It’s fair to say that Donald Trump has long had an issue with China. One of his pet words used an awful lot in his run up to the 2016 election. Along with “wall”, “fake”, “great”, “crooked” and unsurprisingly, “Trump.” Playing Hangman with this guy must be a doddle.
His Presidential election campaign allowed Trump to come out with some real nationalistic, chest-thumping doozies about China. Try this one from the campaign trail in Fort Wayne, Indiana in May 2016:
We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country and that’s what they’re doing. It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world.
Campaigning also often saw Trump bring up alleged Chinese currency manipulation and industrial espionage for extra effect. Raw, unadulterated, economic-nationalism dressed up as promising to protect “real” American interests, all done with the ostentatious showmanship of a “B-list” reality TV show star.
This was all being laid out for all to see. While we are all experts on the past, the future is a much more difficult gig. That is until you get inside the chaotic-yet-somehow-depressingly-predictable world of Donald Trump’s head. Fortune cookies really aren’t needed when it comes down to this guy. It’s all there in The Art of The Deal, Twitter or whatever talk show Trump happened to float to the surface on, especially so throughout Obama’s second term.
Fast forward nearly two years from the Fort Wayne “rape and theft” pleasantries, and in response to now President Trump’s tariffs on imported Chinese steel and aluminum entering the USA, Beijing has, surprise-surprise, hit back. A range of tariffs now applied to 128 American products entering China.
Almost immediately, American producers hit by the tariffs started to worry (let alone Wall Street which took another Trump inspired battering.) One of the 128 commodities being singled out by Beijing is American pork, with a 25% hit being applied. China’s a huge market for American producers and now you’ve got an awful lot of Chinese consumers potentially looking elsewhere for their pork-needs.
Here’s Brian Duncan, an Illinois pig farmer and vice president of the Illinois Farm Bureau, responding to the new Chinese tariffs:
We were hoping it was just brinkmanship and cooler heads would prevail. But instead, some of our worst fears seem to be coming true. This is significant, real and serious for rural America.
Chicago Tribune: [4/2/18]
That will be the same rural America that voted in droves for Trump. Somewhere, deep in the agricultural heart-land of the MAGA Republican red, some uncomfortable, perplexed realizations are now being exchanged over the breakfast table or the garden fence – that Trump’s long-held obsessions come with real, right here, right now, risk.
This is Trump’s binary “us and them” world in all its rotten glory. Or put another way, an alleged billionaire, highly suspect property dealer from New York, with a gold toilet to his name and a penchant for litigation and porn stars, is going to struggle to relate to the needs of your average US pig farmer from Illinois. If that same farmer gets caught up in a trade-war cross-fire, meh, America’s still being made “great” again. And there are red baseball caps to prove it.
How could we have foreseen anything else with Trump?
- Trump: The Anti-Santa - August 1, 2018
- Trump’s Kruel Komedy Klub - June 22, 2018
- From Russia With Animosity - June 10, 2018
- Phone Gymnastics: How Trump Keeps the GOP So Flexible (VIDEO) - May 24, 2018
- Our China Syndrome President - May 13, 2018
- Twenty Questions, Donald Trump Style - April 29, 2018
- Dreary Donald - April 19, 2018
- The Ghost of Mad King George and the “Militia” Amendment - April 7, 2018
- American-Chinese Tariff War: Fortune Cookies Not Required - April 5, 2018