William Watson: Why we should worry that Trump wants more jobs in China
Do you figure the Chinese hacked Donald Trump’s Twitter account? How else to explain his tweet on Sunday: “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!”
“Too many jobs in China lost.” This is the same Trump who ran for president arguing that China — or as he called it, “Jye-na” — had eaten America’s lunch and stolen all its manufacturing jobs. Now, after his Commerce Department put ZTE in jeopardy by banning American companies from selling it technology (this in retaliation for ZTE having traded with embargoed countries like North Korea) he’s suddenly concerned about the loss of Chinese jobs. Not all of them, just “too many” of them. According to Reuters, ZTE employees have been taking to social media to cheer the news and, so far, President Xi Jinping hasn’t stifled their tweets, although he probably could.
“Too many jobs in China lost.” You’ve got to think that will feature prominently in Democratic party ads leading up to November’s congressional elections. Party leaders were already tweeting Trump to say he should worry about American jobs, not Chinese. In fact, voters probably won’t buy the argument that he’s not worried about American jobs. To the extent he’s got a consistent political brand, that’s it. But the tweet hardly helps his reputation for flightiness