Hit Trump Back On China

[ Posted Thursday, May 7th, 2020 – 16:07 UTC ]

Donald Trump's re-election campaign has hit upon what they consider a winning attack line against Joe Biden: "China, China, China!" Truly, that's about as sophisticated as their effort has been, to date, and the new ad they just unveiled doesn't really move that needle much at all. Their political equation rests on the fact that many Americans don't have a favorable opinion of China in general, and in specific Team Trump is trying to explain away his own massive coronavirus response failings by saying everything was China's fault, for lying to the world in January. Which adds up to (according to the Trump campaign): Joe Biden has said some polite things about China, therefore he is obviously some sort of pinko agent of the Chinese Communist Party. As I said, not exactly sophisticated campaign rhetoric or anything. But the problem with trying to paint with such a large brush is that the paint can slop back all over you.

Donald Trump slamming Biden for saying nice things about China is absolutely ridiculous, of course. But that doesn't mean the Trump campaign can't use such an attack successfully. Remember the swiftboaters, if you will. The standard Republican playbook during elections has always been: "attack your opponent on the issue where your own candidate is the weakest." This is yet the most recent manifestation.

In order to get re-elected, Team Trump has the task of causing all Americans to totally and completely forget that February (and the first two weeks of March) ever even existed. This was the period when Trump was pooh-poohing the coronavirus, insisting that it would never hit America, and denigrating it as no worse than the seasonal flu. His dithering for almost two months is precisely why America leads the world in coronavirus cases and is still so frighteningly behind the curve that many other countries have already successfully flattened. South Korea had their first case the same day we did, and they've got the pandemic completely under control by now. Us, not so much (obviously).

Joe Biden's campaign needs to relentlessly remind the voters of what Trump did (or, more to the point, refused to do) during that crucial period, because it is Exhibit A in the case of why Donald Trump is the most incompetent president most of us have ever seen in our lifetimes. John Kerry decided to take the high road and ignore the ridiculous accusations that Kerry -- a decorated war hero -- could ever be seen as weaker militarily than draft-dodging George W. Bush (whose Texas National Guard records have still never seen the light of day). Kerry decided "not to dignify the accusation with a response." So how'd that work out for him?

Luckily for Biden, exposing Trump's nonsense is not all that hard to do. As with almost everything Trump, "there's a tweet for that." Several of them, in fact, along with the words out of Trump's own mouth. Helpfully, Politico has a dandy list of 15 of these quotes from the period in question. Here's an example from very early on:

Jan. 24, Twitter:

"China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!"

Got that? Here Trump is praising their transparency, which simply does not square with all the complaints Team Trump is now making about China. Jump forward a few weeks, and Trump again had some fulsome praise for the Chinese leader:

Feb. 7, Remarks before Marine One departure:

"Late last night, I had a very good talk with President Xi, and we talked about -- mostly about the coronavirus. They're working really hard, and I think they are doing a very professional job. They're in touch with World -- the World -- World Organization. C.D.C. also. We're working together. But World Health is working with them. C.D.C. is working with them. I had a great conversation last night with President Xi. It's a tough situation. I think they're doing a very good job."

Team Trump's new ad also tries to hit Biden for stumbling over his words, by the way, so that "with World -- the World -- World Organization" should really feature prominently in the next Biden ad, in response. Along with: "I think they are doing a very professional job" and "I think they're doing a very good job," of course.

Three days later, Trump made a few wild, off-the-cuff predictions about the pandemic, while continuing to praise China to the skies:

Feb. 10, Fox Business interview:

"I think China is very, you know, professionally run in the sense that they have everything under control," Trump said. "I really believe they are going to have it under control fairly soon. You know in April, supposedly, it dies with the hotter weather. And that's a beautiful date to look forward to. But China I can tell you is working very hard."

Now that April's come and gone, is anyone looking back fondly upon it as "a beautiful date" in this country? Let's skip forward a few weeks, to the end of February (the key month that Trump desperately wants everyone to forget about):

Feb. 27, Coronavirus Task Force press conference:

"I spoke with President Xi. We had a great talk. He's working very hard, I have to say. He's working very, very hard. And if you can count on the reports coming out of China, that spread has gone down quite a bit. The infection seems to have gone down over the last two days. As opposed to getting larger, it's actually gotten smaller."

Those are just four of the 15 quotes included in the article. And there are quite likely a few more of them from early March, to boot (the article ends with a Trump quote from February 29). So throwing together an ad or two using a selection of them would be a piece of cake, really.

