World Economy

Trump's China currency shift breaks a key part of his contract with the American voter

Key Points
  • Candidate Trump's "Contract with the American Voter" promised that labeling China a currency manipulator would be done on Day One.
  • Trump called the Chinese "champions" of currency manipulation as recently as early April.
  • On Wednesday, the president conceded that China does not manipulate the yuan.
Trump has flipped his positions on three big issues. Here's what he said on the campaign trail

In a significant change of tone, President Donald Trump this week reversed his long-standing call to label China a currency manipulator.

Here's how his comments have evolved over the last six months:

As a candidate before the Nov. 8, 2016, election

"Contract with the American Voter"

"On the first day of my term of office, my administration will immediately pursue the following … direct the Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator."

Dec. 4, 2016

Trump tweets imply that China has devalued its currency to make it harder for U.S. companies to compete.


Tweet 2

Jan. 20, 2017

Inauguration Day

Jan. 23, 2017

Trump withdraws U.S. from Trans-Pacific Partnership as promised in the contract.

Feb. 23, 2017

The Chinese are "grand champions at manipulation of currency," Trump said in an interview with Reuters.

April 2, 2017

Trump calls the Chinese "champions" in devaluation again in an interview with the Financial Times.

"You know when you talk about, when you talk about currency manipulation, when you talk about devaluations, they are world champions. And our country hasn't had a clue, they haven't had a clue. The past administration hasn't had and many administrations — I don't want to say only Obama; this has gone on for many years — they haven't had a clue. But I do."

April 12, 2017

"They're not currency manipulators," Trump says in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.