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.

Go deeper

Scoop: Trump regrets Kushner advice on prison reform

Kushner and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows walk on the south lawn of the White House, June 23. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has told people in recent days that he regrets following some of son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner's political advice — including supporting criminal justice reform — and will stick closer to his own instincts, three people with direct knowledge of the president's thinking tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: One person who spoke with the president interpreted his thinking this way: "No more of Jared's woke s***." Another said Trump has indicated that following Kushner's advice has harmed him politically.

Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 11,288,094 — Total deaths: 531,244 — Total recoveries — 6,075,489Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 2,839,917 — Total deaths: 129,676 — Total recoveries: 894,325 — Total tested: 34,858,427Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Trump's failing culture wars

Data: Google; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

President Trump built his political brand by stoking the nation's culture wars, but search data is showing us how much harder it's been for him to replicate that success while running against another white man in his 70s — and while there's a coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: Google Trends data shows Trump's "Sleepy Joe" name-calling isn't generating nearly the buzz "Crooked Hillary" (or "Little Marco") did in 2016. Base voters who relished doubting President Obama's birth certificate aren't questioning Biden's.