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Ivanka Trump says she's seen "the pain" in her father's eyes when he hears about COVID deaths

Ivanka Trump sought to humanize her father and his response to the coronavirus pandemic at the Republican National Convention Thursday, saying she has "seen the pain in his eyes when he receives updates on the lives that have been stolen by this plague."

Why it matters: RNC speakers spent little time discussing the pandemic over the course of four days of programming — especially compared to the Democratic convention, where it was a central focus. The most common references came as speakers pointed to the strong economy that Trump presided over before COVID-19 threw the world into chaos.


What she's saying: "I've been with my father and I have witnessed him make some of the most difficult decisions of his life."

  • "I sat with him in the Oval Office as he stopped travel to Europe," she said, diverting from Trump's usual point of first defense against accusations that he didn't do enough to stop the virus — that he slowed travel from China.
  • She attributed state and local decisions to shut down businesses, schools, and daily life in order to curb the spread of the virus to the White House, saying that Trump took the action "to save American lives."
  • "This is why our President rapidly mobilized the full force of government and the private sector to produce ventilators within weeks — to build the most robust testing system in the world — and to develop safe and effective treatments, and very soon a vaccine."

The bottom line: Early missteps allowed the coronavirus to spread throughout the U.S for weeks before state and local officials implemented strict lockdowns designed to keep the virus from spinning further out of control. The country has reported

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

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Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.

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Trump pardons Michael Flynn

President Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts.

Why it matters: It is the first of multiple pardons expected in the coming weeks, as Axios scooped last night.

This is a breaking story and will be updated with more details.

The emerging cybersecurity headaches awaiting Biden

The incoming administration will face a slew of cybersecurity-related challenges, as Joe Biden takes office under a very different environment than existed when he was last in the White House as vice president.

The big picture: President-elect Biden's top cybersecurity and national security advisers will have to wrestle with the ascendancy of new adversaries and cyberpowers, as well as figure out whether to continue the more aggressive stance the Trump administration has taken in cyberspace.

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Past friction between Biden and Erdoğan foreshadows future tensions

Ankara — The incoming Biden administration's foreign policy priorities and worldview will collide with those of the Turkish government on several issues.

Why it matters: The U.S. needs its NATO ally Turkey for its efforts to contain Russia, counter Iran and deal with other crises in the Middle East. But relations between Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are expected to be strained.

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Tesla's wild rise and European plan

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Tesla's market capitalization blew past $500 billion for the first time Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's just a number, but kind of a wild one. Consider, via CNN: "Tesla is now worth more than the combined market value of most of the world's major automakers: Toyota, Volkswagen, GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and its merger partner PSA Group."

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China's Xi Jinping congratulates Biden on election win

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to President-elect Biden on Wednesday to congratulate him on his election victory, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

Why it matters: China's foreign ministry offered Biden a belated, and tentative, congratulations on Nov. 13, but Xi had not personally acknowledged Biden's win. The leaders of Brazil, Mexico and Russia are among the very few leaders still declining to congratulate Biden.

This story is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

College basketball is back

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.

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