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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

The top quote from Sean Spicer's press briefing today: "One of the beauties of history is that we don't repeat itself." (Has he ever watched one of his press briefings?) Today's highlights...

  • Immigration executive orders: Spicer said that mass deportation is not the goal and that deporting criminals is "the number one priority." He said that with up to 15 million illegal immigrants in the United States, "the president wanted to take the shackles off individuals in the agencies [like DHS, ICE, and CBP]."
  • McMaster: Spicer said that Trump's new national security advisor H.R. McMaster has "full authority to structure the office as he desires," insinuating Trump would even consider removing Steve Bannon from the NSC's Principals Committee if recommended.
  • Obama administration's transgender bathroom guidance: "This should not involve the federal government. This is a states' rights issue."
  • Trump's visit to the Museum of African-American History and Culture: Trump especially liked the Muhammad Ali exhibit, featuring the quote: "I shook up the world."
  • On the Anne Frank Center's statement condemning the administration: ""I saw that statement. I wish they had praised the president for his leadership in this area...It's ironic that no matter how many times he talks about this that it's never good enough."

Go deeper

Elise Stefanik elected No. 3 House Republican after Liz Cheney ouster

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) on May 12. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

House Republicans voted in a secret ballot Friday to appoint Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) as the chair of the GOP conference, replacing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).

Why it matters: Stefanik's appointment underscores how important loyalty to former President Trump remains to the Republican Party.

Retail sales flat in April after huge surge in March

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

April retail sales in the U.S. were unchanged from March, which saw a surge revised up to 10.7%, according to the latest Commerce Department report published Friday.

Why it matters: The U.S. has been entering a period of growing optimism in the wake of the vaccine rollout, falling new COVID-19 cases and deaths, and a slowly recovering labor market. Retail sales were up 51% year-over-year compared to April 2020.

Policy group lays groundwork for "net negative" emissions tech

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new policy roadmap provides Congress and the White House with ways to support the growth of methods to pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using everything from existing forests to direct air capture machines.

Driving the news: Recent climate studies, such as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 1.5-degree report, have pointed to the clear need for society to pursue strategies for driving carbon emissions into negative territory by the latter half of the century.