Former President Barack Obama claimed his White House successor Donald Trump was to blame for China’s economic ascension and problematic behavior.
During a paid speaking tour appearance in Sydney Australia on Tuesday, where Obama reportedly stands to net upwards of $1 million, the former President used the event to attack Trump and blame him for the very things he is guilty of.
Talking with Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, Obama described Chinese leader Xi Jinping as having a “forceful and confident” demeanor.
The former President claimed that China began to change “once I left office” in 2017 and when Trump took the White House.
“With my successor coming in, I think he saw an opportunity because the U.S. president didn’t seem to care that much about a rules-based international system,” Obama said of Xi.
“And so as a consequence, I think China’s attitude as well, we can take advantage of what appears to be a vacuum internationally on a lot of these issues,” Obama said.
For four years, Trump waged a relentless trade war against China, which included steep import tariffs to reverse a deficit of the U.S.
In reality, Obama and other previous leaders allowed China to gain an economic advantage.
“They took advantage of us for many, many years,” Trump said in 2019.
“And I blame us, I don’t blame them. I don’t blame President Xi. I blame all of our presidents, and not just President Obama.”
“You go back a long way. You look at President Clinton, Bush — everybody. They allowed this to happen, they created a monster. We rebuilt China because they get so much money,” Trump said.
Under the disastrous presidency of Joe Biden, who served as vice president under Obama, China has become the biggest national security threat the U.S. has ever seen.
As Russia’s war in Ukraine rages on, Xi met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to strike deals to lock in their economic ties.
Obama noted the “significantly strained” relations between the United States and China and predicted the tensions would not ” go away anytime soon.”
“Nor should they, because I think there are some fundamental differences in terms of how we operate when you look at the South China Sea,” Obama said.
“The fact of the matter is, is that if China starts claiming what had previously been international waters that is going to make life difficult for its neighbors, and for everyone, long term, I don’t even think it’s going to be good for China,” Obama said.