President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping probably won't exchange more than a friendly handshake in their meeting in Florida this week, according to a former adviser to President George W. Bush.
"The only thing that matters to these two leaders is what each of them looks like to their home audiences," John Rutledge, who advised Bush on Iraq and tax policy, said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Monday.
"Trump needs to look like he is a tough meany to his base, and Xi needs to look like he is sitting at the adult table now."
Trump previously dubbed China the "grand champions at manipulation of currency," in an interview with Reuters in February. Last week, he tweeted that his meeting "will be a very difficult one."
William Heidlage, research director for BowerGroupAsia, told CNBC to "expect a relatively cool meeting in terms of outward appearances as Xi's people trade in any warm and fuzzy moments in exchange for confidence that their boss will be treated with respect."
He added: "The Chinese government is well aware that Trump might act unpredictably and will take steps to minimize the opportunity for any embarrassments. The summit will be a relatively private affair, with only a few well-planned moments open to the press."
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