Donald Trump invited Chinese leader Xi Jinping to participate in face-to-face talks on Wednesday evening amid mounting criticism of the American president’s response to protests in Hong Kong.
He used their flat-lined trade agreement as bait, saying that China must work with ‘work humanely with Hong Kong’ before he’ll reopen economic talks.
‘Of course China wants to make a deal. Let them work humanely with Hong Kong first!’ he said in a tweet.
The ex-businessman said in a follow-up, ‘I know President Xi of China very well. He is a great leader who very much has the respect of his people. He is also a good man in a “tough business.” I have ZERO doubt that if President Xi wants to quickly and humanely solve the Hong Kong problem, he can do it. Personal meeting?’
He’d blamed Hong Kong protesters for his faltering trade accord with China on Wednesday afternoon, as the stock market plummeted. With the Dow down 750 points, and 2.84 percent, the president claimed ‘Hong Kong is not helping’ him seal the deal with Beijing.
‘We are winning, big time, against China. Companies & jobs are fleeing. Prices to us have not gone up, and in some cases, have come down. China is not our problem, though Hong Kong is not helping,’ he said. ‘Our problem is with the Fed. Raised too much & too fast. Now too slow to cut.’
Trump spread his shrapnel far and wide, hitting ‘clueless Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve’ and allied nations like Germany for ‘playing the game’ and stoking fears of a recession in the United States.
‘CRAZY INVERTED YIELD CURVE! We should easily be reaping big Rewards & Gains, but the Fed is holding us back. We will Win!’ he said in a tweet.
Trump’s muted response to demonstrations in Hong Kong, where protesters have been clashing with police at the airport, has been increasingly criticized by his political opponents, including Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden.
The vacationing president has declined to join other U.S. officials in denouncing violence against the protesters.
Instead, he pegged demonstrators for the stock market’s free fall, which closed -800.49 points and -3.05 percent within an hour of his tweet
While Trump was holed up at Bedminster on Wednesday, where his activities for the day were unknown, his advisers attempted to settle rattled markets.
White House Director of Trade Policy Peter Navarro acknowledged on Fox Business that Trump was responding to complaints from CEOs, who worried that September tariffs would blow a hole in holiday shopping.
‘The first of all is, for the holidays, they had already bought the stuff. They had dollar-denominated contracts. There was no way based on those contracts they could shift the burden of the price of the tariffs back to the Chinese,’ he said. ‘And on that basis alone, there was no reason to inflict harm on ourselves.’
Navarro said the delay was also introduced to give the company’s more time to shift production out of Beijing.
‘So what the president has done with this strong and flexible decision,’ he said, ‘is basically continue the pressure on China, which most of the pressure now is the fact that China is losing their supply chain. And so that’s where — that’s where things stand.’
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross claimed in a CNBC interview that Tuesday delay in tariffs on Chinese-produced goods like cell phones and laptops weren’t a trade concession to Beijing.
‘Nobody wants to take any chance of disrupting the Christmas season,’ he explained. ‘This was not a quid pro quo.’
He tried to decouple a trade deal from the Hong Kong protests that Trump would later bring up, claiming, that the U.S. government wouldn’t have ‘done anything different in the past’ because it’s an not a matter for the nation to get involved in.
‘What would we do, invade Hong Kong?’ he replied. Ross said: ‘This is an internal matter.’
Pelosi said had said earlier on Wednesday that Trump ‘walk away from his recent statements, which invite miscalculation, and to work to advance peace, justice and democracy in Hong Kong’ and the autonomy the region was promised.
Biden said in a rebuke directed at Trump, ‘The brave protestors in Hong Kong are demanding the rights and freedoms promised to them. The U.S. should be leading the free world to rally support behind them and, with one voice, defend our shared democratic ideals and the desire for liberty that beats in every heart.’
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren also implored the U.S. government to stand with the people of Hong Kong.
‘The people of Hong Kong are making clear that they will not tolerate repression, and their movement affirms: The power is with the people. They deserve our support and the support of the world,’ she said in a Monday tweet.
South Bend, Indiana Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg hit Trump directly, telling MSNBC in an interview, ‘He’s on Twitter when he should probably be in the Situation Room trying to figure out how the U.S. could in some way be an effective voice for stability and de-escalation.’
A senior official told DailyMail.com on Wednesday afternoon, after multiple inquiries, that the U.S. is continuing to monitor the situation. The official denied claims in Chinese state media that the Trump administration in behind the protests.
The White House urged ‘all sides to remain calm, safe and peaceful’ in Hong Kong in the statement.
‘The United States continues to monitor the situation in Hong Kong, and we urge all sides to remain calm, safe, and peaceful. As the President has said: “they’re looking for democracy and I think most people want democracy,” ‘ the official said. ‘Freedoms of expression and assembly are core values that we share with the people of Hong Kong and these freedoms should be protected.’
The person added, ‘The United States firmly rejects the notion that we are sponsoring or inciting the demonstrations.’
Chinese state media has claimed that the United States had a ‘black hand’ in the protests and were the ‘rabble-rousers’ in the demonstrations in Hong Kong.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the charges are ‘ludicrous,’ and the State Department spokeswoman last week decried Chinese pressure tactics as ‘irresponsible to dangerous.’
