President Donald Trump campaigned for office boasting that he was a hardball negotiator who knows how to make great deals. On the campaign trail in 2016, he spoke specifically of how the United States is getting “ripped off” by China, something he vowed would not happen under a Trump presidency.
Flash forward to today. According to the Washington Post, the president made major concessions to China in return for partially lifting a trade war that he himself started — and his own party is demanding answers on why he caved.
In a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump agreed to delay the tariffs he put on the nation’s goods — something that has been gravely threatening U.S. farmers — and to ease business restrictions on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, a firm that he himself previously referred to as a national security threat. In return, China has reportedly agreed to a future round of trade talks, but is not giving up anything concrete.
The Post notes that several Republicans are angry at the president’s total reversal behind closed doors. “We need less Huawei, not more Huawei,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) called Trump’s deal “extremely troubling” and “It didn’t make much sense to me, because if we’re treating them as a national security threat, we shouldn’t deal with them, period.” Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) warned that the Senate GOP may override him, saying that “we will have to get those restrictions [on Huawei] put back in place through legislation,” and it would “pass with a large veto-proof majority.”
For all of Trump’s bluster, most of his accomplishments on foreign policy involve walking back positions that he previously held. And his Republican allies are starting to take notice.