Trump did it his way on Asia trip, has few accomplishments to claim
In his travels across Asia, President Donald Trump offered himself as a sharp break from presidents past. He pushed regional lead- ers to reshape trade deals to America’s liking, opted against spotlighting humanrights abuses and cranked up pressure on North Korea to end its nuclear program.
But for all the pageantry and promises unf u rled during his five-nation, 12-day trip, Trump returns to Wash- ington with few concrete accomplishments in hand and leaves uncertain Asian capitals in his wake.
The president pushed a go-it-alone trade policy yet reaffirmed traditional alliances. He cajoled and flattered leaders in Tokyo and Seoul without eliciting firm commitments for a more balanced economic relationship. He opened the door to nego- tiations with North Korea, but such diplomatic overtures were overshadowed by a tweet that derided dictator Kim Jong Un as “short and fat.”
And as regional allies ner- vously watched for Trump to define the new U.S. approach to the Pacific Rim, the pres- ident muddied his message. At a summit in Vietnam, he vowed to hold rising super- power China accountable for unfair business and trade practices. Yet in Beijing, the president said, “I don’t blame China” for a growing trade gap.
Trump’s unscripted decision to publicly denounce the policies of his predecessors while flattering his Asian hosts underlined his unconventional international approach, one centered on personal rapport and strategic commitments while paying little attention to the guardrails that have long defined U.S. foreign policy.
In the White House view, Trump accomplished what he set out to do: strengthen relationships with world lead- ers and lay the groundwork for more equitable economic relationships. The president soaked in the lavish welcome ceremonies at each stop and dubbed the trip “tremen- dously successful.”
“I think the fruits of our labor are going to be incredible, whether it’s the secu- rity of our nations, whether it’s security of the world or whether it’s trade,” Trump said before leaving the Philip- pines on Tuesday for home.
Trump said he’d have more to say about the trip with a “major statement” at the White House this week.
At each stop on his trip, Trump both bemoaned the current state of U.S. trade relations in the region and announced new business deals, including more than $250 billion in China. But most of those agreements were older, already agreedupon or only promises.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called Trump’s trip a “flop.”
“He seemed far more inter- ested in pomp and circumstance — red carpets, fancy meals, and the flattery of foreign leaders — than advancing American interests in a region that is increasingly looking to China for leader- ship,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said Monday. “And after the Pres- ident’s performance, those countries are going to turn more to China.” repeal major date
making change, worried that injecting health care politics would imperil the tax bill. But many of their members have supported adding the repeal, a move President Donald Trump has pushed repeatedly as well.
Repealing the mandate would free up more than $300 billion in government funding over the next decade, but it would also