Evan Vucci / AP

If this sentence is true, it should worry people who work for President Trump — and people who're thinking about it. And bringing in good people is a challenge right now: Talented, experienced Republicans who have turned down big jobs tell me it's partly because it just seems too risky right now.

Here's the sentence, from the N.Y. Times' First 100 Days Briefing last night:

Trump has been increasingly focused on who was with him or against him during his campaign, according to several people who have spoken with him in recent days.

That intel — under the bylines of Maggie Haberman, Jonathan Weisman and Eric Lichtblau — came in the context of this news: "Trump overruled his newly minted secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, and rejected the secretary's choice for his deputy at the department ...

"The deputy's job was denied for Elliott Abrams, a conservative who had served under President Ronald Reagan and President George W. Bush, [and] deals a blow to Mr. Tillerson in his first week on the job. The rejection of Mr. Abrams leaves Mr. Tillerson without a sherpa to help guide the first-time government official around the State Department headquarters."

Mr. Tillerson isn't the type who likes to have blows dealt to him, especially blows that are apparent to, and trumpeted by, The New York Times. Trump has gained credibility from impressive Cabinet picks -- Generals Mattis (Pentagon) and Kelly (Homeland Security), Tillerson, Elaine Chao (Transportation), etc.

But there be dragons: If one of them gets fed up and quits (not impossible, we are told), it's a fiasco. Mattis chafed during the transition at efforts by Trump's team to impose underlings. And there are other grievances that Cabinet members express privately.

Why did Elliott Abrams get the death penalty from The Donald? This is amazing: "Trump had a productive meeting with Mr. Abrams on Tuesday, according to a White House official and a person close to Mr. Abrams. But after it took place, Mr. Trump learned of Mr. Abrams's pointed criticisms of the president when he was running for president ... Among those criticisms was a column headlined 'When You Can't Stand Your Candidate,' which appeared in May 2016 in The Weekly Standard."

We all need to show we're capable of growth (hence Axios AM). And if the president is obsessing about past slights on Day 23, he's losing precious time, expertise and goodwill — playing into the hands of those unwilling to give him a chance.

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter a valid email.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Subscribed! Look for Axios AM and PM in your inbox tomorrow or read the latest Axios AM now.

Go deeper

Updated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging — Pence no longer expected to attend Barrett confirmation vote after COVID exposure.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day case records last week
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events
  6. World: Restrictions grow across Europe.
  7. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.

Republicans and Dems react to Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation

President Trump stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett after she took the constitutional oath to serve as a Supreme Court justice during a White House ceremony Monday night .Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Trump said Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court and her subsequent taking of the constitutional oath Monday was a "momentous day," as she she vowed to serve "without any fear or favour."

  • But as Republicans applauded the third conservative justice in four years, many Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) warned of consequences to the rush to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of the Nov. 3 election, with progressives leading calls to expand the court.
Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Science

CRISPR pioneer: "Science is on the ballot" in 2020

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

In her three decades in science, Jennifer Doudna said she has seen a gradual erosion of trust in the profession, but the recent Nobel Prize winner told "Axios on HBO" that the institution itself has been under assault from the current administration.

  • "I think science is on the ballot," Doudna said in the interview.

Why it matters: That has manifested itself in everything from how the federal government approaches climate change to the pandemic.