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Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump says he's canceled the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, citing health concerns over the coronavirus and a need to protect the public.

What he's saying: Trump made the announcement from the White House briefing room, saying he would still give a speech accepting the nomination "in a different form," and that delegates still would convene in Charlotte, N.C., earlier that week as planned for party business. Trump claims he told his team "the timing for this event is not right, it's just not right," adding, "I have to protect the American people."

Our thought bubble:In the wake of the Tulsa rally debacle, where many of Trump's elderly supporters stayed away for fear of COVID-19, Trump's aides have been urging him to publicly address their concerns.

  • This has resulted in Trump belatedly encouraging the use of masks and now him pulling a stunning about-face and canceling a convention he ordered for the sole purpose of having a massive crowd without burdensome virus-related restrictions.

Between the lines: Trump forced the Republican National Committee to scramble to make Jacksonville work.

  • This required an extraordinary logistical effort, site visits, pressure on vendors and significant expense.
  • Today, Trump pulled the rug out from under the RNC after asking them to pull off a near-impossible task — arranging the year's biggest political event in a matter of weeks.

Behind the scenes: In Oval Office meetings discussing the convention over the past few weeks, aides warned Trump they couldn’t avoid three days of unrelentingly brutal media coverage if he went ahead with the Jacksonville convention.

  • An adviser who was in these meetings said that several aides made the point that the dominant story would have been the potential for Jacksonville to be a super-spreader event and they would find it hard, if not impossible, to break through the discussion of the coronavirus implications.

Go deeper

Win or lose, Trump will maintain his almighty grip over Republicans

President Trump speaks in the East Room early this morning. Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Win or lose, President Trump will emerge more powerful than ever inside the GOP, by defying expectations for himself and lifting fellow Republicans to surprise victories in the House and Senate.

Why it matters: Trump enjoyed an almost messianic hold on Republicans before the election. Now, he looks like a prophet again, against the doomsday projections for his candidacy and his party’s congressional hopes.

Updated 5 hours ago - World

Death toll mounts as fighting between Israel and Hamas intensifies

Palestinian Muslims exchange wishes for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, near a razed building in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on May 13. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At least 109 Palestinians and seven people in Israel have been killed since recent fighting between Israel's military and Hamas began Monday.

The big picture: Israel began massing troops on its border with Gaza on Thursday, launching attacks from the air and ground as Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel.

By the numbers: Where the earmarks are wanted

Expand chart
Data: House Committee on Appropriations; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is being targeted for the largest collective earmark request in the country, according to a detailed breakdown of overall requests released by the House Appropriations Committee.

Why it matters: House appropriators are trying to balance bipartisan momentum for infrastructure investment with "pork-barrel" spending's checkered political history. The data dump is an effort to provide transparency for what are now termed "community project funding" requests.