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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

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden calls Fox News reporter a "stupid son of a b---h" on hot mic

President Biden blasted Fox News' Peter Doocy on Monday after the reporter asked if the nation's soaring inflation is a political liability, saying, "what a stupid son of a b----h."

The latest: The president called Doocy Monday evening, the reporter told Fox's Sean Hannity. "He cleared the air and I appreciated it. We had a nice call," Doocy said when asked whether the president apologized, adding: "I don't need anyone to apologize to me."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive for COVID, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

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