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Lagoa and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows tells Axios that President Trump will not meet with shortlisted Supreme Court candidate Barbara Lagoa during a campaign visit to Florida on Friday, and that any talks with court candidates will take place in Washington.

The backstory: Axios reported on Tuesday that Trump would meet with Lagoa during his Friday campaign trip, citing two sources familiar with his plans. When we initially approached the White House with this reporting, officials declined to comment.

  • Several hours after we posted this story, Meadows sent this statement: “There are no plans to conduct interviews in Florida. The entire process will be handled in Washington, D.C. as expeditiously as possible."
  • "Any suggestion of interviews with any candidate in other locations is not accurate."

What we're hearing: Sources who know both Trump and Lagoa say they still expect the president to pick Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

  • The majority view in Trump’s inner circle is that Barrett would be easier to confirm because senators are familiar with her. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has told Trump that senators feel comfortable with Barrett.
  • A source close to the process said anything that complicates the confirmation proceedings — and allows more time for Democrats to inject “mischief” — is to be avoided at all costs. More education would be needed for senators who are less familiar with Lagoa, the source added.
  • Trump met with Barrett at the White House on Monday.

Between the lines: Lagoa, a 52-year-old judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, is the daughter of Cuban exiles.

  • Top aides to the president say Lagoa, who grew up in a heavily Hispanic suburb of Miami, could be politically beneficial to Trump, who without winning Florida could lose reelection.

What they're saying: Trump said Monday that he does not personally know Lagoa, but called her “terrific.”

  • Trump added that he tries not to say that politics would play a role in his decision, but "I think probably automatically it is. Even if you’re not wanting to do that it becomes a little automatic.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Meadows' statement, and the headline has been changed.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Nov 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump allies brace for 30-day legal war

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

GOP leaders and confidants of President Trump tell Axios his legal fight to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory — which they admit is likely doomed — could last a month or more, possibly pushing the 2020 political wars toward Christmastime.

Why it matters: Most top Republicans have followed Trump’s orders not to accept the Biden victory, and to allow all legal options to be exhausted. That could mean weeks of drama — and, more importantly, distractions from the vital work of transitioning government for a change of power.

6 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

8 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

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