Feb 17, 2021

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 490 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: Trump’s exile kingdom

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Former President Trump and his administration are reemerging in exile, reports Axios' Glen Johnson and Margaret Talev.

  • Trump was on Fox News today — his first post-presidential TV appearance — after the death of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. Trump said Limbaugh also felt angry about the election because he thought Trump had won.
  • That followed Trump’s statement yesterday declaring, “Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First.”

The big picture: Trump is vowing to battle Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to shape the GOP’s field for the 2022 midterms.

The Trump brand will be on vivid display at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) set to run next week in Orlando, Florida.

  • The speaking list reads like a Trump administration roster.
  • The former president is a possible headliner.
  • The event has been wholly relocated to Florida, his new home and a rising GOP power center.
  • Those who have broken with Trump are notable omissions, including Sen. Mitt Romney, the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee.

What's next: Ivanka Trump has been mentioned as a potential challenger to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), while Lara Trump has been mentioned as a more likely candidate for U.S. Senate in her native North Carolina.

2. Rush Limbaugh dead at 70
Rush Limbaugh after being awarded the Medal of Freedom by first lady Melania Trump at the State of the Union in 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Rush Limbaugh was the most dominant figure in political talk radio for decades before dying from lung cancer today at 70.

  • Fox News: "American Icon Gone"
  • Donald Trump: "There aren’t too many legends around, but he is a legend."
  • George W. Bush: [A]n indomitable spirit with a big heart, and he will be missed."
  • N.Y. Times: "[R]elentlessly provocative voice of conservative America ... with shooting-gallery attacks on liberals, Democrats, feminists, environmentalists and other moving targets."
  • WashPost: "Mr. Limbaugh’s influence could be heard in Trump’s denunciations of 'fake news.'"
3. Texas updates
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (L) and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez (2nd L) take a tour of a warming shelter in Houston. Photo: Thomas Shea/AFP via Getty Images
  • Biden administration sending emergency generators, fuel, water and blankets
  • Experts say communities of color were hit with blackouts in Texas first and they likely face more hurdles to getting help or being able to recover financially.
  • 🎧 Axios Re:Cap digs into what this experience should teach Texas and other states about the future, with Axios alumni Andrew Freedman, the deputy weather editor of The Washington Post. Listen here.
4. Catch up quick
  1. The COVID vaccination pace now averages 1.7 million doses a day, the White House said today. Go deeper.
  2. Scientists have extracted and sequenced DNA from million-year-old mammoth specimens, the oldest genetic material analyzed to date. Go deeper.
  3. San Francisco exodus: According to Postal Service change-of-address records, San Francisco tech workers are mostly moving to Bay Area suburbs, not cities out of state. Go deeper.
5. 1 smile to go: The new backyard pool

Marc Kohn in 2015 at his backyard synthetic ice rink in Poolesville, Md. Photo: Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

COVID "restrictions and winter boredom have led to a boom" in backyard ice rinks this winter, The Wall Street Journal reports.

  • "Orders of rink-building kits ... exploded this season."

Between the lines: "[M]any first-timers face a steep learning curve," the Journal notes, especially with sloped surfaces.

  • "Water and gravity will always win, and your neighbor’s not going to appreciate 10,000 gallons of water going into their backyard."