Trump's 'Second Thoughts' On China Trade War? The White Hous
(BIARRITZ, France) mdash President Donald Trump said Sunday that he had second thoughts about escalating the trade war with China, but the White House later reversed that message saying the president was misinterpreted, and that his only regret in hiking tariffs is that he didn#8217t raise them higher.
Trump faced a tense reception from world leaders meeting amid mounting anxiety of a global economic slowdown at the Group of Seven summit in France. During a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Trump suggested he had qualms about the spiraling conflict. #8220Yeah. For sure,#8221 Trump told reporters when asked if he has second thoughts about escalating the dispute, adding he has #8220second thoughts about everything.#8221
But hours later, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement saying Trump#8217s comments about U.S. tariffs on China were #8220greatly misinterpreted.#8221 She said Trump only responded #8220in the affirmative mdash because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.#8221
The comments appeared at first to mark a rare moment of self-reflection by the famously hard-nosed leader. But the later reversal fit a pattern for Trump in recoiling from statements he believes suggest weakness.The Brief Newsletter Sign up to receive the top stories you need to know right now. View Sample Sign Up Now
Trump had been trying to use the conference to rally global leaders to do more to stimulate their economies, as fears rise of a potential slowdown in the U.S. ahead of his reelection. Trump#8217s counterparts, including Johnson, are trying to convince him to back off his trade wars with China and other countries, which they see as contributing to the economic weakening.
The meetings come days after Trump escalated his trade war with China, following China#8217s announcement Friday that it would slap new tariffs on $75 billion in American goods. Trump responded with more tariffs of his own and issued an extraordinary threat to declare a national emergency in an attempt to force U.S. businesses to cut ties with China.
Johnson praised Trump for America#8217s economic performance during the jovial breakfast, their first since his elevation to the prime minister post in July. But he chided Trump on his unbending China policy. #8220Just to register a faint sheep-like note of our view on the trade war,#8221 he told the American leader. #8220We#8217re in favor of trade peace.#8221
Trump told reporters he has #8220no plans right now#8221 to follow through on his emergency declaration threat, but insisted he would be within his rights to use a 1977 law used to target rogue regimes, terrorists and drug traffickers as the newest weapon in the clash between the world#8217s largest economies