Date
18 August 2018
US President Donald Trump believes that intensifying his trade war against China means delivering his election promise of creating more jobs for Americans. Photo: Reuters
US President Donald Trump believes that intensifying his trade war against China means delivering his election promise of creating more jobs for Americans. Photo: Reuters

Trump won’t give up ‘China card’ as he seeks re-election

US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have just concluded their much-awaited summit in Helsinki, Finland. Earlier on, the US Justice Department indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for allegedly hacking the emails of senior Democrats during the 2016 US presidential election.

The justice department said the hacking could have been intended to meddle with the election.

But the White House has shrugged off the justice department’s move, stressing that the charges don’t include any allegations that anyone on Trump’s campaign team colluded with Moscow, nor do they indicate that the alleged Russian cyber-attacks affected the election results.

In the meantime, during his visit to Britain before attending the Helsinki summit, Trump officially declared his intention to seek a second term in 2020 in an interview with the Mail on Sunday newspaper, claiming that he can’t see any Democratic hopeful who can beat him.

Given what he said, it is expected that over the course of the next two years, Trump is very likely to step up his efforts at consolidating his support base and pleasing American voters in order to pull off another miracle like he did in 2016.

And what is noteworthy is that according to the latest results of the All-America Economic Survey, Trump’s current approval rating stands at over 50 percent, suggesting that many Americans are satisfied with his overall performance as president and are in favor of his economic policies.

Given his relatively high popularity and his intense eagerness to get re-elected, it would probably be a logical inference that Trump is unlikely to relent in his ongoing trade war against China in the days ahead even if it would certainly draw retaliation from Beijing.

From Trump’s point of view, intensifying the trade war with China simply means delivering his election promise of creating more jobs for the Americans.

As such, there is no way he would give up the “China card” if he is really serious about getting re-elected.

After all, the trade war is intended as nothing more than just a tool to serve Trump’s political agenda: to show the American people that he is determined to go to any lengths, including risking rupture with China and even traditional US allies, in order to save their jobs.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 16

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal

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