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Charlie Neibergall / AP

President Trump played Democratic Party president today. He gave Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer everything they hoped for and sent Republican leaders spiraling into anger and disbelief.

In just the past 24 hours:

  1. Trump handed Pelosi and Schumer the deal of the century over the debt ceiling this morning — a move one top Republican described to me as the legislative equivalent of giving an entire stockpile of weapons to Democrats and inviting them to take the entire Republican Party hostage.
  2. He nodded to bigger government, by agreeing to raise the debt limit, spend billions on disaster relief, and get zero spending cuts in exchange.
  3. Trump invited his daughter Ivanka into the meeting with Congressional leaders — where he was rejecting GOP leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, and embracing Schumer and Pelosi — "to briefly discuss childcare tax credit," per NBC's Hallie Jackson.
  4. And he hopped aboard Air Force One and "held out the possibility of giving Democrats a much bigger prize in future negotiations: a permanent legislative fix for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children who were protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which he announced would be winding down," per The Atlantic.
  5. Trump's quote to reporters on Air Force One: "Chuck and Nancy would like to see something happen [on DACA], and so do I." He conspicuously didn't mention the leaders of his own party, McConnell or Ryan. (North Dakota's Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp joined Trump on AF1, traveling to her home state for his tax reform speech.)

Go deeper

21 mins ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."