PALM BEACH — When he wasn’t slamming Mexican “rapists” or “Crooked” Hillary Clinton, some of Donald Trump‘s toughest talk as a 2016 presidential candidate was aimed at China.
Trump has toned down his China rhetoric a little as president.
But with his underlying criticism of China’s trade policies, Trump is predicting a “very difficult” summit next week when he hosts Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago.
Here’s a look at some of Trump’s positions on China over the years:
TIANANMEN SQUARE: “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak … as being spit on by the rest of the world.” (Playboy interview, 1990)
GLOBAL WARMING: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” (Twitter, Nov. 6, 2012)
CURRENCY MANIPULATION: “On day one of a Trump administration, the U.S. Treasury Department will designate China a currency manipulator.” (Wall Street Journal column, Nov. 9, 2015)
TRADE POLICY: “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,” (Fort Wayne, Ind., campaign rally, May 1, 2016)
45% TARIFF THREAT: “We can’t get into China. I have the best people, manufacturers, they can’t get in. When they get in, they have to pay a tremendous tax. The 45 percent is a threat that if they don’t behave, if they don’t follow the rules and regulations so that we can have it equal on both sides, we will tax you.” (Miami GOP debate, March 10, 2016)
NORTH KOREA: “China, they don’t like to tell us but they have total control — just about, of North Korea. They can solve the problem of North Korea if they wanted to but they taunt us. They say, ‘well, we don’t really have control.’ Without China, North Korea doesn’t even eat.” (South Carolina GOP debate, Jan. 15, 2016)
SOUTH CHINA SEA: “To ensure the security of the nation and our investments, we will build the military we need to contain China’s overreach in the Pacific Rim and the South China Sea,” (Wall Street Journal column, Nov. 9, 2015)