Show an ad over header. AMP

The RNC's first night showcased Trump's alternative reality

The opening night of the Republican National Convention delighted President Trump's base with an alternative narrative where he masterfully deflected COVID, he's popular with Black Americans, and Joe Biden is a menacing leftist.

Why it matters: Although CNN and MSNBC cut away for fact checks, this week's convention gives the Trump campaign hour upon hour to show millions of viewers an America as Trump sees it.


It's relatively rare for a Trump production to include empathy testimonials, but last night's did.

  • For so much of his political career, Trump has depicted himself as an antihero, telling people that the world is a zero-sum battle, where only brutal tactics can defeat brutal enemies.
  • Two Trump friends, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and former football star Herschel Walker, both testified to what they described as his private empathy.
  • Walker described a 37-year friendship and Jordan recounted a family tragedy in which the president took time out of his day to console Jordan's grieving relatives.

The night's star was Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the only Black Republican senator, and the first Black senator from the South since Reconstruction:

My grandfather’s 99th birthday would have been tomorrow. Growing up, he had to cross the street if a white person was coming. He suffered the indignity of being forced out of school as a third grader to pick cotton, and never learned to read or write.
Yet, he lived to see his grandson become the first African American to be elected to both the United States House and Senate.
Our family went from Cotton to Congress in one lifetime.
Don Jr. speaks in the cavernous Mellon Auditorium. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Donald Trump Jr., who called Biden "basically the Loch Ness Monster of the swamp," made a populist appeal for his father's re-election:

  • "[W]e are not going to tear down monuments and forget the people who built our great nation. Instead, we will learn from our past so we don't repeat any mistakes."
  • "It all starts by rejecting the radicals who want to drag us into the dark, and embracing the man who represents a bright and beautiful future for all."
Nikki Haley speaks. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Nikki Haley, who was Trump's ambassador to the UN, after serving as South Carolina governor: "In much of the Democratic Party, it’s now fashionable to say that America is racist. That is a lie. America is not a racist country."

  • "This is personal for me. I am the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. They came to America and settled in a small southern town."
  • "My father wore a turban. My mother wore a sari. I was a brown girl in a black and white world."

Axios' David Nather, Margaret Talev, Alayna Treene and Hans Nichols contributed reporting.

Trump agency head who often skips mask tests positive for coronavirus

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of top administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Keep reading... Show less

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.

Keep reading... Show less

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.

Keep reading... Show less

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.

Keep reading... Show less

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.

Keep reading... Show less

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."

Keep reading... Show less

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.

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories