Dec 3, 2018

White House corrects Kudlow: 90-day U.S.-China trade truce began Dec. 1

Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Hours after President Trump's chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters that a 90-day trade war truce between the U.S. and China will begin Jan. 1, the White House issued a correction stating that the truce actually began on Dec. 1.

Behind the scenes: Administration officials and China hawks close to the White House were stunned by Kudlow’s comments. The Trump team left Saturday's dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires and announced to the world the 90-day negotiating clock began immediately. Kudlow’s comments threw that timeline into confusion. I emailed the White House repeatedly to get clarity. It took them until shortly before 6pm to correct the record.

Why it matters: The hawks worry that if Trump allows any further extension of his truce he will get sucked into China’s favorite game: a never ending “strategic economic dialogue” that produces puny concessions and avoids doing anything hard or important like stopping stealing from American companies.

Go deeper: China's stalling pattern pays off

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Esper catches White House off guard with opposition to military use, photo op

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a press briefing Wednesday that he does not currently support invoking the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that permits the president to use active-duty troops on U.S. soil, in order to quell protests against racial injustice.

Why it matters: President Trump threatened this week to deploy military forces if state and local governments aren't able to squash violent protests. Axios reported on Tuesday that Trump is backing off the idea for now, but that he hasn't ruled it out.

Updates: George Floyd protests continue for 9th day

Demonstrators march on Pennsylvania Avenue on June 3. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Largely peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Wednesday, marking nine straight days of demonstrations.

The latest: As several major cities moved to lift curfews, NYPD officers "aggressively" dispersed large crowds in Brooklyn and Manhattan beyond New York City's 8 p.m. curfew, per the New York Times. The National Guard was stationed outside many protests Wednesday night, including in Hollywood and Atlanta.

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"