Sep 27, 2019

A frustrated Trump returns to Washington after dramatic UN week

Trump after addressing the UN General Assembly. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump capped off UN week in New York on Thursday with what was intended as a private toast to UN Ambassador Kelly Craft and her staff, but which quickly became another dramatic episode in the fast-evolving Ukraine saga.

What he's saying: “I want to know, who’s the person that gave the whistleblower the information,” Trump said, according to audio leaked to the LA Times. “Because that’s close to a spy.”

  • “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart, right, with spies and treason? We used to handle it a little bit differently than we do now,” he continued.
  • Trump also referred to reporters as “animals” and “scum,” and described Joe Biden as “dumb as a rock.”

Driving the news: Trump was picking up in private where he left off in his last public event of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday night, at which he slammed Democrats and the press for undermining his efforts on the world stage.

  • He listed 28 countries with which he’d held meetings over a “tremendous three days,” while bemoaning the fact that it was all overshadowed by the frenzy back in Washington over impeachment.
  • Trump claimed wins this week on trade, following the completion of a partial trade deal with Japan affecting agriculture and digital trade, and immigration. Nayib Bukele, El Salvador’s new president, emphasized his cooperation with Trump on that issue yesterday following a recent asylum deal.

The tensions over nationalism vs. multilateralism that have animated recent global gatherings were still present here, though in slightly diluted form.

  • Trump blasted “globalists” and “socialists” in his address to the General Assembly, and he made only a brief stop at the week’s main event — a summit on climate change.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron used part of his speech to rebut Trump, urging leaders against “retreating into nationalism.” France and Germany launched an initiative on multilateralism intended in part to balance against Trump’s isolationist tendencies.
  • But Trump’s attention, and that of the country, seemed to be elsewhere. On multiple occasions, he referred unprompted back to the Ukraine drama.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky must also contend with the fallout from his July call with Trump, a summary of which reveals his repeated efforts to flatter Trump and his potentially damaging criticism of European leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel.

  • “I don’t want to be involved in … elections of USA,” Zelensky said Wednesday, seated next to Trump, likely with the knowledge that was no longer possible.
  • Hours later, a dejected Trump said of impeachment: “I thought we won. I thought it was dead.”

What’s next: Trump departed New York on Thursday for Washington, where the political ground was shifting in his absence.

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Countries where novel coronavirus cases are falling may be hit with a "second peak" if they relax restrictions too soon, World Health Organization emergencies chief Mike Ryan warned during a briefing Monday. "We're still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up," he added.

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.6 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,900 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,498,849 — Total deaths: 346,306 — Total recoveries — 2,233,180Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,662,768 — Total deaths: 98,223 — 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 47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

LATAM Airlines files for U.S. chapter 11 bankruptcy

A LATAM air attendant aboard one of the company's planes in March. Photo: Kike Calvo/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

LATAM Airlines Group SA said in a statement early Tuesday the firm and its affiliates in in the United States, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S.

Why it matters: Latam is Latin America's largest airline and its shareholders include Delta Air Lines. CEO Roberto Alvo noted in the statement the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on the airline industry.