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President Donald Trump attends a bilateral meeting at the G7 summit in France. Photo: Dylan Martinez/Pool/Getty Images

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham clarified remarks that President Trump made at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, in which he appeared to express regret about the United States' escalating trade war with China.

"The President was asked if he had ‘any second thought on escalating the trade war with China.' His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President Trump responded in the affirmative — because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher."

Context: Telling reporters that he "might as well" have "second thoughts" about escalating the trade war was viewed as the first time Trump has indicated any regret that the dispute with China had spiraled into an international crisis.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Driving the news: Trump said Friday he would raise tariffs against China, hours after the Chinese government announced it would levy retaliatory duties on earlier U.S. action. China has since vowed to continue fighting the trade war "until the end."

  • Sources briefed on Trump's thinking tell Axios' Jonathan Swan that the president wanted to go harder against China on Friday. Trump's initial impulse was to immediately move on all the tariffs and ratchet them up dramatically.
  • AP reports that the president told reporters Sunday morning he has "no plans right now" to follow through on his emergency declaration threat to force U.S. companies to leave China, but he added: "If I want, I could declare a national emergency."

What they're saying: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave his take on the issue at a breakfast with Trump, as the 2 leaders talked up a new trade deal between the U.S. and the United Kingdom, per the Guardian.

"[J]ust to register a faint, sheeplike note of our view on the trade war — we are in favour of trade peace on the whole."
— British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

The big picture: Just before his meeting with Johnson, Trump tweeted that "the Leaders are getting along very well" at the G7 summit, dismissing reports of tension as "false."

Reality check: Reuters notes leaders have spoken out on policy differences including climate change, tariffs and trade protectionism. French President Emmanuel Macron told a news conference this week he would abandon the tradition of a joint final communiqué because it would highlight disagreements, according to the FT.

"I know the points of disagreement with the U.S. If we draft an agreement about the Paris [climate] accord, President Trump won’t agree. It’s pointless."
— French President Emmanuel Macron

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 6 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker