Apr 14, 2017

Trump's desire to win is shaping his presidency

Mike Allen, author of AM

Chris O'Meara / AP

When President Trump 2.0 emerged this week with a slew of more conventional Republican positions, a big question was: How long will it last? Trump insiders promise this is more than a mood: It's the result of Trump's instinctive desire to win, after a series of dropped balls. A West Wing confidant told Axios:

We're seeing the working out of his improvisational personality, based on new and immediate inputs.

Those inputs include both the more moderate advisers who are ascendent, and the new understanding of the world that comes from the Situation Room. "Which is 'America First': currency manipulation, or a bunch of missiles in California [from North Korea]?" a West Wing adviser said. "If I'm going to be 'America First,' I need to be for security."

Trump is restless, and still asks friends for their opinions of his staff. He made it clear to a recent visitor that Steve Bannon on the cover of TIME two months ago still sticks in his craw. Friends say Bannon is stubborn and a survivor, and plans to fight to stay.

The rest of April and May is a critical stretch on Capitol Hill — a chance for Trump's team to resuscitate health reform, keep the government open, pass a budget, and get started on tax reform.

More insights from those close to Trump:

  • "They've got to produce," a Trump friend said.
  • "When you pass a few things, then you've pivoted." added the West Wing adviser.

Go deeper

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: George Floyd's last words are "a wake-up call for our nation"

Former Vice President Joe Biden meets with clergy members and community activists during a visit to Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del. on June 1, 2020. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden is calling George Floyd’s dying words “a wake-up call for our nation,” and criticized President Trump’s decision to unleash tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House, in a civil rights speech from Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Biden in the address drew a sharp contrast between himself and Trump, whose first remarks addressing nationwide unrest Monday highlighted law and order, extreme demonstrations of militarized “strength” and other blustery threats.

Updated 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 6,302,318 — Total deaths: 376,322 — Total recoveries — 2,716,924Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,812,125 — Total deaths: 105,192 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  3. Public health: Protests against police brutality threaten coronavirus response.
  4. Business: Coronavirus could lower GDP by $15.7 trillion — More than 1 in 6 black workers lost jobs between February and April.
  5. Climate: The alarm over climate financial risk gets louder because of coronavirus.
  6. Media: Interest in the George Floyd protests has soared past the coronavirus.

The business of tear gas

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

U.S. forces yesterday used tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House gates, prior to a declared curfew, clearing a path for President Trump to visit a riot-damaged church for a photo opportunity.

The state of play: Two of the largest U.S. producers of tear gas are owned by private equity firms, but those firms have no interest in discussing their ownership.