Sep 30, 2017

"The Price Rule"

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."

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,131,713 — Total deaths: 59,884 — Total recoveries: 233,591Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 278,458 — Total deaths: 7,159 — Total recoveries: 9,897Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primaries by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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The renaissance of the American family

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

It used to be scarce and hard-earned, but suddenly family time is abundant in the era of shelter-in-place.

Why it matters: For the first time since the early 19th century, many parents and kids — and even grandchildren — are all under the same roof round-the-clock. And if past periods of emergency are any guide, this enforced togetherness could deepen our relationships for years to come.

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Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson / Staff

Joe Biden said he's spoken to Sen. Bernie Sanders and former President Barack Obama about selecting a running mate — and that he wants to build "a bench of younger, really qualified people" who can lead the nation over the course of the next four presidential cycles.

Driving the news: Biden spoke about the state of the 2020 race during a virtual fundraiser on Friday night that was opened to pooled coverage.