Sean Spicer became the first White House Press Secretary yesterday to field questions via Skype from remote reporters. Journalists in Rhode Island, Ohio and Kentucky got questions. Another went to the Oregon-based conservative talk host Lars Larsen.

The Skypers went local: Questions for Spicer included coal for Kentucky; whether Providence, R.I. is a sanctuary city; and economic revitalization in Cleveland, Ohio.

And some were softballs: Jeff Jobe, a publisher in South Central Kentucky, opened his question by praising Trump for "aggressively acting" on his election promises. Overall, however, they shifted the conversation out of Washington and into the states.

Why this matters: This move is a double whammy for Trump: It throws shade at "the swamp" and wins the President populist cred. The White House communications shop is still contemplating the frequency of the Skype sessions and how many questions will be allowed each time. But they're here to stay and we bet they're just the start of some pretty disruptive changes in White House communications.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

U.S. policy shift will allow taxpayer funding for projects in West Bank settlements

Friedman (L) with Netanyahu. Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel will announce tomorrow that they are expanding three agreements on scientific cooperation to include Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is a substantial policy shift for the U.S., which did not previously allow its taxpayers' money to be spent in the Israeli settlements.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage" Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse.
  2. Health: Hospitals face a crush — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota cases traced to three Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Putin mandates face masks.

McConnell: Confirming Amy Coney Barrett will help GOP retain Senate

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed no regrets about Judge Amy Coney Barrett's controversial confirmation, telling Politico in an interview that he believes the decision to place her on the Supreme Court just a week before the election will help Republicans retain the Senate.

Why it matters: With a week to go until Election Day, many Republicans are concerned that President Trump's unpopularity could cost them the Senate. McConnell has long viewed the transformation of the federal judiciary through the confirmation of young conservative judges as his defining legacy.

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