Trump spent two months absolutely fawning over Xi, and now we're supposed to believe that Joe Biden is the one who is too close to China? The very concept is downright ludicrous. Unless, of course, the month of February disappears from all our collective memory.

The Biden campaign has already countered one Trump ad which tried to turn the tables on Trump kissing up to Xi, and it was pretty downright effective. But now Trump's going up on the airwaves with another ad, so Team Biden needs to respond once again. If swiftboating taught us anything, it is that blatant fantastical-history lies need to be denounced and exposed right away, lest they sink in with the public.

Fortunately, it's pretty easy to do so. There is an absolute goldmine of Trump quotes which are just waiting to be used to counter the false impression his re-election team is now desperately trying to convey. It is true that the public does seem ready to assign a large portion of blame for the coronavirus pandemic onto China, but it is a laughably large stretch to somehow attach Joe Biden to this in any way whatsoever. And whatever blame is left over the public is already laying at Donald Trump's feet, which again makes it easy for Biden to respond effectively.

To repeat myself: Republicans always attack their Democratic opponents on the subject where they themselves are the weakest. Trump knows if the American public fully remembers what he failed to do in February (or March, or April, for that matter...), then he's quite likely to lose in November. So they've got to somehow define Biden to the public as some sort of patsy of China, because at this point it's really all they've got. Luckily, though, this doesn't require digging up dusty records from a war that happened decades ago. All Biden has to do to win this fight, in essence, is remind everyone that February did indeed actually happen.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


48 Comments on “Hit Trump Back On China”

  1. [1] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    I thought the karl Rove playbook was attack your opponent's area of strength, not your own area of weakness. In the case of john Kerry and the Democrats of course both were the case.

  2. [2] 
    andygaus wrote:

    Biden also needs to do an ad showing how much Trump slurs his speech, misidentifies people, and can't find his car, since the Trump campaign is talking about Biden's supposed dementia. It's unpleasant to get down to that level, but as you said, it may not work to decide not to dignify those attacks with a response.

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Biden shouldn't have to do anything but show up.

  4. [4] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Yes, Elizabeth, but Joe is going to have to give it back every time he gets "incoming."

  5. [5] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Michael wrote me:

    So.. What ARE your thoughts about the rape criminal complaint against Joe Biden??

    I know what yer thinking..

    "Should I be reasonable and agree with Michale, that such a complaint is heinous and disgusting?? Or should I play the contrarian cause agreeing with Michale is just too painful.."


    Dude all we have is an accusation, not anything close to "established fact." If true, Joe would lose my respect. But he'd still have only a fraction of accusers that Trump has. BTW why are you worked up about a suspiciously timed accusation against Biden when you're in love with the Hollywood Access guy?

  6. [6] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    *fade in to 300-plus people standing in a crowd on 5th avenue, NYC*

    voice-over: each of these 328 people represents a hundred thousand americans. together, they are the entire united states.

    *zoom in on two of the people, a man and a woman*

    the many provisions of obamacare, which joe biden helped to get passed, have been estimated at saving over a hundred thousand american lives (text-over relevant statistics and sources)

    man: joe biden saved MY life. (text-over REAL PERSON SAVED BY OBAMACARE)

    *cut to joe biden talking to obama*

    joe: "this is a big f***in' deal"

    *cut back to the man and woman, she starts to cough*

    voice-over: due to donald trump's incompetent response to the coronavirus, it is estimated that over a hundred thousand american lives will be needlessly lost. (text-over of statistics and sources)

    *the woman tries hard to breathe, starts to lean on the man, voice-over of donald trump*

    trump: i could stand in the middle of 5th avenue and shoot somebody and not lose voters

    woman: i'm a hundred thousand somebodies, and i'd still be alive if it weren't for donald trump.

    *she lies down on the pavement next to the man, zoom out to the crowd with a map of america around them.*

    voice-over: one candidate helped save the lives of a hundred thousand americans, while the other helped end the lives of a hundred thousand americans.

    *cut to close-up of the woman, eyes closed, with the man leaning over her, distraught*

    voice-over: how much clearer a choice can there be?


  7. [7] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    No, no Biden doesn't need to go negative. Trump will do so on autopilot so might as well have the free positive contrast. He should take the presidential high road and be as polite and straight to the point at all times. The people desperately want a leader, so play the part to perfection. The other guy certainly won't. Leave the dirt to the Super PAC's (looks like a few might even be funded by the right). Then if the other side complains, remind them he is specifically prevented from influencing them legally and their side put the judges in there that gave them the power in the first place. If you want to pass out buckets of mud, don't complain when you start getting dirty. Then offer to reach across the aisle to pass legislation that would limit or eliminate them.

