Donald Trump already has a tenuous
relationship with the truth, but he may have just outdone
himself by doubling down on his
mistaken claims about China’s currency intervention.
Throughout the heated 2016 presidential campaign, Trump vowed to
label China a currency manipulator “on Day One,” saying they were
“killing” Americans on trade by
keeping the yuan artificially low and boosting exports.
There was just one problem. Economists, including those once
vocal about China’s currency intervention, almost unanimously
noted the country
had stopped trying to depress the yuan in 2014.
In fact, sharp capital outflows during a stock market selloff in
2015 actually forced the authorities to meddle in the other
direction, by propping up the exchange rate.
Fast forward to Trump’s rise to power.
Not only has he not labeled China a currency
manipulator, he has suddenly developed a kinship with Chinese
President Xi Jinping. This budding relationship happens to
coincide with lucrative trademark
approvals for the Trump brand in China, both for the
president himself and
his daughter Ivanka.
On Day 101 of his administration, when he was pressed during an
interview with CBS’ Face the Nation on why he hadn’t followed
through on his promise of labeling China a currency manipulator,
Trump did something staggering.
He claimed credit for having stopped the manipulation since he
took office — even though that currency manipulation hasn’t
happened since before he even entered the presidential
“When they talk about currency manipulation, and I did say
I would call China, if they were, a currency manipulator, early
in my tenure,” Trump said. “And then I get there. Number one,
they — as soon as I got elected, they stopped. They’re not — it’s
not going down anymore, their currency.”
The reporter rightly corrected Trump, saying, “But
that had been true before. That had been true … during the
Nevertheless, he persisted.
“No, not true to the extent that we’re talking about,”
Trump replied. “Much more important than that, as to when, but,
you know, it did stop. And I was talking about it all during the
He added: “And I would say that I was the one that got them