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Power Sheet: Trump’s Speech Fails to Reset Campaign

Writer Tory Newmyer (@torynewmyer) is filling in for Geoff Colvin this week.

Donald Trump on Monday attempted to reset his struggling campaign with a speech outlining his economic agenda. He described a plan that stitches together mostly traditional, supply-side prescriptions — cutting the top individual tax rate to 33 percent and the corporate rate to 15 percent, ending the estate tax, and imposing a moratorium on new regulation — with his protectionist approach to trade that’s had business howling. The address has received mixed reviews. But at least for the Trump campaign, for a moment, the focus was on substance, rather than the candidate’s latest conspiracy theory or salvo in one of his ongoing feuds.

If the Trump campaign’s hope was to stanch the bleeding from the rolling disaster that was last week, the early returns are not particularly encouraging. The newly buttoned-down, on-message Trump survived until 6:45pm, when he suggested via a tweet that Hillary Clinton’s “hacked emails” were responsible for the execution of an Iranian nuclear scientist, citing as evidence that “many people” have said so. Meanwhile, high-profile Republican defections continued to mount. Fifty top Republican national security figures released a letter declaring Trump “would be the most reckless president in American history” and endanger “our country’s national security and well-being.” And Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from a state where Trump hopes to pick up an electoral vote, published an op-ed announcing she won’t support him. Collins pointed in part to the candidate’s post-primary failure to “focus on jobs and the economy, tone down his rhetoric, develop more thoughtful policies and, yes, apologize for ill-tempered rants.”

Trump so far has ignored the Collins snub. But his campaign released a statement responding to the national security officials’ letter, donning it as a badge of honor. “The names on this letter are the ones the American people should look to for answers on why the world is a mess, and we thank them for coming forward so everyone in this country knows who deserves the blame for making the world such a dangerous place,” his statement read. “They are nothing more than the failed Washington elite looking to hold onto their power, and it’s time they are held accountable for their actions.”

The response feels like a relevant footnote to yesterday’s post in this space. It looked at the New York Times investigation into think tanks courting corporate sponsors and the risk the practice poses for an arguably imperiled expert class. Trump knows he owes his success so far in part to a popular rejection of the Washington establishment. The officials who signed the Monday letter draw their credibility from decades of service at the top levels of government. Trump, who’s never served, hews to a different standard, as he makes clear when he cites the speculation of “many people” as evidence his Democratic opponent’s emails got a scientist killed. Monday’s economic address notwithstanding, that is the candidate he’s been and will continue to be, though his appeal to GOP primary voters doesn’t appear to be translating to a general-election audience.

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What We’re Reading Today

Walmart to buy for $3.3 billion
The decision by Doug McMillon‘s company to jump at purchasing online retailer Jet was an attempt to boost its own online offerings. It will keep the brand, which appeals to buyers with more disposable income. But Walmart can also use some of Jet’s bulk ordering strategies as it tries to respond to Jeff Bezos‘s Amazon threat. Jet founder Marc Lore will continue running Jet and will also oversee Walmart’s e-commerce unit in the U.S.  USA Today

Differences between Tim and Steve
Apple execs detailed the ways in which Steve Jobs and current CEO Tim Cook‘s management styles differed. Jobs was long considered an intense, overbearing figure, while Cook is much more “cerebral.” That’s true, according to senior vice president of Internet software and services Eddy Cue. An example of that approach was when Apple released Maps in 2012 to much criticism. Instead of scrapping the project, Cook took the lead in tweaking the software development for Maps to reduce the chance of a mistake and began beta testing with outside users, something Jobs long avoided.  Fortune

Mexican politicians chip away at Carlos Slim’s empire  
In an effort to increase competition in the country’s telecommunications industry, a law was passed two years ago that forced Slim‘s América Móvil to share infrastructure, like cell towers. Slim argues this means he has to subsidize the likes of AT&T. But the impact has been drastic, as profits fell 44% in the first six months of the year. The law is a bigger part of a plan by Mexican authorities to reduce Slim’s monopoly, which was estimated to cost Mexico $13 billion a year between 2005 and 2009. NYT

