Trump accuses China of election meddling

Washington: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused China of seeking to influence knife-edge midterm congressional elections, by taking aim at his political support base in the economic giants’ rapidly escalating trade war.
In a combative series of tweets Trump, whose Republicans fear losing control of both houses of Congress in November, accused China of trying to broaden its retaliation into the electoral arena. It’s an especially sensitive issue given the political maelstrom over alleged Russian meddling in the real estate tycoon’s surprise 2016 presidential victory.
“China has openly stated that they are actively trying to impact and change our election by attacking our farmers, ranchers and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me,” Trump wrote.
“China has been taking advantage of the United States on Trade for many years. They also know that I am the one that knows how to stop it,” he added. “There will be great and fast economic retaliation against China if our farmers, ranchers and/or industrial workers are targeted!” It was not clear what open statements by China — if any — Trump was referring to.
However, Beijing’s previous tariffs did target major US agricultural products like pork and soybeans. That hurt soybean powerhouse states like Illinois, Kansas and Minnesota, which are all toss ups in the November House races.
Recent NBC News/Marist polls have also found that the trade war — a pillar of Trump’s presidency — is unpopular in six politically important states: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.
Trump believes that his tearing up of the international trade rulebook is long overdue. His promise to end what he says are grossly skewed Chinese trade relations was a key plank of his election.
“For months, we have urged China to change these unfair practices and give fair and reciprocal treatment to American companies,” Trump said in a statement on Monday.
“These practices plainly constitute a grave threat to the long-term health and prosperity of the United States economy,” he said. — Reuters