Good Tuesday morning.
Situational awareness: "The New York Stock Exchange is set to get its first female leader in its 226-year history. Stacey Cunningham, the NYSE’s chief operating officer, will become the Big Board’s 67th president" on Friday. (Wall Street Journal)
Who knows how the chest-bumping over China ends. But for now, President Trump’s anti-China advisers are right: The president is buckling on his threats to punish China with fundamental, lasting changes to trade tariffs and rules.
The reasons, official tell Jonathan Swan and me, are threefold: North Korea, Steve Mnuchin and a lack of focus internally.
1. North Korea
3. Fleeting attention
Be smart ... The Chinese have played this beautifully:
Breaking ... "China will cut the import duty on passenger cars to 15 percent, boosting auto makers such as BMW AG and Ford Motor Co.," per Bloomberg:
From the book:
"Maybe I’ll be gone before you read this. … I’m getting prepared. I have some things I’d like to take care of first, some work that needs finishing, and some people I need to see … I made a small place for myself in the story of America and the history of my times. … The bell tolls for me. I knew it would … I hope those who mourn my passing, and those who don’t, will celebrate as I celebrate a happy life lived in imperfect service to a country made of ideals, whose continued success is the hope of the world. And I wish all of your great adventures, good company, and lives as lucky as mine.”
A worthy freeze frame ... "Nation's 'moral compass' resets in Trump era: Polarization creates a vacuum in leadership," an analysis on USA Today's front page by Alia Dastagir, argues that the nation isn't as equipped to deal with a tumultuous period as it was 50 years ago, in 1968, ahead of Watergate:
P.S. WashPost "Fact Checker" on May 1 ... In the first "466 days since he took the oath of office, President Trump ... made 3,001 false or misleading claims ... That’s an average of nearly 6.5 claims a day."
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
American voters and viewers are increasingly picky, impatient, distracted and demanding — and our media diets are changing so fast that most traditional industries can no longer keep up, Axios media trends expert Sara Fischer writes in her weekly Media Trends newsletter (sign up free here):
At the heart of the on-demand economy is a user that wants choice:
This has made users so impatient and distracted that an estimated 177.7 million U.S. adults — or 70.3% of the total population — will regularly use another digital device while watching TV this year, up 5.1% from 2016, per eMarketer.
We have begun to tune out live programming, forcing leagues and entertainment groups to divvy up broadcast rights to social media and streaming companies:
"The Justice Department agreed to show congressional Republicans 'highly classified' information they have demanded from the Russia probe, the White House said after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray met ... with ... Trump." (Bloomberg)
Matt Miller, MSNBC analyst and former Obama Justice Department official, to Brian Williams on "The 11th Hour":
"The president basically demanded a counter-investigation of the people investigating him, and he got it. ... I worry that what Rod is doing ... is [making] strategic retreats, knowing that he will stand and fight at the right time. ... What I worry about is that by the time he decides to stand and make his fight, there may be nothing left for him to fight for."
"Last year, Trump administration officials declared Obamacare 'dead,' pulled enrollment ads offline, distributed social media videos critical of the law and sent signals that the law’s requirement to buy health insurance was no longer in effect," the N.Y. Times' Margot Sanger-Katz writes.
"West Wing employees who draft proposed tweets intentionally employ suspect grammar and staccato syntax in order to mimic the president’s style, according to two people familiar with the process," the Boston Globe's Annie Linskey reports:
"A Chilean survivor of clerical sex abuse has said that Pope Francis told him in a private meeting this month that God had made him gay, ... a remarkable expression of inclusion for the leader of the Roman Catholic Church," the N.Y. Times' Jason Horowitz reports from Rome.
Juan Carlos Cruz, the abuse survivor:
“He said to me, ‘Juan Carlos that’s not a problem ... You have to be happy with who you are. God made you this way and loves you this way, and the pope loves you this way.'"
"The Vatican declined to comment on the pope’s private remarks."
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Stories, the tap-and-swipe vertical format for sharing pictures and videos, are poised to dominate the social web's next era — and Facebook now has the lead, even though it was Snapchat that invented and popularized them, Axios' Scott Rosenberg writes:
How it happened: Simply by acquiring Instagram and WhatsApp, Mark Zuckerberg locked down an enormous amount of the social-media landscape — and its potential revenue.
By the numbers: Snapchat has a total of 191 million daily active users — whereas Facebook's platforms have close to a billion users just for its stories. That breaks down (with some potential overlap) to: 150 million for Facebook stories, 300 million for Instagram stories, and 450 million for WhatsApp's stories-style Status feature.
Mark McKinnon of Showtime's "The Circus" ("Inside the wildest political show on earth") interviewed Axios' Jonathan Swan about leaks and leakers:
"There are some very committed leakers in this White House — very committed to their craft. And skilled ... It starts with the president of the United States ... He kind of enjoys people talking about him. ... There is a 'kill or be killed' feeling in there. ... All of them know that if they're not talking, someone else is going to be talking and telling their story. And so a lot of it's just defensive."
YouTube clip for more on the "constant circle" of Trump's mysterious media ecosystem, and the Fox hosts' role.