Evan Vucci / AP

White House insiders tell me that when the president meets the other most powerful man in the world, China's Xi Jinping, at Mar-a-Lago tomorrow, expect Trump to be cordial in public, tough(ish) in private.

Trump plans to tell Xi behind the scenes that he will stick up for the country in a way that his predecessors didn't. But for the cameras, Trump will play the cordial host — his natural mien.

Trump isn't expected to make as big a point of human-rights issues as some of his conservative backers would like.

Axios' all-terrain Jonathan Swan, after his "Morning Joe" debut, jumped on a White House summit preview call late yesterday, where senior officials said Trump's primary purpose will be to "put a framework in place" to help the two leaders work through their disagreements on everything from trade to North Korea. Other takeaways:

  • Trump has little interest in dealing with global warming. When a reporter asked the officials about the subject, they quickly pivoted to North Korea.
  • South China Sea incursions: An official said it was "no secret" that Trump was "disturbed by the activities that took place under the last administration."
  • Swan's read: Trump loved dealing one-on-one during his real estate career, and we wouldn't be surprised if he elevates more of the conversations with China to the leader-to-leader level.

And, as Axios AM told you when we broke the story of the Mar-a-Lago summit, there won't be any golf.

Chaser ... About an hour after an official on the call warned North Korea that "the clock has now run out and all options are on the table," Pyongyang fired "a newly developed powerful ballistic missile."

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter a valid email.
Server error. Please try a different email.
Subscribed! Look for Axios AM and PM in your inbox tomorrow or read the latest Axios AM now.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.

10 hours ago - World

Opposition leader Leopoldo López flees Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López outside the Spanish embassy in Caracas, in 2019. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

Leopoldo López, a former political prisoner and prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, has left the country, his Popular Will party confirmed in a statement Saturday.

Why it matters: He's been highly influential in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising.