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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

First Lady Melania Trump weighed in on the anonymous op-ed published in the New York Times on Thursday, saying the writer is "not protecting this country," but rather "sabotaging it with your cowardly actions."

Why it matters: The incendiary op-ed has gone viral among political circles, with it's harsh accusations of incompetence of President Trump. The president responded to the article tweeting, "TREASON?" and calling for the identity of the writer to be disclosed.

The full statement from Melania Trump:

"Freedom of speech is an important pillar of our nation's founding principles and a free press is important to our democracy. The press should be fair, unbiased and responsible.

Unidentified sources have become the majority of the voices people hear about in today's news. People with no names are writing our nation's history. Words are important, and accusations can lead to severe consequences. If a person is bold enough to accuse people of negative actions, they have a responsibility to publicly stand by their words and people have the right to be able to defend themselves.

To the writer of the oped - you are not protecting this country, you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions."

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Why it matters: Cardona's comments suggest there are limits to how far the Biden administration will go in pressuring states to adopt universal masking — or vaccine mandates.

Mike Allen, author of AM
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GOP senator smacks Trump

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  • When I raised the conventional wisdom that Trump would be expected to win the nomination, Cassidy jumped in.“
  • I don't know that,” the senator said during our interview in Chalmette, La.
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Congress begins yearend sprint

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House and Senate face an onslaught of deadlines key to fulfilling members' campaign promises and keeping the government afloat as they return from recess this week.

Why it matters: The next few weeks will be pivotal to enacting President Biden's agenda — and determining how the Democratic Party fares in the midterm elections.