May 31, 2019

Behind the scenes of Trump's Mexico tariff surprise

President Trump at a section of the border wall in Calexico, Calif. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

As Trump announcements go, his planned tariffs on Mexican goods appeared more orchestrated than most with a tweet, a presidential statement from the press office and a background call with reporters. 

But behind the scenes, it was an administration-wide scramble. As with many presidential "announcements," this once sprang from intense frustration and boiled over quickly with staff rushing to react.

  • Key point: While the plan was hurried out the door to appease Trump, he has been privately talking about doing this for a while, per two sources who've discussed it with him.

Between the lines: The White House has made a number of immigration demands of Mexico over the past several months, but Trump has not defined what they need to show him.

  • "Mexico has very strong immigration laws and could easily halt the illegal flow of migrants, including by returning them to their home countries," the president said in his statement.

The bottom line: Seeing as there's no chance of a "STOP" to illegal migration through Mexico into the U.S., Trump's demand is entirely subjective. The president's next move may depend as much on his mood as anything else. 

Go deeper: Trump's Mexico tariffs could decimate the auto industry

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Biden bets it all on South Carolina

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Most Joe Biden admirers Axios interviewed in South Carolina, where he's vowed to win today's primary, said they're unfazed by his embarrassing losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

Why it matters: Biden has bet it all on South Carolina to position himself as the best alternative to Bernie Sanders — his "good buddy," he tells voters before skewering Sanders' record and ideas.

Coronavirus updates: Market ends worst week since financial crisis

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The stock market ended its worst week since the financial crisis, prompting the Fed to release a statement. Meanwhile, the WHO warned that countries are losing their chance to contain the novel coronavirus and raised its global risk assessment to "very high" Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected more than 84,000 others in over 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 12 hours ago - Health

California coronavirus: Latest case has no recent history of international travel

Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A new case of the novel coronavirus in California was announced on Friday after Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that 33 people had tested positive for the virus, noting the risk to the public remains low.

What's new: An adult woman with chronic health conditions in Santa Clara County who "did not recently travel overseas" or come into contact with anyone known to be ill was confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus on Friday by CDC and California Department of Public Health officials.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 12 hours ago - Health