Jun 27, 2017

Trump's China honeymoon is over

Susan Walsh / AP

White House sources tell us to look for increasing signs that the afterglow of China President Xi Jinping's visit to Mar-a-Lago in April has long faded, and say the administration is going to be tougher on the world's second largest economy.

The sources say that at a time when Trump is losing patience with Beijing, he invited the leader of India — a huge China rival — to the White House. He and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who rose on Trump-like forces, hugged in the Rose Garden yesterday.

Sound smart: Steve Bannon and his allies in key trade and policy positions have been agitating for a high-profile economic fight with China: It is central to their view of America First thinking.

"During my campaign," Trump said, "I pledged that if elected, India would have a true friend in the White House. And that is now exactly what you have — a true friend."

The new mood began with Trump's remarkable tweet last week, which aides said reflected genuine disappointment: "While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out." Since then ...

  • News leaked yesterday that U.S. "plans to place China on its global list of worst offenders in human trafficking and forced labor."
  • Jonathan Swan has picked up on renewed West Wing conversations about penalties that would deter or punish foreign dumping of steel into the U.S. market. The action wouldn't single out China — but White House officials keenly understand that this would be viewed as a straight shot at Beijing.
  • Swan says Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has shared the findings of his investigation into steel dumping, and there was a meeting yesterday in the White House about next steps. Swan has been told that the nationalists want to impose tariffs but more moderate officials want softer measures. This issue could come to a head imminently.

Swan's mindmeld: It appears to be dawning on Trump — and it's already dawned on senior White House officials — that China won't apply the kind of pressure that's needed to stop North Korea's path to developing nuclear weapons that could strike American cities. Given Trump has told China to expect a better trade deal in return for help with North Korea, if the President gets disillusioned here, it could have profound economic consequences.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 857,487 — Total deaths: 42,107 — Total recoveries: 178,034.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 188,172 — Total deaths: 3,873 — Total recoveries: 7,024.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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World coronavirus updates: UN warns of recession with "no parallel" to recent past

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 and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus pandemic is the "greatest test" the world has faced together since the formation of the United Nations just after the Second World War ended in 1945, UN chief António Guterres said Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 856,000 and the death toll exceeded 42,000 Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 12,000 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

White House projects 100,000 to 240,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths

President Trump said at a press briefing on Tuesday that the next two weeks in the U.S. will be "very painful" and that he wants "every American to be prepared for the days that lie ahead," before giving way to Deborah Birx to explain the models informing the White House's new guidance on the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's a somber new tone from the president that comes after his medical advisers showed him data projecting that the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health