Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie defended then-candidate Donald Trump's 2015 comments disparaging John McCain's service in the Vietnam War, telling CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that the comments were made "in the heat of the campaign."

Flashback: Trump publicly rejected the notion that McCain, who was held as a prisoner of war for more than five years while serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War, was a war hero. “He’s not a war hero," Trump said. "He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured."

What they're saying: "I understand politics, I understand name-calling when it comes from both sides," Wilkie said.

  • "It's the heat of a campaign. I judge a man by his actions, and the actions have been beneficial for veterans all across this country in ways that we have not seen since the end of World War II. And I would also say the same for the United States military."
  • "I was the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. I watched this President sign letters of condolences to those who have fallen in Afghanistan and Iraq. I was on the front lines then, so I'm judging the president by what he's done as president."

Why it matters: Trump and his allies have been playing defense over a story in The Atlantic that alleged, based on anonymous sources, that Trump called soldiers who die in war "losers" and "suckers."

  • The White House has denied the story, which also details other allegations of disparaging comments Trump has privately made about veterans.
  • Reporters from the AP, Washington Post and Fox News are among those who have confirmed aspects of the story.

The big picture: Trump's attacks on McCain, who famously sank the Republicans' efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act before his death in 2018, did not stop after the 2016 campaign.

  • In March of 2019, seven months after McCain's death, Trump sent out a series of tweets attacking the late senator.
  • The president addressed his criticism of McCain on Friday in the midst of the furor over The Atlantic story, saying at a press briefing, "I never got along with John McCain. I wasn't a fan. I disagreed with many of his views. That doesn't mean I don't respect him."

Go deeper ... The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg: "I stand by my reporting"

Go deeper

The top Republicans who aren't voting for Trump in 2020

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said last week that he cannot support President Trump's re-election.

Why it matters: Hogan, a moderate governor in a blue state, joins other prominent Republicans who have publicly said they will either not vote for Trump's re-election this November or will back Biden.

27 mins ago - World

Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.

Biden picks Warren allies to lead SEC, CFPB

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has selected FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Obama-era Wall Street regulator Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Why it matters: Both picks are progressive allies of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and viewed as likely to take aggressive steps to regulate big business.