Feb 22, 2017

The sunny side of Trump

Susan Walsh / AP

We wrote yesterday what the president SHOULD do in his address to Congress next Tuesday, and got hit with calls and emails from top White House officials about what Trump WILL do.

The news: Officials swear the speech, written by Stephen Miller and others with heavy input from POTUS, is decidedly more upbeat than his inaugural address — "optimistic and uplifting."

A top adviser said: "President Trump is determined to capture the sunny optimism of Reagan to temper the populist anger reflected in his core policies."

While aides dispute that Trump's inaugural address was dark in tone and substance, they concede it was viewed that way by all but true believers. For the Joint Session address, they are self-consciously trying to strike a happier tone for a broader audience, with lots of emphasis on what has been done to date — and what can be done in Congress this year (health care, tax reform and a new partial wall on Mexican border).

But, but, but ... We heard this same spin before his inaugural, and Trump's mostly red-meat campaign rally was supposed to be a message of "unity." So let's see if it's Charlie Brown and the football — or a real shift, even for one night.

  • Sound smart: They won't say it publicly, but Trump officials are actually TRYING to be normal. They feel good about their pushback against the Russia scandal, the pick for national-security adviser winning rave reviews from Rs and Ds, yesterday's shockingly ordinary tour of the National Museum of African American History.

In private, West Wing aides say the media should cut them slack, given this is a non-politician staffed by a lot of people new to Washington politics.

Go deeper

Trump's new purge

Michael Atkinson, arrives in October for closed-door questioning about the whistleblower complaint. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sources close to President Trump expect him to fire more inspectors general across his government, after his Friday night removal of Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community I.G. who alerted Congress to the complaint that triggered impeachment.

What they're saying: Conservative allies of the president have told him that these I.G.s are members of the “deep state” trying to undermine him. Trump appears to have embraced that view.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 1,140,327 — Total deaths: 60,887 — Total recoveries: 233,930Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 278,568 — Total deaths: 7,163 — Total recoveries: 9,920Map.
  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.
  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 has 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: A pivotal Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Military updates: Senators call for independent investigation into the firing of Navy captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. The U.S. military is struggling to find new recruits as enlistment stations are shut down.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: New York reports record 630 deaths in 24 hours

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths in one day.

The big picture: As expected, COVID-19 death tolls are rising in the U.S., killing more than 7,100 people in total, and over 1,000 in 24 hours alone. The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread, marking a significant change in messaging from the Trump administration.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 55 mins ago - Health