US President Donald Trump has credited himself with stopping China from manipulating its currency — even as everyone else agrees that the change took place before Trump even descended on his escalator inside Trump Tower to begin his campaign in 2015.
During that successful presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to label China as a currency manipulator on his first day in office. Following his 100th day in office, Trump told “Face the Nation” that he had not done so because once he became president, China stopped manipulating its currency:
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, your show. I love your show. I call it Deface the Nation. But, you know, your show is sometimes not exactly correct. But when they talk about currency manipulation, and I did say I would call China, if they were, a currency manipulator, early in my tenure. And then I get there. Number one, they — as soon as I got elected, they stopped. They’re not — it’s not going down anymore, their currency.
JOHN DICKERSON: But that had been true before. That had been true–
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No.
JOHN DICKERSON: –during the campaign, sir.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, not true to the extent that we’re talking about. Much more important than that, as to when, but, you know, it did stop. And I was talking about it all during the campaign. And I would say that I was the one that got them to stop. But forget that.
JOHN DICKERSON: You were the one who got China–
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: He is working with us–
JOHN DICKERSON: –to stop manipulating their currency?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think so, during the campaign I talked about.
JOHN DICKERSON: Even if they were doing it before?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, they were doing it before. I mean, there was no question. I mean, they were absolute currency manipulators before.
In fact, in an April 2nd interview with the Financial Times, Trump said that the Chinese were the “world champions” of currency manipulation, repeating a claim he had also made in February, when he told Reuters that “I think they’re grand champions at manipulation of currency.”
However, Trump abruptly changed his tune on the issue after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida later in April. In a flip-flopping Wall Street Journal interview following the summit, Trump said that China was not manipulating its currency and brushed aside the idea that he would label China a currency manipulator while it was helping to resolve the North Korea crisis.
In his interview with “Face the Nation,” Trump reinterred this talking point, saying that a deal on North Korea was more important than better trade deals with China. “Can you imagine if I say, ‘Hey, by the way, how are you doing with North Korea? Also, we’re going to announce that you’re a currency manipulator tomorrow.’ So the mainstream media never talks about that. They never say that. And that’s, you know, unfortunate. It’s just… it’s just one of many things, John,” Trump said.
Trump’s flip-flop on the issue finally brings him in line with his own cabinet members, experts and reality on the issue. Previously, Trump had long charged Beijing with artificially keeping the value of the renminbi low in order to hurt American manufactures. Trump stuck with this conviction, even as data, the International Monetary Fund and the US Treasury Department said that it was false with most experts believing that China is in fact manipulating the yuan up, not down — and has been doing so for the last couple of years.
Claim is 100% false
-If Trump knows and still says it, bad. Plain old lie
-If he imagines it’s true, worse. Ignorance / confusion/ delusion https://t.co/EstyQ0v0ro
— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) April 30, 2017
At the beginning of the interview, Trump also took the time to further praise his new BFF Xi Jinping. “And I will tell you, a man that I’ve gotten to like and respect, the president of China,” Trump said. “The relationship I have with China, it’s been already acclaimed as being something very special, something very different than we’ve ever had. But again, you know, we’ll find out whether or not President Xi is able to affect change.”
China came up once more during the interview as Trump continued to doubt his own intelligence community’s finding that Russia was behind the DNC hack. “Number two, knowing something about hacking, if you don’t catch a hacker, okay, in the act, it’s very hard to say who did the hacking,” Trump said. “With that being said, I’ll go along with Russia. Could’ve been China, could’ve been a lot of different groups.”
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