Apr 29, 2017

Trump's bizarre obsession with the election map

Lee Jin-man / AP

President Trump wanted to celebrate his 100th day in office with an image of the 2016 electoral map displayed on the front page of the Washington Post. "He encouraged me to take it home to my colleagues at the Washington Post and try to run it on the front page of our newspaper," said WaPo's Washington Correspondent Philip Rucker during a MSNBC interview Friday.

Why it matters: It has been five months since the election and 100 days since Trump was sworn in as president, yet he continues to have a bizarre, never-ending obsession with how many electoral votes he received — with copies of the electoral map ready to present to anyone who will listen.

Trump in 2012: "The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy." And then in 2016:

The Electoral College is actually genius.
— Trump
Understanding the origin of his obsession
  • Exactly one week after the election, Trump tweeted: "The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different!" (See GIF below for how that played out.)
  • This was seemingly the first time he recognized the EC as another intriguing layer to his hyper-competitive participation in the election — it became a challenge to overcome, something else to win.
  • "I did what was almost an impossible thing to do for a Republican-easily won the Electoral College!" He then considered his feat an even greater win, thus strengthening his obsession.
  • Big league accomplishment: "Campaigning to win the Electoral College is much more difficult & sophisticated than the popular vote. Hillary focused on the wrong states!"
One-track mind

For Trump, there's never a wrong time to cite his electoral college victory:

  • When asked about the rise of anti-Semitism during a February presser with Israeli PM: "Well, I just want to say that we are very honored by the victory we had. 306 Electoral College votes. We were not supposed to crack 220."
  • During a joint presser with Canadian PM Trudeau, he was asked about deporting Syrian refugees and said, "That's what I said I would do. I'm just doing what I said I would do, and we won by a very, very large electoral college vote."
  • In the middle of discussing Chinese President Xi Jinping with three Reuters reporters, Trump handed them three copies of the election map he had printed out that were sitting atop his desk in the Oval Office. "Here, you can take that, that's the final map of the numbers. It's pretty good, right? The red is obviously us."
  • He gave a speech to the NRA yesterday, the first POTUS to do so since Raegan, and spent the first portion of it talking about his electoral college victory. He listed the states he won, touted his 306 (actually 304) EC votes. "Big sports fans said [the election] was the single most exciting event they're ever seen."
  • 5 minutes into his speech at a Louisville rally in March, Trump called Nov. 8 "a beautiful day" adding "they weren't giving us a chance, saying, 'There is no way to 270.' ...And you remember for the Republicans, the Electoral College has been very, very hard to win."

Go deeper

CDC is conflating diagnostic and antibody tests for coronavirus

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

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday confirmed that it has been combining the results of diagnostic coronavirus tests and coronavirus antibody tests, The Atlantic reports.

Why it matters: Including antibody test results distorts data on the prevalence of the coronavirus and can overstate the ability to safely begin the reopening process.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,101,967 — Total deaths: 332,900 — Total recoveries — 1,948,686Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,577,140 — Total deaths: 94,688 — Total recoveries: 298,418 — Total tested: 13,056,206Map.
  3. Federal government: McConnell tells Trump next coronavirus bill must be under $1 trillion — Trump says "we're not closing our country" for a second wave.
  4. Public health: Fauci on Moderna vaccine: "I'm cautiously optimistic" Fauci on states reopening: "Be on the alert" for small spikes — CDC is conflating diagnostic and antibody tests.
  5. World: Americans divided over how the U.S. crisis response stacks up — U.S.-made ventilators arrive in Russia as part of a $5.6 million coronavirus package.
  6. Media: No media publisher is immune in the coronavirus era.
  7. Science: The limitations of the scientific field's response to the novel coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Fauci on states reopening: "Be on the alert" for small coronavirus spikes

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci advised states that are reopening "to be on the alert" for "little blips" of infections as stay-at-home restrictions are lifted across the U.S., at a CNN coronavirus town hall on Thursday.

Why it matters: Nearly every state in the U.S. has taken steps to reopen certain regions and industries that are seen as "low-risk" for spreading the virus, per a New York Times analysis.