Foreign Policy Trade

Is Trump Actually China’s Humble Lapdog?

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump appeared in front of reporters at the White House yesterday where he publicly called on China to investigate unspecified and probably non-existent allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden, but that was apparently not the first time he has attacked his political opponents during talks with China.

CNN reported last night that Trump privately attacked Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren as long ago as June.

And that's not all. Trump also reportedly pledged not to comment on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong while trade talks are ongoing.

The move startled Chinese officials, who say they have little interest in becoming embroiled in a US political controversy. And it amounted to the latest extraordinary effort by Trump to openly request political assistance from foreign governments.

Thursday's comments weren't the first time Trump has injected Biden into his relationship with China, though he said Thursday he has never pushed Xi to investigate the former vice president. [...]

During a phone call with Xi on June 18, Trump raised Biden's political prospects as well as those of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who by then had started rising in the polls, according to two people familiar with the discussion. In that call, Trump also told Xi he would remain quiet on Hong Kong protests as trade talks progressed.

More from CNN:

The remarkable pledge to the Chinese leader is a dramatic departure from decades of US support for human rights in China and shows just how eager Trump is to strike a deal with Beijing as the trade war weighs on the US economy.

And like other calls with the leaders of Ukraine, Russia and Saudi Arabia, records of Trump's call with Xi were moved to a highly-classified, codeword-protected system, greatly limiting the number of administration officials who were aware of the conversation.

There's so much going on here I wasn't sure where to start, but we can start with Trump's request that China help him get reelected.

China's foreign ministry responded to Trump's public request by saying Americans should solve their own damn problems, and they're right. China has internal problems of their own and the last thing they need is to be permanently wed to the legacy of a Trump regime that has done nothing but lie to the world.

Trump's ham-fisted request that China dig up dirt on Joe Biden may not be quite as insidious as his pledge to remain quiet on Hong Kong, however, as that will have repercussions for the entire world well into the future.

Trump's pledge to remain quiet on Hong Kong prompts me to ask just how much of China's recent purchases of American agriculture were actually bribes to keep America out of the conflict.

Whether or not we even should get involved in Hong Kong and what our position should be are questions for someone far more qualified than me to answer, but if we're not getting involved because the Chinese are buying off Trump -- that's something else entirely.

Democrats in Congress have a lot on their plate right now, but this should be investigated. A world in which you can buy off America's moral and legal leadership with politically-pleasing moves on trade is not a world I think any of us are going to enjoy living in.

If the ruling communist party of China can bribe the United States by buying a few tonnes of soybeans from Trump's political base of support, then many of our rhetorical positions of the last century are dead if Trump hasn't killed them already.

I can't help but laugh at the idea that Chinese officials know exactly what they're doing and how to manage Trump while he is just bumbling from one disaster to another.

  • muselet

    The move startled Chinese officials, who say they have little interest in becoming embroiled in a US political controversy.

    No foolin’?

    The Chinese government keeps expecting, like the rest of us, the Trump administration to behave like a normal American administration. After three decades of US pressure on human rights, it must come as a shock for a president to say, in effect, “Go ahead and do whatever you want to the protesters, I don’t care. Help get me reelected and we’re good.”

    What a genuinely horrible little man.

    –alopecia

  • Draxiar

    It’s Friday and I’ve had enough of this annoying orange for this week. To coin a phrase from NIN, “Bow down before the one you serve, you’re going to get what you deserve”. That means you trump…you serve us, not the other way around.

    • Tony Lavely

      Not in his mind, he doesn’t.

      • Draxiar

        I hope reality taps him on the shoulder and says, “Hi. We need to chat…”

  • gescove

    I was stunned by the report that Trump pledged to remain silent on the unrest in Hong Kong to grease the skids of the trade talks, such as they are. I know… should we be surprised by anything this orange buffoon does? Trump seems only too willing to let China “…buy off America’s moral and legal leadership with politically-pleasing moves on trade…” Impeach. Remove. Now!