May 25, 2018

Trump huddles with Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens

Charlie Kirk. Photo: Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Politicon. Candace Owens. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Charlie Kirk, a 24-year-old conservative activist and Fox News regular, told me that he and fellow activist Candace Owens met with President Trump in the Oval Office this afternoon for about 20 minutes.

Why this matters: Kirk, a close friend of Don Jr.'s, has more access to this President than anyone his age in the country. He recently hosted a millennials event with Trump and sources tell me they have interacted frequently since the election campaign.

Kirk raises millions of dollars from Republican donors for his group Turning Point USA — an organization that fights liberalism (Kirk prefers the label "socialist") on university campuses. Owens, 29, who works with Kirk at TPUSA and like him is a diehard Trumpist, caught the President’s eye recently when Kanye West tweeted "I love the way Candace Owens thinks."

Behind the scenes: Kirk told me he and Owens talked to Trump about "black America, Kanye West, and the intersection of culture and politics," and the "incredible progress being made for black America by President Trump and also historic pardon yesterday."

"[We] talked about the need for a black exodus from the Democratic Party as their policies have ultimately harmed the very people that are voting for them," Kirk added.

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Scoop: Census Bureau is paying Chinese state media to reach Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign, which sends U.S. taxpayer dollars to community media outlets to run ads about the upcoming census, is including a Chinese state-run broadcaster as one of its media vendors.

Why it matters: After China's yearslong campaign to co-opt independent Chinese-language media in the U.S., Washington is now paying Beijing-linked media outlets in order to reach Chinese Americans.

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Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

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GOP congressman accuses California pension official of working for China

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The latest season of Red Scare has come to Sacramento.

Driving the news: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) has repeatedly accused Ben Meng, chief investment officer of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), of tacitly working on behalf of the Chinese government. Banks also says that, were it up to him, Meng would be fired — and has questioned the patriotism of California Gov. Gavin Newsom for not at least investigating Meng.

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