May 21, 2017

Trump breaks from Obama, and himself

Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump gave a measured, disciplined speech to the Muslim world in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, reading entirely off TelePrompTer.

What cable TV will focus on: Trump made a profound rhetorical shift from the campaign — and it's a shift we forecasted a few weeks ago after a briefing with senior White House officials. He's now talking about Islam in ways virtually indistinguishable from presidents Obama and George W. Bush.

The key difference: Trump on the campaign said "Islam hates us." Today, Islam is "one of the world's great faiths." And instead of bloviating about how he's the only guy with the courage to say "radical Islamic terrorism," Trump now uses the more PC "combating radicalization."

What really matters: We shouldn't spend too much time obsessing over the rhetorical shift. Trump signaled these substantial breaks from the Obama era:

  1. The most important: While Obama bent over backwards not to offend Iran as he pursued the nuclear deal, Trump did something quite extraordinary: He called on the Muslim world to "isolate" Iran. The Saudis got what they wanted here.
  2. Trump signaled that he'd be very different from past American presidents when it comes to discussing human rights. "We are not here to lecture," Trump told the audience. He won't be using his presidential bully pulpit to pressure countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia for their human rights abuses. (Note: Senior White House officials have told me they'd do this privately, but we have no way of knowing how tough they've actually been so far.)
  3. Trump showed again that his presidency will be the most transactional in recent history. He framed his $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis as both a job-creating coup and as allowing the Saudis to take more responsibility for their own security. This is a big deal: Trump is putting the onus on Muslim-majority countries to be more aggressive and spend more money to fight terrorism. In Trump's most passionate moment of the speech, he declared: "Drive them out."

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates: Global death toll surpasses 34,000

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 has now killed more than 34,000 people and infected over 723,000 others globally, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy reported more than 10,700 deaths early Monday.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30,

Go deeperArrowUpdated 36 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 722,435 — Total deaths: 33,997 — Total recoveries: 151,991.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m.. ET: 142,502 — Total deaths: 2,506 — Total recoveries: 4,856.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  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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U.S. coronavirus updates: Infections number tops 140,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now infected over 142,000 people in the U.S. — more than any other country in the world, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: COVID-19 had killed over 2,400 people in the U.S. by Sunday night. That's far fewer than in Italy, where over 10,000 people have died — accounting for a third of the global death toll. The number of people who've recovered from the virus in the U.S. exceeded 2,600 Sunday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health