U.S. Prez Trump listed familiar complaints, praised and criticized his visitors, and appeared to blow off some steam.
Trump inked a trade agreement with China Wednesday at a White House event, which was part formal ceremony and part political theater.
Trump’s trade war with China has been a centerpiece of much of his presidency, and the ceremony to ink a “Phase 1” deal – held at the White House rather than a more impartial location for the two sides – was a victory lap of sorts.
The Republican president enjoyed the moment and the stage but also used it to rail against impeachment, ridicule with visiting chief executives, and lambaste China for past sins even as its representatives stood stoically nearby.
Trump is thought for stage-managing his occasions closely, and this one was no exception.
The president chose to signal the settlement himself, even if his equivalent President Xi Jinping sent a lower level delegate to represent the Chinese facet.
The ceremony started with requisite pomp in the formal East Room, full of guests and journalists from both nations, as the prez paraded down a central aisle with Chinese VP Liu He while a military band performed “Hail to the Chief.”
While the VP and three other Chinese officers stood to his right, Trump strayed from his remarks with criticism of the “fabrication” that he calls impeachment and of the way in which U.S.-China trade was handled previously.
Trump also introduced gatherings of guests who were not on the stage, commenting on everything from Boeing’s conflicts with its 737 MAX jet to his seeming regret over selecting Jerome Powell to be chair of the Federal Reserve.