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3(a) The following are excerpts from an AFP report dated September 18, 2018 under the headline "Trump Accuses China Of Election Meddling In Trade War".|
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused China of seeking to influence knife-edge midterm congressional elections, by taking aim at his political support base in the economic giants’ rapidly escalating trade war....
In a combative series of tweets Trump, whose Republicans fear losing control of both houses of Congress in November, accused China of trying to broaden its retaliation into the electoral arena....
“China has openly stated that they are actively trying to impact and change our election by attacking our farmers, ranchers, and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me,” Trump wrote.
“China has been taking advantage of the United States on Trade for many years. They also know that I am the one that knows how to stop it,” he added.
“There will be great and fast economic retaliation against China if our farmers, ranchers and/or industrial workers are targeted!”
It was not clear what open statements by China — if any — Trump was referring to.
However, Beijing’s previous tariffs did target major US agricultural products like pork and soybeans. That hurt soybean powerhouse states like Illinois, Kansas, and Minnesota, which are all toss-ups in the November House races.
Recent NBC News/Marist polls have also found that the trade war — a pillar of Trump’s presidency — is unpopular in six politically important states: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas....
While officials said the impact on the US economy has been minimal, firms across the country have reported lost business, layoffs and possible bankruptcies as input costs rise.... (End excerpts)
3(b) The following are excerpts from an AFP report dated September 18, 2018 under the headline "Trump accuses China of trying to ‘impact’ US election with trade war".
Washington (AFP) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused China of seeking to influence upcoming US elections by taking aim at his political support base in the countries’ escalating trade war...
As Trump has pursued his confrontation trade policy, China, Canada, Mexico and the European Union have all fought back, and have targeted goods seen as hitting areas loyal to Trump, including soybeans, bourbon, and blue jeans... (End excerpts)
3(c) Let look at the initial "timeline of the US and China trade war at digitalcommerce360dotcom.
January 22, 2018: US imposed safeguard tariffs on washing machine and solar cell imports. While much of these imports didn’t come from China, the statement made clear that Chinese dominance of the global supply chain was a concern.
March 9, 2018: Trump signed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from all nations, including China.
April 2, 2018: China said it would start levying tariffs on $3 billion of U.S. imports including fresh fruits, nuts, wine and pork. Early April, Liu told other officials that trade talks between the two parties broke down after the U.S. demanded that China curtail support for high-technology industries. Beijing had offered to cut the bilateral trade deficit by $50 billion.
(i) Despite the Republicans' opposition, Trump pressed ahead with his trade war. As usual, when something goes wrong, Trump the "blame king" would look for a scapegoat.
Given that he is the one to impose the tariffs first, it is laughable for him to accuse China of starting the trade war in order to meddle with the US November election.
(ii) Trump has never made efforts to prove his accusation against his adversary. Hence it is not surprising he could not prove any open statements by China that "they are actively trying to impact and change US election by attacking its farmers, ranchers, and industrial workers because of their loyalty to him".
According to Tony Schwartz who regretted ghostwriting for Donald Trump, "Lying is second nature to him. More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true.”
(iii) One can only wonder why he did not make the same accusation when China targeted the US farm economy in the first round of trade war with the US on April 4 this year.
(iv) One may wonder why Trump only singled out China as the scapegoat for his fresh accusation when other countries like Canada, Mexico and the European Union are also targeting the US farm economy in their trade wars with the US
Earlier in the week, Trump seemed to be very optimistic, even boasting: "It will be a lot of money coming into the coffers of the United States." Suddenly his mood seemed to change from optimism to pessimism, even desperation. One can only wonder he has discovered to his horror that his latest round of trade war against China is beginning to impact the wallets of more Americans, even those living far beyond the borders of the agricultural states.
In conclusion, Trump should realise that the US farming economy is his Achilles heel in the trade war. To avoid meeting his Waterloo, he should reverse course at once back to the pre-trade war situation.