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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

2 hours ago - Health

NYC to impose vaccine mandate on private employers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Monday announced a new COVID vaccine mandate for all private companies.

Why it matters: De Blasio, speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," said the "first-in-the-nation measure" will go into effect starting Dec. 27. It will apply to approximately 184,000 businesses.

D.C.-Beijing tensions are shifting markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. markets stand to lose $2 trillion in value if D.C. and Beijing drift further apart.

Why it matters: Political chasms are showing up in new securities regulations that put companies and investors in a bind. The rules are also another reflection of how much relations between the world’s largest economies have cooled, even as they remain economically interdependent. 

5 hours ago - Health
Axios Investigates

Documents reveal the secrecy of America's drug pricing matrix

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

American businesses spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on prescription drugs, and the bills keep getting bigger. But some of the companies promising to help rein in those costs prevent employers from looking under the hood.

Why it matters: Documents provided to Axios reveal a new layer of secrecy within the maze of American drug pricing — one in which firms that manage drug coverage for hundreds of employers, representing millions of workers, obscure the details of their work and make it difficult to figure out whether they're actually providing a good deal.