Only days after the media misinterpreted President Donald Trump’s sarcastic joke about being “the chosen one” as a serious remark, the media again misinterpreted the president when he said that he’s had “second thoughts” about his ongoing trade war with China.
While eating breakfast with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson early Sunday morning at the G7 Summit in France, the president was specifically asked by a member of the media whether he boasts “any second thoughts on escalating the trade war with China?”
“Yeah, sure. Why Not … Might as well. Might as well … I have second thoughts about everything,” he replied.
The key words there were second thoughts. The definition of second thoughts is “[a] change of opinion or resolve reached after considering something again.”
Nowhere within the definition is there any mention of regret, which is defined as “[a] feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over an occurrence or something that one has done or failed to do.”
Yet despite the strikingly different definitions of second thoughts and regret, here’s how the allegedly non-biased media interpreted the president’s remarks on Sunday:
Trump for the first time showed a glimmer of regret about escalating the U.S. trade war with China https://t.co/iIROgnfaMf
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) August 25, 2019
Saw video of Trump saying, when asked if he was rethinking tariffs, “Yeah, sure. Why not?….Might as well. I have second thoughts about everything.” What struck me has nothing to do with policy. It’s that Trump seems depressed and demoralized. Does he know it’s all coming apart?
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 25, 2019
Trump’s having second thoughts about his trade war w/ China. The trade war he claimed would be so easy to win. Is he rethinking the escalation of the trade conflict? “Yeah, sure why not. Might as well…I have second thoughts about everything.” #G7Summit pic.twitter.com/pfECsO9Muc
— Stephanie Kennedy (@WordswithSteph) August 25, 2019
Donald Trump says he has had second thoughts on escalating the trade war with China, a rare expression of regret from a president prone to doubling down on his tacticshttps://t.co/uHTDvylNCt
— Bloomberg (@business) August 25, 2019
Sunday G-7 synopsis for those of you just waking up in the US:
1) Trump says for first time he has regrets about China escalation
2) Trump says no one has challenged him on China strategy, and then Boris Johnson does so to his face
— Damian Paletta (@damianpaletta) August 25, 2019
Trump says he regrets China trade dispute after recent escalations and severe economic penalties https://t.co/Fqmf6297C2
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 25, 2019
Trump signals some regret on China trade war at G-7 summithttps://t.co/2GMOUh2YY5
— FOX19 NOW (@FOX19) August 25, 2019
Trump signals some regret on China trade war https://t.co/9WWvswS7N7
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) August 25, 2019
Other notable figures shared the fake news as well:
Donald Trump regrets the Trade War with China that he created. It’s time for the GOP to regret the support of White Supremacy, of Ignorance, of Criminality. It’s time for the GOP to be on the right side of History. It’s time to reject Donald Trump.
— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) August 25, 2019
A bully with regrets. . . It’s as if Roy Cohn and Joe McCarthy had a baby and his name is @realDonaldTrump: the fever in America is breaking and the demagoguery is ending. A sordid page of our history. https://t.co/ddlXIqqJGG
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) August 25, 2019
They all seemed to interpret the president’s remarks as him expressing regret for plunging the United States into a trade war with China that they argue is damaging the economy.
However, both White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow have since refuted this interpretation.
In a statement, Grisham said that the only “regret” the president has is not raising tariffs against China even higher.
“The president was asked if he had ‘any second thought on escalating the trade war with China,'” she said. “His answer has been greatly misinterpreted. President Trump responded in the affirmative — because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.”
Kudlow echoed this during an appearance on CNN.
“What he was intending to say is he always has second thoughts, and he actually had second thoughts about possibly a higher tariff response to China,” he said. “So it was not to remove the tariff. He was thinking about a higher tariff response.”
It’s an ironic turn of events, given that the president had tweeted complaints about the media’s coverage of the G7 Summit only moments before the breakfast with Johnson.
“Such False and Inaccurate reporting thus far on the G-7. The Fake News knows this but they can’t help themselves! Leaving now to have breakfast with Boris J,” he tweeted.
Such False and Inaccurate reporting thus far on the G-7. The Fake News knows this but they can’t help themselves! Leaving now to have breakfast with Boris J.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2019
Dovetailing back to the tariffs, the president effectively gut-punched China on Friday by announcing even more tariffs. He did so in response to the Asian nation announcing a slew of new tariffs on U.S. goods.
“Starting on October 1st, the 250 BILLION DOLLARS of goods and products from China, currently being taxed at 25%, will be taxed at 30%,” Trump announced via Twitter. “Additionally, the remaining 300 BILLION DOLLARS of goods and products from China, that was being taxed from September 1st at 10%, will now be taxed at 15%.”
As of 10:00 am Sunday morning, the president had not yet responded to the media’s false interpretation of his “second thoughts” remark. It’s strongly suspected however that sometime eventually Sunday afternoon or evening, he’ll drop another rant about the “fake news.”
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