Wednesday during an impromptu press conference on the White House lawn, President Trump explained why he launched a trade war against China.
"Because China has been ripping us off for many years. President Clinton, President Bush, and President Obama, and others should have done this long before me," the president said. "Somebody had to do it, so I'm taking on China. I am the chosen one."
"I was put here by people to do a great job," he added.
REPORTER: Is it worth it? Do Americans need to back that up?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The fake news, of which many of you are members, is trying to convince the public to have a recession. "Let's have a recession." The United States is doing phenomenally well. But one thing we have to do is economically take on China. Because China has been ripping us off for many years. President Clinton, President Bush, and President Obama, and others should have done this long before me.
My life would be much easier, although I enjoy doing it, my life would be much easier if I said, "Let China continue to rip off the United States." All right? Much easier, but I can't do that.
We are winning against China. They've lost two and a half million jobs in a very short period of time. They want to make a deal. It has to be a deal good for the United States. They want to make a deal. Probably we will make a deal. But, if I didn't do that, and somebody said it is Trump's trade war.
This isn't my trade war. This is a trade war that should have taken place a long time ago by a lot of other presidents. Over the last five or six years, China has made $500 billion. $500 billion. Ripped it out of the United States. And not only that, if you take a look, intellectual property theft, add that to it. And add a lot of other things to it.
Somebody had to do it, so I'm taking on China. I am the chosen one. Somebody had to do it, so I'm taking on China. I'm taking on China on trade, you know what? We're winning. Because we're the piggy bank, we're the one that all these countries, including the European Union, wants to rob and take advantage of. European Union, $200 billion. China, more than $500 billion.
I was put here by people to do a great job, and that's what I'm doing. And nobody is doing a job like I have done. Now, would China rather wait for a little more than a year and try to get sleepy Joe Biden to negotiate instead of President Trump? Maybe, but I don't think so. They're losing too many too fast... They had the worst year they've had in half a century, and that's because of me. I'm not proud of that. But they want to negotiate. And Sleepy Joe doesn't have a clue. Sleepy Joe said China is wonderful. Well, China is wonderful for China. I'm wonderful for the USA.