Trump Says He Has ‘Second Thoughts’ On Trade War With China, Aides Try To Clarify His Statements
On Sunday morning, during a breakfast with United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President Donald Trump was asked by reporters whether he felt he had gone too far regarding escalating tensions between the U.S. and China on the issue of trade.
Trump was directly asked whether he had second thoughts about the trade war and recent comments he made about retaliating against Beijing, the Washington Post reported.
“Yeah sure, why not,” Trump responded. He also added, “I have second thoughts about everything.”
Trump also implied he was going to back away from recent threats he made against American companies conducting business with China. Late last week, Trump announced that companies were “hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China,” the AP reported, citing an obscure law passed in 1977 that granted presidents emergency powers to make such declarations.
But Trump said on Sunday he has “no plans right now” to invoke that law.
Later in the day, the president’s aides sought to downplay his comments, arguing that his having second thoughts wasn’t about whether he should have escalated tensions but rather having regret over not going further to hit back at China.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow clarifies President Trump having second thoughts on escalating the trade war: “He actually had second thoughts about possibly a higher tariff response to China. So it was not to remove the tariff” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/9UgKplhrLI
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 25, 2019
“The president was asked if he had ‘any second thought on escalating the trade war with China,’” Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham explained. “His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President Trump responded in the affirmative — because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.”
The standoff between the United States and China resulted in markets closing hundreds of points lower on Friday afternoon. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, for instance, fell by more than 700 points, CNN reported, after Trump promised more retaliatory measures against Beijing, including possibly invoking the emergency declaration to restrict businesses from selling their goods to China.