On Wednesday morning, Axios Executive Editor Mike Allen interviewed Anthony Scaramucci at the China Business Conference at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce about the president's next moves on China and how to make sense of Trump's behavior.

  • On news that Trump is dropping demands from China for a ban on cyber theft, Scaramucci says that Trump uses common sense and is being realistic about how much theft will actually be stopped under such a ban.
  • On trade deal with China: Scaramucci sees a deal happening by June and says that Trump wants to get back into campaign mode and focus on re-election.
    • He says Trump will want a signing ceremony at Mar-a-Lago with Xi: “You’ve seen the president? He likes his rhetorical flourishes. He’s going to say it’s the greatest deal of all time.”
  • Scaramucci, who wrote a recent op-ed defending the press, suggests that many who work with Trump lose their ability to be critical: “You start to conform your behavior to who you’re talking to ... sycophancy is a form of selfishness and self-preservation.”
  • On why Trump doesn’t call out China for human rights atrocities: "He doesn’t want to be sanctimonious or pedantic to President Xi ... He knows that Xi is a great leader and so he doesn’t want to meddle in the internal affairs."
  • On Trump's 2020 chances: "Only Trump can beat Trump ... I think he thinks he’s running against Joe Biden. When you have name brand and recognition ... the average American is living paycheck to paycheck and they’re not thinking about who they’re voting for until the week before.”
  • On Pete Buttigieg: "Mayor Pete is a very smart guy. He’s a very good communicator, and he’s a millennial. I love the guy."

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±3.3% margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

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