May 4, 2017

The rhetorical shift before Trump's first foreign trip

Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump is preparing for his first foreign visits with a trip that starts in Saudi Arabia and includes stops in Jerusalem and the Vatican — to visit the Pope — before ending in Brussels.

Senior administration officials said they're working to build a framework in the Middle East to counter ISIS, counter Iran and provide a security blanket for America's allies in the region.

Big topics:

  • Israel/Palestine: The level of interest from the Saudis and Jordanians in the conflict "feels different to me" because they're "running out of time," said one official.
  • Syria: The administration is beginning to engage with Russia in a way it hasn't before to resolve the Syrian civil war.
  • Trump wants better "burden sharing": (translation: Arab allies to foot more of the bill for the war against radicalization in the region.)
  • A change in rhetoric: "Radical Islamic Terrorism" wasn't said at the briefing.
  • The key sentence, from a senior administration official: "We chose these three places because we really want to focus on how we can unite all the different countries and all the different religions in the fight against intolerance and radicalization."

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and South Korea ups its case count

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 novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 23 mins ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  2. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps
  3. U.S. military officially stops offensive operations in Afghanistan
  4. America's future looks a lot like Nevada
  5. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins