Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) blasted President Trump for “treating China with kid gloves” and refusing to blame Beijing’s trade abuses for the massive trade deficit between the United States and China.
Schumer issued a statement Thursday condemning comments Trump made that afternoon at a business event in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping, in which Trump placed responsibility for the U.S-China trade imbalance on the policies of past American administrations, rather than on China’s exploitative trade practices.
“The president may not blame China, but I do, and so do millions of Americans who voted for him and others who have lost their jobs at the hands of China’s rapacious trade policies,” Schumer said.
“After campaigning like a lion against China’s trade practices, the president is governing like a lamb. Rather than treating China with kid gloves, the president should be much tougher with China — as he promised he would be on the campaign trail,” his statement concluded.
In his remarks in Beijing, Trump noted the “one-sided and unfair” trade deficit between the two countries. However, he was quick to add, “But I don’t blame China” – a statement the Chinese audience applauded.
Trump added, “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.”
“But, in actuality, I do blame past administrations for allowing this out-of-control trade deficit to take place and to grow,” Trump continued. “We have to fix this because it just doesn’t work for our great American companies, and it doesn’t work for our great American workers. It is just not sustainable. I look forward to working toward that goal and to pursuing fair and lasting engagement.”
Trump also noted that both countries “will have a more prosperous future if we can achieve a more level playing field.”
Despite Schumer’s current concern with China’s trade abuses, the New York senator voted with the Clinton administration in 2000 to extend permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status to China.