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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."

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Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Iran preparing to enrich weapons-grade uranium, Israel warns U.S.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi holds a press conference. Photo: Presidency of Iran handout via Getty

Israel has shared intelligence over the past two weeks with the U.S. and several European allies suggesting that Iran is taking technical steps to prepare to enrich uranium to 90% purity — the level needed to produce a nuclear weapon, two U.S. sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: Enriching to 90% would bring Iran closer than ever to the nuclear threshold. The Israeli warnings come as nuclear talks resume in Vienna, with Iran returning to the negotiating table on Monday after a five-month hiatus.

Biden: Fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Monday said that the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, is "a cause for concern, not a cause for panic."

Driving the news: Biden said later this week the administration will be releasing a strategy on how "we're going to fight COVID this winter. Not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more."

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: WHO says Omicron poses "very high" risk — Fauci says Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S. — U.S. restricts air travel from 8 countries over Omicron concerns.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns."
  3. States: New York declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron.
  4. World: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating worldWHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries — First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.