It has been less than a week since Trump said he would immediately impose tariffs on an additional $300 billion Chinese goods if Chinese President Xi Jinping does not meet with him at the G-20 summit in Japan later this month, but today's message is completely different.
Trump now says it "doesn't matter" if President Jinping even attends the G-20 summit.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday “it doesn’t matter” if Chinese leader Xi Jinping attends the Group of 20 summit later this month, predicting a trade deal with Beijing would occur at some point anyway.
“We’re going to see. Eventually they’re going to make a deal,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News Channel.
I know we're all used to Trump flipping and flopping on a daily if not hourly basis, but this is wild even for him. To go from implying that a meeting is the most important thing in the world to saying it "doesn't matter" is enough to give anyone whiplash.
It's impossible to say if this is an indication that Trump has already decided to impose more tariffs, or if this is an indication that he's backing down. He could even resume his previous stance tomorrow. Who knows?
Trump also told Fox News that China is "manipulating their currency in order to pay for" his tariffs, which is obviously a fantasy. That's not how anything works. American businesses and consumers are paying for his tariffs. It's a tax on Americans.