Matt Rourke / AP

Since President Trump skipped last night's black-tie, off-camera Alfalfa Dinner, Vice President Pence did the honors before the biggest annual gathering of tycoons, national leaders and elder statesmen.

  • Pence joked, per our spies, that Team Trump is all getting to know each other: "It wasn't too long ago, I thought a Reince Priebus was a midsize hybrid." This elicited a smile from the White House chief of staff, who was at the head table.
  • The V.P. said Trump is "going to build a big, beautiful, impenetrable wall. It's gonna be nine feet tall, and it's gonna run right between the West Wing and the press corps. And The New York Times is going to pay for it."
  • Pence's best line: "Of the eight richest people in the world, five are in this room. I feel like I'm at a Cabinet meeting."

Mike Bloomberg, the incoming club president, received applause when he said it was classy of Hillary to attend the inauguration. Bloomberg claimed that Trump couldn't attend the dinner because he was stuck on a phone call with Putin:

I feel for him. We've all had bosses who call us on the weekend.

Erskine Bowles — former Bill Clinton White House chief of staff, and the club's outgoing president: "What a year: Angela Merkel has required people in her country to stop wearing full face veils. And here at home, Hillary has begun wearing one."

"This administration is very military heavy. You have 'Mad Dog' Mattis, a Marine general. John Kelly, a Marine general. Mike Flynn, an Army general. And Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, a Confederate general."

Go deeper

Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Where key GOP senators stand on replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talks to reporters on Capitol Hill last Thursday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With President Trump planning to nominate his third Supreme Court justice nominee this week, key Republican senators are indicating their stance on replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with less than 50 days until Election Day.

The state of play: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) has vowed that "Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate." Two GOP senators — Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) — have said they oppose holding a vote before the election, meaning that two more defections would force McConnell to delay until at least the lame-duck session of Congress.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 30,873,714 — Total deaths: 958,383— Total recoveries: 21,103,559Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 6,788,343 — Total deaths: 199,421 — Total recoveries: 2,577,446 — Total tests: 94,211,463Map.
  3. Politics: Testing czar on Trump's CDC contradictions: "Everybody is right" Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure
  4. Education: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning
  5. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19.
  6. World: England sets £10,000 fine for breaking self-isolation rules — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

Biden to Senate GOP after RBG passing: "Please follow your conscience"

Joe Biden made a direct appeal to Senate Republicans in a speech addressing the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, urging them to "cool the flames that have been engulfing our country" by waiting to confirm her replacement until after the election.

The state of play: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said soon after the news of Ginsburg's death that President Trump's nominee would get a vote on the Senate floor.