    76,513 Americans dead from Coronavirus and counting...

  8. [8] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Trump’s campaign manager tweeted:

    For nearly three years we have been building a juggernaut campaign (Death Star). It is firing on all cylinders. Data, Digital, TV, Political, Surrogates, Coalitions, etc.

    In a few days we start pressing FIRE for the first time.

    Sounds about right...Trump is responsible for snuffing out countless innocent lives with his incompetency in responding to the epidemic. And before too long, the people are going to vote to blow up the Death Star.

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:


    Biden shouldn't have to do anything but show up.

    Something he has had a problem doing for quite a while now... :D

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    Sounds about right...Trump is responsible for snuffing out countless innocent lives with his incompetency in responding to the epidemic.

    Funny how you didn't care when Odumbo's incompetence snuffed out over 12,000 American lives..

    Those lives didn't matter to you one whit, did they??

    So why care now?? Ahhhh That's right.. You WANT more dead Americans so you can bash President Trump some more..


  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:


    Dude all we have is an accusation, not anything close to "established fact."

    Dood, we had even LESS than that with the Blasey Ford accusation..

    And that didn't stop EVERYONE here from jumping on the LET'S LYNCH BRETT KAVANAUGH bandwagon...

    Why was 'just an accusation' sufficient back then and not now???

    BTW why are you worked up about a suspiciously timed accusation against Biden when you're in love with the Hollywood Access guy?

    Because there is a big difference between slamming gold-diggers and actually raping someone..

    But I guess if the actual rapists has a -D after his name, then it's perfectly acceptable..

    Ya'all proved THAT beyond any doubt with Bill Clinton.. :^/

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:


    I also think that she needs to adequately answer why now, why not when he ran in 2008?

    Why?? No one here bothered to ask Blasey-Ford "Why now"??

    Why not when Kavanaugh first ascended to a high court...

    And let's not forget, Blasey-Ford's own witnesses and her own family told authorities that she was nuts, that it never happened...

    Reade's friends and family corroborated Reade's claims from the time of the rape..

    That's why I can't understand why people here think Ford was more credible than Reade..

    The facts prove other wise....

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:


    That may be my last Tara Reade comment for a week.. :D

    OK, here's where I am at..

    On the PRIMARY ROUTER, I have a Linksys E1200v2

    Firmware: DD-WRT v24-sp2 (07/20/12) mini

    I have it set up as a normal hotspot router..

    The ClientBridge Router is also a Linsksy E1200v2

    Firmware: DD-WRT v3.0-r29519 mega

    I had found a youtube video that I followed exactly and I got it to work on my home network.. But when I took it to work and tried to incorporate it into THAT subnet, it wouldn't work.. Brought it back home and could not get it to work again.. Driving me mad because I KNOW it worked once...

    OK, I'll follow that WIKI you linked to step by step.. Will comment here any issues that crop up..

    Thanx GT, it really is going to help me out big time...

    Check back in a few.. In the meantime, Tara Reade is off-limits to me til the 15th...

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    Can't get them to configure... I dunno if it's the versions of DD-WRT I am using or what..

    The biggest problem with the link you gave (plus some links I dug up on my own) is that they are not very clear when the settings are to be done on the primary router that's wired to the subnet or to the router that's going to be the Client Bridged router..

    What's the most frustrating is that it DID work once...

    I followed this youtube video and it worked..

    But I can't duplicate it now...

    VERY frustrating...

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK I swapped out one of the routers to have similar DD-WRT versions..

    The SEC router that's the Client Bride ( is the Linksys E1200v2 with DD-WRT Firmware DD-WRT v24-sp2 (07/20/12) mini - build 19519

    The Primary router that's hooked up to the WiFi grid ( is now a Linksys E2500v2 with DD-WRT DD-WRT v24-sp2 (02/12/14) mini - build 23569

    My brain is so frazzled as I have been at this for 3 and a half hours.. Since 0300 PDT....

    I think I am going to take a break, get on a vanilla Win10 OS install and pick this up when I get to the shop...

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:


    voice-over: how much clearer a choice can there be?

    The problem with your message is that A> it's all spin and bullshit and B> ya'all tried hysterical fear mongering and spin and bullshit in 2016...

    And it was all for naught..

    And let's face reality here..

    Hillary Clinton was the crappiest candidate Democrats could hope to have..

    And Joe Biden doesn't have an IOTA of Hillary's campaigning capability...

