President Donald Trump accused China of trying to interfere in the midterm elections because its angry with his trade policies — without offering a single shred of evidence.
“Regrettably, China has been caught trying to interfere in our 2018 election. They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade,” Trump said during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday in New York. “We are winning on trade. We are winning at every level. We don't want them to meddle or interfere in our upcoming election.”
Trump failed to provide any more details on how China is trying to interfere in the midterms and provided no evidence to back up his claim.
"We don't want them to meddle or interfere in our upcoming election," Trump added.
Republicans and Democrats have been hardening their campaigns against election interference from Russia in the run-up to November’s mid-term vote, but to date, there had been no indication that Beijing was intent on undermining the democratic process.
Speaking of election meddling, Trump made no mention of Russian interference, despite recent warnings from his Director of National Intelligence saying such efforts were ongoing.
China's foreign minister hit back, calling Trump’s claims an "unwarranted accusation.”
But this isn't the first time Trump has floated the idea of Chinese interference in the U.S. political system. Earlier in September Trump lashed out at China over Twitter, accusing the country of targeting "farmers, ranchers and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me."
Washington and Beijing have been in somewhat of a standoff over trade. The tit-for tat war escalated this week when Trump slapped yet more new tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. China responded with tariffs of its own on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods.
The latest batch of tariffs prompted an angry response from China’s deputy trade negotiator Wang Shouwen, who accused Trump of “bullying and intimidation.”
“How could you negotiate with someone when he puts a knife on your neck?” Wang asked.
Chinese media has had a field day with Trump’s speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, where attendees openly laughed during the U.S. president’s remarks.
“His self-gratification may have been a harmless comic episode at the UN General Assembly. But his elaboration of U.S. foreign policy is very bad news for the rest of the world,” an editorial in the China Daily said Wednesday.
Cover image: U.S. President Donald Trump listens while chairing a UN Security Council briefing on counter-proliferation during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria