Donald Trump’s visit to Asia has been one of the most “embarrassing” foreign trips taken by a United States president as he could not demand concessions from China on trade and failed to highlight Beijing’s “unfair” trade practices, a senior Democrat leader has alleged.
Trump, who is on a two-week visit to Asia, said in China that he felt US-Chinese trade relations were “very unfair and one-sided”. But he blamed his own predecessors rather than China for the uneven dynamic.
The comments by Trump stands in stark contrast to his previous rhetoric on the campaign trail, where he singled out China as the world’s greatest threat to American workers.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called Trump’s Asia visit “embarrassing”, asserting that the president is not ready for “primetime”.
“Without exaggeration, the president’s trip to Asia has been one of the most embarrassing foreign trips a president has taken in my memory. It shows that when it comes to foreign policy, President Trump is not ready for primetime,” Schumer said on the Senate floor.
Trump’s five-nation tour of Asia include stops in Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. He would return to the White House on Tuesday.
After a campaign in which he routinely criticised China, for rapacious trading practices that have stolen American jobs and depressed American wages, Trump went to China and gave them a get-out-of-jail-free card, the Democratic Senator alleged.
“Instead of speaking sternly and truthfully to the Chinese leaders about the realities of our imbalanced and unfair trade system, where we play by the rules, and they do not -- we lose jobs, they gain them -- President Trump tried to appease the Chinese and their leader,” he said.
“Instead of demanding concessions on trade; instead of demanding the same equal access to markets we provide to Chinese firms; instead of addressing the sordid history of intellectual property theft and extortion; Trump was eager to let China off the hook -- to say it was not their fault,” but rather the failure of American presidents, he charged.
“If he keeps this approach up with a growing economic power like China, Trump will be the author of a new international reality: America Second,” Schumer said.
Schumer alleged that after eight years of Republicans questioning former president Barack Obama’s toughness with foreign leaders it seems that Trump, not Obama, is the one who’s afraid to take on America’s adversaries.
“For the steelworker in Ohio or upstate New York, whose job is on the line because China is dumping cheap steel and aluminium into our markets, that’s not good enough. For every American concerned about the sanctity of our elections, that’s not good enough,” he said.