Attorney General William Barr criticized U.S. business leaders during an interview with FOX Business anchor Maria Bartiromo that will air Sunday, arguing that some companies are maintaining close ties with the Chinese market despite mounting tension between Washington and Beijing.
U.S.-China relations have soured in recent weeks as the coronavirus pandemic hammered the economy and raised questions about the pending trade deal between the two nations. President Trump, who has criticized China for withholding key information about the pandemic, warned the U.S. would consider a “complete decoupling” of the nations’ supply chains.
“The American business community has been a big part of the problem, because they’re willing, ultimately many of them, to sacrifice the long-term viability of their companies for short-term profit, so they can get their stock options and move into the golf resort,” Barr told Bartiromo. “That’s what’s driving some of this – they’re not taking the long-term view and the national view of maintaining American strength.”
The Trump administration repeatedly expressed concern about America’s dependence on Chinese-made goods during the U.S.-China trade war. Concerns were heightened in recent months after the pandemic brought global supply chains and manufacturing to a near-complete halt, leaving the U.S. with shortages of certain medical supplies and other necessities.
Aside from his criticism of China’s handling of the pandemic, Trump publicly admonished Beijing for falling behind on promised purchases of agricultural goods as pledged under phase one of the U.S.-China trade deal. The president has said he still expects Beijing to follow through on its commitment to buy $200 billion in U.S. goods and services.
While speaking to Barr, Bartiromo mentioned a recent conversation with a money manager who said it was not his job to “call out the good guys and bad guys,” adding that he would continue to invest in China.
Barr was critical of that approach to business given the current climate.
“Well you know what, we’re not speaking German today because the American business in the past didn’t think that way,” Barr said.