Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump's surprise decision this morning to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military was fast-tracked in order to save a House spending bill — imperiled by a dispute over Pentagon-funded gender reassignment treatment for transgender military personnel — that would fund some of his key promises, including a border wall, per Politico.

  • Conservative Republicans asked more moderate figures, including Paul Ryan and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, to intervene to prevent the Pentagon from funding gender reassignment treatments, but found themselves consistently rebuffed — leading them to contact the White House directly.
  • More than expected: Trump's decision to apparently expel all transgender individuals from military service was far beyond what conservative Republicans were asking for regarding the spending bill.
  • A key quote: A senior House Republican aide told Politico, ""This is like someone told the White House to light a candle on the table and the WH set the whole table on fire."

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Trump's Tucker mind-meld

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images and BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

If you want to understand the rhetorical roots of Trump's Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore, go back and watch Tucker Carlson's monologues for the past six weeks.

Between the lines: Trump — or rather his speechwriter Stephen Miller — framed the president's opposition to the Black Lives Matter protest movement using the same imagery Carlson has been laying out night after night on Fox.

Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 11,366,145 — Total deaths: 532,644 — Total recoveries — 6,154,138Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 2,874,396 — Total deaths: 129,870 — Total recoveries: 906,763 — Total tested: 35,512,916Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity — Houston mayor warns about hospitals
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Former Trump official Tom Bossert says face masks “are not enough”
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: Sports return stalked by coronavirus
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Bolton's hidden aftershocks

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The news media has largely moved on, but foreign government officials remain fixated on John Bolton's memoir, "The Room Where It Happened."

Why it matters: Bolton's detailed inside-the-Oval revelations have raised the blood pressure of allies who were already stressed about President Trump's unreliability.