Steve Helber / AP

Four senior level officials, including undersecretary for management Patrick Kennedy, unexpectedly resigned from the State Department on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Washington Post. Two other senior officials resigned last week. Rex Tillerson has a lot more work to do.

"It's the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that's incredibly difficult to replicate. Department expertise in security, management, administrative and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector." — David Wade, John Kerry's State Department chief of staff

Is this normal? AP's Matt Lee says resignations like this come with every transition.

UPDATE: CNN claims that the State Department officials did not resign, but that the Trump administration fired them.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
52 mins ago - Economy & Business

Coronavirus surge is sinking consumer confidence

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies, CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

The rise in coronavirus cases in certain parts of the U.S. is stunting confidence across the country, a crop of new reports show.

Driving the news: After stalling during the previous two-week period, overall economic sentiment declined for the first time in two months, according to the Economic Sentiment Index, a biweekly survey from data firm CivicScience and Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS).

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage."
  2. Health: Mask mandates help control the rise in coronavirus hospitalizations. Hospitals face a crush.
  3. Business: Coronavirus testing is a windfall. Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. World: Putin mandates face masks.

The GOP's monstrous math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republicans, win or lose next week, face a big — and growing — math problem.

The state of play: They're relying almost exclusively on a shrinking demographic (white men), living in shrinking areas (small, rural towns), creating a reliance on people with shrinking incomes (white workers without college degrees) to survive.