Is President Trump's new mantra "Make China Great Again?" MSNBC's "Morning Joe" asked Monday morning. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked the same thing.
Trump is expected to ease sanctions on Chinese telecommunications company ZTE and help them get "back into business," he announced 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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2018
The move shocked the economic world, considering Trump has for so long called out China for its unfair trade practices and for stealing American jobs. Democrats like Schumer were quick to condemn the move. Kevin Wolf, who was assistant secretary of commerce under former President Obama, even said he was rendered "speechless" by the tweet.
"I’m highly confident" that a U.S. president has never intervened in a law-enforcement matter like this before," Wolf told the Financial Times. "It’s so outside the way the rules were set up.”
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) then pointed out another area of concern: cybersecurity.
Our intelligence agencies have warned that ZTE technology and phones pose a major cyber security threat. You should care more about our national security than Chinese jobs. https://t.co/7Ygh7805jg— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) May 13, 2018
On Monday Rubio became the first Republican lawmaker to share the same worry.
Problem with ZTE isn’t jobs & trade, it’s national security & espionage. Any telecomm firm in #China can be forced to act as tool of Chinese espionage without any court order or any other review process. We are crazy to allow them to operate in U.S. without tighter restrictions https://t.co/AXtTDgufc9— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 14, 2018
Trump did sound like his old self in a follow-up tweet, noting that trade practices had often been one-sided in favor in China. "But be cool, it will all work out!" he said.