Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump, who had talked and acted like he was medically invincible, tweeted just before 1am that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for coronavirus.

Why it matters: The shocking announcement has personal, political, medical, financial and national security ramifications. Election Day is 32 days away. Markets hate uncertainty, and we now have the biggest X factor in the world.

  • The "plague" — as Trump, 74, called it again at Tuesday's debate — that has disrupted the world for more than seven months has now hit the most prominent patient of all.
  • Stock futures plunged after Trump tweeted the news. Market watchers warned of a potentially deep selloff, with an unknown extent of the spread at the top of the American government.

One administration official echoed a concern of many — which is that while the officials of the West Wing are regularly tested, these tests aren't infallible.

  • These officials take virtually no other precautions.
  • In fact, if you're too fastidious about social distancing and mask wearing in Trump's orbit, you can be mocked for it.

The story began unfolding late last night as Trump tweeted confirmation of the news that Hope Hicks, the West Wing aide who's closest to him outside the family, had "tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible! The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!"

  • At the debate, Joe Biden said Trump has "been totally irresponsible the way in which he has handled the social distancing and people wearing masks, basically encouraged them not to. He's a fool on this."

Trump has pointedly flouted his own experts' advice about the coronavirus, and said at an Ohio rally just two weeks ago that it "affects virtually nobody" besides the elderly.

  • Trump has shown disdain for masks at every turn, despite the evidence that they help inhibit transmission of the airborne virus. White House and Trump campaign aides rarely wear them, as the practice became so political that packed-together supporters at recent rallies in New Hampshire and Ohio booed the mere mention of masks.
  • Several times, Trump scolded reporters who were wearing masks when asking him questions, saying he couldn't understand them.

What we know: Hicks began feeling mild symptoms during the Air Force One ride home from a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday evening, and was isolated from other passengers, AP reports.

  • Hicks had been with Trump and other senior staff aboard Marine One and Air Force One en route to that rally. She had accompanied him to Tuesday’s presidential debate in Cleveland, along with members of the Trump family. They didn't wear masks during the debate, in violation of the venue rules.

Vice President Mike Pence, who was in Georgia on Wednesday and Iowa yesterday, gets tested every day. He tweeted "love and prayers" to the Trumps.

  • Pence's travel schedule this week appears to have kept him away from the president.
  • But Pence's team has not yet issued a statement providing more information beyond the vice president’s tweet. 

The politics: In late-night and early-morning texts, several Trump confidants privately fretted about what this diagnosis would mean for his re-election.

  • Trump and his team have tried relentlessly to shift the election conversation away from COVID and health care — two topics they know Trump polls badly on — and toward the more favorable ground of the economy and law and order.
  • Trump's diagnosis will ensure that COVID is the 24/7 story from here until Election Day.

An influential adviser texted this shortly after 5am: "Hard to know but likely hurts Trump as it makes COVID the big issue and points to the failure of his deep denial approach."

  • "I doubt it moves many voters either way. I think Trump has a very narrow path to 270. I have his best map at a 269 tie. I think that is a low probability map."
Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter a valid email.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Subscribed! Look for Axios AM and PM in your inbox tomorrow or read the latest Axios AM now.

Go deeper

Jan 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Reports: Pence to attend Biden's inauguration

Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/Pool/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence will attend President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20, per multiple reports Saturday.

Why it matters: It's a major break from President Trump, who said Friday he won't attend.

GOP's parallel universe

Ronna McDaniel. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

At the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting Friday, party members, "one after another, said in interviews that the president did not bear any blame for the violence at the Capitol and indicated that they wanted him to continue to play a leading role in the party," the N.Y. Times' Jonathan Martin reports.

The big picture: The fealty to Trump was made plain with the unanimous reelection of Ronna McDaniel, Trump’s handpicked chair, and the reappointment of her co-chair, Tommy Hicks, first appointed because of his friendship with Donald Trump Jr.

Updated Jan 11, 2021 - Technology

All the platforms that have banned or restricted Trump so far

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Platforms are rapidly removing Donald Trump’s account or accounts affiliated with pro-Trump violence and conspiracies, like QAnon and #StoptheSteal.