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1 Oct, 2019 19:03

Happy… Communism? Socialism-bashing Trump congratulates Xi on anniversary of Chinese revolution

Happy… Communism? Socialism-bashing Trump congratulates Xi on anniversary of Chinese revolution

Congratulating Chinese President Xi Jinping on the 70th anniversary of the Communist revolution – after denouncing socialism repeatedly – US President Donald Trump baffled and infuriated his domestic critics and allies alike.

It was on October 1, 1949 that Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, as the US-backed nationalists led by Chiang Kai-shek retreated to the island of Taiwan. 

Fast-forward 70 years, as Trump is selling weapons to Taiwan and fighting a trade war with China, he nonetheless congratulates Xi on the anniversary. 

The tweet has thrown off Trump’s allies and critics alike, especially since the US president has taken a hard line on “socialism” upon assuming office, denouncing the ideology in both his appearances at the UN General Assembly and citing it as the rationale for re-sanctioning Cuba and seeking regime change in Venezuela. 

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He has since doubled down on that criticism, painting the Democrats as wanting to impose socialism and pointing to the party’s self-described democratic socialist members like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) as proof of this.

“America will never be a Socialist country,” Trump declared in his State of the Union speech in February this year, adding that the US was “founded on liberty and independence and not government coercion, domination and control.”

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All of this makes his Tuesday tweet that much more baffling, especially as many Republicans used the anniversary of the Chinese revolution to signal their virtue and denounce the “tyrants” in Beijing as “ghoulish” enemies of freedom, democracy and the like.

Trump could be trying to leverage his personal friendship with Xi, in order to advance trade talks with China. He has been driving a hard bargain with Beijing from the start, imposing tariffs on most Chinese imports in an effort to compel Xi to make a deal, but has not been successful so far. China has retaliated with counter-tariffs on US goods, while much of the US media and political establishment – including many Republicans – have spoken out against the tariffs, apparently eager to trade with China even as they condemn it.

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