Apr 24, 2018

Trump nominee Ric Grenell breaks through Senate gridlock

Ric Grenell will almost certainly be confirmed this week as President Trump's ambassador to Germany after months of being stalled in the Senate.

Details: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has moved to end debate on Grenell and a senior Republican aide told me he'll almost certainly be confirmed into the position before the end of the week.

Behind the scenes: Marc Short, the director of White House Legislative Affairs, told me Trump made it clear he wanted Grenell confirmed by the Senate before German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits Washington on Friday.

  • Flashback: We reported in Axios' Sneak Peek newsletter on Sunday that Grenell "was seen at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday night talking to Trump... the president has let it be known he's impatient with the hold-up in the Senate over Grenell's confirmation and has told people he had wanted to get it done before Merkel's visit this week.

Background: Last month, the NYT's Maggie Haberman dove into the unusually loud and sustained campaign to confirm Grenell:

  • "Few drives for a confirmation vote have turned into a cause — supported by groups often on opposite sides of the political spectrum...
  • "Grenell, a Republican who worked with the incoming national security adviser, John R. Bolton, at the United Nations...[is] the president’s most prominent openly gay appointee.

Go deeper

In photos: Authorities issue warning as Americans venture out for Memorial Day weekend

Ocean City in New Jersey on May 25. Photo: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images

Authorities urged Americans to maintain social distancing and wear masks to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus amid reports of packed beaches and bars during the Memorial Day weekend.

Details: Law enforcement stepped up beach patrols, and there were crowded scenes in several places, notably at Lake of the Ozarks bars in Missouri and at Daytona Beach and on the Gulf Coast in Florida, per AP. Police dispersed crowds in some places, ABC notes. But many Americans did take precautions against COVID-19 as they ventured outside for the long weekend, some three months after the pandemic began in the U.S.

Coronavirus stay-at-home orders crater voter registration efforts

A volunteer looks for persons wanting to register to vote on July 4, 2019 in Santa Fe, N.M. Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic is scuppering usual "get out the vote" efforts, leading to fears that large swaths of Americans could miss out on this year's elections.

What’s happening: Advocacy groups typically target college campuses, churches, festivals, fairs and other gatherings to seek out people who have yet to register, but many of those places are now closed. Voter registration efforts have largely moved to the internet, but advocates question whether that will be as effective as the person-to-person pitch.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,471,768 — Total deaths: 344,911 — Total recoveries — 2,223,523Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,660,072 — Total deaths: 98,184 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy