Donald Trump just doesn’t get it

William Reinsch, former Commerce Department undersecretary in the Clinton administration, says that Donald Trump “has painted himself in a corner” with respect to his trade war with China. As reported by the Hill, Trump continues to brag on his progress with China in an imaginary trade deal. The deal is imaginary because China is content to wait Trump out.

Trump just doesn’t seem to get that he’s playing with the “big boys” now. These guys have been doing this since long before Trump brought his criminal family into the White House. They know the ups and downs of their economies, and they aren’t easily frightened by a blowhard who has no knowledge of how these things work. President Xi Jinping already told Trump once that he was willing to wait for a Democrat to take office before negotiating with the U.S., but Trump didn’t take him at his word and tried dangling small concessions in Xi’s face. He’s not biting.

According to Politico, the Chinese have “more staying power” in this sort of conflict. Xi knows that other things impact the economy besides trade issues, and the Chinese arm of the central bank is preparing to release $128 billion of stimulus into the economy, something our Federal Reserve Board can’t and won’t even consider. More important for Xi, however, is that as ruler of a communist nation, he can’t be seen as “weak” by giving in, so he’s in it for the long haul. Trump cannot make such moves on his own, and his self-imposed trade war may well end up imploding in his face, adding to his already embarrassingly low poll numbers, and help to oust him in 2020 (if he makes it to 2020).

Democratic candidates are already taking advantage of Trump’s ineptness. During last week’s debate, Pete Buttigieg pointed out that Trump has repeatedly said that he’d like to see Buttigiegf make a deal with Xi. Buttigieg responded, “I’d like to see him making a deal with Xi Jinping. Is it just me, or wasn’t supposed to happen in like, April?” Yeah, sort of like his pledge that Mexico would pay for the border wall. Kamala Harris picked on Trump’s trade deal in general, calling him out for conducting trade policy via Twitter, which she said is “borne out of his fragile ego.” Harris went on to compare Trump to the wizard in the Wizard of Oz, “a small man hiding behind a curtain trying to project power and strength.” That’s a very good analogy of exactly who Trump is and how he has consistently talked a big game but has produced very little.

In the meantime, David Bulman, assistant professor of China Studies at Johns Hopkins, points out that Trump doesn’t know China very well. “The Chinese are relatively confident that their economy will be fine, especially through the 2020 election.” Bulman continues, “Trump, and often many American economists, overstate the impact that these tariffs are having right now in China. The Chinese economy is slowing but mostly for other reasons,” Bulman shared. Likely Bulman knows the Chinese far more than Trump ever will, especially since he bothers to study nothing. This entire trade war will be nothing more than another mark in the “loss” column for Trump.

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