WSJ: Trump Reverses Pledge, Won’t Label China Currency Manipulator

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk together after their meetings at Mar-a-Lago, Friday, April 7, 2017, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP

President Donald Trump flip-flopped on a number of campaign promises Wednesday, most notably saying that he no longer planned to officially label China a currency manipulator.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump said that the Treasury Department would not label China a currency manipulator in an April 15 report to Congress on the exchange rates of the Untied States’ major trading partners, despite his promise during the presidential campaign to do so.

According to the paper, Trump said that was because China had not devalued its currency for months. “They’re not currency manipulators,” he said. However, there is broad agreement among experts that China has not devalued its currency, as Trump claimed during the campaign, for years — in fact, the country is attempting to prop its currency up and keep the dollar from becoming too strong.

Trump also reportedly said naming China a currency manipulator could jeopardize his efforts to work with the country to combat the threat posed by North Korea.

Trump reversed other campaign promises, too: he said Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen was “not toast” (at least, not yet), despite targeting her frequently on the campaign trail. And, asked about Yellen, he also said, “I do like a low-interest rate policy, I must be honest with you.” On the campaign trail, well, he was all over the place on interest rates.

In a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday, Trump reversed yet another campaign theme: that NATO was obsolete.

It’s “no longer obsolete,” he said, after baselessly claiming the military alliance had focused more heavily on counter-terrorism efforts due to his criticisms.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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