Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Cliff Sims, former director of White House message strategy, sat down with Mike Allen and me for "Axios on HBO" and described what it's like sitting with @realDonaldTrump while he tweets.

Sims, who left the White House in May, said he's seen Trump dictate tweets to aides from the Oval Office or from the private dining room that adjoins it. "He's meticulous with not just the words that he wants to use but the punctuation," Sims said. "So he'll say, you know, 'Jonathan Swan at Axios is an awful terrible reporter dash dash capital S capital A capital D exclamation point.'"

Behind the scenes: "I do think that he's very cognizant of the power that he has to set the media narrative," Sims said.

  • "I have seen him talk about something that he wants to tweet, ultimately tweeting whatever that thing is, within literally a minute, reporters are now retweeting his tweet with their own comments on top of it."
  • "He goes into the private dining room and within about 5 minutes, he can see this creation ... how it's playing out on the television."

We interviewed Sims before he announced his White House memoir "Team of Vipers," set for release in January.

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Coronavirus cases rise in 25 states

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

New coronavirus infections rose over the past week in half the country.

Why it matters: The U.S. remains largely unable or unwilling to control the spread of the virus.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 33,976,447 — Total deaths: 1,014,266 — Total recoveries: 23,644,023Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 7,233,945 — Total deaths: 206,959 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
  4. Health: Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine won't be ready until 2021
  5. Travel: CDC: 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like cases found on cruise ships in U.S. waters — Airlines begin mass layoffs while clinging to hope for federal aid
  6. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
  7. Sports: Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak.
Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump signs stopgap bill to prevent government shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel and President Trump arrives at the U.S. Capitol in March. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Trump signed a bill to extend current levels of government funding after funding expired briefly, White House spokesperson Judd Deere confirmed early Thursday.

Why it matters: The move averts a government shutdown before the Nov. 3 election. The Senate on Wednesday passed the legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.