China is interfering in the US’s upcoming midterm elections to help the Democrats, Donald Trump claimed without offering any evidence as he opened the Security Council meeting at the UN General Assembly.
“China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election, against my administration,” Trump said in New York today (Sept. 26). “They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade.” He made no mention of Russian interference in US elections, although US intelligence officials agree Moscow meddled in the 2016 election in an attempt to favor Trump, and the US Department of Homeland Security warned recently warned of “persistent Russian efforts using social media, sympathetic spokespeople and other fronts to sow discord and divisiveness amongst the American people.”
China has previously denied any interference in the US’s internal affairs, after Trump said earlier this month China was trying to influence US elections “by attacking our farmers, ranchers and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me.” China and the US are in the midst of an escalating trade war, initiated when the US put additional tariffs on Chinese products earlier this year. China has taxed US products in return, and pledge to reciprocate again.
Trump was referring to an advertising supplement purchased by state-owned China Daily that ran in midwest papers this week, which extols the benefits of open US-China trade, he said on Twitter:
Later at the UNGA, he told reporters that China is attacking the “farm belt with ads and with statements.”
John Bolton, the president’s top security advisor, said in August he was concerned about Chinese, Iranian, and North Korean interference in the US political process.
The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for more information about any China interference. Previous US administrations have challenged China on trade dozens of times, Trump’s own top trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, stressed yesterday at a conference aligned with the UNGA.
If the US midterm elections on Nov. 6 turn the House of Representatives over to Democrats, the vote would have a drastic influence on Trump’s presidency. The House has the authority to start impeachment proceedings and Democratic control could also check some Republican plans to drastically curb immigration or cut social programs.