was in a high-risk group due to his history with cancer. Cain's positive coronavirus test came less than two weeks after he attended President Trump's controversial June 20 campaign rally in Tulsa, where he tweeted a picture of himself without a mask.

  • Public health officials had warned that the large-scale rally could infect many and put lives at risk.
  • It's unclear whether Cain contracted the virus at the Trump rally.
  • While in the hospital, Cain commented on a July 4 celebration at Mt. Rushmore, tweeting: "Masks will not be mandatory for the event, which will be attended by President Trump. PEOPLE ARE FED UP!"

What they're saying: "Let me deal with some of the particulars of the last few weeks. We knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight. He had trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital by ambulance," Dan Calabrese wrote in a statement on Cain's website.

  • "We all prayed that the initial meds they gave him would get his breathing back to normal, but it became clear pretty quickly that he was in for a battle. We didn't release detailed updates on his condition to the public or to the media because neither his family nor we thought there was any reason for that."
  • "There were hopeful indicators, including a mere five days ago when doctors told us they thought he would eventually recover, although it wouldn't be quick. We were relieved to be told that, and passed on the news via Herman's social media. And yet we also felt real concern about the fact that he never quite seemed to get to the point where the doctors could advance him to the recovery phase."

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement: "Herman Cain embodied the American Dream and represented the very best of the American spirit. Our hearts grieve for his loved ones, and they will remain in our prayers at this time. We will never forget his legacy of grace, patriotism, and faith."

Go deeper

Trump speaks from White House in first public event since COVID-19 diagnosis

President Trump said during a Saturday rally on the South Lawn of the White House that the coronavirus "is going to disappear."

Why it matters: The rally with 300 to 400 attendees was the president's first public event since he contracted the coronavirus, and included conservative activist Candace Owens and the group “Blexit,” which seeks to convince Black voters to join the Republican Party.

Trump's Republican critics rake in cash

Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger during the first Jan. 6 hearing. Photo: Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images

Republican critics of Donald Trump have raked in campaign cash this year as their votes to impeach the former president and investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack have put them in the crosshairs of Trump and his allies.

Why it matters: The 2022 midterms won't just determine which party controls Congress. They're also shaping up to be a test of Trump's continued hold on the GOP. The few remaining Republican dissenters in Washington need to put up big fundraising numbers if they hope to stave off a purge.

The Republicans' mixed mandate message

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republicans have expressed selective rage amid the rise of the Delta variant: They rail against the return of indoor masking but are far less vocal about vaccine requirements.

Why it matters: Masking may help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, but the real solution to the pandemic is getting more Americans vaccinated. Increased support for that — including the use of heavier-handed methods like mandates — will only increase its chance of succeeding.