Schumer rips Trump over ZTE negotiations

Schumer rips Trump over ZTE negotiations
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTop Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday tore into President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE over reports that the president is nearing a deal to lift a ban on American companies selling components to Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE.

Schumer, during a Senate floor speech, warned that agreeing to the deal would be a "slap on the wrist" for China and a "great defeat" for Trump.

" 'The Art of the Deal' — it should be President Xi who writes the book because he's taken us to the cleaners on ZTE," Schumer said.

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"The deal President Trump seems to be making is exactly the kind of deal that Donald Trump, before he was President Trump, would call weak or the worst deal ever," he added.

A source told Reuters that while a deal between Washington and Beijing has not been finalized, there was a "handshake deal" to lift the ban and an agreement could be clinched by next week. 

The Wall Street Journal separately reported that the Trump administration has agreed on the outline of a deal to lift the ban.

The Commerce Department had imposed the sanctions and banned the company from buying U.S. components after the company admitted to breaking U.S. sanctions by selling equipment to North Korea and Iran. Commerce also cited security concerns that the firm could help China to infiltrate U.S. networks.

Schumer didn't specifically say he had talked with Trump about his decision before it was announced but noted they spoke for roughly a half hour on Friday about trade.

"It's my view [that] it's the Chinese who proposed this because they know it doesn't do the real job," he said. "The proposed solution is like a wet noodle."