President Donald Trump bet the house that getting a sweetheart trade deal with the Chinese government would boost the American economy and his electoral odds before the election. Now, with that election less than 100 days away, some members of his inner circle are pushing him to make a new bet: that he’ll win if he blows it all up.
Four people with knowledge of the situation tell The Daily Beast that in the past three weeks, an internal campaign has intensified within the Trump administration to convince the president to nuke the China trade deal—an international agreement that Trump has considered a crowning, legacy-defining process of his first term in office.
These efforts in the administration have been spearheaded by a variety of political aides, economic and policy advisers, and President Trump’s perennial China hawks, including White House trade adviser Peter Navarro. Some of these officials have taken to showing Trump printed data, pictures, and charts that they claim demonstrate how China still is not buying American goods at a level high enough to satisfy the president’s aims.