NYT's Friedman Frets Israel, Russia, China 'Manipulated' 'Chump' Trump

Appearing as a guest on Monday's Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman tagged President Donald Trump as a "chump" who has been "manipulated" by Russia and "played" by China. He even oddly lumped in Israel as a country that has "manipulated" President Trump.

Shortly after 9:00 a.m. ET, host Anderson Cooper referred to a recent article of Friedman's about Trump being a "chump" as he posed:

In talking about China, I mean, you wrote recently about the U.S. pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And one of the things you said about the Chinese is that they've essentially taken the temperature of Donald Trump, and that -- for all the talk about him being a great negotiator and a tough guy -- I mean, you say -- I mean, and you've just been traveling throughout Asia -- is that -- Trump basically now has a nickname, "Chump," in China.

Without explanation, Friedman listed U.S. ally, Israel -- referring to right-leaning Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu -- along with authoritarian, antagonistic countries like Russia and China as he began:

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Yeah, well, I think -- that's my nickname for him because I think if you look at how Bibi manipulated him in Israel, how Putin just manipulated him at the G20, how the Chinese have played him, he's a chump. And the reason he's a chump is because he doesn't do his homework. He hasn't thought things through.

Friedman went on to make a case that President Trump had missed the opportunity for the TPP trade agreement to benefit the U.S. while weakening China.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Monday, July 10, Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN:

9:01 p.m. ET

ANDERSON COOPER: In talking about China, I mean, you wrote recently about the U.S. pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And one of the things you said about the Chinese is that they've essentially taken the temperature of Donald Trump, and that -- for all the talk about him being a great negotiator and a tough guy -- I mean, you say -- I mean, and you've just been traveling throughout Asia -- is that -- Trump basically now has a nickname, "Chump," in China.

THOMAS FRIEDMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: Yeah, well, I think -- that's my nickname for him because I think if you look at how Bibi manipulated him in Israel, how Putin just manipulated him at the G20, how the Chinese have played him, he's a chump. And the reason he's a chump is because he doesn't do his homework. He hasn't thought things through.

Let's look at TPP -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership. What was that? That was a 12-nation free trade zone that was created by the United States based on our values and our interests. It had more protections for workers' environment -- it was negotiated by Obama, a liberal -- than any trade agreement in history. It was what Hillary Clinton said about it -- the "gold standard of trade agreements" -- when she was for it before she was against it.

Now, think about this, Anderson. that trade agreement involved 40 percent of global GDP -- 40 percent of the world economy. We would have been at the head of it. And the real story of TPP, Anderson, is we fleeced everybody. You know why we fleeced everybody? Because they wanted to give us concessions. And why did all these Asian Pacific countries want to give us concession? Because they didn't want to be left alone with China.

We got rid of 18,000 tariffs -- or would-be tariffs -- on American goods. So imagine Trump. He could have been sitting down negotiating with 
today and said, "Let me introduce you to my 11 trading partners in a free trading zone right all around your border that we control -- 40 percent of the economy. Imagine the leverage we have. Instead, he threw it out the first day in office -- I'm sure without reading it or having been properly briefed on it or knowing anything about it. And now we're basically trying to negotiate with the Chinese on Korea and on trade without that leverage.

People don't understand, Anderson: Our getting out of TPP was our Brexit. It was our Brexit from the Asian free trade zone. It will have vast consequences -- more geopolitical than geoeconomic.

NB Daily Economy Foreign Policy Asia China Israel/Palestine Middle East Russia CNN Anderson Cooper 360 New York Times Video Anderson Cooper Thomas Friedman


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