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Trump flip-flops on China, calls Xi a ‘great leader’ after branding him ‘enemy’

2019-08-26

President Trump smiles during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G-7 summit in Biarritz. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

One day he’s an enemy. The next day he’s a “great leader.”

President Trump flip-flopped on China Monday, heaping praise on premier Xi Jinping just days after trashing him as America’s “enemy.”

He lavished praise on Xi after hearing that a Chinese official made the somewhat insipid remark that his nation hopes for a “calm resolution” of the spiraling trade war.

“This is why he is a great leader & representing a great country," Trump tweeted. "Talks are continuing!”

“They want calm, and that’s a great thing, frankly. And one of the reasons that he’s a great leader, President Xi, and one of the reasons that China’s a great country is they understand how life works,” Trump told a press conference at the G7 summit in France.

Trump appeared to be in a good mood Monday after fellow leaders at the G7 summit avoided overtly criticizing his mercurial behavior and zig-zagging policy pronouncements.

Trump said trade talks would resume with China, although there was no sign of an imminent breakthrough.

Markets were poised to bounce back a bit after being hammered by Trump’s outbursts before the weekend. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up by nearly 200 points or about a third of what the index lost on Friday.

Aside from the president’s good mood, there was little to explain the shift from his stance on Friday when he angrily denounced Xi along with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell as enemies of America.

The president ordered private companies to get ready to leave China and added a new round of damaging tariffs against China, even though economists warn the trade war could tip the U.S. and maybe the world into recession.