The person pushing the order is Peter Navarro, Trump’s top trade adviser. But it’s also opposed by Trump loyalists Steve Mnuchin and Jared Kushner. While Trump has more recently seemed keen to take political swipes at China over the coronavirus, some fear doing so could set back any prospect for a quick economic recovery here at home. At least some aides are also warning that making any major moves right now could disrupt the nation’s access to badly needed medical supplies, many of which are produced in China.
For now, Navarro’s executive order appears to be stalled. But perhaps the biggest hurdle to it is Trump himself, who has continually taken a Jekyll-Hyde approach to China. Though Trump (and GOP lawmakers) would love nothing more than to scapegoat China for everything coronavirus, he also owes Beijing a lot of money. At the end of the day, it all comes down to Trump, who can’t seem to decide from one day to the next exactly what posture he wants to adopt on relations with China.