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Photo: DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images

At a coal conference in West Virginia Wednesday, a Trump administration official said he's in Washington for one reason: to help the coal industry, according to S&P Global.

Why it matters: This is an incredibly blunt, politically transparent admission of President Trump's pro-coal agenda. Politicians of all stripes often push policies that favor one type of energy source over another, but department officials don't usually articulate it quite so clearly.

"The good news is I'm with the federal government and I'm here to help. I went to Washington, D.C., for one purpose and that was to help create coal jobs in the United States. That's my total purpose for being there. I'm not a researcher, I'm not a scientist, I'm an advocate for the coal industry."
— Doug Matheney, special adviser in the Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy, at the West Virginia Mining Symposium in Charleston, W.Va.

Matheney has officially advocated for the coal industry before taking this job. A request to the Energy Department to elaborate upon his comments wasn't immediately returned.

Flashback: These comments follow Trump's Tuesday night State of the Union speech, where he said he had ended the war on "beautiful clean coal."

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Beto not even best Dem against Abbott

Beto O'Rourke speaks at a rally at the Texas State Capitol in June. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Actor Matthew McConaughey’s nine-point lead in a theoretical matchup against Greg Abbott shows just how vulnerable the hard-right Texas governor could be in a general election.

Why it matters: Abbott has won conservative accolades for his abortion, mask and vaccine bans. Axios reported Sunday that former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to announce a gubernatorial challenge — but a recent poll shows he’s not even the most popular Democrat in the state.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Delayed maps upend midterm campaigns

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Midterm candidates are panicking about how the congressional maps will ultimately be drawn, with several strategists telling Axios campaigns are in limbo.

Why it matters: Candidates are unsure if the district they're targeting will remain intact or be reshaped by the process. The uncertainty is especially vexing to Democrats, who are vying to maintain their narrow margin in the House.

First look: Conservatives' 2022 big target: Tax increases

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Conservative groups are unveiling huge ad-buys going after vulnerable House Democrats over tax increases and other revenue measures in their party's massive infrastructure spending bill, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: President Biden and Democrats have an immense amount of political capital riding on a $3.5 trillion bill facing razor-thin margins in both chambers. Conservatives are running ads targeting the House members who leaders will need to pass the measure.

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