Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) attacked President Trump's decision to send a delegation to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over Turkey's invasion of Syria, telling NBC reporters on Wednesday that it's "too late for this kind of conversation."

"It's very hard to understand why it is the vice president and secretary of state and others are going to talk with Erdogan and Turkey... It's like the farmer who lost all his horses and goes to now shut the barn door."

Why it matters: Romney is one of several top Republicans who have condemned Trump's original decision to move U.S. troops out of northern Syria, paving the way for Turkey to lead a military offensive against Kurdish forces that allied with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.

  • Trump has hit Turkey with sanctions and is operating under the assumption that Erdogan's position will change if and when Turkey’s economy starts suffering, administration officials tell Axios.
  • But some allies of the president think it's too little, too late: "[Trump] will have American blood on his hands if he abandons Kurds because ISIS will come back," Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters Wednesday. "And if any American is killed anywhere because a resurgent ISIS, it will fall on Trump administration like it did Obama."

Go deeper: Turkey's Erdogan walks back refusal to meet with Pence and Pompeo

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Why it matters: Fauci's comments come as the White House tries to sideline the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director in the middle of the pandemic. Multiple media outlets received a statement on Monday from an unnamed White House official that listed each time Fauci was "wrong on things" in COVID-19's early days.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 13,177,855 — Total deaths: 574,793 — Total recoveries — 7,303,490Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 3,397,069 — Total deaths: 136,117 — Total recoveries: 1,031,939 — Total tested: 41,004,275Map.
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  4. Public health: Four former CDC heads say Trump's undermining of agency puts lives at risk — CDC director: U.S. could get coronavirus "under control" in 4–8 weeks if all wear masks.