Feb 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump acknowledges lists of disloyal government officials to oust

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Monday acknowledged the existence of assembled lists of government officials that his administration plans to oust and replace with trusted pro-Trump people, which were first reported by Axios' Jonathan Swan.

What he's saying: “I don’t think it's a big problem. I don’t think it's very many people,” Trump said during a press conference in India, adding he wants “people who are good for the country, loyal to the country.”

How it works: Swan reported that network of conservative activists has been compiling "Never Trump/pro-Trump" lists and sending them to Trump to shape who he should and should not trust.

  • Members of this network include Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and Republican Senate staffer Barbara Ledeen.
  • Since Trump's Senate acquittal, aides say the president has crossed a psychological line regarding what he calls the "Deep State." He feels his government — from Justice to State to Defense to Homeland Security — is filled with "snakes." He wants them fired and replaced ASAP.

Why it matters: The memos have created trust issues within the White House. The president has heard from people close to him that his own staff are undermining him, while White House staff countered that they have been smeared.

Go deeper ... Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers

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What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A poor response to the coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it’s still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts.

Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

Go deeperArrowFeb 27, 2020 - Health

It's been a year since the last daily White House press briefing

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The last daily White House press briefing was held one year ago — on March 11, 2019, when Sarah Huckabee Sanders was still President Trump's press secretary.

Why it matters: It's a significant milestone that is emblematic of the erosion of traditional norms regarding interactions between the White House and the press corps under the Trump administration.

Trump says he wants to "open" the country by Easter

President Trump said at a Fox News town hall Tuesday that he would "love" to have the country "opened up, and just raring to go" by Easter, or April 12, despite warnings from public health officials that easing social distancing restrictions too soon could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.

Why it matters: Trump is becoming increasingly frustrated with the state of the economy, and he's begun to discuss options for reopening parts of the country that have been on lockdown to help stop the spread of the virus.

Go deeperArrowMar 24, 2020 - Health