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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced the cancellation of his scheduled June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in a letter released this morning by the White House.

Between the lines: This had been billed as an unprecedented and historic summit, and a chance for a long-sought breakthrough with North Korea. Kim Jong-un had threatened to cancel it, and now President Trump has done it. He's saying he's open to meeting in future, but only on his terms. Markets fell sharply on the news, and tensions with Pyongyang are likely to ratchet up — and quickly.

  • The letter came hours after a statement from Choe Son-hui, North Korea's vice minister of foreign affairs, threatening to cancel the summit and calling Vice President Mike Pence a "political dummy." Despite the increase in tensions, North Korea went ahead with the destruction of its nuclear test site overnight.
  • Trump has since said the military is "ready if necessary", but he doesn't want to close the door on talks.
  • South Korea initially took the lead on talks with North Korea, and already had a presidential summit with Kim. Seoul has even more to lose from a breakdown in relations than the U.S., and appeared caught off guard by Trump's letter.
  • Our thought bubble, from Axios' Jonathan Swan: Beyond the very serious geopolitical stakes, this move is pure Trump. A theatrical withdrawal from a potential “deal," and reminder to Americans that he milked his adversary and gave them nothing in return. He thanks them for the release of the American hostages, reminiscent of how Trump used to privately gloat to business associates that he’d really taken somebody for a ride on a deal. 

How it happened: A White House official familiar with direct knowledge of the internal deliberations tells Swan: “People are focusing too much on the 'dummy' part of the North Koreans’ statement. They literally threatened nuclear war. This is a smart move by POTUS: no summit will work under these circumstances. When they’re literally threatening our people.”

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said North Korea failed to respond to requests from the U.S. to discuss the logistics of the summit, and the North Koreans reportedly skipped a planning session in Singapore earlier this month.

What to watch: Pompeo is testifying this morning before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He began by reading Trump's letter aloud.

Read the letter in full:

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Heat dome sends temperatures soaring from Oregon to Louisiana

Forecast maximum temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, July 29, 2021. (WeatherBell)

The Pacific Northwest is once again in the midst of a heat wave after already seeing its worst such event on record this summer. Temperatures are soaring into the low 100s in some areas, while dangerous heat is also affecting the South Central states and Gulf Coast.

Why it matters: The occurrence of yet another heat wave during a drought in the West is ratcheting up wildfire risks. The heat itself is a major public health risk, since extreme heat is typically the biggest annual weather-related cause of mortality in the U.S.

Biden calls on Congress to extend eviction moratorium as deadline looms

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

President Biden called on Congress on Thursday to extend the CDC's national eviction moratorium due to the threat of the Delta variant, after the Supreme Court ruled that the administration couldn't extend it past July 31 without specific legislation.

Why it matters: Millions of tenants across the country face the threat of eviction in the coming days. The moratorium was first implemented in September 2020 and extended several times to prevent a wave of evictions caused by pandemic-related economic decline.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The mental health deal boom

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The positive social media response to Simone Biles withdrawing from Olympic competition highlights how the artificial line between health care and mental health care is finally beginning to dissolve. And startup investors have taken notice.

By the numbers: Venture capital investments in mental health startups rose 72.6% between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, per CB Insights.

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