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Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah taking questions from reporters. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters on Monday that responsibility for the dozens of Palestinian protestors killed in Gaza "rests squarely with Hamas" and that "Israel has the right to defend itself."

The big picture: The White House said it still hopes to help foster a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian territories and believes that the protests — sparked by the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem — and deaths don't change that.

Other highlights from the briefing:

  • On Kelly Sadler's McCain comments: Shah said Sadler called and apologized to the McCain family privately. He added that she “came to work” on Monday and the matter is “being handled internally.” 
  • On ZTE: Per Shah, President Trump asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to examine ZTE and as it was an “concern of the Chinese government" and part of the “give and take” between China and the United States.
  • 1 fun thing: Trump also spoke with the Waffle House shooting hero James Shaw Jr. by phone this morning to “commend his heroic actions and quick thinking” when he wrestled a gun from the shooter last month.

Update: the second paragraph has been corrected to say Palestinian territories instead of Palestine.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
49 mins ago - Economy & Business

How the tech stock selloff is hurting average Americans

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Investors holding the ultra-popular Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 index funds have been hard hit over the last two weeks as tech shares have been roiled by rising U.S. Treasury yields.

Why it matters: Even though the economy is growing and many U.S. stocks are performing well, most investors are seeing their wealth decline because major indexes no longer reflect the overall economy or even a broad swath of public companies — they reflect the performance of a few of the country's biggest companies.

1 hour ago - World

UN rights chief: At least 54 killed, 1,700 detained since Myanmar coup

A Feb. 7 protest in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

Police and military officers in Myanmar have killed at least 54 people during anti-coup protests, while "arbitrarily" detaining over 1,700 people, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said Thursday.

Why it matters: Protesters have demonstrating across Myanmar for nearly a month, demanding the restoration of democracy after the country's military leaders overthrew its democratically elected government on Feb. 1.

3 hours ago - Health

The danger of a fourth wave

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Anomalous Arkansas case data from Feb. 28 was not included in the calculated change; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. may be on the verge of another surge in coronavirus cases, despite weeks of good news.

The big picture: Nationwide, progress against the virus has stalled. And some states are ditching their most important public safety measures even as their outbreaks are getting worse.