Ex-Goldman economist Jim O'Neill says Trump advisors seem to be 'stuck in the dark ages'

U.S. President Donald Trump seems to be struggling with the way he has decided to approach politics, a former economist at Goldman Sachs told CNBC on Friday.

Jim O'Neill, also a former U.K. Treasury minister, said that the U.S.- China summit on Friday should end with some commitments on Chinese investment and some broad assurances against protectionism, but nothing else much further than that.

"I can't imagine anything grander than that, not least because I'm not quite sure what the hell such an agreement would be really. My mind is frequently baffled by what Trump's advisors are going on about really ... And all of this stuff is sort of stuck in the dark ages, it seems to me," O'Neill, told CNBC at the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy.

Jim O'Neill
Pier Marco Tacca | Getty Images
Jim O'Neill

"I cant imagine a mega-deal with China," he added.

Trump received Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday in Florida where they had dinner. He had said that the two-day meeting would be a "difficult" one. Trump has blamed China for massive trade deficits and job losses in the U.S., but on Thursday there were no comments on this topic.

"It's not obvious as to really what Trump is being guided by other than the arts of trying to strike a deal ... Maybe the strike on Syria might start defining him in a different way because he seems sort of struggling with this sort of approach of trying to do a deal on everything, when you can see it's breaking down all over the place," O'Neill said.

Trump ordered a strike on Thursday against an airfield from which a deadly chemical attack allegedly took place earlier this week, which overshadowed his meeting with his Chinese counterpart.

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