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Photo by Ken Cedeno-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told the Houston Chronicle that President Trump "let his guard down" when it came to the coronavirus and has created "confusion" by trying to downplay the severity of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Cornyn is a high-ranking Republican senator who is closely aligned with Trump and has rarely criticized the president. Cornyn is in a tighter-than-expected re-election race against Air Force pilot and Democrat MJ Hegar.

What he's saying: “I think he let his guard down, and I think in his desire to try to demonstrate that we are somehow coming out of this and that the danger is not still with us — I think he got out over his skis and frankly, I think it’s a lesson to all of us that we need to exercise self discipline,” Cornyn said.

  • “He tries to balance that with saying, ‘Well you know, we got this.’ And clearly we don’t have this."
  • "I think the biggest mistake people make in public life is not telling the truth, particularly in something with as much public interest as here because you know the real story is going to come out.”

Cornyn told the Chronicle that "on the main" Trump has been good for the U.S. but that he has so far tried to avoid public disputes with the president. "[I]t is not easy to try to get things done working with him or the White House," Cornyn said.

Go deeper

Jan 12, 2021 - Health

All visitors to U.S. will require negative COVID test to fly

Photo: NIKLAS HALLE'N / Getty Images

Anyone flying to the United States must test negative for the coronavirus before boarding their flight under a policy announced Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: With cases surging in the U.S., and new, more contagious variants emerging in other countries, the CDC says pre-flight testing will help slow the spread of the virus until the American public is fully vaccinated.

Updated Jan 12, 2021 - Health

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine expected to provide immunity for at least 1 year

Photo: Mario Tama via Getty

Moderna's coronavirus vaccine will provide immunity from the disease for at least one year, the biotech company said Monday per Reuters.

Why it matters: Moderna's vaccine is one of two now authorized for emergency use in the U.S., as coronavirus cases surge past 22.5 million nationally and 90.8 million globally.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.