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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

30 mins ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.

32 mins ago - World

U.S. declares China's actions against Uighurs "genocide"

A protester in London. Photo Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency via Getty

With just one day left in President Trump's term, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has officially determined that China's campaign of mass internment, forced labor and forced sterilization of over 1 million Muslim minorities in Xinjiang constitutes "genocide" and "crimes against humanity."

Why it matters: The U.S. has become the first country to adopt these terms to describe the Chinese Communist Party's gross human rights abuses in its far northwest.

Biden's pick for intel chief commits to public assessment of QAnon threat

Avril Haines, President-elect Biden's nominee for director of national intelligence, pledged at her Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday to conduct a public assessment of the threat of the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory.

Why it matters: Many members of the pro-Trump mob involved in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol siege were seen sporting symbols referencing QAnon, a sprawling and baseless conspiracy theory that purports that President Trump is fighting a vast deep-state cabal of pedophiles.