Aug 16, 2017

Two nations, divisible, under Trump

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

It started with the dog-whistle presidential campaign: constant plays — some subtle, some blaring — on racial fears.

But it wasn't until the past five days — fittingly, in a fight over a Southern statue narrowly, and the stain of slavery broadly — that President Trump officially and indelibly divided the nation over race: setting us back decades, at least for now, in our common purpose of healing old, awful wounds:

  • Yesterday's unplanned press conference — with Trump's declaration that "I think there's blame on both sides" for the violence of Charlottesville, and his searing question: "What about the alt-left?" — was praised by David Duke and alt-right hotbed Breitbart.
  • Let's be honest with ourselves: A huge chunk of Trump's base lapped it up, too. That's what Steve Bannon thought would unfold, and what the president knows instinctively.
  • It was a green light for more hatred, and probably more violence — because now the president has put white supremacy on the same level as angry people reacting harshly to it.
  • Anthony Mason, anchor of the "CBS Evening News," which devoted the full half hour to the aftermath of Charlottesville, said at the top: "There was no script this time. ... President Trump said what he really believes happened in Charlottesville."
  • USA Today: "Divisions escalate between red states and blue cities."

Be smart: It's not just not normal. It's just wrong.

Go deeper: If a top Trump aide leaves, it could 'start a run on the bank'

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The cost of going after Bloomberg

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.

How Trump’s economy stacks up

Source: "Presidents and US Economy", Trump figures through 2019 courtesy of Alan Blinder; Note: Data shows real GDP and Q1 growth in each term is attributed to the previous president; Chart: Axios Visuals

Average economic growth under President Trump has outpaced the growth under Barack Obama, but not all of his recent predecessors.

Why it matters: GDP is the most comprehensive economic scorecard — and something presidents, especially Trump, use as an example of success. And it's especially relevant since Trump is running for re-election on his economic record.

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health