President Donald Trump said he was being sarcastic when he raised eyebrows earlier this week by referring to himself as “the chosen one” amid his ongoing trade war with China.
“You know exactly what I meant,” Trump told reporters at the White House late Friday before departing to the G-7 summit in France. “It was sarcasm. It was joking. We were all smiling. And a question like that is just fake news.”
Trump’s trade war with China has caused jitters in the stock market amid fears of a recession, though Trump has previously said trade wars are “easy to win.”
Earlier Friday, Trump escalated the rhetoric by saying he will raise tariffs on $550 billion in Chinese goods in response to barriers imposed by Beijing.
Trump said he would raise from 25% to 30% U.S. tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese products and would increase from 10% to 15% new tariffs on a remaining $300 billion in goods — some of which are set to take effect next month. The announcement came shortly after China said it would levy its own tariffs on U.S. imports, prompting a market sell-off.
“Sadly, past Administrations have allowed China to get so far ahead of Fair and Balanced Trade that it has become a great burden to the American Taxpayer,” Trump posted on Twitter later Friday. “As President, I can no longer allow this to happen!”
What’s next?: When new, higher tariffs are scheduled to start on Chinese imports
U.S.-China trade war:: Trump places tariffs on $300B in additional Chinese goods
Contributing: John Fritze