change of tune
September 24, 2019

President Trump has mostly been coy about the political unrest in Hong Kong, as the U.S. tries to iron out a trade deal with China. But during his address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, Trump was more forthright about the situation, providing a statement which could even be considered a warning to Beijing.

Trump said the U.S. is carefully monitoring the anti-government, pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, adding that Washington and the rest of the world expect Beijing and its "great leader" President Xi Jinping to honor their commitment to Hong Kong's freedom and autonomy. "How China chooses to handle the situation will say a great deal about its role in the world in the future," Trump said.

Trump went on to say that the U.S. doesn't seek any conflict with any nation, so there was no suggestion that the U.S. would intervene directly with the protests. Still, the U.N. comments felt more explicit than anything Trump has offered on Hong Kong in the past. Tim O'Donnell

March 27, 2019

The ever-growing field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates grabs most of the headlines, but President Trump's re-election campaign is always lurking right beneath the surface. Axios reports that Trump's team is "already gathering ammunition" against his potential opponents and trying to pinpoint where in the United States the president might be the weakest.

Those places, at this point, appear to be Wisconsin and Michigan.

"The issue for Trump last time was, frankly, he spoke to working class voters and Hillary [Clinton] didn't," one former Trump campaign official told Axios. "So if you take that out of the equation, something like 60 thousand votes in Michigan becomes a lot harder."

The campaign staff isn't too concerned about a few other swing states, though. The gubernatorial races in Florida, Georgia, and Ohio — which all resulted in Republican victories despite strong Democratic candidates — has the Trump team feeling confident. They also aren't worried about Pennsylvania. Per Axios, Clinton campaigned heavily across the state and "won just as many votes in Philly as she could get," and Trump still won.

But would that have to change if former Vice President Joe Biden, who still hasn't officially announced his candidacy, ultimately emerges as the Democratic nominee? Biden has strong Pennsylvania roots; he was born in Scranton, after all. He also represented neighboring Delaware in the Senate.

In fact, an earlier Axios report from July 2018 said that Trump's two major concerns at that time were having to run against Biden and losing Pennsylvania — so the recent about-face on the state is a surprising strategic development. Tim O'Donnell

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