In 2004, Mayor Bloomberg shows off the open-office "bullpen," then revolutionary, that he brought to City Hall. Photo: Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images

Ignoring early states and refusing donations, Michael Bloomberg is trying an unorthodox route to the Democratic nomination that's based on skipping the usual slog and running a national campaign against President Trump from Day 1.

The big picture: Polling shows a daunting road, but Bloomberg insiders tell Axios the 77-year-old billionaire calculates that he has room to grow rapidly, since his backstory as a businessman, philanthropist and successful New York mayor isn't well known.

Details: One of the tabs on Bloomberg's website, which went live yesterday, is "Getting Stuff Done." The plan is to show him as the antithesis of Trump: programmatic, disciplined, focused.

  • But voters want an emotional connection, one of Bloomberg's challenges.

First look ... Bloomberg today will announce a hot surrogate: journalist and author Tim O’Brien is becoming a senior adviser to the campaign, leaving his role as executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion.

  • The former N.Y. Times reporter and editor got to depose Trump after the mogul sued him in 2006 over O'Brien's biography, "TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald." The case was tossed in 2011.
  • From the forthcoming release: "O’Brien will advise the Bloomberg campaign on strategy, policy, and messaging, and serve as a surrogate."

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Preview: "Axios on HBO" interviews acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf

On the next episode of "Axios on HBO," acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf tells Axios co-founder Mike Allen why he "would be concerned" about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in office.

Catch the full interview on Monday, August 17 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on all HBO platforms.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 20,755,406 — Total deaths: 752,225— Total recoveries: 12,917,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 5,246,760 — Total deaths: 167,052 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.

Trump says he intends to give RNC speech on White House lawn

President Trump speaking to reporters on South Lawn in July. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump told the New York Post on Thursday that he plans to deliver his Republican National Convention speech from the White House lawn, despite bipartisan criticism of the optics and legality of the location.

Why it matters: Previous presidents avoided blurring staged campaign-style events — like party conventions — with official business of governing on the White House premises, per Politico.