Apr 14, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

🌴 Good Sunday morning. It's Palm Sunday ... and green jacket day ... and "Thrones" night.

  • The "runaway top read" on the N.Y. Times last week explored a "growing public health threat: drug-resistant germs."
1 big thing: Trump's most radical self
Central American migrants, on the road Friday between Metapa and Tapachula in Mexico, head to the U.S. (Pep Companys/AFP/Getty Images)

Nothing stirs President Trump’s most radical ideas like immigration. And nothing so stirs his willingness to entertain what some consider illegal or wrong.

  • People who know Trump well say his obsession is fueled by a combination of goading from Fox, the president's recognition that his signature campaign promise is unmet, and his frustration with restrictions on his power.

Trump doesn't fixate on China, or even the economy, like this:

  • He imposed the Muslim travel ban a week into his presidency.
  • He considered an unconstitutional plan to end birthright citizenship, the right to citizenship for non-citizens' babies who are born here.
  • He focused his campaign on a border wall that proved logistically and financially infeasible.
  • He continued to insist on the wall, leading to the 35-day government shutdown.
  • He threatened to close the southern border, which even Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said would have a "potentially catastrophic economic impact."
  • He wants to move migrants to far-off sanctuary cities run by Democrats.

Think of all the internal relationships that immigration helped sour or destroy (all of these are formers): Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, chief of staff John Kelly, economic adviser Gary Cohn — and more.

So why?

  • Trump is genuinely frustrated that two years into his presidency, he hasn't built the wall he promised, and he hasn't reduced the flow of asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants into the U.S. In fact, the numbers are going up.
  • The issue is highlighted above all others by the news outlet he focuses on most: Fox News. That raises his blood pressure every day.
  • He can't understand why he's not allowed to have total control over who enters the U.S. across the southern border.
2. Tally of the day
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" in March. (Lloyd Bishop/NBC via Getty Images)

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was mentioned 3,181 times on Fox News and Fox Business during the 6 weeks from Feb. 25 to April 7 — 75 times a day — according to the liberal Media Matters for America.

  • "Not a day went by when she wasn’t spoken about on Fox," AP notes.

🔗 AOC tweeted a link to the findings.

3. Fun idea of the day

Make everyone’s income taxes public.

  • They do it in Norway and Finland. America did it in 1924!
  • In Finland, each citizen's taxable income is published each year on Nov. 1 — known as National Jealousy Day.

Binyamin Appelbaum, a former Fed reporter for the N.Y. Times who's now on the editorial board, argues in Sunday Review for "universal public disclosure" of people's tax payments as a way of cutting fraud and spotlighting inequality.

4. Pic du jour
Photo: Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.

5. Article of the day

Law enforcement is using a wave of "geofence" warrants to reap information from Google about every phone that was near a particular place at the particular time that a crime occurred, the N.Y. Times' Jennifer Valentino-DeVries writes.

  • The warrants draw on an enormous Google database that employees call Sensorvault, which "includes detailed location records involving at least hundreds of millions of devices worldwide and dating back nearly a decade."

Why it matters: "In an era of ubiquitous data gathering by tech companies, it is just the latest example of how personal information — where you go, who your friends are, what you read, eat and watch, and when you do it — is being used for purposes many people never expected."

6. Why Mayor Pete took off
Courtesy N.Y. Magazine

Olivia Nuzzi, in a New York Magazine cover story that posted this morning, briskly captures why Pete Buttigieg — who formally declares his candidacy at 2 p.m. today in South Bend — checks "so many boxes relevant to this moment":

Sick of old people? He looks like Alex P. Keaton. Scared of young people? He looks like Alex P. Keaton. Religious? He’s a Christian. Atheist? He’s not weird about it. Wary of Washington? He’s from flyover country. Horrified by flyover country? He has degrees from Harvard and Oxford. Make the President Read Again? He learned Norwegian to read Erlend Loe. Traditional? He’s married. Woke? He’s gay. Way behind the rest of the country on that? He’s not too gay.
Worried about socialism? He’s a technocratic capitalist. Worried about technocratic capitalists? He’s got a whole theory about how our system of "democratic capitalism" has to be a whole lot more "democratic."
If you squint hard enough to not see color, some people say, you can almost see Obama the inspiring professor. Oh, and he’s the son of an immigrant, a Navy vet, speaks seven foreign languages (in addition to Norwegian[:] Arabic, Spanish, Maltese, Dari, French, and Italian), owns two rescue dogs, and plays the goddamn piano.

Worthy of your time.

7. Booker: "So many of us are understandably angry"
Photo: Andres Kudacki/AP

"Cory Booker wants to talk about love," Karen Yi writes in The Star-Ledger of Newark, where the senator and former mayor formally kicked off his national tour yesterday.

  • "Our sense of urgency, our impatience, comes from the most demanding of values, it comes from love," Booker said.
  • "In the face of injustice, there is no wait, there must be work."

What they're saying ... Current Newark Mayor Ras Baraka:

  • "If you can make it in Newark, New Jersey, you can make it anywhere."
8. "Left behind" spreads to upper middle class

What's new: Newly available net worth data from the Federal Reserve suggests income stagnation is hitting even the upper-middle class, sparing only the top 10%, Bloomberg's Alexandre Tanzi reports:

  • "The cost of many products and services the upper middle class buys, from autos to college educations, is outpacing overall inflation."

Why it matters: "Over the past decade, household debt composition ... has shifted away from home mortgages ... to credit with higher financing costs," including auto loans and student loans.

9. Sign of the apocalypse
Laguna Beach Police Department via AP

"A decision to affix an American flag graphic to the side of freshly painted Laguna Beach police cars is dividing residents who are alternately praising the image as patriotic or panning it as too aggressive." (L.A. Times)

10. 🐉 1 "Thrones" thing

"'Never Throners' aren’t really sure what’s been going on, but they’re glad constant chitchat about dragons and ice zombies is coming to an end," Nikki Waller and Michelle Ma write in a Wall Street Journal A-hed (subscription):

  • People who have never watched HBO's "Game of Thrones," the prime-time fantasy series that became a cultural tsunami, "say the last eight years have been a trial."

The last season, season 8, airs tonight at 9 ET after a 19-month hiatus.

  • "Zeitgeist-defining TV shows have come and gone before. Somewhere out there are people who never saw the juggernauts 'Dawson’s Creek' or 'Friends.'"
  • "'Thrones,' which HBO says drew 32.8 million viewers in season seven, has been especially hard to escape for the tune-it-out crowd."

Catch up quick: Learn the world of Westeros with this "Thrones" primer.

Mike Allen