China, the Great Equalizer: Chuck Schumer Backs Donald Trump in China Trade Talk Escalation

In this Sept. 6, 2017 photo, President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schum
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer backed President Donald Trump on the China trade talks this weekend as negotiations between the United States and the Chinese escalated in the wake of the president’s announced increased tariffs on Chinese imports.

Schumer, the Democrat leader in the Senate, backing the Republican president–Trump–on anything in this hyper-partisan era is significant. That Schumer is backing Trump on standing up to the Chinese with more tariffs is even more significant, as it is perhaps one of Trump’s core issues he campaigned on and has been governing on–not some sideshow issue that sometimes finds unlikely pairings on the political poles.

President Trump announced during the weekend that on Friday, his administration will hike tariffs to 25 percent on certain Chinese imports and that the rest of Chinese imports that remain untaxed for now will be at the 25 percent rate soon:

This comes after the Chinese sought and received a 90-day delay late last year in the increase in the tariffs as trade negotiations played out. That 90 days were up at the end of March, but the Chinese still have not finalized an agreement with American officials regarding trade policy–and it does not appear, despite initial reports to the contrary, that a deal is likely. The Chinese were going to send a senior delegation to Washington from Beijing this week, but now, reports suggest that may not happen, either.

So, as Trump is sticking it to Beijing even harder than he already has, it is perhaps fitting that he is winning approval for the move from the leader of the opposition party in the U.S. Senate. But it is also not surprising that Schumer, a top Democrat, would stand with Trump on China; China has been a bipartisan issue for a while.

In fact, on a recent trip Breitbart News went on to Taiwan for the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act–which established deep unofficial ties between the United States and Taiwan after President Jimmy Carter in 1979 switched official diplomatic relations to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on the mainland–a number of Democrats and Republicans were there. Former House Speaker Paul Ryan was accompanied by Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), a Republican, as well as Democrat Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Salud Carbajal (D-CA), among others.

Also, Democrat Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA)–in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News on building a bipartisan anti-establishment coalition on ending the U.S.’s endless wars around the globe–detailed how China is America’s greatest strategic competitor.

“Our biggest competitor in my view is probably China in terms of who’s going to win the 21st century,” Khanna said. “Is it going to be a free enterprise democracy with America, or is it going to be an authoritarian country like China? China has not been in a war since 1979. They are putting all their resources into building goodwill with other countries and into developing their airports, their bridges, their universities, their artificial intelligence. Why are we involved in wars that are not winnable that are costing us resources that are strategic in winning the 21st century? Instead of all the trillions of dollars that we have spent on these wars, imagine if we built our infrastructure, if we invested in our people, if we helped build our country to make sure that we win in the 21st century. I think that is a message that every American, regardless of whether you voted for President Trump or whether you voted for a Democratic member of Congress, can get behind because it’s for the national purpose, and when it comes to winning in the 21st century, I think we’re all on the same team.”

They are hardly alone on the left regarding China. George Soros, a left-wing billionaire, for instance, has spoken out loudly against China, saying in January that the U.S. and China are in a “cold war that could soon turn into a hot one.”

But while Soros was in agreement on the threat of the Chinese, back then, he was critical of Trump’s approach to China. From CNBC’s report in January:

Referencing Trump’s decision to label China as a “strategic” competitor in late 2017, Soros said this approach was “too simplistic.”

“An effective policy towards China can’t be reduced to a slogan. It needs to be far more sophisticated, detailed and practical; and it must include an American economic response to the Belt and Road Initiative,” he said.

Soros, a major Democratic donor and critic of President Donald Trump, was speaking at a private dinner at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

That is perhaps what makes Schumer’s praise for Trump’s latest China moves even more significant–for a Democrat leader to come out and now start working alongside Trump in his approach to the Chinese, rather than simply rhetorically agreeing on the threat, a nice-sounding political talking point that gets the United States exactly nowhere, is a big new development that only serves to strengthen Trump’s hand as Wall Street freaks out over the tariff hikes.


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