Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

My phone blew up yesterday with texts from White House aides, current and former, who seemed at their wits' end over President Trump's tweet that the 75-year-old Buffalo protester who was rushed to the hospital after being shoved by police last week "could be an ANTIFA provocateur."

Why it matters: They rarely register the president's tweets anymore — let alone complain about them. This one felt different.

  • Here was Trump — struggling in the polls, damaged with independents and women who hate his tone — trafficking in a bizarre conspiracy that he had seen on the right-wing OANN cable network to excuse a blatant example of police misconduct.
  • All this on the morning of George Floyd's funeral.

The context: POTUS aides and the campaign had constructed this week around getting Trump into the conversation around rebuilding/recovering, listening to ideas about police reform, etc.

  • One former aide remarked that it's tweets like this that make him wonder whether Trump actually wants to get re-elected.

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Ben Carson defends Trump against accusations of racism at RNC

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson defended President Trump against accusations of racism at the Republican National Convention on Thursday.

Why it matters: Carson, the only Black member of Trump's Cabinet, has become a loyal ally and defender of the president since running against him in the 2016 Republican primary.

The TikTok deal's for-show provisions and flimsy foundations

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The new deal to rescue TikTok from a threatened U.S. ban — full of provisions aimed at creating the temporary appearance of a presidential win — looks like a sort of Potemkin village agreement.

How it works: Potemkin villages were fake-storefront towns stood up to impress a visiting czar and dignitaries. When the visitors left, the stage set got struck.

  • Similarly, many elements of this plan look hastily erected and easily abandoned once the spotlight moves on.
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Over 3 million U.S. voters have already registered on social media

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

An estimated 2.5 million+ Americans have registered to vote on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, Facebook announced Monday. More than 733,000 Americans have registered to vote so far via Snapchat.

Why it matters: The broad reach of social media platforms makes them uniquely effective at engaging voters — especially younger voters who may not know how to register to vote or be civically engaged.