One day after Kushner's family confirmed they had ended talks with China's Anbang Insurance Group concerning their interests in 666 Fifth Avenue in New York, a deal that would have netted the Kushner's $400 million in cash, President Trump has decided to strike an aggressive tone ahead of his first meeting with China's President Xi Jinping scheduled for next Thursday and Friday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
After recent reports suggested that his administration may be softening on trade-related issues, Trump once again took to twitter to caution that his meetings with Xi may get a little turbulent, saying "we can no longer have massive trade deficits and job losses. American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives."
"The meeting next week with China will be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits and job losses. American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives."
The meeting next week with China will be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2017
...and job losses. American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2017
Of course, these tweets follow a similar tone from Sean Spicer earlier today during his daily press briefing in which he said "there are big issues of national and economic security that need to get addressed." Per Reuters:
U.S. administration officials say the need for China to do more on North Korea, the large U.S. trade imbalance with China, and Beijing's pursuit of expansive claims in the South China Sea will top the agenda. Trump has sharply criticized China on all of the issues.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a news briefing the meeting was be an opportunity for Trump "to develop a relationship in person with President Xi."
"He's spoken to him on the phone a few times, but we have big problems ... everything from the South China Sea, to trade, to North Korea. There are big issues of national and economic security that need to get addressed."
"Right now we're not worried so much about slogans as much as progress. There's a lot of big things that we need to accomplish with China, and I think that we will - we will work on them."
The summit will follow a string of U.S.-China meetings and conversations aimed at mending ties after strong criticism of China by Trump during his election campaign.
Meanwhile, China has also been irritated at being told repeatedly by Washington to rein in North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, or face U.S. sanctions on Chinese businesses trading with North Korea, and by the U.S. decision to base an advanced missile defense system in South Korea.
Beijing is also deeply suspicious of U.S. intentions toward self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own, after Trump broke with decades of U.S. policy by taking a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and saying that Washington did not have to stick to a "one China" policy.
Of course, only time will tell if Trump will take the same approach with China that he did with Merkel and pass Xi a bill for the present value of past trade deficits.