Thursday, October 3, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He asked China if it was listening.

Trump has spent much of the last week alternately denying that he pressured Ukraine to "investigate" his political rival Joe Biden, and confirming it, and refusing to answer altogether. He is facing an impeachment inquiry as a result of this attempt to have a foreign country interfere in another election.

Today, speaking to reporters on the White House lawn, he confirmed it, and then immediately invited China to do the same.

TRUMP: I have a lot of options on China. But if they don’t do what we want, we have tremendous — tremendous power. 
Q: Mr. President, what exactly did you hope [Ukrainian president] Zelensky would do about the Bidens after your phone call? Exactly. 
TRUMP: Well, I would think that, if they were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer. 
They should investigate the Bidens, because how does a company that’s newly formed — and all these companies, if you look at — 
And, by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with — with Ukraine.

Trump subsequently claimed he hasn't yet discussed the matter with China's president Xi Jinping, although that also appears to be a lie

Hunter Biden has invested in China, but it's hard to tell what Trump is talking about, or whether he actually believes it himself. Trump frequently accuses people he feels threatened by of doing what he himself has done—or in this case, what his daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law Jared Kushner have done. (For example, a few hours after calling on China to interfere in the election, Trump angrily tweeted "ELECTION INTERFERENCE!")

China makes at least the sixth foreign country that Trump is known to have sought help from in order to influence a presidential election. The others are Russia, the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, and Ukraine.

Why does this matter?

  • American voters, not foreign governments, should decide American elections.
  • If this isn't abuse of office, nothing is.