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March 20, 2019, 4:29 p.m. EDT

Trump Today: President says he’ll keep China tariffs in place for ‘substantial period’ and renews attack on McCain

Trump blasts Mueller report but backs its public release

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By Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch


Getty Images
President Donald Trump talks with journalists before departing the White House for Ohio on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he wants to keep tariffs on China until he makes sure Beijing complies with any trade deal it makes with the U.S., as he visited the battleground state of Ohio and renewed an attack on the late Sen. John McCain.

CHINA TARIFFS

Trump told reporters as he departed for Ohio that “we’re not talking about removing [tariffs]. We’re talking about leaving them for a substantial period of time, because we have to make sure that if we do the deal with China that China lives by the deal.”

Trump spoke ahead of a scheduled visit to Beijing next week by U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, for the next round of trade talks. Trump added that the Chinese have “had a lot of problems living by certain deals” but said a deal is “coming along nicely.” U.S. stocks /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.34%   ended slightly lower Wednesday as traders focused on Federal Reserve policymakers signaling they would deliver no rate increases this year.

See: U.S.-China trade talks to resume next week, aiming to seal deal in April.

NO ‘THANK YOU’ FOR MCCAIN FUNERAL

Trump discussed the U.S. economy as he toured a military tank plant in Lima, Ohio, and also reopened his criticism of McCain, who died in August, over his Obamacare-repeal vote and other issues. “I gave him the kind of funeral that he wanted,” Trump said, “which as president I had to approve. I don’t care about this. I didn’t get a thank you. That’s OK.” McCain’s body was flown from Phoenix to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on Air Force Two before laying in state in the Capitol. At the time, Trump said he authorized military transportation and respected McCain’s service to the country “despite our differences on policy and politics.”

Trump is scheduled to speak to supporters at a fundraiser in Canton Wednesday evening.

MUELLER REPORT AND ‘WHACK JOB’ CONWAY

As Special Counsel Robert Mueller is widely expected to release his Russia report soon, Trump attacked him for not having been elected. Mueller was appointed special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who assumed oversight of the probe after Jeff Sessions recused himself.

“It’s interesting that a man gets appointed by a deputy, he writes a report,” Trump said. “Never figured that one out.” Still, the president said, “let [the report] come out, let people see it,” before adding its release was up to the attorney general.

Trump also blasted George Conway again, telling reporters the husband of adviser Kellyanne Conway is a “whack job” and that he’s doing a “tremendous disservice to a wonderful wife.”

George Conway, a noted lawyer who has argued before the Supreme Court, has very publicly questioned Trump’s mental fitness. Kellyanne Conway defended the president in an interview with Politico , saying, “You think he shouldn’t respond when somebody, a nonmedical professional, accuses him of having a mental disorder?”

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/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
27,240.61
+93.53 +0.34%
Volume: 66.00M
Sept. 19, 2019 11:25a
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Robert Schroeder is the White House reporter for MarketWatch. Follow him on Twitter @mktwrobs.

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