Former Trump political strategist Steve Bannon condemned a weekend truce in the U.S. trade dispute with China as a capitulation, signaling dissatisfaction among the president’s allies.
Bannon targeted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker, for his role in the trade talks. President Donald Trump “changed the dynamic regarding China but in one weekend Secretary Mnuchin has given it away,” Bannon said in an interview.
The Trump administration said it would hold off on tariff threats after the two nations agreed to “substantially” reduce the U.S. merchandise trade deficit with China, which last year hit a record $375 billion. Beijing promised to “significantly” increase purchases of U.S. goods and services, but there was no dollar figure attached, despite White House assurances that China would cave to its demand for a $200 billion annual reduction in the trade gap.
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.”