Mar 16, 2017

Trump's Tucker interview: highlights

Mark Humphrey / AP

Our big takeaway: President Trump is far more open than House leadership to negotiating the details of the Obamacare replacement plan. It's striking that he called the current bill "very preliminary." No wonder such mixed messages were flying around Capitol Hill this afternoon.

Five key grabs from Trump's interview Wednesday night with Fox News' Tucker Carlson:

  1. Trump described the current healthcare plan — which Paul Ryan viewed as a closed-to-finished product — as "very preliminary." Trump agreed with Tucker that a lot of things in the bill aren't consistent with his campaign message of helping the struggling workers, "but these are going to be negotiated."
  2. Trump revealed a willingness to walk away from healthcare reform if the bill doesn't "take care of the people." "If we're not going to take care of the people, I'm not signing anything. I'm not going to be doing it, just so you understand."
  3. The President sees himself as "an arbitrator" in the bitter healthcare fight between the various factions of the Republican Party. "We have the conservatives, we have the more liberal side of the Republican Party... we got a lot of fighting going on..."
  4. He's going to buy off Democrats with "goodies" in phrase three of Obamacare repeal and replace. He'll propose legislation — possibly a separate bill — "for the bidding of medicine." "We're going to bring the cost of medicine way down, prescription drugs and drugs."
  5. Trump still won't apologize for his unsubstantiated claim that Obama wiretapped him. Numerous lawmakers with access to classified information, including House Intelligence chair Devin Nunes, say Trump was wrong. Yet here's what Trump told Tucker: "If you watched the Bret Baier and what he was saying and what he was talking about and how he mentioned the word wiretap, you would feel very confident that you could mention the name."

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Trump announces 30-day extension of coronavirus guidelines

President Trump announced on Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30 in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, which has now infected more than 130,000 Americans and killed nearly 2,500.

Why it matters: Top advisers to the president have been seeking to steer him away from Easter as an arbitrary deadline for the U.S. to open parts of its economy, amid warnings from health officials that loosening restrictions could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 716,101 — Total deaths: 33,854 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 136,880 — Total deaths: 2,409 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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

Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.