Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A major misconception on Capitol Hill right now is the notion that Mick Mulvaney is behind President Trump's decision to back a lawsuit to demolish the Affordable Care Act.

After a week of talking to sources who've discussed the matter privately with Trump, it's clear that this health care push is coming from the president himself. These people say Trump thinks it's a great idea to try to brand the GOP as "the party of health care” by backing the controversial litigation and pushing for legislative change.

Behind the scenes: Trump has privately said he thinks the lawsuit to strike down the Affordable Care Act will probably fail in the courts, according to two sources who discussed the matter with the president last week.

  • Trump's view is that Democrats are going to bash him up on health care in 2020 regardless, so ignoring the issue won’t work.
  • He says he wants to "brand" himself and the Republican Party as caring about health care and pre-existing conditions. He plans to repeat this message again and again and again.
  • Trump has asked Republicans to come up with a replacement plan, even though nobody thinks they've got a chance of passing anything through this divided Congress. On top of that, Republicans had 8 years to come up with an Affordable Care Act replacement and couldn't do it.

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Fauci says White House effort to discredit him is "bizarre"

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci told The Atlantic on Wednesday that efforts by certain White House officials to discredit him are "bizarre" and that it "ultimately hurts the president" to undermine a top health official in the middle of a pandemic.

Driving the news: Fauci's comments come on the heels of a USA Today op-ed by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who claimed that Fauci has been "wrong about everything" related to the coronavirus that the two have interacted on. Fauci told The Atlantic: “I can’t explain Peter Navarro. He’s in a world by himself.”

2 hours ago - Health

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt tests positive for coronavirus

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced on Wednesday he has tested positive for the coronavirus and will self-isolate, Tulsa World reports.

Why it matters: The 47-year-old Stitt is believed to be the first governor in the U.S. to test positive. He attended President Trump's rally in Tulsa last month, which the county's health department director said likely contributed to a surge in cases in the region.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 13,357,992 — Total deaths: 579,546 — Total recoveries — 7,441,446Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 3,432,307 — Total deaths: 136,493 — Total recoveries: 1,049,098 — Total tested: 41,764,557Map.
  3. Public health: Florida's outbreak is getting worse — Testing is again overwhelmed by massive U.S. caseload.
  4. Business: UnitedHealth posts most profitable quarter in its history — Walmart will require all customers to wear masks.
  5. Politics: White House says it didn't clear Navarro op-ed that attacked Fauci.