Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Trump in China in 2016; Obama in China in 2009. Photos: Andrew Harnik / AP, Charles Dharapak / AP

President Trump has largely taken it easy on China during his two-day stop in Beijing, something Barack Obama was criticized for during his first trip to China as president, which took place under surprisingly similar circumstances.

The parallels: Obama and Trump both visited China in November of their first years in office as a part of larger multi-country swings through Asia as major legislative packages hung in the balance back home. And each of their trips garnered criticism for being largely deferential to their Chinese hosts — though both presidents might argue that their decisions were part of a larger strategy to establish stronger relations with the United States' biggest competitor on the world stage.

Their prior rhetoric
  • During his 2008 campaign, Obama called China a currency manipulator, which he cited as the cause for the United States' trade deficit with the increasingly powerful country. But he largely took a moderate path on China at this stage in his presidency, hoping to bait them into supporting sanctions on Iran or taking action on climate change.
  • Trump took a strikingly hard tack on China — now a bonafide superpower — throughout his 2016 campaign, accusing the country of unfair trade practices, including steel dumping on the international market, on multiple occasions. The apotheosis of Trump's criticism of China came in May 2016, when he declared that he wouldn't "continue to allow China to rape our country" via currency manipulation.
The lead up
  • Obama had concentrated much of his political capital at home attempting to push the Affordable Care Act through Congress in the months before and after his stop in Beijing in mid-November 2009. That left him unable to bring a plan to China for some of his more grandiose visions, like action on climate, as congressional Democrats already had too much on their plate. And notably, Obama postponed a meeting with the Dalai Lama just before his trip to avoid tensions with Chinese leaders upon his arrival.
  • Trump's relationship with China heading into his visit had also been a balancing act between his coarse rhetoric regarding trade imbalances and his attempts to pressure the Chinese into action on North Korea. He seemed to have some success on the latter issue, getting China to agree to stop its banks from doing business with North Korea.
While there
  • China largely held firm against Obama's biggest demands during his trip, refusing to take action on the issues most important to the U.S. like Iran and human rights. Obama's town hall meeting with Chinese students in Shanghai was blocked from wider broadcast around the country. During joint press statements with then-Chinese President Hu Jintao, Obama mentioned human rights — but no questions were taken from reporters. Perhaps tellingly, he mused while standing on the Great Wall during his visit, ""It gives you a good perspective on a lot of the day-to-day things. They don't amount to much in the scope of history."
  • Trump, too, remained largely deferential to his Chinese hosts, soaking in the pageantry of Chinese welcome ceremonies and also agreeing to a demand that no questions be asked during his press statement with Xi. Notably, his compliment to China on "taking advantage" of the U.S. on trade was a much softer approach than he showed on the campaign trail. One concession Trump did get from his hosts: the ability to tweet from behind China's Great Firewall.
The headlines

From Obama's trip:

From Trump's trip:

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

11 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.