President Trump veered off topic to launch an accusation of election meddling against China. His accusations were levied during the United Nations security council’s meeting on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction — on Wednesday, September 26.
Taking a moment to echo a charge that he has made in the past, Trump is reported to have put aside his focus on Iran during the meeting so that he could briefly address another elephant in the room. He spoke out, claiming that attempts have been made by the Chinese government in order to sway the results of congressional races on the November 6 ballot.
“Regrettably, we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election, coming up in November, against my administration,” ABC News quotes Trump as saying before heads of state that make up the 15 member UN Security Council. “They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade. We are winning on every level. We don’t want them to meddle or interfere in our upcoming elections,” the President would then go on to add.
China has openly stated that they are actively trying to impact and change our election by attacking our farmers, ranchers and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me. What China does not understand is that these people are great patriots and fully understand that.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2018
President Trump has been hanging allegations of election interference over China for the past couple of weeks. Many will recall him invoking the claim via social media when — just one day after announcing the imposition of $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports — he asserted that Beijing has not been very discreet about how it is partaking in such subversive actions.
“China has openly stated that they are actively trying to impact and change our election by attacking our farmers, ranchers and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me,” he’d write in the September 18 tweet.
Trump didn’t provide immediate evidence to back his claim, but soon after presenting the charge at Wednesday’s meeting, he returned to Twitter to publish screenshots that capture what he characterized to be “propaganda ads” strategically placed in The Des Moines Register.
China is actually placing propaganda ads in the Des Moines Register and other papers, made to look like news. That’s because we are beating them on Trade, opening markets, and the farmers will make a fortune when this is over! pic.twitter.com/ppdvTX7oz1— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2018
According to the Financial Times, this past Sunday’s edition of the Iowa daily did feature a four-page section peppered with articles “paid for and prepared solely by China Daily, an official publication of the People’s Republic of China.”
The timing of national security adviser John Bolton’s insistence, as of last month, that his office has been working to prevent “Chinese meddling” suggests that the administration had been keeping its eye on China prior to developments that have been taking shape in the days leading up to the midterms. The Chinese government has continually denied any involvement throughout.
“We do not and will not interfere in any country’s domestic affairs,” foreign minister from Beijing — Wang Yi — would say in response to Trump’s remarks on Wednesday. “We refuse to accept any unwarranted accusations against China.”