    Americans face the same choice they faced back in 2016...

    Headache and heartache and scandal and incompetent governing with our allies rolling their eyes and our enemies laughing at us?????

    Or 4 more years of economic booms and very low unemployment and America being RESPECTED and feared on the world stage..

    Americans face the same choice they faced in 2016..

    And Americans are going to go the same way... You yourself have stated as much.. Although, granted, the pandemic has given you some hope that you might be wrong..

    But yer not..

    Your prediction of 4 more years of President Trump is as solid as it ever was..

    It should help that you have Dan agreeing with you as well.. :D

  17. [17] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:


    I saw that. Biden needs to start wearing a small tasteful x-wing pin, and where he needs a code name, it should always be red-5...

  18. [18] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Funny how you didn't care when Odumbo's incompetence snuffed out over 12,000 American lives..

    We already covered this. Obama's response had the Michale did not criticize seal of a job well done. The gold standard you know.

    Your guy on the other hand is killing Americans and the bodies are piling up...

    “It’s very tough to say to people, ‘Hey keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner, we want you to keep spending because there’s some politician that thinks GDP growth is what counts,’”

    -Bill Gates

    76,537 Americans dead from Coronavirus and counting...

  19. [19] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    The unidentified man was a member of Trump's valet, and started showing coronavirus symptoms Wednesday morning, CNN first reported. He remained "close to the president throughout the day on a consistent basis," NBC News writes. And when Trump found out Thursday that person had been in his vicinity, he "became 'lava level mad' at his staff and said he doesn't feel they are doing all they can to protect him from the virus," a person close to the White House told NBC News.

    But if you are low wage American, get your ass back to work, Trump doesn't care if you get infected.

    76,600 Americans dead from Coronavirus and counting...

  20. [20] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    8000 Americans die each and every day, Corona virus or not. Currently, we blame 7999 of 'em on Corona, because it's the hot news item, but pretty soon, we'll likely have to start blaming some on starvation, because the economy has ground to a halt. No work = no food! Currency inflation money from the Fed is simply not edible, especially when there's no ketchup to put on it.

  21. [21] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    The problem with your message is that A> it's all spin and bullshit

    you're right, i'm too trusting of donald's government estimates. there really should be TWO hundred thousand americans represented in the commercial.


  22. [22] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    everybody dies eventually, that's part and parcel to the condition of being human. the only real questions that healthcare and public policy can impact are when and how people will die. thanks do donald's incompetence more are dying now, and more are dying due to complications of covid.

    according to an article in wapo last week, the "excess deaths" were then estimated at around 37k. if that's a good rough estimate, we can safely say that at least half of the covid-related deaths are people who weren't likely to die anytime soon without it.


  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    What do you think about the former cop in Georgia who killed a guy who was jogging just because the jogger happened to be a black man? Justifiable shoot?

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    CRS, you can be thankful that Joshua even responds to comments like yours which can be summed up as anti-Enlightenment and have no place anywhere near this blog.

  25. [25] 
    dsws wrote:

    [63] of previous thread
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Bottom line is that there is no way for Biden to prove his innocence, which is why this matter should be ignored unless Reade has hard evidence

    Hard evidence almost never exists. No one is entitled to high office. All of us are entitled to be represented by people who don't commit sexual assault.

    Certainly Trump is much worse, and I'm going to vote for Biden unless I do a vote swap with a swing-state friend who plans to leave the top line of her ballot blank. But Biden is going to lose.

  26. [26] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Dan, how well would you say that you know Senator Biden? In a sentence or two, what can you tell me about Biden, assuming that I am someone who doesn't know anything about him?

  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Will you be endorsing anyone this year?

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The closer we get to November, the higher the probability that I won't be able to stand being around here. :(

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:


    What do you think about the former cop in Georgia who killed a guy who was jogging just because the jogger happened to be a black man? Justifiable shoot?

    There are not enough facts to make a determination one way or another..

    Given the rash of hoaxes, Jussie Smollets, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tawana Brawley etc etc, I can see why people would take the whole incident with a huge grain of salt..

    The racists made their own bed with their lies and bullshit and this is what the result is..

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    The closer we get to November, the higher the probability that I won't be able to stand being around here. :(

    I have no doubt you will face it with the same dignity and grace you faced President Trump's OTHER win in 2016... :D

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    He wasn't running against Biden last time. That is a hugely important difference when it comes to my already fragile sanity.

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    There are not enough facts to make a determination one way or another..

    Well, you weighed in with great speed in other cases. What are you waiting for?

