CNBC’s Jim Cramer blasted coverage of the trade war between Beijing and the Trump administration, saying the American mainstream media portrays Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “great Chinese man with Democratic leanings” while making U.S. President Donald Trump out to be a “madman.”
“China is the enemy, except for in the mainstream media that just loves Xi,” Cramer said Monday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
Despite countless reports, quotes and tweets about the two sides nearing “phase one” of a new trade deal, we haven’t seen anything concrete as of yet. But the longer things drag on, the better for Trump and the U.S., Cramer contends.
“The hand of Xi keeps weakening but the mainstream media keeps talking about how it’s getting stronger. I think Trump knows that that’s not the case. All of his trade advocates know that that’s not the case. If you saw (Treasury Secretary) Steve Mnuchin come out and say, ‘You know what, I’m finished with these guys,’ then what would happen is we’d see a real deal,” Cramer said. “We have to walk away to get a real deal, that’s the only way to do it, We have to walk away. Because right now, I really don’t think that China’s doing well economically and we are.
“But the mainstream media says that Xi is a great Chinese man with great Democratic leanings, member of the WTO, and we have a madman as president.”
Meanwhile, there is a mid-December deadline for additional tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports while a number of U.S. companies continue to lobby for tariff exemptions. The Global Times, which is run by the Communist party of China, says the two sides “are very close to the phase one trade deal,” despite negative media reports from the U.S. side.
#TradeWar update: Contrary to negative media reports, China and the US are very close to the phase one trade deal, and China remains committed to continuing talks for a phase two or even a phase three deal with the US, on equal footing, experts close to the Chinese govt told GT. pic.twitter.com/W0CiBSSp0s
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) November 25, 2019
“I think that right now the Chinese press is trying to say, ‘Look, maybe there’s some give on intellectual property.’ I think that away from that, the White House is toughening it’s line,” Cramer said.
“What we don’t have is the commitment ahead of time that the president wants before he sits down because the president feels like he has a very winning hand right now. The mainstream media does not. But the mainstream media is not dealing with the deceleration of the Chinese economy and the acceleration of the consumer economy here (in the U.S.).”
All of this is occurring against the backdrop of the Hong Kong protests, which could come into play in negotiations after the U.S. House and Senate passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. Trump has not said whether or not he will sign the bill, which seeks to protect the anti-government protests from a Tiananmen Square-type reprisal by China.
U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien said over the weekend the Trump administration is “not going to turn a blind eye” to what is going on in Hong Kong, a Chinese territory, and allow China to continue destroying the peoples’ freedoms there.