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Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

With #TrumpRecession trending on Twitter, a source close to President Trump told Axios, "I’m very worried about the latest economic data. A lot of us are concerned. Without the narrative on the economy, he can't win."

The big picture: A senior administration official said the administration was getting a lot of blowback from retailers who were worried about the China tariffs coming in September. The delay until Dec. 15, announced this week, was to stave off these concerns, the source said.

  • When Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on CNBC it was to help consumers for Christmas, he let the cat out of the bag: Tariffs hurt consumers.
  • If Trump were correct that China pays the entirety of his tariffs, as he has repeatedly claimed, why would the commerce secretary say the decision to delay tariffs was made to protect U.S. consumers for holiday shopping?

The backdrop to all of this is that Trump knows he needs a strong economic run into November 2020.

  • His team is worried about polling data from Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, amid the economic signals.
  • That's why Trump is getting even more agitated about the Federal Reserve. As one former senior White House official put it: "He’s running out of tools" to juice the economy.
  • Tax reform is in the rear view mirror. Infrastructure isn’t happening. What else has he got besides a possible China trade deal?

The bottom line: A former senior White House official told me, "Continued economic expansion is not a given. Most of the benefits from Trump’s tax cuts and regulatory relief have already taken effect."

  • "Rather than attack the global system that has produced so much prosperity for America, Trump would do well to harness its potential for economic growth."
  • "The consequences of further isolating ourselves from the world may turn out to be quite severe."

Go deeper: The synchronized global slump

Go deeper

Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategy

Biden signs executive orders on Jan. 21. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday signed a slew of executive orders to address the coronavirus pandemic, including an interstate face mask mandate and an order to renew supplies of PPE, testing materials and vaccines through the Defense Production Act.

Why it matters: The stakes are highest for Biden’s vaccination effort. Several states cannot keep up with demand.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.