Apr 14, 2017

Trump's desire to win is shaping his presidency

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

Trump indulges Wall Street with Milken pardon

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Donald Trump loves Wall Street shenanigans. Companies owned by him have declared bankruptcy six different times, and he was once sued alongside Mike Milken for participating in a scheme to artificially inflate junk-bond prices.

Driving the news: Trump pardoned Milken this week, with an official statement positively gushing over Milken's role in developing the wilder side of fixed-income capital markets.

Situational awareness

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Roger Stone sentenced to 40 months in prison
  2. Top NSC official reassigned to Energy Department amid "Anonymous" fallout
  3. Morgan Stanley to buy E*Trade in $13 billion deal
  4. Coronavirus slams companies' 2020 sales projections
  5. Black activist group gives its first presidential endorsement to Elizabeth Warren

Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,100 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 114 new deaths since Wednesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health