Trump has also referenced the economy in behind-the-scenes conversations with aides, pointing to its strength as evidence that they were wrong to condemn his trade policy from the start, according to a Republican official with knowledge of trade conversations.

While Chinese economic indicators can be less reliable than those in the U.S., the country’s economic growth slowed to the lowest level in nearly three decades last year, and some analysts believe the country could be facing an impending debt crisis that the country’s leaders would want to avoid at all costs.

Politically, the possibility of allowing for slower GDP growth to fight a trade war with China represents a gamble for Trump, but the risk may not be as dramatic as it seems at first glance. While members of Congress and business leaders have loudly decried a whole range of Trump’s trade moves, from threatening to pull out of NAFTA to leaving the Trans-Pacific Partnership, they have offered a more nuanced response to his aggressive stance on China, with Republican and Democrats alike condemning China’s trade practices.