Jan 21, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

🚨Sen. Kamala Harris, a former California attorney general and San Francisco district attorney, announced on ABC's "Good Morning America" that she's running in 2020.

🇺🇸 Happy Monday, and hope you have some quiet time to mark the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

1 big thing: CEOs under more pressure to save society

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

There's more pressure on CEOs than ever to address complicated issues facing society, and those that don't embrace the opportunity could find themselves dealing with frustrated employees and customers, Axios' Sara Fischer writes:

  • A loss of trust in traditional leaders, like government officials and journalists, is pushing people to develop more trusted relationships at work and with their employers, according to Edelman's 2019 Trust Barometer survey.
  • Why it matters: This crucial shift in the employee-employer relationship creates new opportunities for CEOs and corporate executives to rebuild societal trust. But it also puts an enormous responsibility on them to address complicated issues, from civic inequality to gun control.

Over three fourths (76%) of the respondents from the latest edition of Edelman's annual Trust Barometer survey say CEOs should take the lead on change rather than waiting for government to impose it, up 11 points from last year.

  • A majority think CEOs can create positive change in issues like equal pay, prejudice and discrimination, training for the jobs of tomorrow and the environment.
  • Nearly three fourths (71%) of employees agree that it's critically important for their CEO to respond to challenges, like industry issues (how automation will change jobs), political events (how elections will impact companies), and national crises.

Specific tactics can help CEOs rebuild trust, the study says:

  • Leading change at the local level by solving problems in the communities in which they operate.
  • Enlisting employees to have a voice regarding certain issues and empowering them to use it.
  • Showing commitment to issues inside and outside the organization through philanthropy or workplace trainings.

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2. Trump as CEO
President Trump arrives at a campaign rally in Fort Wayne, Ind., in November. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

As President Trump begins Year 3 of his presidency today, an interesting way to look at his record is to consider how he'd be judged if he were a CEO.

"2 years in, president is at a loss as dealmaker," the WashPost's Phil Rucker and Josh Dawsey write:

  • "Trump’s management of the ... shutdown — his first foray in divided government — has exposed as never before his shortcomings as a dealmaker ... apparent shortage of empathy ... difficulty accepting responsibility ... revenge ... seeming misunderstanding of Democrats’ motivations."
  • Republican strategist Mike Murphy, a Trump critic: "People saw him as some sort of business wizard. ... It’s like McDonald’s not being able to make a hamburger."

The N.Y. Times also front-pages a mogul theme, "In Business and Governing, Trump Seeks Victory in Chaos," by Russ Buettner and Maggie Haberman:

  • "As he did during decades in business, Mr. Trump has insulted adversaries, undermined his aides, repeatedly changed course, extolled his primacy as a negotiator and induced chaos."
  • "In a brief telephone interview, ... Trump was not specific in defending his tactics, but he described himself as successful in his chosen fields of real estate, entertainment and finally politics. 'I ran for office once and I won,' Mr. Trump said."
3. Stunning stats on growing wealth gap
The Congress Center (building in middle) in Davos (Markus Schreiber/AP)

As the elite descend on Davos, Switzerland, for this week's World Economic Forum, two stark stats:

  • Wealth held by the world's billionaires has grown from $3.4 trillion in 2009, right after the meltdown, to $8.9 trillion in 2017. (UBS and PwC Billionaires Insights via Bloomberg)
  • The 3.8 billion people who make up the world's poorest half saw their wealth decline by 11% last year. (Oxfam, which works to alleviate poverty, via AP)
4. Pic du jour
Robert F. Bukaty/AP

Caleb Seely rides a unicycle (with an extra-knobby tire) home yesterday after helping shovel out his brother's driveway in Portland, Maine.

5. Super blood wolf moon

The moon, Earth and sun lined up last night in a full eclipse — the last until 2021. During totality, the moon looked red because of sunlight scattering off Earth's atmosphere — a blood moon. And in January, the full moon is also sometimes known as the wolf moon or great spirit moon. (AP)

Gaston De Cardenas AFP/Getty Images

This composite photo shows all the phases, as seen from Miami.

Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP

This combination photo shows the totally eclipsed moon (center), and others at different stages during the total lunar eclipse, as seen from L.A.

Johnny Horne via AP

This photo, made with a 12½-inch telescope by astrophotographer Johnny Horne, shows the totally eclipsed moon, glowing with a reddish color against the background of stars over Stedman, N.C.

6. MLK as editor
T.J. Warren of the NBA's Phoenix Suns, before a game yesterday in Minneapolis. (David Berding/Getty Images)

A new display of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s papers in Atlanta "provides insight into the slain civil rights leader’s thought processes as he drafted some of his most well-known speeches and notable sermons," AP's Kate Brumbach writes:

  • "The Meaning of Hope: The Best of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection," opened this weekend at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, in the Voice to the Voiceless gallery.
  • "There are drafts of his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance and 'Beyond Vietnam' speeches and of his eulogy for four girls who died when Ku Klux Klan members bombed a church in Birmingham, Alabama."

"In drafts and outlines of speeches and sermons, both typed and written out longhand, words and entire lines are crossed out and rewritten."

