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Evan Vucci / AP

During the presidential campaign, a common refrain from Trump supporters was that America needed a businessman in the White House. Someone who had met a payroll, operated in the "real world," etc. Even more optimal was someone who had zero experience in public service (sorry, Mitt Romney), since it's hard to shake the reflexive stain of "business as usual."

My gut reaction was always twofold:

  1. Running a government shares little in common with running a for-profit enterprise, save for organizational skills.
  2. The businessman would likely surround himself with a lot of people who do have public-sector experience, so even a Trump victory wouldn't really test the hypothesis.

On that second part, I was largely wrong. Trump's incoming administration is untraditionally heavy on CEOs who have never before sniffed government. Examples include Rex Tillerson (Sec of State), Wilbur Ross (Commerce), Andy Puzder (Labor) and Steve Mnuchin (Treasury). And that's just Cabinet-level positions.

Which brings us back to #1: We're about to test the CEO theory.

If the Trump Administration proves successful by objective measures (economic/job growth, foreign/domestic tranquility, etc.), then it's quite likely that the candidate paradigm will have been shifted for decades to come. If you want to become president, first become a CEO ― rather than first run for lower public office. Kind of like how VC firms now prefer to pluck new partners from operating companies than from banks or consulting shops. But if Trump consensus fails, then CEOs will be looking at a long, cold electoral winter. Kind of a double-edged sword for someone like outgoing Starbucks boss Howard Schultz...

Go deeper

Scoop: FDA chief called to West Wing

Stephen Hahn. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has summoned FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to the West Wing for a 9:30am meeting Tuesday to explain why he hasn't moved faster to approve the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, two senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: The meeting is shaping up to be tense, with Hahn using what the White House will likely view as kamikaze language in a preemptive statement to Axios: "Let me be clear — our career scientists have to make the decision and they will take the time that’s needed to make the right call on this important decision."

Scoop: Schumer's regrets

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images   

Chuck Schumer told party donors during recent calls that the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the fact that Cal Cunningham "couldn't keep his zipper up" crushed Democrats' chances of regaining the Senate, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats are hoping for a 50-50 split by winning two upcoming special elections in Georgia. But their best chance for an outright Senate majority ended when Cunningham lost in North Carolina and Sen. Susan Collins won in Maine.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.