As US president Donald Trump comes out of confinement and America reopens its economy, one thing becomes increasingly clear; Trump has his sights set on the November elections. If you think about it, it’s hardly surprising. His response to the coronavirus pandemic has seen him lose popularity and fast, even amongst Republicans.
That being said, Trump seems to relying on a tried and tested method of playing on fear in order to win the peoples vote. In Trump’s world, in spite of all the ridiculous things he’s said over the past couple of months, none of this is really his fault. The president seems to have found his scapegoat for the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s none other than China
Don’t get me wrong, Trump has long had his sights set on making China seem like the cause for everything thats wrong with the world, but with the coronavirus pandemic effectively bringing world economies to a grinding halt, Trump has ramped up his anti-China sentiments.
According to officials familiar with the issue, the Trump administration is “turbocharging” efforts at removing global industry supply chains from China as it weighs a brand new slate of tariffs to make Beijing pay for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
It seems that part of this plan is to terminate the phase one trade deal between the countries should China fail to fulfil its promise to buy US$200 billion more in American goods and services. This is big, and could send US and China relations back a few years.
The phase one deal somewhat put a halt to the trade war between the US and China and saw threatened tariffs on around US$155 billion worth of Chinese imports disappear, along with tariffs halved to 7.5 percent on an additional US$120 billion in goods. China in exchange, pledged to buy at least US$200 billion more in American goods and services than it did in 2017 over two years.
During a virtual town hall on Sunday, Trump had some pretty choice words for China.
“We’re going to have to see what’s going on (with the purchases) because of what happened,” said Trump. “They took advantage of our country. Now they have to buy and, if they don’t buy, we will terminate the deal. Very simple.”
On the question about the origin of the coronavirus, Trump said “Personally I think [China] made a horrible mistake. They tried to cover it up. It’s really like [they were] trying to put out a fire. They couldn’t put out the fire.”
As you might expect, China’s ability to commit to the trade deal is seriously under question, with many speculating that the coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for China to make the purchases. You’d think Trump would offer some sort of reprieve given the circumstances, but hey.. he needs a scapegoat.
Plus, he seems pretty serious in his conviction that the virus originated from a lab in Wuhan so, I for one, can’t wait for the evidence. Nothing like a conspiracy theory turning out to be true, right?