Stocks shot up this morning after Trump claimed that China's top trade officials called their American counterparts and expressed a desire to make a deal, but it looks like that call never happened.
Chinese state-run media and the Chinese foreign ministry both denied that anything out of the ordinary took place.
Hu Xijin is the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a tabloid under the People's Daily, which is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China. [...]
Hu said the two sides did not hold phone talks recently, adding that Trump is exaggerating the significance of the "technical level" contacts.
"The two sides have been keeping contact at technical level, it doesn't have significance that President Trump suggested," he said in a tweet on Monday. "China won't cave to U.S. pressure."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang also said he was not aware that a phone call between the two sides had taken place.
I can think of few things more insulting and likely to backfire than trying to put words in the mouths of the Chinese government.
Trump said China placed the call because they've been "hurt very badly" and that their willingness to make a deal is a "very positive development for the world," but there is no deal. There was no call. There's no "development." There's nothing. Trump just announced higher tariffs on Chinese goods three days ago.
A lie like this is conjured when Trump wants to play all sides of the issue by appearing as both the villain and the savior; by implying that he has pressured China into submission and will be responsible for graciously saving them from themselves.
In his trade war with China, this is an escalation of Trump's long habit of lying about basic facts and empirical reality.