During their third Democratic debate on Thursday, the candidates appeared unified in their opposition to Trump’s trade policies with regard to China and took turns criticizing the American head of state on the stage.
The presidential hopefuls accused Trump of “bankrupting” the US economy with damaging tariffs on farmers and businesses, saying, if elected, they would move quickly to repeal the wide-ranging tariffs the US president has put in place on Chinese imports, Presstv Reported.
"Trump obviously hasn't a clue. Trump thinks that trade policy is a tweet at three o'clock in the morning," said Senator Bernie Sanders at the televised debate.
"Look, whether we're going to make policy or China is going to make, to change, the rules of the road," former US Vice President Joe Biden said.
"Donald Trump's 'America First' policy is actually an 'America Isolated', an 'America Alone' policy. From trade to battling China, to the global crisis of climate change, the challenges in the Middle East, he is pulling us away from our allies -- out of the Iran deal, out of the Paris climate accord. And on trade, he's deciding to take on China while at the same time taking on tariff battles with all of our allies," said New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg mocked Trump for failing so far to strike a deal with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to end the trade war.
“You know, when I first got into this race, I remember President Trump scoffed and said he’d like to see me making a deal with Xi Jinping. I’d like to see him making a deal with Xi Jinping,” Buttigieg said to laughter.
California Senator Kamala Harris jokingly compared Trump to the small-statured man pretending to be a wizard in the classic film ‘The Wizard of Oz’ while Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said Trump was treating American farmers and workers like "poker chips at one of his bankrupt casinos."
"Donald Trump in office on trade policy. You know, he reminds me that that guy in 'The Wizard of Oz'. You know, when you pull back the curtain it's a really small dude," Harris said.
“He has put us in the middle of this trade war and he is treating our farmers and our workers like poker chips in one of his bankrupt casinos,” Klobuchar said in reference to Trump.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang said at the debate that he would not lift the tariffs immediately if elected president.
“But I would let the Chinese know that we need to hammer out a deal, because right now, the tariffs are pummeling producers and farmers in Iowa who have absolutely nothing to do with the imbalances that we have with China,” Yang said.
The US has so far imposed 25-percent tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods imported from China. Trump was also due to increase those tariffs to 30 percent from October 1, but the US president said on Wednesday that he had ordered to put back the date to two weeks later.
The White House launched the trade war with China last year, when it first imposed unusually heavy tariffs on imports from the Asian country. Since then, the two sides have exchanged tariffs on more than 360 billion dollars in two-way trade.
Washington and Beijing have held talks to settle the issues but to no avail so far.
China strongly opposes US tariff hikes, saying they are harmful not only to China and the US, but to the whole world.
The US, for its part, says a primary goal of the aggressive tariff strategy is to decrease the trade imbalance with China, which totaled $379 billion in 2018.
The US president has urged China to either sign a trade deal now or be forced to sign a far worse agreement in future. However, China says it won’t make concessions on issues of principle.