Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday that President Trump is “as determined as ever” in the ongoing trade war with China after Trump suggested he had regrets about escalating the standoff in comments the White House insists were misinterpreted.
“The president is determined to have fair and reciprocal trade,” Mnuchin, speaking from the Group of Seven (G-7) Summit in France, told Fox’s Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “He’s as determined as ever on this issue, he wants a good deal.”
The article goes on to state the following:
“Yeah, sure. Why not?” Trump said earlier Sunday on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, when asked by reporters if he had any second thoughts about escalating the trade war with China.
“Might as well. Might as well,” Trump said when pressed again on whether he had second thoughts. “I have second thoughts about everything.
The White House has since stressed that Trump meant he “regrets not raising the tariffs higher.”
Wallace also pressed Mnuchin on a series of tweets in which Trump said U.S. companies are “hereby ordered” not to do business with China.
Trump has claimed he is authorized to give such an order under the Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977, but Wallace noted the powers granted by that law only apply to future investments rather than existing ones, have only been used against entities such as rogue nations and drug kingpins, and require a formal emergency declaration.
Mnuchin demurred on whether Trump intended to take the further step of declaring an emergency, telling Wallace that the president “has lots of options… our first choice is to have fair and reciprocal trade.”
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