Photo: Getty Images

Amidst all the tension this week, it's worth stepping back for a minute to remember that President Trump doesn't have a permanent secretary of defense.

Why it matters: Running the Pentagon is no small task for a permanent, seasoned chief. It's a huge undertaking for a temp, the AP reminds.

  • Trump said today that he called off yesterday's retaliatory strike against Iran upon learning about its expected death toll compared to zero casualties for an unmanned drone.
  • New this afternoon: Trump is expected to nominate soon-to-be acting Secretary Mark Esper — who was the secretary of the Army until acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan dropped out of the confirmation process — in the near future, the N.Y. Times reports.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: “With everything going on in Iran and all the provocations and counteractions, and to have no secretary of defense at this time is appalling ... It shows the chaos in this administration. They have so many empty positions, revolving doors, in the most sensitive of security positions.”

What's next: "For the moment both Shanahan and Esper have been attending White House and other meetings and taking part in debates over how to respond to Iran’s destruction of the drone," the AP notes.

The bottom line: "The law prohibits Esper from being nominated for the job while also serving as acting secretary. If he is nominated, he’ll have to step down and move to another job until the Senate votes on his confirmation. So that would mean yet another acting secretary meantime."

Go deeper: How Trump and Iran got to the brink of war

Go deeper

Delta CEO: Trump administration should issue mask mandate for air travel

Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Delta CEO Ed Bastian on Friday told CNN that he believes the Trump administration should move to require the use of face masks during air travel amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

The big picture: Delta already requires passengers to wear masks during its flights, but Bastian says it can be difficult to enforce that directive if passengers refuse — and he's not sure if other airlines would be on board.

Trump's outdoor New Hampshire rally postponed due to weather

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump's outdoor campaign rally in Portsmouth, N.H., slated to take place on Saturday, was postponed on Friday due to weather from Tropical Storm Fay, a senior White House official confirmed to Axios.

The state of play: Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Air Force One that the event would take place in "a week or two" instead. The outdoor rally — which had encouraged the use of face masks — was scheduled after sparse attendance at Trump's indoor comeback to the campaign trail in Tulsa.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 12,333,740 — Total deaths: 556,110 — Total recoveries — 6,781,353Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 3,140,840 — Total deaths: 133,542 — Total recoveries: 969,111 — Total tested: 38,032,966Map.
  3. Public health: The U.S.' new default strategy: herd immunity
  4. ✈️ Travel: Delta CEO says Trump administration should issue mask mandate for air travelAirlines say air quality, cleanliness lower risk.
  5. Sports: Sen. Richard Blumenthal calls on colleges to cancel fall sports.