Bannon Slams Mnuchin Over China Trade Truce; “You Might As Well Have Hank Paulson Doing This”

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon slammed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday over a weekend truce in the ongoing trade dispute with China.

In comments to Bloomberg on Monday, Bannon said that Trump "changed the dynamic regarding China, but in one weekend Secretary Mnuchin has given it away." 

We’re putting the trade war on hold,” said Mnuchin in a Joint statement with China on Sunday. “Right now, we have agreed to put the tariffs on hold while we execute the framework.”

Bannon wasn't impressed - telling Bloomberg that Mnuchin "misses the central point" of the economic competition between the two nations. 

“They’re in a trade war with us and it hasn’t stopped,” Bannon said. “Mnuchin has completely misread the geopolitical, military, and historical precedence and what President Trump had done was finally put the Chinese on their back heels.”

You might as well have Hank Paulson doing this

The Trump administration said it would back down from prior threats of new tariffs against China after the two nations agreed to “substantially” downsize the U.S. merchandise trade deficit, which hit a record $375 billion last year. In response, Beijing promised to “significantly” increase US purchases going forward - albeit with no dollar figure attached.  The White House, however, gave assurances that China would cave to its demand for a $200 billion annual trade-gap reduction. 

Trump on Monday defended the negotiations. “China has agreed to buy massive amounts of ADDITIONAL Farm/Agricultural Products - would be one of the best things to happen to our farmers in many years!” he said in a series of postings on Twitter. “On China, Barriers and Tariffs to come down for first time.”

Trump also noted on Monday that China " must continue to be strong & tight on the Border of North Korea until a deal is made," adding "The word is that recently the Border has become much more porous and more has been filtering in. I want this to happen, and North Korea to be VERY successful, but only after signing!"

As Bloomberg notes, other Trump loyalists echoed Bannon. Dan DiMicco, a trade adviser for Trump’s campaign and transition, joined in the criticism.

“Chinese r laughing at us again,” he said in a tweet. “They have never delivered on 1 promise in the past. Appeasement is the devils friend. Now we get to export our natural resources like an island nation.Soil & Water via agriculture. Energy instead of value added Mfg products!”

Bannon is traveling to Italy this week to meet with Matteo Salvini of the Northern League about the populist party’s electoral success.