Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Wednesday, business mogul Donald Trump offered a critical review of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, calling the president’s glowing praise of China’s rapid rise on the world stage “inappropriate” and a “low point” of the speech.
President Obama’s reference to China’s development early in his speech came as he noted that many Americans feel the rules of the game have changed in mid-stream. “They’re right: They have changed,” Obama said, citing alterations in business and society ushered in by the double-time march of technological development.
“Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science,” said the president. “They're investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became the home to the world's largest private solar research facility and the world's fastest computer.”
Trump, an advocate of a get-tough policy toward China’s rulers, reacted sharply to that statement.
“I the thought the low point was when he talked about how great China was, that they came up with the fastest computer,” Trump said. “He’s talking about how great China’s doing. And I thought to me that was inappropriate to have in the speech, especially in light of what’s happening with China.”
In the past Trump, who has been openly toying with making a run for the 2012 GOP nomination, has characterized China as an economic “enemy” of the United States, because it has kept the value of its currency artificially low. That has fuel massive sales of low-cost Chinese products abroad, and the deals are good for the American consumer. But it also tends to shift manufacturing jobs overseas.
One reason Trump is no fan of the current White House: He said they spurned his offer to build at his own expense a magnificent ballroom there.
Trump said he got the idea of building a White House ballroom while watching television. He noticed that the White House occasionally uses a tent for large receptions.
Trump told the Squawk Box hosts: “I called the White House and I said, ‘Listen, you’re no jokers, you’ve seen it: I have a ballroom [at his Mar-a-Lago Club] in Palm Beach Florida that’s magnificent.’ I offered for nothing to build a $50 million ballroom.”
“Because I said, ‘You know what, when a foreign leader comes over, not the leader from China, but friends of ours, they shouldn’t be in a tent. They should be in a ballroom.’ So I called the White House, spoke to a very high official, like, one of the highest, and said, ‘Listen, I will build free a $40, $50, $60 million, whatever it cost, ballroom for the White House. It should have a ballroom, not a tent.
“I never heard from them,” Trump concluded. “This is the problem with the country.”
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