Sep 9, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 476 words, a 2-minute read.

🚨Situational awareness:

  1. 💨 Teen vaping rates fell dramatically this year, especially among middle schoolers.
  2. 🍽 New York City restaurants will be allowed to open indoor dining at 25% capacity at the end of September.
1 big thing: Woodward's Trump tapes

Scott Pelley interviews Bob Woodward for “60 Minutes” this Sunday. Photo: CBS News

President Trump privately knew that the coronavirus was "more deadly than even your strenuous flus" in early February, according to audio released today ahead of the release of Bob Woodward's new book, "Rage."

  • "It's so easily transmissible, you wouldn't even believe it," Trump told Woodward in April, according to a copy of the book obtained by CNN.

Why it matters: Trump repeatedly told the public that the virus would go away, held big in-person rallies and ultimately refused to wear a face mask until July.

  • "I wanted to always play it down," Trump told Woodward on March 19. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."

Woodward will be on "60 Minutes" this Sunday with audio excerpts from nine hours of on-the-record Trump interviews, CBS announced.

Among the early revelations by CNN and The Washington Post from Woodward's book, which included 18 interviews with Trump from December of 2019 through July of 2020:

  1. An aide to former Defense Secretary James Mattis heard Trump say: "my f---ing generals are a bunch of pu--ies," because they prioritized alliances over trade deals.
  2. Former director of national intelligence Dan Coats could not shake his "deep suspicions" that Russian President Vladimir Putin "had something" on Trump, seeing "no other explanation" for the president's behavior.
  3. Trump told Woodward that he'd made former President George W. Bush "look like a stupid moron, which he was."
  4. Trump denied he'd benefited from white privilege, telling Woodward: "You really drank the Kool-Aid, didn’t you? Just listen to you. Wow. No, I don’t feel that at all."

The bottom line: Woodward ends his book by saying that "Trump is the wrong man for the job."

2. Pics du jour
Photo: National Weather Service

Above: "Geocolor imagery shows a very thick multilevel smoke deck over much of California," the National Weather Service reports.

  • "This smoke is filtering the incoming energy from the sun, causing much cooler temperatures and dark dreary red-shifted skies across many areas."

Below: The San Francisco Bay Bridge is seen under a sky glowing orange due to smoke from the wildfires.

Photo: Lea Suzuki/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
3. Catch up quick
  1. AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot told investors that the company's coronavirus vaccine trial participant who experienced an adverse reaction had serious neurological symptoms consistent with a rare spinal disorder. Go deeper.
  2. 🎧 Axios Re:Cap talks with Stat News reporter Adam Feuerstein, who helped break the news that AstraZeneca is pausing its COVID-19 vaccine trials. Listen.
  3. President Trump unveiled his revamped list of potential Supreme Court justices that includes 20 new names, including Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Go deeper.
  4. The Palestinian Authority failed to get the Arab League's foreign ministers to endorse a resolution criticizing the U.S.-brokered normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Go deeper.
4. 1 smile to go: The hipsteaders of COVID-19

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

And you thought COVID sent your hobbies into hyperdrive...

  • "When Covid-19 arrived this winter, Chase Beathard worried so much about meat shortages that he took advantage of a Craigslist ad offering a free boar. Now the 34-year-old breeds pigs," Bloomberg reports.
  • "Driven by frugality, product shortages and lots of time at home, millions are embracing raising chickens, beekeeping and more."

The big picture: "They are gobbling up content, like a YouTube series on growing food from Homesteaders of America that had a 10-fold jump in subscribers in 48 hours. Meanwhile, sales more than doubled at Etsy, an online market for handmade goods. Revenue gains at DIY giants Home Depot and Lowe’s are the highest in nearly two decades."

Mike Allen