May 13, 2019

Chinese newspapers take hard line on Trump

The Chengdu Commercial Daily, in the capital of Sichuan Province. Photo via Kevin Rudd

Axios reader Kevin Rudd, the former Australian prime minister, sends this dispatch on the trade war, from Beijing: "This morning’s papers ... are quite hardline." Rudd calls the latest Chinese stipulations "a reasonably firm 'screw you.'"

Between the lines, from Sinocism's Bill Bishop: The Chinese are digging in, with official media over the weekend making it clear what China won’t agree to."

  • "Now that that's been done officially, it'll be hard for Chinese officials to walk back, even if they wanted to."

P.S. ... Larry Kudlow, Trump's economic adviser, asked by Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" if it's U.S. businesses and consumers who pay tariffs on China:

  • "Yes, I don't disagree with that. Again, both sides will suffer on this."
  • Why it matters: Trump insisted in a tweet, incorrectly, that China pays.

Go deeper: Trade talks become trade war

Go deeper

Stephanie Grisham out as White House press secretary

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham is departing her post to return to the East Wing as First Lady Melania Trump's chief of staff, the White House announced Tuesday. The news was first reported by CNN.

Why it matters: Grisham will leave after nine months without ever having held a formal press briefing. Her departure follows the arrival of new White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who has a chance to overhaul a communications shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.

WeWork board sues SoftBank

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

SoftBank was sued Tuesday morning by a special committee of WeWork's board of directors for alleged breaches of contract and fiduciary duty related to SoftBank's decision to cancel a $3 billion tender offer for WeWork shares.

Why it matters: SoftBank is viewed by many in the private markets as an unfaithful partner. If this reaches trial, that reputation could either become widely cemented or reversed.

IEA boss won't let Big Oil off the hook

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Freya Ingrid Morales/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol has a tough job these days — responding to an unprecedented crisis now without losing sight of an existential one that must be tackled over decades.

Driving the news: He spoke to Axios yesterday about his work to help stabilize oil markets and ensure coronavirus doesn't sap governments' and companies' work on global warming.