President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced over $250 billion in deals between American and Chinese companies on Thursday, an accomplishment hailed by Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan as “truly a miracle.” Critics immediately began picking the deals apart as less than meets the eye.
Of course, Donald Trump was among the loudest voices in warning about those deficits, long before his aborted 2012 presidential run and successful 2016 effort. He has not stopped. Not long after the $250 billion “miracle’ was announced, Trump called on Beijing to “immediately address the unfair trade practices that drive” the “shockingly” large deficit.
“But I don’t blame China,” Trump added, in an unusual aside. “After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens? I give China great credit.”
This was widely interpreted by Trump critics as the president letting China off the hook, although it could also be read as a backhanded insult, especially since President Xi was sitting onstage next to him when Trump said it. “I don’t blame you for robbing us” is not exactly complimentary. It is also consistent with Trump’s oft-stated belief that America’s leadership should be driving the hardest possible bargains to benefit their citizens, just as leaders of other countries tend to act in their own national interest. full article