The White House said Sunday that President Donald Trump’s statement about having some regrets over his trade war against China had been misunderstood as a softening of his position.
“The president was asked if he had ‘any second thought on escalating the trade war with China’. His answer has been greatly misinterpreted,” spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said.
“President Trump responded in the affirmative - because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.”
The statement came after earlier reports said Trump had second thoughts on escalating the trade war with China.
Trump, during a meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday at the Group of Seven summit, was asked whether he had “any second thoughts on escalating the trade war’ with China, after he announced higher tariffs late Friday.
“Yeah, sure, why not?’ Trump replied. Reporters asked again whether he had second thoughts. “Might as well, might as well,’ he replied, before reporters asked again.
“I have second thoughts about everything,’ he said.
Trump has seen his poll numbers sag ahead of his 2020 re-election bid, as consumers sour on his aggressive trade stance against China. Trump has bet his re-election chances on a strong economy, and with fears of recession growing among some economists, has insisted fears of an economic slowdown are overblown.
Trump was also asked whether allied nations at the summit were pressing him to give up on the trade war. “No, not at all, I haven’t heard that at all,” he replied.
But later, Johnson nudged him to do just that. “Just to register the faint, sheep-like note of our view on the trade war, we’re in favor of trade peace on the whole, and dialing it down a beat,” Johnson said.