  • "Even an already published copy of 'Letter from Birmingham Jail' is marked with further handwritten edits."
  • "Also included in the exhibition are King’s school transcripts — including one from Crozer Theological Seminary where he got a C in public speaking."

Go deeper ... Axios' Dion Rabouin: Remembered as a great orator and a champion for human rights, Martin Luther King, Jr. also was a deep thinker on economics.

7. Exclusive excerpt: Christie says Trump hired "riffraff"
President-elect Trump welcomes then-Gov. Chris Christie to Bedminster, N.J., on Nov. 20, 2016. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, writes in his forthcoming memoir — "Let Me Finish," out Jan. 29 — that President Trump filled his administration with "riffraff" instead of canny players who could help him overcome his impulses and shaky grasp of how government works:

Donald so urgently needed the right people around him and a solid structure in place. ... Far too often, he’s found himself saddled with the riffraff. ...
Instead of high-quality, vetted appointees for key administration posts, he got the Russian lackey and future federal felon Michael Flynn as national security adviser. He got the greedy and inexperienced Scott Pruitt as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
He got the high-flying Tom Price as health and human services secretary. He got the not-ready-for-prime-time Jeff Sessions as attorney general, promptly recusing himself from the Justice Department’s Russian-collusion probe. He got a stranger named Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. ...
He got the Apprentice show loser Omarosa Manigault in whatever Omarosa’s job purported to be. (I never could figure that one out.) ... Too few Kellyanne Conways. A boatload of Sebastian Gorkas. Too few Steven Mnuchins.

Christie, fired just after Election Day as chief of Trump's transition, gives his version of the chaotic weeks before the inauguration:

The day after Trump was elected, he was handed a detailed road map that would have avoided many of these pitfalls and launched him on a far more promising path, a plan that was fully consistent with his values, his campaign promises, and his publicly stated views.
But that plan was thrown in the trash. Literally.
All thirty binders were tossed in a Trump Tower dumpster, never to be seen again. Steve Bannon, Rick Dearborn, Jared Kushner and others, for their own selfish reasons, got rid of the guidance that would have made their candidate an immensely more effective president and would have saved him an awful lot of heartache, too. In so doing, they stole from the man they’d just helped elect the launch he so richly deserved.

Christie played hardball with Steve Bannon after being ousted:

"I want to know who fired me, because I know it wasn’t you," I said. "You’re just here as the executioner. Who fired me? The president-elect? Because, Steve, if you don’t tell me who it is, I am going to say it was you."

The White House declined to comment.

8. Catholic boys' encounter gets second look
The encounter at the Lincoln Memorial (Survival Media Agency via AP)

"A fuller and more complicated picture emerged ... of the videotaped encounter between a Native American man and a throng of high school boys wearing 'Make America Great Again' gear outside the Lincoln Memorial," the N.Y. Times' Sarah Mervosh and Emily Rueb write:

  • "Interviews and additional video footage suggest that an explosive convergence of race, religion and ideological beliefs ... set the stage for the viral moment. Early video excerpts from the encounter obscured the larger context, inflaming outrage."
  • The Catholic students were accused of taunting the Native Americans, and their school and diocese issued a statement threatening the boys with expulsion.

This was the scene, per The Times:

  • "[A] rally for Native Americans and other Indigenous people was wrapping up. Dozens of students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky, who had been in Washington for the anti-abortion March for Life rally, were standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial."
  • "There were also black men who identified themselves as Hebrew Israelites, preaching their beliefs and shouting racially combative comments at the Native Americans and the students."

Covington junior Nick Sandmann said in a statement yesterday that students were waiting for buses when protesters began insulting them, per AP:

  • "Sandmann says the students began yelling 'school spirit chants' to drown out the protesters and he did not hear students chant anything 'hateful or racist at any time.'"
  • Sandmann said he and his parents have received death threats: "I am being called every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination of my family's name."

As more evidence emerged yesterday, N.Y. Times columnist David Brooks tweeted:

  • "[A]fter seeing more videos I have a different more complicated impression. Makes all the hot takes seem silly."'
  • "All of you who judged too quickly apologize!"
9. Front page flashback

10 years ago today ...

N.Y. Post

2 years ago today ...

The Washington Post
10. 1 🏈 thing
Tom Brady celebrates win. (Jeff Roberson/AP)

For the first time in NFL history, both conference championship games went into overtime, sending the New England Patriots and L.A. Rams in thrilling fashion to Super Bowl in Atlanta on Feb. 3, two weekends from now.

  • Different sports books had the Pats or Rams as 1-point favorites.

Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy: This Super Bowl "will be the 17th anniversary of the underdog Pats stunning the Rams, 20-17, in Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans. This means if you had a child who turned 2 in February 2002, that child today would be a freshman in college, watching the same coach and the same quarterback playing against the same franchise."

  • The game "will represent the latest local masterpiece in New England’s new-millennium sports high renaissance. The Patriots have a chance to win their sixth Super Bowl (which would tie them with the Steelers for tops in NFL history) and bring our region its 12th championship of the Duck Boat Century."

L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke: " For the first time in 35 years, America’s most celebrated sporting event will feature a Los Angeles team ... In only their third year back in town, the Rams have a chance to join the eternals."

Mike Allen