‘Oh, it’s a very tricky situation. I think it’ll work out. And I hope it works out for liberty. I hope it works out for everybody, including China. I hope it works out peacefully. I hope nobody gets hurts. I hope nobody gets killed,’ the U.S. president said Tuesday afternoon on a New Jersey tarmac of the protests.
In a move that wasn’t apparently related at the time, the Trump administration had announced Tuesday that it was delaying tariffs on Chinese-manufactured goods like laptops and cell phones until Dec. 15.
Trump said he’d impose a large penalty on $300 billion in untaxed goods on Sept. 1, if China continued drag out trade talks, but his trade office said that certain products ‘will not face additional tariffs of 10 percent’ due to health, safety or national security concerns.
The categories of goods that are being protected suggested that Trump was concerned about the consumer pricing index and the billions of dollars in value of this month’s stock losses.
The U.S. trade office announced the postponement shortly after the the stock market opened in the United States, causing the Dow Jones Industrial Average jump nearly 500 points within minutes.
That excitement tempered off as the day wore on. The Dow leveled out at a 400-point rise that was close to 1,000 points off from where it was a month ago when it started to drop.
Speaking to reporters on the tarmac in New Jersey, before a day trip to Pennsylvania, the president defended his tough-on-China stance, saying that other presidents should have tightened the screws on Beijing, too.
He said that he backed off on tariffs because he had a ‘very good call with China’ the day before that he considered to be quite productive.
‘The stock market continues to do very well. We have very, very strong numbers. We have a lot of artificial numbers from other countries because they’re all devaluing their currencies,’ he said. ‘They’re really doing things that aren’t very good for their countries, in my opinion. But, short term, it’s very good for their countries. Long term, possibly not.’
U.S. negotiators say a deal with China was nearly finished, when Beijing backed away from major provisions.
A new round of talks was scheduled for September, yet it was unclear, based on Trump’s comments, if they were actually going to happen.
He has teetered between ripping China for alleged currency manipulation, intellectual property theft and trade disparities and declaring the prospects for a deal to be good in comments praising the communist country’s leadership.
‘Through massive devaluation of their currency and pumping vast sums of money into their system, the tens of billions of dollars that the U.S. is receiving is a gift from China. Prices not up, no inflation. Farmers getting more than China would be spending. Fake News won’t report!’ he said Tuesday morning.
Later, at a manufacturing event in Pennsylvania, the president said in an extended riff on China that it had ‘ripped off our country for years’ and taken advantage of World Trade Organization rules that allow the nation to be classified as a developing economy.
‘And I’m being nice when I say took advantage,’ he argued.
He recounted his threat to leave the WTO, unless it started adjudicating cases in his favor.
‘And it’s only because of attitude,’ he said of a change in behavior. ‘Because we know that they have been screwing us for years.’
He added, ‘And I’d like to use a different word but there’s no word that’s quite as descriptive.’
While he was on Air Force One in route to the Pennsylvania event, he’d claimed in a tweet that ‘many people’ are blaming him for the uprising in Hong Kong. ‘I can’t imagine why?’ he asked.
In another tweet, he said that images indicate that China’s putting troops on the border of the semi-autonomous district.
‘Our Intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!’
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, said in a retweet of the message: ‘This is not foreign policy.’
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned the Chinese Communist Party publicly not to ‘encroach on their autonomy and freed’ in Hong Kong and declared in a Monday tweet that ‘any violent crackdown would be completely unacceptable.’
Pelosi said in a statement that ‘escalating violence and use of force perpetrated against the Hong Kong protestors is extremely alarming’ and pro-Beijing forces in charge ‘must immediately cease the aggression and abuse being perpetrated against their own people.’
But Trump has not done the same, opting instead to encourage all parties to be ‘calm and safe’ in the Tuesday tweet and telling reporters in brief remarks on a New Jersey tarmac that he hopes it ‘works out for everybody.’
Riot police and protesters clashed at Hong Kong’s international airport on Tuesday after flights were disrupted for a second day as the political crisis in the administrative district of China deepened.
Amid chaotic scenes officers armed with pepper spray and swinging batons confronted the pro-democracy activists and a number of violent scuffles broke out, resulting in arrests.
At one stage demonstrators surrounded a policeman who had forced a protester to the floor, grabbed his baton from him and started attacking him, until he took out his gun and pointed it at them.
Enraged protesters also detained a man they suspected of being undercover agents, and tied one up with cable ties and beat him, before he was taken away by ambulance crews.
It came as Beijing made ominous declarations this week branding anti-extradition bill activists, in their 10th week as ‘mobsters’, as a military presence, including tanks, started to amass on the Chinese border, in the nearby city of Shenzhen, amid fears of a military crackdown.
Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader also warned that the demonstrators had pushed events onto a ‘path of no return’ and the area ‘risked being smashed to pieces, highlighting the hardening positions on both sides.
Trump told reporters just before he left Morristown for Pennsylvania in his first on-camera remarks on the Tuesday protests: ‘They have a very big problem with Hong Kong.’
‘The Hong Kong thing is a very tough situation. I hope it works out peacefully. I hope nobody gets hurt. I hope nobody gets killed,’ the president said.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Francesca Chambers