Dec 31, 2017

How Trump built his presidency of one

Trump speaks to the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn, in September. Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images

Peter Baker puts on his historian's cap for today's installment of the N.Y. Times series, "Trump's Way" ... "A Year of Reinventing the Presidency ... Under Trump, a Once Unimaginable Presidency Becomes Reality":

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly: "I'm not put on earth to control him ... But I have been put on earth to make this staff work better and make sure this president, whether you voted for him or not, is fully informed before he makes a decision. And I think we achieved that."

Kelly on POTUS: "He remains fairly unconventional ... But as I point out, he now is fully briefed on the issues and the pluses and minuses, pros and cons."Ron Klain, a White House official under Clinton and Obama: "It's a presidency of one person ... That's really kind of a stunning thing. There is no Trump doctrine. There is no Trump plan. There is no Trumpism. There's just Trump."Peter notes that Trump has referred to his targets as "crazy," "psycho," "short and fat," "crooked," "totally inept," "a joke," "dumb as a rock," "disgusting," "puppet," "weak and out of control," "sleazy," "wacky," "totally unhinged," "incompetent," "lightweight" and "the dumbest man on television." (BTW, that was CNN's Don Lemon, and Trump often watches.)N.Y. Times Upshot has a living list, last updated Dec. 24, "The 410 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List." ("Insults since Mr. Trump became president are highlighted in yellow; the most recent updates are slightly darker.")

(Especially) Worth the $6 to buy the print N.Y. Times today ... Includes a special section, "A Look Back at 2017": "New York Times editors compiled some of the year's most riveting articles. Revisit the news that shaped 2017 and see highlights of our visual reporting."

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The rematch of the century

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The weekend's biggest sporting event is Wilder-Fury II, which despite its name is not an action movie sequel starring Jean-Claude Van Damme but, rather, a boxing match starring arguably the two best heavyweights in the world.

The backdrop: In their first meeting in December 2018, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury put on a memorable show at Staples Center, with Fury surviving a brutal right hand in the 12th round to earn a split-decision draw.

Pro-Trump warrior takes the helm of U.S. intelligence

Richard Grenell in Berlin. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

By picking Ambassador Richard Grenell to be acting director of national intelligence, President Trump has slotted a pro-Trump warrior into the ultimate apolitical role.

What they're saying: James Clapper, the longest-serving DNI (2010-2017), tells Axios it's "very worrisome installing a partisan with no real intelligence experience in this position."

Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers as Israel confirms first case

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship — as Israel confirmed its first case among evacuees from the ship.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 76,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 58 mins ago - Health