President Donald Trump opened his critical trade dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping Saturday night with a tribute to the late President George H.W. Bush and announced he’s sending Air Force One to Houston to bring the leader’s remains to Washington D.C.
‘It’s a special honor he deserves very much,’ Trump said.
He noted he and the American delegation will return to Washington D.C. after the dinner with Xi and, from there, Air Force One – the president’s signature plane – will fly to Houston to bring the late president’s remains to the capital city, where he will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol building and have a state funeral at the Washington National Cathedral.
President Trump opened his trade dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping with a tribute to the late President George H.W. Bush
Trump, Xi and their delegations are having a critical dinner as a trade war rages
Former President George H.W. Bush died on Friday
‘Air Force One will be taking myself and a group of our people back to Washington. It will then be reset and it will be sent to Houston to pick up the casket of President Bush and it will be sent back to Washington,’ he said.
Trump called it a ‘special tribute.’
‘He’ll be missed. He’ll be greatly missed,’ the president added.
The 41st president of the United States, Bush, 93, died just eight months after the loss of his wife Barbara, whom he had been married to for 73 years.
Grilled Sirloin with red onions, goat ricotta, and dates was on the menu and trade was the main item on the agenda, but it barely garnered a mention from the president.
Trump started his remarks by talking about his predecessor in the Oval Office.
‘We’ll be spending three days of mourning and three days of celebrating a really great man’s life,’ he said. ‘He certainly deserves it.’
He also thanked Xi for his words of condolence for the Bush family. The late President Bush was the one-time ambassador to China.
Bush boarding Air Force One when he was president
Air Force One will fly to Houston to bring Bush’s remains to Washington D.C.
Then Trump finally turned to the topic at hand: his dinner with Xi.
He said he was planning to press the Chinese president about fentanyl. China is believed to be a major source of synthetic pain killer, which has been popping up in heroin, causing a spike in over doses.
Trump also said they’d be talking trade. China and the United States are in the midst of trade war with billions of dollars in tariffs at play against one another.
‘We’ll be discussing trade and I think at some point we’re gong to end up doing something that’s great for China and great for the United States,’ he said.
Trump pointed to the leaders’ great relationship: ‘That’s going to be a very primary reason that we’ll probably end up getting something that is good for China and good for the United States.’
Trump-Xi Dinner Menu
Seasonal Vegetable Salad
Basil Mayonnaise Dressing
Catena Zapata Adrianna White Stones Chardonnay 2009
Grilled Sirloin with red onions, goat ricotta, and dates
Caramel Rolled Pancakes
Catena Zapata NicolÁs Malbec 2014
Xi, speaking via a translator, said it is a ‘great pleasure’ to have the meeting.
‘It has been quite a while since our previous meeting,’ he said. ‘A lot of things have taken place in the world.’
The two leaders are meeting face-to-face for the first time since the trade war began between the two economic super powers.
Trump and Xi were seated across from each other in the middle of the table, surrounded by their respective delegations on their left and right.
The guests were arranged around a long rectangular table. A crystal chandelier hung over it and a row of flowers ran down the middle. Two American flags and two Chinese flags stood at the end of the room.
Joining the president in the American delegation were:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Chief of Staff John Kelly, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, National Security Advisor John Bolton, White House adviser Jared Kushner, White House adviser Peter Navarro, and economic adviser Larry Kudlow.
Trump on Friday revealed willing to double and even quadruple tariffs on China as he shrugged off the economic competitor’s enhanced global influence.
The president told Voice of America in an interview on the margins of the G20 summit that he doesn’t want to bear down on China further, but he will, in order to reign in the country that has expanded it footprint to Latin America.
‘I think they’re going to have less money than they have right now,’ he said of the $250 billion in tariffs he’s already slapped on Beijing. ‘We’re going to be taking in billions and billions of dollars, plus I can double that up, and then I can double it again.’
Trump has expressed optimism the two leaders can come to a deal.
‘We’re working very hard. If we can make a deal that’d be good. I think they want to, and I think we’d like to,’ he told reporters during a meeting with Japan’s Shinzo Abe. ‘There’s some good signs. We’ll see what happens.’