Andrew Harnik / AP

"Away from the cameras and apart from the nonstop drama of the White House, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has come to play a role unlike any other Cabinet member," the WashPost's Greg Jaffe and Dan Lamothe write on the front page:

  • "The retired Marine general has become a force for calm, order and, in the eyes of the president's critics, quiet resistance to some of President Trump's most combative and divisive instincts."
  • "Mattis has maintained this air of independence without directly provoking a president who demands absolute loyalty."
  • "The latest example came [yesterday] morning when Trump vented his frustrations with North Korea after its latest missile launch. 'Talking is not the answer!' Trump tweeted ... 'We're never out of diplomatic solutions,' Mattis said."
  • "On Tuesday night, Mattis seemed again to be in mitigation mode when he announced that he would be pulling together a 'panel of experts' to provide advice on how to implement Trump's ordered ban on transgender troops."
  • Why it matters: "Mattis's deft political touch has surprised many who watched him fall out of favor with the Obama White House. ... In the Trump administration he has managed to press his differences without provoking a backlash."

Be smart: Mattis is a linchpin of what we call the unofficial Committee to Save America — administration and congressional leaders who see themselves as playing a behind-the-scenes role in protecting Trump and the nation from some of his instincts.

Go deeper

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Politics: Trump says if Biden's elected, "he'll listen to the scientists"Trump calls Fauci a "disaster" on campaign call.
  2. Health: Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise — 8 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  3. States: Wisconsin judge reimposes capacity limit on indoor venues.
  4. Media: Trump attacks CNN as "dumb b*stards" for continuing to cover pandemic.
  5. Business: Consumer confidence surveys show Americans are getting nervousHow China's economy bounced back from coronavirus.
  6. Sports: We've entered the era of limited fan attendance.
  7. Education: Why education technology can’t save remote learning.
2 hours ago - Health

Trump attacks CNN as "dumb b*stards" for continuing to cover pandemic

President Trump attacked CNN for continuing to cover the coronavirus pandemic, calling the network "dumb b*stards" at a campaign rally in Prescott, Arizona on Monday.

Why it matters: The president's attacks on the media and Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious-disease expert, come as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are again surging across the country, just two weeks out from Election Day.

3 hours ago - World

Deal to remove Sudan as terror sponsor paves way for Israel move

President Trump announced Monday that he will be removing Sudan from the State Department’s state sponsors of terrorism list after the Sudanese government agreed to pay $335 million in compensation for families of American victims of terrorism.

The big picture: Trump's announcement is part of a wider agreement that is expected to include moves from Sudan toward normalizing relations with Israel.