Mayor Pete Buttigieg criticized President Donald Trump’s handling of the China trade battle on Monday, accusing him of needlessly provoking one of the “most strategic countries ever.”
“If you’re going to deal with an actor like China, one of the largest and one of the most strategic countries ever to come on the world stage, you’d better really know what you’re doing,” Buttigieg said in an interview with theSkimm, responding to Trump’s trade policies.
Buttigieg noted China worked with 20-year plans for their political and economic strategies.
“I’m not sure this president thinks beyond his next tweet and it shows in our policies,” Buttigieg said.
Trump worked with his team for months on trade negotiations with China, led by United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Trump’s tariff threats brought China to the negotiating table, and he even delayed additional tariffs at China’s request to work out a deal. Despite progress in the talks, China last week abruptly walked back the framework for a deal, prompting Trump to level additional tariffs.
Buttigieg acknowledged though that there was unfair trade happening with China and said that the country was manipulating their currency and stealing intellectual property.
He said that Trump’s tariffs, however, were not a good way to negotiate.
“There has to be some sense that we’re going to come to the table and negotiate something better, not just lobbing tariffs over the fence, sometimes, from what I can tell, without much of a game plan, and hoping that that’ll do anything than make them mad and inviting them to hit back,” he said.