Trump 100 Days: Who are the top White House influencers on China?

World Today

There are quite a few key players in the White House that help shape President Donald Trump’s policies on China.

CGTN’s Sean Callebs introduces us to some of those people.

Trump 100 Days: Who are the top White House influencers on China?

There are quite a few key players in the White House that help shape Trump's policies on China. Sean Callebs introduces us to some of those people.

For much of the world, Ivanka Trump has emerged as the favorite daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump. He values her judgment, insight, and opinion on everything from Syria to the environment to the ongoing debate on U.S. family leave.

“He has been a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive,” Ivanka Trump said, right before she was booed by an audience at a W20 summit in Berlin. She later said “politics is politics” and added that she is getting used to it.

Working in the background and increasingly in the forefront is Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner. He’s a 30-something real-estate tycoon who has emerged as one of Donald Trump’s closest advisors.

It was Kushner who encouraged Trump to reach out and call President Xi Jinping when the U.S.-China relationship was at its most fraught.

It was Kushner who encouraged Trump to support the “One-China” policy after the newly elected president waffled on an issue China considers non-negotiable.

China’s Ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, reached out to the Kushners, inviting them, and the couple’s daughter Arabella to the Chinese Embassy in February.

In an administration that has sent mixed messages on China, U.S.-media reports say Kushner favors diplomacy and win-win solutions. That has put him at odds with other Trump insiders.


Since entering the White House, Trump has spent many weekends at his lush private resort, Mar-A-Lago in south Florida.

It’s here that he routinely talks to a handful of trusted, close advisors who helped him become president.

Among his top aides is Steve Bannon, who last year predicted the U.S. and China would go to war over issues surrounding the South China Sea.

Before joining Trump’s team, Bannon served as a media executive for the right-wing Breitbart News Network. Part of Bannon’s winding path to the White House also included time as an investment banker and a stint in the U.S. military.

“Having worked with him and known him, Steve Bannon, in this particular campaign in general, he was much more than a Goldman Sacs managing partner, and much more than the naval officer than people realize,” Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to Trump said.

China has downplayed Bannon’s predictions of war. Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that any “sober-minded politician” could see both sides would end up losing in such a conflict.

“We attach importance to the position of the new U.S. Defense Minister Mattis has stressed, which is through diplomatic efforts to resolve the South China dispute,” Wang said.

But the administration appears split on this and on trade.

Another top advisor, Peter Navarro, is the head of the U.S. National Trade Council — and is a staunch China critic.

Navarro rose to fame with a book called “Death by China” on the massive U.S. trade deficit with China.

Despite all the public posturing, China continues to respond in a controlled fashion. Something Jared Kushner appears to support.

The big unknown, though, is how Trump and his hawkish advisers will respond.

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