Chuck Schumer, one of Trump's biggest Democratic cheerleaders on China, says president 'sold out' in phase one deal
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer speaks during a press conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, December 10, 2019.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
Chuck Schumer, who is one of the Democrats most supportive of President Donald Trump's push to crack down on China, contended Friday that the president caved by reportedly striking a trade agreement.
The U.S. and China reached a phase one deal in principle, three sources told CNBC on Thursday, though neither government has announced an accord. Under the reported terms, the White House would scrap a new round of tariffs set to take effect Sunday and ease some existing U.S. duties on Chinese goods, while China would buy more U.S. agricultural products.
Trump appeared to deny some of those deal terms Friday morning as Chinese officials prepared to hold a press briefing.
Schumer, the Senate minority leader from New York, has consistently cheered Trump as he slapped tariffs on Chinese imports and sought to address intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers. On Friday, he took a different tone, accusing the president of surrendering to Beijing.
"There are huge structural inequities, structural and unfair imbalances, with China's trade relationships with the U.S. At first, President Trump seemed like the only president who would dare tackle this challenge; but now, according to reports, he has sold out for a temporary and unreliable promise from China to purchase some soybeans," Schumer said in a statement.
"We've heard this song and dance from China before," the Democrat continued. "Once again, Donald Trump cannot be relied upon to do the right thing for American workers and businesses, even when his statements were pointing in the right direction."
The Trump administration has pushed for a deal with Beijing as the world's two largest economies try to dial back a trade war that has worried businesses and investors. News of a possible agreement with China initially lifted major U.S. stock indexes.
But equities dipped Friday following Trump's tweet describing a Wall Street Journal report about the China deal as "completely wrong." It is unclear what reporting exactly the president disputed.
The next round of tariffs, a 15% levy on about $160 billion in goods, affects consumer products such as toys, phones and clothing.