President Donald Trump is currently in talks with representatives of China to reach a trade agreement that would mitigate the effects of increased tariffs between the two countries.
Though officials seem optimistic about the talks, some were uneasy when Trump imitated Chinese President Xi during a business meeting at the White House.
The president's remarks came during a speech about claims that a wall at the southern border would have a significant effect on drug trafficking from Mexico into the United States. Trump recalled a meeting with President Xi.
"So you have 1.4 billion people, and you don't have a drug problem? 'That's right, no drug problem.' I said what do you attribute that to? 'Death penalty. Quick trial.'"
He then reiterated Xi's words in what sounded like an attempt to mimic Xi's voice:
"They have what's called a 'Quick trial.'"
Trump mimics President Xi's Chinese accent, then laments that drug-related trials in America "last 19 years." (They… https://t.co/Q4JbfbbgLO— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1551127786.0
The president's imitation was met with enough silence to hear a pin drop. Twitter, however, wasn't keeping quiet.
@atrupar I'm sure president Xi' will be impressed by his impersonation. 😳— Then I Thought (@Then I Thought)1551127919.0
@atrupar “Quick trial”. Adolf would be proud.— Archbishop Poet 🗳 (@Archbishop Poet 🗳)1551128207.0
President Trump just praised China's policy towards drug dealers in a speech to U.S. governors. He summed it up as:… https://t.co/EgQxIbT0cu— John Sinclair Foley (@John Sinclair Foley)1551113971.0
@atrupar You can literally hear the audience gasping and murmuring at this insanity.— Meghan (@Meghan)1551129062.0
@atrupar Stunned by silence? Or that they collectively discovered the world's dumbest person, while simultaneously… https://t.co/7tAjGHl0YV— ObsidianDisorder (@ObsidianDisorder)1551130401.0
@atrupar Bring in the guys with the straitjackets. https://t.co/nC5ehU2kPs— 💙 Beto For VP 💙 (@💙 Beto For VP 💙)1551130362.0
Trump went on to brag that it took him "one minute" to convince the Chinese president that criminalizing the sale of Fentanyl to the United States would save "many lives."
It's undoubtedly true that criminalizing the sale of Fentanyl from China to the U.S. would save lives - but what does that have to do with the president's border wall?
$1.7 million worth of Fentanyl (110 pounds) has been seized at the Port of Philadelphia by US Customs & Border. Dru… https://t.co/7rdZfOqzZT— Tomthunkit™ (@Tomthunkit™)1551111028.0
Dumping fentanyl to the west is definitely not considered a “drug problem” for China or Trump https://t.co/9UlEksFfpx— Xi Lu (@Xi Lu)1551110760.0
@Maggiesdad34 @washingtonpost Building a wall won’t protect anybody. Fentanyl doesn’t come over the southern borde… https://t.co/ggD9WcKeas— Mike (@Mike)1551110073.0
BBC reporter Tara McKelvey had some questions about Trump's "death penalty, quick trial" comments - but her concerns are less about the mockery and more about what that says about the president's justice policies.
I wondered whether Trump wished that the US would adopt the same approach to drug offenders – a speedy trial and execution – that was used in China. His remarks were jarring - given the platitudes he’d just expressed about criminal justice reform.
I wondered whether Trump wished that the US would adopt the same approach to drug offenders – a speedy trial and ex… https://t.co/kJ676b4eJO— Tara McKelvey (@Tara McKelvey)1551107963.0
@Tara_Mckelvey Does he know "death penalty, quick trial" is also China's solution to many other challenges to autho… https://t.co/CmtWIGkwE8— Phoebus (@Phoebus)1551109339.0
@Tara_Mckelvey Would he endorse the death penalty for opioid manufacturers? Or just brown-skinned drug dealers?— J. K. (@J. K.)1551108442.0
Mockery or not, Trump's admiration of President Xi's death penalty for drug dealers—especially after only a hasty trial—is disturbing - and for this administration, that's saying a lot.