White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly admitted that China had beaten the United States significantly on trade but that President Donald Trump was committed to changing the relationship.
“They’ve beat us pretty badly in terms of trade. That doesn’t make them an enemy. … They probably in many ways have been smarter in terms of business and trade,” Kelly said in an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham.
In 2016, the trade deficit with China was $309.6 billion. Kelly indicated that the Chinese were shrewd in their trade relationship with the United States but that the United States was to blame.
“Whose fault is that? I mean, that’s our fault,” Kelly said. “My hats off to them for taking advantage of whatever they’ve been able to take advantage of to have that trade relationship.”
Kelly said Trump was committed to changing the trade relationship with China but suggested that it would be through diplomatic efforts.
“President Trump is committed to changing that on a collegial basis,” he said.
Kelly said that the United States would continue a productive relationship with China, despite their differences.
He noted that although it was difficult for Americans to imagine life in a communist country, it was not up to the United States to “pass judgment” on the foreign regime.
“I think working with people no matter who they are is better than not talking to them,” Kelly said. “They have a system of government that has apparently worked for the Chinese people.”