Jun 26, 2019

Former Uber exec Emil Michael was vetted by Trump for a Cabinet position

Photo: Olly Curtis/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Silicon Valley is notably absent from the Trump administration, after having enjoyed an open-door (or sock on the door?) policy during the Obama administration.

Driving the news: Trump this morning told Fox Business Network: "We should be suing Google and Facebook and perhaps we will," related to alleged political bias, sending both companies' shares tumbling.

But at least one top tech executive was, at least briefly, considered for a Cabinet position, according to the leaked trove of vetting documents recently obtained by Axios.

It was Emil Michael, at the time Uber's chief business officer who was out of the job just months later.

  • He appears to have been in the running for secretary of Transportation, a job that eventually went to Elaine Chao.
  • There's no indication that Michael was aware of the vetting, which Axios' Jonathan Swan reports was little more than Google and LexisNexis searches conducted by junior RNC staffers (after the Chris Christie-led transition process was canned). And he wouldn't be alone, as I'm told that fellow vettee Ari Emanuel was in the dark.
  • The document itself, shown here for the first time (with sensitive personal info removed), focuses heavily on Michael's onetime musing that Uber should hire opposition researchers to dig into the personal lives of the company's media critics.
    • But it is silent on any transportation (or labor) policy issues related to ride-hail or any of Uber's other contemporaneous controversies. Instead, it's much more concerned with Michael's donations to candidates from both political parties (even though he was a registered Republican).

Michael declined comment via a spokesperson.

The bottom line: Michael was obviously a long shot, and he came with enough Uber baggage that it might not have lasted long. But, as Transport sec, he couldn't have achieved less of an infrastructure deal than has Chao.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,197,405 — Total deaths: 64,606 — Total recoveries: 246,152Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 308,850 — Total deaths: 8,407 — Total recoveries: 14,652Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. The virus is hitting poor, minority communities harder and upending childbirth.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August."
  5. Business updates: Restaurants step up for health care workers. Employees are pressuring companies to provide protections during coronavirus.
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Education update: Many college-age students won't get coronavirus relief checks.
  8. 1 🏀 thing: The WNBA postpones start of training camps and season.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 8,200, case count tops 300,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the coronavirus surpassed 8,100 in the U.S. on Saturday, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day for the past four days, since April 1.

The big picture: Trump said Saturday that America's "toughest week" is ahead. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the country should expect to see deaths continue to increase in the next week.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: Spain tracks more cases than Italy

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Spain overtook Italy in its number of coronavirus cases on Saturday. The global death toll has surpassed 62,000, per Johns Hopkins data.

The latest: About half the planet's population is on lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis. Fatalities are exponentially increasing across Europe, with roughly half of deaths worldwide located in Italy and Spain.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Health