Jun 20, 2017

How to read Trump's China tweet

Alex Brandon / AP

Another Trump tweet is making the rounds this afternoon: "While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!" My sense of what's going on:

  1. Readers shouldn't view this as Trump making a definitive China break, or an immediate end to his strategy of using China to exert pressure on North Korea. It MAY mean that the US hits some Chinese companies with sanctions for helping North Korea. The WSJ reported last week that the U.S. gave China a list of companies to target.
  2. The more useful way to interpret this tweet is Trump publicly shaming Chinese Premier Xi Jinping for failing to change Kim Jong-Un's deranged behavior and giving him one last chance to fix it, and signaling to the Chinese that they've run out of time.
  3. This can also be seen as a classic Trump negotiating tactic: as he wrote in The Art of the Deal, the worst thing you can do in a deal is seem desperate to make it. Lots of people have written off Trump as a sucker for the Chinese, but he's written: "I protect myself by being flexible. I never get too attached to one approach."
  4. Administration officials are horrified by what happened to Otto Warmbier. It's being taken seriously at the highest level, and reinforced to Trump and his top aides that they're dealing with a very crazy person who will do whatever it takes to survive.
  5. The White House believes Xi has made unprecedented efforts to help, but they don't believe it's enough, and they're running out of time.

Go deeper

Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.

World coronavirus updates: Total cases surge to over 700,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now than more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 32,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Saturday he would issue a "strong" travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 38 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 704,095 — Total deaths: 33,509 — Total recoveries: 148,824.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 132,637 — Total deaths: 2,351 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked" people
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reported 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reported almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.