President Trump said Monday that a trade deal with China was “95 percent” complete before Chinese officials pulled the plug, prompting him to double down on his trade war with the world’s second-largest economy.
The president believed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had cut a deal until the Chinese officials told them no.
“We had a deal with China. It was 95 percent there, and then my representatives as you know, Secretary Mnuchin and Bob Lighthizer, they went to China [and] were told the things fully agreed to we’re not going to get anymore. They’re going to unagree to them. That’s not unacceptable. I said that’s fine, put on the tariffs,” Trump said, appearing at the White House with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
The president also said the US was in a great negotiating position — even though the Dow dropped more than 700 points during the early afternoon after the Chinese imposed retaliatory tariffs.
And he repeated his argument that his tariffs resulted in billions of dollars filling the US government’s coffers — a position his own top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, acknowledged was misleading a day earlier, admitting that US consumers and businesses bore the brunt of the cost.