Noted sinophile and US presidential hopeful Donald Trump has got himself in a bit of trouble yet again while speaking candidly on one of his favorite topics, calling the Tiananmen protests of 1989 a “riot” that was put down by a “strong powerful government.”
The remarks came during Thursday evening’s CNN Republican debate. Referencing Trump’s apparent affection for authoritarianism, moderator Jake Tapper brought up a 1990 interview that The Donald did with Playboy Magazine, in which he is quoted as saying:
When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.
After hearing the quote, Donald responded: “That doesn’t mean I was endorsing that… I said, that is a strong powerful government that put it down. They kept down the riot, it was a horrible thing.”
Trump was then asked if by using the word “strong” he wasn’t really complimenting Chinese leaders and Putin for their hard-line actions. “Strong doesn’t mean good,” he shot back. “I don’t say that in a good or a bad way, I say it as a fact.”
Another presidential hopeful, Ohio Governor John Kasich took the opportunity to offer up his own take on the events of June 4th, 1989:
The Chinese government butchered those kids. And when that young man stood in front of that tank; we ought to build a statue of him over here when he faced down the Chinese government.
Surprisingly, Texas Senator Ted Cruz did not then boast about his plan to change the Chinese Embassy’s address in Washington to 1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza.
Watch the video here:
— CNN International (@cnni) March 11, 2016