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Sen. John Cornyn speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting. Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial board, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that he's disagreed with President Trump on trade agreements with China, budget deficits, COVID-19 stimulus aid, but he's always brought up his concerns privately — rather than publicly criticize the president.

The big picture: Cornyn is the latest Republican senator to distance himself from Trump amid fears of a potential electoral blowout. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), for example, recently unloaded on the president in a call with constituents, questioning why Republicans thought "selling a TV-obsessed, narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea?"

Driving the news: Cornyn said his relationship with Trump was “maybe like a lot of women who get married and think they’re going to change their spouse, and that doesn’t usually work out very well."

  • “I think what we found is that we’re not going to change President Trump. He is who he is. You either love him or hate him, and there’s not much in between."
  • "What I tried to do is not get into public confrontations and fights with him because, as I’ve observed, those usually don’t end too well.”
  • “I have found that has allowed me to be much more effective, I believe, than to satisfy those who say I ought to call him out or get into a public fight with him," Cornyn said.

Why it matters: Cornyn, a high-ranking Republican in the Senate, is currently facing a tighter-than-expected re-election race against Democrat MJ Hegar. Weeks ago, Cornyn chided Trump for letting "his guard down" on the coronavirus.

  • “I applaud him for standing up to China but, frankly, this idea that China is paying the price and we’re not paying the price here at home is just not true,” Cornyn told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
  • Cornyn described himself as a "defense hawk" and said he disagreed with the use of national security funds to build portions of a border wall, though he voted against a measure that would have blocked Trump's attempt to redirect the funds.
  • He praised the administration when it came to judicial nominations, Hurricane Harvey relief, a U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal and tax cuts.

Go deeper: Democrats are destroying Republicans in a historic fundraising "green tsunami"

Go deeper

GOP voters choose Trump — again

Data: Ipsos/Axios survey; Chart: Axios Visuals

Republicans across the U.S. are siding with President Trump over Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — big time — according to a new Axios-Ipsos poll.

The state of play: A majority of Republicans still think Trump was right to challenge his election loss, support him, don’t blame him for the Capitol mob and want him to be the Republican nominee in 2024.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 3 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.