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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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 18,187,396 — Total deaths: 691,352 — Total recoveries — 10,841,436Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 4,711,323 — Total deaths: 155,379 — Total recoveries: 1,513,446 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  4. Sports: 13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive, prompting MLB to cancel Tigers series — Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign for schools.
  5. 1 🎥 thing: "Tenet" may be the first major film to get a global pandemic release.

In photos: Thousands evacuated as Southern California fire grows

A plane makes a retardant drop on a ridge at the Apple Fire north of Banning in Riverside County, which "doubled in size" Saturday, per KTLA. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A massive wildfire that prompted mandatory evacuations in Southern California over the weekend burned 26,450 acres and was 5% contained by Monday afternoon, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The big picture: As California remains an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., some 15 separate fires are raging across the state. About 7,800 people were under evacuation orders from the Apple Fire, about 75 miles east of Los Angeles, as hundreds of firefighters battled the blaze. CalFire said Monday that a malfunction involving a "diesel-fueled vehicle emitting burning carbon from the exhaust system" started the Apple Fire.

Twitter faces FTC fine of up to $250 million over alleged privacy violations

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket

The Federal Trade Commission has accused Twitter of using phone numbers and emails from its users to make targeted ads between 2013 and 2019, Twitter said in an SEC filing published Monday.

Why it matters: Twitter estimates that the FTC's draft complaint, which was sent a few days after its Q2 earnings report, could cost the company between $150 million and $250 million. The complaint is unrelated to the recent Twitter hack involving a bitcoin scam.