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A bag of USAID food aid is carried in South Sudan in October. Photo: Alissa Everett/Getty Images

Trump appointees are contorting themselves ever more greatly to show loyalty to the president, with one agency official today couching internal HR advice as if the election result were still in doubt.

Behind the scenes: On an internal Zoom call with staff of the U.S. Agency for International Development, senior agency official Tim Kaiser said one purpose was to discuss employee health care options "during an exit transition — if that were to take place."

  • "As we all know, nothing has been certified as of yet, so I just want to provide some encouragement for everyone out there," said Kaiser, the deputy White House liaison at USAID and one of Trump's point people within the agency.
  • A spokesperson declined to comment on an internal meeting.

Flashback: Officials at the White House itself have been caught up in the word games.

  • Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany implicitly conceded Joe Biden had beat her boss by saying on Fox News Sunday that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast tie-breaking votes in the Senate if Republicans lose two upcoming Georgia special elections.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 8: The siege

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 8: The siege. An inside account of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 that ultimately failed to block the certification of the Electoral College. And, finally, Trump's concession.

On Jan. 6, White House deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger entered the West Wing in the mid-afternoon, shortly after his colleagues' phones had lit up with an emergency curfew alert from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. Read episode 1.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Off the Rails

Episode 6: Last stand in Georgia

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer, Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 6: Georgia had not backed a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992 and Donald Trump's defeat in this Deep South stronghold, and his reaction to that loss, would help cost Republicans the U.S. Senate as well. Georgia was Trump's last stand.

On Air Force One, President Trump was in a mood. He had been clear he did not want to return to Georgia, and yet somehow he'd been conscripted into another rally on the night of Jan. 4.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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