Dec 9, 2018

Half Trump: Nick Ayers rises

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Nick Ayers, who wasn’t born when Trump turned his age of 36, will come to the chief of staff job (if he gets it) with some Trumpian qualities. 

The big picture: Ayers is loyal to the family, especially Jared and Ivanka, and they are loyal to him. (White House officials who oppose Ayers are already saying privately that the kids deserve the blame if Ayers flops.)

  • Trump announced yesterday that current Chief of Staff John Kelly will be leaving before year’s end.
  • White House officials told us on Saturday that Ayers, currently chief of staff to Vice President Pence, and Trump are still negotiating the job, including whether they can agree on two-year commitment or a short-term, caretaker gig.

Between the lines on Ayers:

  • He’s a political junkie, doesn’t have a background in policy.
  • He’s controversial: Some of his colleagues attack him as inexperienced, arrogant, too slick and ambitious. Others find him smart, politically shrewd.
  • He’s rich, but has drawn controversy and scrutiny along the way.

The intrigue, part 1: Among the many takeaways from Kelly not lasting to the 2020 timeline his allies leaked out: Trump's family is going to outlast everyone else who comes through there” — New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, on Twitter.

The intrigue, part 2: "If Ayers gets the chief job, it’d underscore a new dynamic in this WH. It used to be Bannonites vs. Kushner and allies. Now it’s the family and PenceWorld as a coalition..." — Washington Post reporter Bob Costa, on Twitter.

Be smart: The first two chiefs (Reince Priebus and Kelly) were the victims of leaks, internal ridicule and routine undercutting. Hard to see Ayers or anyone breaking the pattern. 

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Trump announces 30-day extension of coronavirus guidelines

President Trump announced on Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30 in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, which has now infected more than 130,000 Americans and killed nearly 2,500.

Why it matters: Top advisers to the president have been seeking to steer him away from Easter as an arbitrary deadline for the U.S. to open parts of its economy, amid warnings from health officials that loosening restrictions could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 716,101 — Total deaths: 33,854 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 136,880 — Total deaths: 2,409 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.