President Donald Trump backtracked on a handful of major issues Wednesday, from his opinion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to the status of Fed Chair Janet Yellen, adding to markets’ anxieties and prompting swift criticism by a top Democrat.
In a joint press conference with Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of NATO, Trump reversed his position on the group, saying it is no longer obsolete. Trump acknowledged that he had previously complained that NATO didn’t do more in the fight against terrorism.
“They made a change and now they do fight terrorism. I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete,” Trump said.
But that wasn’t the president’s only about-face on Wednesday.
He told The Wall Street Journal he won’t label China a currency manipulator — a drastic change from his previous stance.
In turn, Chuck Schumer, the leading Democrat in the Senate, slammed Trump for his reversal on currency manipulation, lobbing many of the same criticisms the president once made of Barack Obama.
“China steals our intellectual property, doesn’t let American companies compete in China, and has manipulated their currency causing the loss of millions of jobs,” the New York senator said.
In 2012, Trump tweeted that Obama enabled China to “steal even more jobs and money from us” by not calling out currency manipulation.
@realDonaldTrump: Once again Obama fails to classify China as a currency manipulator. He just helped China steal even more jobs and money from us.
While China isn’t currently manipulating its currency, Schumer maintained that the country would “as soon as the tide turns.”
He said: “When the President fails to label them a currency manipulator, he gives them a green light to steal our jobs and wealth time and time again.”
On the first page of Trump’s 100-day action plan, the president pledged to direct Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to label China a currency manipulator.