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Vice President Pence bumps with Washington state Governor Jay Inslee during a press conference March 5 near Tacoma. Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence, often caricatured as the White House Yes Man, is doing many of the things critics wish President Trump would do.

The big picture: He's a daily, consistent presence on the airwaves. He provides useful info rather than random digressions. He leans on health and medical experts — both at public events and behind the scenes when he's chairing the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Pence, 60, a likely contender for the Republican nomination in 2024, has become one of the most praised administration officials during the virus crisis:

  • "I actually think he’s done a reasonably good job," popular tech author Scott Galloway, no fan of Trump, said on his Pivot podcast with Kara Swisher.
  • Politico media columnist Jack Shafer wrote after Pence's first virus press conferences: He "acted less like the 'coronavirus czar' and more like a good old-fashioned White House press secretary. He was calm. He was direct. He was polite in face of shouted, competing questions."

Part of Pence's persona goes back to his days as host of a syndicated talk radio show in Indiana — his job before he became a congressman, House Republican Conference chair and Indiana governor.

  • Marc Short, Pence's chief of staff, said the vice president "has an understanding of what people are looking for"— facts that are "straightforward, not alarmist."
  • "There's a lot misinformation and probably some hysteria in the news," Short added. "He's very consistent in saying that all the health experts tell us the risk of severe illness is small."

As first reported by Jonathan Swan, Pence yesterday sent the White House staff an email recommending "social distancing" and to "avoid physical contact."

  • It was the first staff-wide email Pence has sent across the complex during his time as vice president — and the latest sign the White House is shifting its posture against the pandemic.

The bottom line: Pence is still deferential to Trump — but that's what he signed up for.

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Go deeper

Washington Post names AP's Sally Buzbee as executive editor

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Washington Post has named Associated Press executive editor Sally Buzbee as its new executive editor, effective June 1.

Why it matters: Buzbee replaces legendary editor Marty Baron, who retired at the end of February. She will be the first woman to lead The Post's newsroom in the paper's 144-year history.

Pipeline hack spotlights cyber risks to energy systems

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The ransomware attack against the Colonial Pipeline — the massive East Coast gasoline artery — is a stunning real-world example of the increasing risks that the energy sector faces from a cyberattack.

Why it matters: Different parts of the vast American energy system are vulnerable — from pipelines to power grids to individual power plants and plenty in between.

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Scoop: TikTok launching jobs service for Gen Z

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TikTok is testing a tool for brands to recruit employees, sources tell Axios.

Details: The pilot program is designed to help people find jobs on TikTok and connect with companies looking to find candidates. It's also meant to help brands use TikTok as a recruitment channel.