Speaking to reporters outside the White House Wednesday, President Trump looked to the sky and proclaimed "I am the chosen one" while arguing that "somebody" had to take on China over their unfair trade practices.

"Somebody said it is Trump's trade war. This isn't my trade war. This is a trade war that should have taken place a long time ago by a lot of other presidents. Over the last five or six years, China has made $500 billion. $500 billion. Ripped it out of the United States. And not only that, if you take a look, intellectual property theft. Add that to it. And add a lot of other things to it. So somebody had to do it. I am the chosen one. Somebody had to do it, so I'm taking on China. I'm taking on China on trade. And you know what? We're winning."

The big picture: Experts and politicians on both sides of the aisle largely agree that China has engaged in unfair trade practices for years. Where they diverge from Trump's worldview is on the question of whether tariffs are the best way to address the problem.

  • The Congressional Budget Office warned in a new report Wednesday that Trump's trade war has affected U.S. business investment and that it could take significant toll on GDP in 2020.
  • American farmers, meanwhile, have been borne the brunt of China's retaliatory tariffs on agricultural goods, forcing the Trump administration to distribute billions in farm aid.
  • Though Trump recently decided to delay some new tariffs on consumer goods until Dec. 15 to accommodate the holiday shopping season, it's looking increasingly unlikely that a U.S.-China trade deal will ever be reached under this president.

Of note: The remark was Trump's second messianic comparison of the day, having tweeted a quote from conspiracy theorist Wayne Allyn Root earlier Wednesday that called Trump the "King of Israel" and claimed that Israelis "love him like he is the second coming of God."

Go deeper: Allies worry Trump is "running out of tools" to boost the economy

Go deeper

A wild weekend for Microsoft's play for TikTok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While its Big Tech rivals were testifying in front of a congressional antitrust committee last week, Microsoft was negotiating what could be the largest — and most politically perilous — tech acquisition of 2020.

The state of play: The hullabaloo surrounding Microsoft picking up TikTok has undergone a flurry of twists and turns over the weekend, as both the White House and the tech giant reacted in real time.

XFL sold to group that includes Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson for $15 million

Photo: Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The XFL sold Monday for $15 million to a group that includes former WWE star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Sportico reports.

The state of play: The move does not necessarily mean the upstart football league is returning.

3 hours ago - Sports

Pac-12 football players threaten coronavirus opt-out

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A group of Pac-12 football players have threatened to opt out of the season unless the conference addresses systemic inequities and concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: College football players have never had more leverage than they do right now, as the sport tries to stage a season amid the pandemic. And their willingness to use it shows we've entered a new age in college sports.