Mar 1, 2017

The Trump card

Jim Lo Scalzo / AP

In the first restrained — dare we say conventional — speech of his lifetime, Donald Trump delighted Republicans, disarmed critics (at least for a night) and left anyone who doesn't waste their day on Twitter with the impression of quick accomplishments and big, easily doable things ahead.

Bloomberg View calls it "Trump's teleprompter triumph."

  • The strategy: It was a savvy, unexpectedly deft clean-up of everything from the botched travel ban to his delays in confronting race- or religious-based violence. Most of the speech could have been delivered by Paul Ryan (who tweeted that it was "a home run"). It buys Trump a lot of wiggle room in the months ahead — and that was the strategic aim of the speech.
  • Why it matters: Wobbly Republicans, many of whom were and remain deeply suspicious of the president, now have something normal, possibly popular to grab hold of. Success - or the appearance of success - in politics washes away many sins.

With Trump officials basking in the reviews, the White House told reporters that the new executive order on migrant travel — scheduled for release today — was being delayed.

  • The reasoning: "We want the EO to have its own 'moment,'" a senior administration official told CNN's Jeremy Diamond. The official didn't say positive reviews were the only reason for delay — but didn't deny it was part of the calculus.

The pundits rolled over for a big ole belly scratch: Flipping around the networks' postgame coverage, the praise was almost completely unleavened by reality checks about Trump's track record or the minefields awaiting his agenda. I suddenly realized the incredible honeymoon Trump could have had if had played his cards even slightly differently.

  • CNN's Van Jones, former green jobs adviser to President Obama: "He did something tonight that you cannot take away from him: He became president of the United States."
  • Savannah Guthrie: "loose and conversational."
  • Nicolle Wallace on NBC: "the best speech of his political career -- his short political career. ... It felt like an intervention had taken place."
  • ABC's George Stephanopoulos: "The president has broken the mold in so many ways [but this was] quite a traditional structure."
  • CBS's John Dickerson: "using all the rhetorical and symbolic tools at his disposal."

The big question: Will the tone and the aura last? Even a full day? Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. What will Trump give up?

But don't forget: Trump has proven to be a recidivist in the past. One close Trump-watcher warned us that last night's Reaganesque statesman is the same man: "He is a performer and his director(s) told him he is playing a different character tonight. It worked."

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 1,088,878 — Total deaths: 58,773 — Total recoveries: 225,438Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 273,880 — Total deaths: 6,889 — Total recoveries: 9,521Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear cloth masks or face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
  4. 2020 latest: Wisconsin governor calls for last-minute primary election delay.
  5. Oil latest: The amount of gasoline American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. President Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  6. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  7. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start.
  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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Government will cover uninsured patients' coronavirus treatment

Azar at Friday's briefing. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The federal government will cover the costs of coronavirus treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at a White House briefing Friday.

How it works: The money will come from a $100 billion pot set aside for the health care industry in the most recent stimulus bill. Providers will be paid the same rates they get for treating Medicare patients, and as a condition of those payments, they won't be allowed to bill patients for care that isn't covered.

More states issue stay-at-home orders as coronavirus crisis escalates

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a stay-at-home order on Friday as the novel coronavirus pandemic persists. The order goes into effect Saturday at 5 p.m. and will remain in place through April 30. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson also issued a statewide social distancing order on Friday.

The big picture: In a matter of weeks, the number of states that issued orders nearly quadrupled, affecting almost 300 million Americans.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 32 mins ago - Health