Feb 13, 2019

2. Inside "The Beast" before Trump's El Paso rally

President Trump and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller in Trump's limo, "The Beast." Photo via Mark Loeffler, Miller’s communications director

In El Paso on Monday night, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller (R) rode with President Trump in "The Beast," the president's heavily armored Cadillac.

What happened: Miller says Trump was "upset" that the city’s Republican mayor, Dee Margo, publicly contradicted him on the success of El Paso’s border wall. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick were also on the ride from Air Force One to the rally.

According to Miller, this exchange occurred:

  • Miller said he told Trump to shake it off, because "they [the city of El Paso] pad the books," suggesting that the city underreports crime rates. (Axios has found no evidence of that.)
  • Trump replied: "You mean like fake news?"
  • Miller said: "Yeah! It was the first fake news."
  • Trump: "Can I say that [at the rally]?"
  • Miller: "Yeah!"
  • The lieutenant governor then chimed in: "No, no. You probably shouldn't." Trump didn't.

Miller said that after arriving, the president approached the mayor and "they had a few words": "It was cordial, but he got right in his face a little bit. I wasn't close enough to hear, but they were within six inches of eyesight of each other."

  • Olivia Zepeda, Margo's chief of staff, told Axios: "There was no confrontation between the mayor and the president. They shook hands and greeted each other, and that was the extent of their encounter."
  • The White House didn't respond for the record. The lieutenant governor and attorney general also didn't respond.

Go deeper: Trump and Beto battle over border wall in dueling rallies

Go deeper

Bloomberg denies telling a pregnant employee to "kill it"

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the debate stage Tuesday denied telling a former employee to terminate her pregnancy.

Catch up quick: Per the Washington Post, a former saleswoman has alleged workplace discrimination against Bloomberg and his company and says Bloomberg told her to "kill it" when he learned she was pregnant. Bloomberg denied the allegation under oath and entered a confidential settlement with the woman.

Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to keep his momentum after winning New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hopes to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates are just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination are in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They're talking about health care, Russian interference in the election, the economy and race.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Sanders to Putin: You won't interfere in any more elections if I'm president

Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the debate stage Tuesday, stating, "If I'm president of the United States, trust me, you're not going to interfere in any more American elections."

The big picture: It was unveiled last week that Russia has been interfering to boost Sanders' campaigns in an apparent attempt to strengthen President Trump's bid for reelection. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that "Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States, and that's why Russia is helping [Sanders] get elected.