Dec 10, 2018

Donald, Chuck & Nancy: The Sequel

Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Here we go again. On Tuesday at 11:30 am, President Trump plans to meet with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to see if they can cut a deal to keep the government open. Over the past two days, we've emailed and spoken to more than a dozen Democrats and Republicans in close touch with leadership. None were optimistic that Tuesday's meeting could yield a durable deal.

The bottom line: The problem is simple: Trump wants $5 billion for his border wall, and Pelosi and Schumer don't want to give it to him.

  • Especially not Pelosi, who won't even commit to the $1.6 billion Schumer has already offered. She has offered a one-year funding extension at current levels ($1.3 billion for border security).
  • Pelosi is more ideologically progressive than Schumer, oversees a more progressive conference than he does, has a Speaker's vote on the floor in January, vehemently opposes Trump's immigration policies, and has no incentive to give Trump anything.

The two likeliest scenarios, according to these sources:

  • Possibility 1: A partial government shutdown (about 25% of the government). It's not clear how Trump would reopen the government, given Democrats are unlikely to pay for his wall.
  • Possibility 2: Yet another short-term funding extension to push the problem to next year.

A senior Democratic Senate aide summed up the week ahead: "Democrats aren't going to move on the $1.6 billion in the Homeland Security bill. A shutdown around the holiday makes no sense for the Republicans. And we have the backstop of Speaker Pelosi passing a continuing resolution [short-term funding extension] as her first act, putting Republicans in a terrible spot."

  • "My actual prediction out of the meeting is jumbled posturing from both sides leading to more chaos and an eventual continuing resolution," the source added.
  • Trump has wanted his border security money to come without restrictions — a sticking point with Democrats, who are willing to appropriate funds for border security measures, but not for Trump's wall.

Between the lines: Notice how quiet Republicans have been about the shutdown fight? It's because they don't want to deal with this right now; they want to go home for Christmas. They are united in their enthusiasm about getting out of town ASAP — and that leaves Trump with little leverage.

Behind the scenes: You'll hear Democrats say — and some Republicans, too, privately — that Trump should be happy with $1.6 billion for border security because that's what he asked for in his 2019 budget.

But here's an anecdote that illuminates the reality:

  • During a White House meeting in June, Republican Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Richard Shelby discussed border security with Trump and several White House officials, including Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.
  • Capito told Trump they'd be able to deliver the $1.6 billion in wall funding he requested. According to a source with direct knowledge, Trump replied, "Who asked for $1.6 billion?" (The answer: Trump’s 2019 budget, which Mulvaney prepared.)

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 5,375,648 — Total deaths: 343,721 — Total recoveries — 2,149,412Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 1,639,872 — Total deaths: 97,599 — Total recoveries: 361,239 — Total tested: 13,784,786Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

White House announces new coronavirus travel restrictions on Brazil

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro with Trump, March 19, 2019. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool via Getty Images

The White House announced that beginning at 11:59 pm ET on Thursday, President Trump would suspend entry of non-U.S. citizens who have been in Brazil in the past 14 days in an effort to stop the imported spread of the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Brazil has reported nearly 350,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus — the second-most in the world behind the U.S. — and has emerged as a Southern Hemisphere hotspot as other heavily affected countries in Asia and Europe have managed to get their outbreaks under control.

Trumpworld's plan to brand Biden

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Mandel Ngan/AFP

Trump's advisers relish the contrast between his public appearances and Joe Biden's lack thereof. The former vice president, following the guidance of public experts, has eschewed public events and stayed home for months now. Trump, meanwhile, is out and about — masks be damned.

What we're hearing: Watch for plenty more mask-free outings from Trump, hyping the reopening of the economy and avoiding discussions of social distancing and death counts.