Sep 9, 2017

John Kelly brings in backup

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Deputy Chief of Staff Kirstjen Nielsen speak together as they walk across the South Lawn of the White House. Andrew Harnik / AP

Chief of Staff John Kelly has had one, very public mission since he assumed his role in the White House: keep Trump in line and run a tight ship. But after just six weeks on the job, it's become clear he needs backup — so he appointed Kirstjen Nielsen as his No. 2 last Wednesday, per NYT.

His thinking: Appoint someone "who is willing to be hated," NYT's Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush write.

What she'll be doing:

  • Her official role is assistant to the president and Kelly's principal deputy.
  • Maintaining a list of the aides Kelly deems unfit to attend "serious" meetings — most notably Omarosa Manigault, who reportedly frequently drops in various meetings uninvited.
  • Sending "principals only" emails that announce internal policy and planning and, like the above, keeping unwanted folks out.

Why now: Trump's seven months in office have been anything but quiet, and Kelly recognizes he can only do so much. And as the sudden resignations and terminations continue (think: James Comey, Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon), Kelly will have to make some tough decisions moving forward to keep things tame. This is easier done by adding people like Nielsen, Kelly's "brusque, no-nonsense longtime aide."

The winning strategy: "Slowly and methodically, Kelly is replacing the bomb-throwing reality-TV types Mr. Trump feels most comfortable around with competent professionals capable of stabilizing the West Wing."

Go deeper

DMV area issues coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser issued stay-at-home orders on Monday, with exceptions for residents engaged in essential services, including health care and government functions.

The big picture: The states and territory are the latest to announce policies to enforce social distancing, which have affected almost 250 million Americans. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide had been asked to stay home as of last week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 766,336 — Total deaths: 36,873 — Total recoveries: 160,001.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 153,246 — Total deaths: 2,828 — Total recoveries: 5,545.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30 — Rep. Nydia Velázquez diagnosed with "presumed" coronavirus infection.
  4. State updates: Virginia and Maryland issued stay-at-home orders to residents, joining 28 other states — Florida megachurch pastor arrested for refusing to call off mass services.
  5. World updates: Italy reports 1,590 recoveries from the virus, its highest ever.
  6. In photos: Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Cuomo: Engaging in politics during coronavirus crisis is "anti-American"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Monday press briefing that he won't get into a political tussle with President Trump — calling it "counterproductive" and "anti-American" — as his state deals with the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.

The backdrop: Trump said during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" earlier Monday that Cuomo has received high polling numbers during the outbreak because New York has received federal aid.