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Photo: Alfredo Estrella/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump sent a handwritten note to over a dozen members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus informing them that he would not cancel his meeting on Wednesday with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, as they had requested.

Why it matters: The caucus of Democratic lawmakers had denounced López Obrador's visit to celebrate the newly enacted United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal as "a blatant attempt to politicize the important U.S.-Mexico relationship” and distract from the pandemic. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, turned down the White House's invitation on Monday.

  • "While this meeting may appear to be trade related and tied to the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), it is nothing more than an attempt to distract from the coronavirus crisis and your failure to lead an adequate response to the pandemic," the lawmakers wrote.
  • "In border states such as Texas and Arizona, COVID-19 is out of control and your lack of leadership has already resulted in the deaths of more the 120,000 Americans and the gravest economic disaster since the Great Depression, both of which are decimating Latino communities."

What he's saying: "CHC - Thank you for your very nice letter," Trump wrote in what appeared to be Sharpie. "He is my friend and a wonderful man. I look forward to meeting with the president. Will be good (& important) for both Mexico & the USA."

Read the letter via DocumentCloud.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
8 hours ago - World

China's economy grows 6.5% in Q4 as country rebounds from coronavirus

A technician installs and checks service robots to be be used for food and medicine delivery in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, China, on Sunday. Photo: Hu Xuejun/VCG via Getty Images

China's economy grew at a 6.5% pace in the final quarter of 2020, the national statistics bureau announced Monday local time, topping off a year in which it grew in three of four quarters and by 2.3% in total.

Why it matters: No other major economy managed positive growth in 2020. Although the COVID-19 pandemic was first detected in China, the country got the virus under control and became one of the main positive drivers of the global economy even as the rest of the world was largely under lockdown.