White House Says Speech Targeting Chinese Trade Is Delayed

REUTERS/Saul Loeb, Pool

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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A speech planned for Friday targeting China’s intellectual property and trade practices has been delayed, The Daily Caller has learned.

White House spokeswoman Natalie Strom told TheDC that the speech is postponed, and not cancelled. Trump was reportedly expected to issue a memorandum accusing China of intellectual property theft and that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer was expected to launch an investigation that would allow the U.S. to impose tariffs and other trade restrictions.

Cracking down on Chinese trade manipulation has been a bipartisan issue with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer urging action Wednesday against China. President Trump has also been angry in recent weeks about a perceived lack of action from the Asian power on North Korea as the hermit nation continues to build-up its missile program.

A source within the White House told TheDC that there was a tense meeting Thursday about Chinese intellectual property theft in chief of staff John Kelly’s office and staffers engaged in a yelling match.

According to the source, the main players in favor of going after China were Lighthizer, the White House’s top trade official Peter Navarro, and senior adviser Stephen Miller. Those who are opposed to the move include economic council director Gary Cohn and national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

Kelly eventually intervened and McMaster won the day’s battle, the source added.