Credit Suisse CEO opens up about plan to revamp the company  
Tidjane Thiam is in the process of transitioning Credit Suisse to focus more on wealth management and less on investment banking. In an interview, he said that he will “never declare victory,” despite a surprisingly strong second quarter. He also added that when designing a new strategy, it has to be flexible since things like Brexit will come along, which you can’t predict. His strategy has been criticized, and it’s interesting to see how he’s handled the backlash by disrupting the company further. Bloomberg

Building a Better Leader

To solve a tough problem…
…Google Ventures uses a tactic of trying to “sprint” to a solution in five days. It allows them to take an abstract idea, break apart its solutions, and make prototypes by the end of the week.  Knowledge@Wharton

The percentage of billionaires without a college degree…
…grew to nearly 30% according to the billionaire census by Wealth-X. The list includes Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, but still it’s worth pointing out that far more billionaires earned a degree and 22% have a Master’s. Fortune

When everyone is on vacation…
…embrace “deep work” projects, or the larger projects you’ve been putting off due to a lack of time. These have far more impact on a career than “shallow work,” like emails, and now you have some time to focus on them. Harvard Business Review

GOP Chatter

Trump talks cutting taxes and halting free trade
In a speech in Detroit, Donald Trump outlined his economic policy plans. While details remained limited, he did embrace tax cuts, ones that the GOP have sought for years. This would reduce the number of tax brackets from 7 to 3 and called for the end of the estate tax, which would only help the wealthy. Hillary Clinton described the plan as “repackage trickle-down economics.” Trump also reiterated his hope to reduce free trade policies, which puts him at odds with other Republicans. Detroit Free Press

GOP Senator turns back on Trump
Maine Senator Susan Collins said she can’t support Trump because he doesn’t reflect Republican values. It’s a big departure among the GOP ranks, as Collins is well-respected within Congress. She joins a growing list of Republican legislators that have expressed their decision to not vote for the candidate. She added, however, that she wouldn’t support Clinton either, despite having a strong working relationship when Clinton was in the Senate.  NPR

Paul Ryan faces primary test
The House Speaker’s primary run in Wisconsin takes place today against challenger Paul Nehlen. While Ryan is expected to easily defeat Nehlen, it has become slightly more interesting of a contest since Trump refused to initially support Ryan in the race. While it was for backlash against Ryan’s delay in supporting Trump for president, Trump did end up announcing his support for Ryan late last week. Reuters

Up or Out

Valeant Pharmaceuticals has hired Christina Ackermann as general counsel Fortune

LendingClub CFO Carrie Dolan has resigned Fortune

Fortune Reads and Videos

Cruise Automation tests autonomous Chevy Bolts…
…in Arizona. And the company, owned by General Motors, needs test drivers. Fortune

Oracle suffers data breach in its retail unit
The terminals impacted also include portals to provide remote support to customers, which could explain why there’s been a rash of retail breaches of late. Fortune

Monster sells for $429 million
The Monster brand will continue to operate as its own entity after Dutch recruitment agency Randstad’s purchase becomes official.  Fortune

Bezos sells $757 million in shares of Amazon
The sell-off of one million shares reaps a record profit for Jeff Bezos, who benefited from investors rushing into Amazon after its latest quarterly results. Fortune

Quote of the Day

“Steve [Jobs] was in your face, screaming, and Tim [Cook] is more quiet, more cerebral in his approach…When you disappoint Tim, even though he isn’t screaming at you, you get the same feeling. I never wanted to disappoint Steve, and I never want to disappoint Tim. [Other than them,] I have that feeling with, like, my dad.” — Apple senior vice president of Internet software and services Eddy Cue discussing the differences in leadership style between Jobs and Cook.  Fortune

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Produced by Ryan Derousseau