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

America's exceptionally uneventful Fourth of July

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amateur fireworks and small backyard cookouts are winning the weekend as the coronavirus takes the flash out of the Fourth of July.

What's happening: Public parades and fireworks displays around much of the country are being cancelled to prevent mass gatherings where the virus could spread. Hot-dog contests and concerts will play to empty stands and virtual audiences — all while American pride treads an all-time low.

Americans reflect on Independence Day amid racism reckoning

A Black Lives Matter banner and a United States flag on the facade of the U.S. embassy building in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Simon Shin/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

America's leaders are rethinking how they view Independence Day, as the country reckons with the historic, unequal treatment of people of color during a pandemic which has disproportionately affected nonwhite Americans.

Why it matters: The country’s legacy of racism has come into sharp focus in the weeks of protests following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. From Confederate statues to Mount Rushmore, Americans are reexamining the symbols and traditions they elevate and the history behind them.

Updated 17 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 11,031,905 — Total deaths: 523,777 — Total recoveries — 5,834,337Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 2,788,395 — Total deaths: 129,306 — Total recoveries: 790,404 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  5. Economy: The economy may recover just quickly enough to kill political interest in more stimulus.