- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 12, 2019

Two presidential hopefuls slammed President Trump for his approach to dealing with China, saying it doesn’t appear he has a serious strategy.

Sen. Kamala D. Harris said it was “irresponsible” for Mr. Trump to essentially conduct foreign policy on a whim via Twitter, without working together with allies to counteract China.

“The president and his administration have failed to realize we’re stronger when we work with our allies on every issue — China included,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Rep. Seth Moulton, who entered the presidential race last month, said the U.S. “absolutely” needs to be tougher on China in regards to trade and national security.

“They are stealing American ideas and American military secrets through the internet every single day,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I don’t think this administration has a strategy. They don’t have any sense of urgency. And they clearly don’t know what this means to American families.”

While he noted that tariffs should be on the table as part of a “comprehensive strategy,” like Ms. Harris, Mr. Moulton argued the U.S. needs to coordinate with allies to contain China’s growth.

On Friday, Mr. Trump raised tariffs from 10% to 25% on $200 billion of Chinese imports, ramping up escalations in trade war that appeared to be subsiding as a negotiators worked towards a deal.

“The relationship between President Xi [Jinping] and myself remains a very strong one, and conversations into the future will continue,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “In the meantime, the United States has imposed Tariffs on China, which may or may not be removed depending on what happens with respect to future negotiations!”

Larry Kudlow, the president’s economic adviser, said the problem was that China tried to backtrack two weeks ago, but there are “probably really good” chances that Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi will meet at the G-20 summit.

“Things seemed to be taking too long, and we can’t accept any backtracking,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We don’t think the Chinese have come far enough, we will wait and see. The talks will continue.”

Republican Sen. Rand Paul also had concerns about the president’s strategy, warning that it could undo all the economic growth created by the GOP tax plan.

“We’re in the middle of this and the president is playing a negotiating battle with the Chinese and I think he feels that at this point they can’t really back out,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “Get this done because the longer we’re involved in a tariff battle or a trade war, the better chance there is that we could actually enter in a recession.”

Mr. Kudlow acknowledged that Americans will feel the brunt of consequences from the tariffs, in having to pay high taxes on Chinese goods.

“The Chinese will suffer GPD losses,” he said. “Again both sides will suffer on this.”

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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