President Trump’s cautious distance from Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement has left him politically isolated from both parties in Congress, the State Department, European allies and his most hawkish advisers at the White House.
Despite ringing declarations of support for the protesters from leading Democrats and Republicans as well as European officials, Mr. Trump has shown little sympathy for the mass demonstrations against China’s encroaching political influence on the former British colony. And in his almost-singular focus on his showdown with Beijing over trade and tariffs, Mr. Trump is ignoring the view of his conservative advisers, who believe that China’s authoritarian model threatens American interests worldwide.
Speaking to reporters as he headed to a campaign event on Thursday, Mr. Trump was complimentary toward China’s president, Xi Jinping. “I really have a lot of confidence in President Xi,” Mr. Trump said, predicting that if the Chinese leader met with protest leaders, “things could be worked out pretty easily.” Mr. Trump offered no words of support for the goals of the protesters, which include preventing China’s repressive political system from subsuming Hong Kong’s open society.
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