After days of basking in the flattery of other world leaders, President Trump dished out some of his own Thursday, bestowing kind words and gestures on an unlikely counterpart, China’s Xi Jinping, a communist leader who just tightened his grip on power in a country Trump accused during the campaign of “raping” U.S. workers.
Trump called Xi "a very special man" with whom he has "great chemistry." He congratulated Xi on the recent Communist Party Congress, which gave new authority to the Chinese leader. And although he challenged Xi on the economy and the "menace" of North Korea, he cast more blame on his American predecessors than on Xi for the trade imbalance.
"I don't blame China," Trump said at a ceremony involving U.S. and Chinese business leaders. "Who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens? I give China great credit."