Over the past 72 hours, there’s been more than a little confusion around why a Chinese delegation led by Vice Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs Han Jun canceled a planned visit to farms in Bozeman, Montana and Omaha, Nebraska.
News that the trips were delayed sent US stocks sharply lower in afternoon trading on Friday, and on Sunday evening, China claimed the unexplained itinerary change had nothing to do with any acrimonious exchanges in working-level talks, or with Donald Trump’s somewhat abrasive comments delivered during a press conference with Australia’s Scott Morrison.
Fast forward to Monday and Bloomberg reported that canceling the visits was Bob Lighthizer’s idea. “China’s cancellation of a planned visit to farms in the American heartland was done at the request of the US”, people familiar with the matter said. According to those sources, “Lighthizer’s office didn’t find out about the visit until it was set up and subsequently asked the Chinese delegation not to go”.
Read more: Chinese Officials Decide They Don’t Need Montana Tour, Would Rather Just Go Back Home
All of this is highly confusing for market participants, who just want to know who canceled and why, and more importantly, whether there’s a read-through for principal-level trade talks between Lighthizer, Steve Mnuchin and Liu He.
One person who is just as confused as everybody else is Donald Trump.
“Steve, could you?…” Trump stammered, when asked about the situation during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
Flanked by Mike Pompeo and a half-asleep Wilbur Ross, Mnuchin said “that was actually at our request, that they delayed that”. Trump was curious to know more. Here is the hilarious exchange that seems to underscore just how disorganized the administration really is:
“We didn’t want there to be any confusion, they have started buying agriculture, they’re going to reschedule that at a different time, the timing didn’t work. But that was, purely our request”, Mnuchin continued.
“Why was that our request, just out of curiosity?”, Trump pressed, in a scene right out of a political sitcom .
“Because we didn’t want confusion around the trade issue”, Mnuchin responded.
“Yeah, but I want them to buy farm products”, Trump said.
All you can do is shake your head.
Later, Mnuchin confirmed that Liu He will be in Washington to begin the next round of high-level negotiations on October 7.
We’re sure he’s looking forward to it.
7 thoughts on “‘Why, Just Out Of Curiosity?’: Watch Trump Ask Mnuchin To Explain Canceling China’s Farm Visits”
Mnuchin’s explanation doesn’t make sense. There being no presumption of truth in this Administration, I posit that it doesn’t make sense because it is not true.
Business as usual at Shitshow, Inc.
This shit is just hilarious.
So very interesting. A Chinese wheat milling team came through a couple of months ago; and visited farms. I believe both in North Dakota, and then here in Oregon. They aren’t buying much wheat right now; but our relationships haven’t been altered significantly. Good visit, good folks; not that different than any other trade team coming through from any other country. Members of the team were employees of companies we have sold wheat to in the past, including Cofco I believe. Mnuchin must not have been aware of the trade team we hosted, or we are just to far down on the ladder. We are just the people growing and selling the wheat after all.
Thanks for the info. It’s nice to hear about actual experiences from those dealing directly with Chinese firms.
How many hundreds of more lies until they get just a llittle better at it?
PS — can anyone tell me where I can buy some agriculture?
I believe that the POTUS has some for sale – the biggliest, beautifulest, most covfefe ag…
Still don’t know what my favourite Trumpism is although this one will always take some beating –
“What I won’t do is take in two hundred thousand Syrians who could be ISIS. I have been watching this migration. And I see the people. I mean, they’re men. They’re mostly men, and they’re strong men. These are physically young, strong men. They look like prime-time soldiers. Now it’s probably not true, but where are the women?.
So, you ask two things.
Number one, why aren’t they fighting for their country?
And number two, I don’t want these people coming over here.”
It’s just madness distilled into its most perfect form… building up to a crescendo of babble…