Sessions Falls in Alabama, and Gideon Rises in Maine

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Jeff Sessions goes down, Trump retreats from a hard-line position on international student visas, and Biden announces an ambitious climate plan — just don’t call it a Green New Deal. It’s Wednesday, and this is your politics tip sheet. Sign up here to get On Politics in your inbox every weekday.

Texas residents voted in primary runoff elections in Dallas yesterday.


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has advised six presidents on public health issues. He’s not a stranger to the concept of partisan politics’ getting mixed up in science. But this is probably the first time Fauci has encountered a senior White House adviser spreading a mocking cartoon about him on Facebook.

Dan Scavino is the White House social media director and deputy director for communications in President Trump’s White House, and he’s one of the president’s closest advisers.

On Sunday, Scavino posted to his own Facebook account a rendering of Fauci that likened him to a faucet drowning Uncle Sam — in this case, representing the economy — with water drops labeled with mock public health warnings considered antithetical to White House policy: “Schools stay closed this fall!” “Indefinite lockdown!” “Shut up and obey!”

Scavino wrote a caption to accompany the cartoon, which was drawn by Ben Garrison, a right-wing cartoonist who was barred from a White House event last year over a cartoon that was widely condemned as anti-Semitic.

“At least you know if I’m going to disagree with a colleague, such as yourself, it’s done publicly — and not cowardly, behind journalists with leaks,” Scavino wrote. “See you tomorrow!”

The White House had no comment on Scavino’s post, but it added to the pile of statements advisers have put out — both on the record and in private — disparaging Fauci’s relationship with Trump and his track record of statements on the virus.

While the president has denied he dislikes Fauci — at least personally — it helps to understand just how close Scavino is to the president, how closely they are aligned, and just how much Trump enjoys it when aides spar on his behalf: It allows him to appear to take the high road, at least temporarily.

In an interview with CBS News on Tuesday, Trump did not answer a question about Scavino’s post.

“No, I like Dr. Fauci,” Trump said. “To me, he’s a really good guy and a nice guy, but he’s made mistakes.”


What inspires our journalists? Join us today at 12 p.m. Eastern as we discuss an impressive piece of journalism from another news organization, book-club-style.

This week, the club discusses Anne Applebaum’s story in The Atlantic, asking how Republican leaders can reconcile their personal principles with their support of the president.

Special guests include the actor Bradley Whitford of “The West Wing” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” and Carl Hulse, chief Washington correspondent.

The host is Jason Stallman, editor of “The Weekly.” Club members include Vanessa Friedman, fashion director and chief fashion critic; Azam Ahmed, bureau chief for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean; and Sarah Lyall, writer at large.

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