  33. [33] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    if biden is still running come november, michale will do his part for your sanity. if not, i'll be doing my part for your insanity.


  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What are you saying … IF he is still running!!!???

    Is there a real possibility that he won't? Who do you think would be his replacement?

    I will predict here that he will run against Trump. And, the American people will re-elect Trump, followed by my withdrawal from commenting on US politics. I'll have to find another blog. There are a lot to choose from.

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:


    Well, you weighed in with great speed in other cases. What are you waiting for?

    Between health issues and work issues and DD-WRT issues, I am nearly at my breaking point...

    I can't handle another FEBA right now...

  36. [36] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    There are not enough facts to make a determination one way or another..

    You mean other than the video where we plainly see them gun him down?

    77,212 Americans dead from Coronavirus and counting...

  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Way to go, Michale - more than disappointing.

  38. [38] 
    goode trickle wrote:


    Firstly you do not need to do anything in the primary AP other than make sure you are matching all of the settings on the bridge to the primary AP exactly. with obvious the exception of the bridge IP adress.

    Secondly WRT is not about matching hardware, it is about the hardware having the right capabilities to meet the WRT "software" requirements. in either case it is horribly finicky... assuming you have made sure the routers meet requirements and it still is not working after setting up ALWAYS do a hard reset and start from scratch on the bridge router.

    Thirdly, as you make changes always save and never apply as you go. ONLY apply all changes at then end. Doing this prevents the router from trying to bridge before it can. Power cycle the bridge so it can sync with the AP. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries.

    Forth, after you have done the set up and done a reset and done the set up again and still no love check the master AP to see if MAC filtering is on. If so you will need to add the bridge MAC adress to the list and also add the MAC filtering adresses from the AP to the bridge.

    Thats all that really you should have to do.... I remember my first WRT bridge... it's also why I have moved onto mesh networking.

  39. [39] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    For those of you who like star wars and partaking...

    May the eighth be with you...

  40. [40] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    I am confused about how you feel that you are in a position to be giving advice to Biden when this is how you think about him:

    "Personally, I'm sorry this all came out now, rather than much earlier. But, as I mentioned, I simply cannot blame the usual suspects for the timing. None of the other candidates knew about it and stayed silent, and the media was likewise kept in the dark. We already knew Biden was to some degree a flawed candidate in this regard (hair-smelling and being handsy), but the previous allegations were in a whole different category from what is now being alleged."

    Now, all of that is absolutely false but, still, how can you support him and so cavalierly dish out advice you expect him to follow?

    You simply can't have it both ways, my friend.

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    Way to go, Michale - more than disappointing.

    Yea, I felt the exact same way when ya'all ignored Jussie Smollett, et al...

    I am sure we'll both survive...

  42. [42] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Program Note:

    Site is back up. I'm going to try to do a partial Friday column post now...

    Thanks for your ongoing patience. I've been informed that the problems have been permanently fixed now, but I'll believe that after going through 2 weeks of uninterrupted service, if you know what I mean...


  43. [43] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    Good luck, Chris.

  44. [44] 
    dsws wrote:

    In the previous thread, LizM wrote:
    In a sentence or two, what can you tell me about Biden, assuming that I am someone who doesn't know anything about him?

    Veep under Obama, and before that, senator from Delaware. Known for being gaffe-prone. Worked across the aisle, and across divisions within the Democratic party in the bad old days. His aura of electability was absolutely teflon in the primaries, so either he's a transcendent genius at image management or the Democratic primary electorate are a bunch of utter nincompoops who might even be so unfathomably stupid as to do something like nominate Hillary Clinton.

  45. [45] 
    dsws wrote:

    Hmm, the, "previous" thread is this one.

  46. [46] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Given the rash of hoaxes, Jussie Smollets, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tawana Brawley etc etc, I can see why people would take the whole incident with a huge grain of salt..

    RASH OF HOAXES?!?! Brawley was from 1987! Michale, if you think rashes last that long, then you really need to see a doctor about whatever funk you’ve been growing on your body. And only she and Smollets meet the definition of a hoax... Martin and Brown did not have an opportunity to “hoax” anyone.

    Yea, I felt the exact same way when ya'all ignored Jussie Smollett, et al...

    And by “ignored” you mean that we said he screwed up big time in thinking that what he did was OK and that he deserved to be prosecuted...but then we did not feel the need to keep coming back to it long after it happened and only because you want to shift the focus off of something messed up that Trump said/did that day???

  47. [47] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    It can get confusing … :)

  48. [48] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Good God, you don't think they'd nominate Hillary!??

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