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Tom Price announced his resignation yesterday as secretary of HHS. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

When Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price became a certified swamp creature, he was dead to Trump.

Trump was scratchy with Price anyway because of his questionable advice and atrocious results on health-care repeal. Now POTUS had an easy excuse to boot the orthopedic surgeon and former U.S. House member from Georgia, making him Trump's first Cabinet secretary to depart.

The coverage was at least as lethal to Price as the reality.

  • N.Y. Times: "Trump berated Mr. Price in the Oval Office on Friday afternoon for about two hours before heading out to meet with reporters."
  • Trump told reporters on the South Lawn as he left for New Jersey, shortly before Price's resignation was announced: "Look, I think he's a very fine person. I certainly don't like the optics."

A veteran Republican tells me the White House shares the blame for the spate of Price-y plane flights that were uncovered by Politico's Dan Diamond and Rachana Pradhan: Such spending would have been less likely to occur in a West Wing with more normal controls and organization.

But the high-flying habits could have rankled Trump voters who seem impervious to most other excesses. So Price had to go.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney later told heads of executive branch departments and agencies that White House chief of staff John Kelly must sign off on use of government-owned, rented, leased or chartered aircraft.

The memo's keeper line — call it the Price Rule: "[J]ust because something is legal doesn't make it right."

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
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Go deeper

The elusive political power of Mexican Americans

Data: Pew Research Center, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Mexican Americans make up the nation's largest Latino group, yet they remain politically outshined by more recently arrived Cuban Americans.

Why it matters: The disparities in political power between Mexican Americans and Cuban Americans reflect the racial, historical, geographical and economic differences within Latino cultures in the U.S.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
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The barriers to vaccine passports

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccine passports could become available soon to help people resume their livesbut they face numerous scientific, social and political barriers to being accepted.

The big picture: Reliable and accessible proof of vaccine-induced protection from the novel coronavirus could speed international travel and economic reopening, but obstacles to its wide-scale adoption are so great it may never fully arrive.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate action on stimulus bill continues as Dems reach deal on jobless aid

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democratic leaders struck an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on emergency unemployment insurance late Friday, clearing the way for Senate action on President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package to resume after an hours-long delay.

The state of play: The Senate continued to work through votes on a series of amendments overnight into early Saturday morning.