Chinese President Xi Jinping will be paying a visit to Mar-a-Lago in April for his first ever meeting with US President Donald Trump, White House officials confirmed on Monday.
How that meeting will go is anyone’s guess. On the campaign trail, Trump made a habit of regularly bashing China for stealing American jobs, manipulating its currency, and just generally “raping” America. Since taking office, he’s been notably more quiet on his once favorite subject.
It will be especially interesting to see what’s on the menu at Trump’s West Palm Beach resort which he refers to as the “winter Winter House.” During Xi’s visit to Washington in 2015, Trump said that the Chinese president should be given “a double sized Big Mac” instead of state dinner, having this exchange with Bill O’Reilly:
Trump: I would not be throwing him a dinner, we’ve had this conversation. I would get him a McDonald’s hamburger and say ‘You will get down to work because you can’t continue to devalue.’ You know, we will give him a state dinner and what he has done is sucked all of our jobs and he has sucked the money right out of our country.
O’Reilly: Again, he hasn’t done it. U.S. companies do it. They’re doing it.
Trump: No, it’s our system.
O’Reilly: So, you would be confrontational with the Chinese? You are saying look,’I’m not giving you a dinner, here is a Big Mac’? Is that what you are going to do?
Trump: I would give them probably a double sized Big Mac. Look, it’s not so much the companies. It’s our government that allowed China to do that to us.
O’Reilly: I don’t buy that for a second.
Trump: I do 100%, Bill.
While Trump had vowed to declare China a currency manipulator on his first day in office, he has yet to follow through on that campaign promise. However, Trump claims that this doesn’t mean that he is holding back against China’s dastardly currency manipulating ways.
“Well they, I think they’re grand champions at manipulation of currency. So I haven’t held back,” Trump told Reuters last month. “We’ll see what happens.”
Trump took his time in making his first phone call to Xi which finally occurred on February 10th, and was reportedly “extremely cordial.” During the call, Trump agreed to honor the “one China” policy, vowing to maintain the status quo he had previously threatened to shake up in pursuit of trade concessions.
Prior to his inauguration, Trump infuriated China by speaking with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen over the phone, breaking with long-standing US diplomatic protocol. Later, the then president-elect doubled-down by stating that the “one China” policy was up for negotiation, seeming to forecast his intentions to use the policy as a bargaining chip to make a better deal with China over economic issues.
“I fully understand the “one China” policy, but I don’t know why we have to be bound by a “one China” policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” Trump said on Fox News Sunday in December.
When asked later in February if Trump got something for agreeing to honor the “one China” policy, press secretary Sean Spicer told Politco that “The president always gets something.” But, it’s still not clear what that something was.
Though perhaps Trump was able to get Xi to agree to meet with some of his high-paying Mar-a-Lago club members. When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the resort last month, Trump took him over to meet a pair of longtime members who had paid him “a fortune” over the years and were now getting married.
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