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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The White House Office of Public Liaison has hired Nicole Frazier, Sen. Cory Gardner's regional director, as the new head of African American outreach, three sources familiar with the hire told Axios.

Why it matters: The position has been vacant for a few months and was a top priority for the administration as it ramps up President Trump's re-election efforts, including plans to boost Trump’s 2020 support among African Americans, one of the sources said.

Context: Omarosa Manigault Newman, who served as the most senior African American staffer in the White House until she was fired in December 2017, had handled African American outreach as part of her job.

  • Henry Childs II took over after her departure, but was hired by the Commerce Department as national director of the Minority Business Development Agency in September, where he was juggling both responsibilities. OPL then formally began a new search for his replacement in March.

What they're saying: Paris Dennard, former White House director of Black Outreach for President George W. Bush, texted Axios: “I’m glad President Trump was able to identify such a capable person in Nicole, to serve in OPL for this incredibly important position. ... It’s a good thing to have another African American at the table in the White House as our advocate and I stand ready to help her succeed.”

  • The White House declined to comment, and Gardner's office did not respond to requests for comment.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

4 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.