Alex Brandon / AP

Just in from President Trump's twitter feed: "After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow..........Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming........victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you..."

Why it matters: This is a reversal of policy changes initiated under President Barack Obama, whose administration had set July 1 of 2017 as the deadline for beginning to enlist openly transgender troops.

Quick analysis, from Axios' Jonathan Swan: "It's the most aggressive I've seen Trump wade into culture wars since becoming president — and perhaps his most polarizing decision since the original travel ban. ... Steve Bannon has been agitating on this issue... he will love this."

More from Swan: "This issue had been quietly burning for months, with social conservative leaders pressing the White House on why it hadn't made a decision on this. Social conservatives and a large part of the base — including many veterans and current serving officers — will be thrilled by the decision. But it will cause major protests and distress many socially liberal Republican donors (and, we suspect, some prominent liberals inside the White House.)"

Quote from a Trump administration official: "This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to take complete ownership of this issue. How will the blue collar voters in these states respond when senators up for re-election in 2018 like Debbie Stabenow are forced to make their opposition to this a key plank of their campaigns?"

Go deeper

FDA chief vows agency will not accept political pressure on coronavirus vaccine

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn promised that "science will guide our decision" for a coronavirus vaccine at a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Why it matters: More Americans are expressing doubt about a first-generation vaccine, despite President Trump's efforts to push an unrealistic timeline that conflicts with medical experts in his administration.

CEO confidence rises for the first time in over 2 years

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.

Official says White House political appointees "commandeered" Bolton book review

John Bolton's book "The Room Where it Happened." Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

A former career official at the National Security Council claims her pre-publication review of former national security adviser John Bolton's explosive book on President Trump was "commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose," according to a letter from her lawyers filed in court on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The White House fought against the publication of Bolton's book for most of the year on the grounds that it contained harmful and "significant amounts of classified information."

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!