Aug 21, 2019

Trump says he is "the chosen one" to take on China in trade war

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

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,471,768 — Total deaths: 344,911 — Total recoveries — 2,223,523Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,660,072 — Total deaths: 98,184 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  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.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.