Apr 3, 2018

Trump smoke or Trump fire

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The future of the economy, our national defense and this presidency are all in play in coming months  — and all controlled by actions President Trump is contemplating.

Be smart: We have hit peak volatility in markets and politics because of Trump’s wild mood swings. The volatility is warranted, because Trump is more isolated and more self-certain than ever.

  • He has threatened trade wars with China, Mexico and Canada. We will soon find out if this is smoke or if he truly starts the fire.
  • He has threatened war if North Korea doesn't surrender its nuclear ambitions — and just made a like-minded hawk, John Bolton, his national security adviser. We will soon find out if this was negotiating-ploy smoke, or if he would really start the fire. Insiders tell us that if his planned meeting with Kim Jong-un fails, options will be limited.
  • He has mused about getting rid of Robert Mueller, an action that several Republicans have warned would provoke an abuse of power crisis. We will soon find out if this is letting-off-steam smoke or if we truly spark this fire. 

Trump solo: Some White House aides are alarmed at Trump’s belief he can run the show alone, much like he did his real estate empire:

  • He’s threatening to basically run the White House like a small business with a series of compliant VPs.
  • This, more than the other three, worries departing staffers most because it allows for bad, impulsive things to not just be said but done. 

Go deeper

Deadly clashes erupt in Delhi ahead of Trump's visit

Rival protesters over the Citizenship Amendment Act in Delhi, India, on Monday. Photo: Yawar Nazir/ Getty Images

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for calm Tuesday as deadly clashes erupted in the city's northeast between supporters and opponents of India's controversial new citizenship law.

Why it matters: Per the BBC, a police officer and six civilians "died in the capital's deadliest day" since last year's passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act — which allows religious minorities but excludes Muslims from nearby countries to become citizens if they can show they were persecuted for their religion — hours before President Trump and members of the U.S. first family were due to visit the city as part of their visit to India.

Go deeper: India's citizenship bill continues Modi's Hindu nationalist offensive

South Carolina paper The State backs Buttigieg for Democratic primary

Democratic presidential candidate and former South Bend Pete Buttigieg speaks at an event in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

South Carolina newspaper The State endorsed former Southbend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Monday night for the state's Democratic primary.

Why it matters: It's a welcome boost for Buttigieg ahead of Tuesday's Democratic debate in South Carolina and the state's primary on Saturday.

White House requests $2.5 billion to fight coronavirus as U.S. cases rise

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 Trump administration sent a letter to Congress Monday requesting a funding commitment of at least $2.5 billion to help combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. rose to 53.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, WHO expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,699 people and infected more than 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health