Trump can't tell companies how to do business: former NJ governor

President Trump lashed out at China in a fiery tweetstorm Friday morning, warning he will be responding later this afternoon to Beijing’s most recent escalation of the trade war.

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In a series of tweets, Trump accused Beijing of stealing “vast amounts of wealth from the U.S.,” and ordered American companies to find alternatives to doing business with China. U.S. equity markets sold off sharply.

“We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them,” Trump tweeted on Friday. "Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing your companies HOME and making your products in the USA."

Former New Jersey Republican governor Christine Todd Whitman was seemingly confused by this so-called order.

"I question how Republican he is, but first of all, he can't do it," Whitman said on FOX Business' "Cavuto: Coast To Coast." "They're private companies. You cannot order them to change the way they do business. You can encourage them. There are a lot of things you can do to push them in that direction, but you can't just order them."

You cannot order them to change the way they do business.

- Christine Todd Whitman

Whitman is concerned that Trump tweets policy changes before meeting with his advisers, which can cause market instability.

"Markets and businesses need security," Whitman said. "They need to have some understanding that this is sustainable or there's some policy here."

She also is worried about the trade war which seems to be affecting a broad swath of American companies.

"How are you better off without China?" Whitman asked. "We are a global economy. We can have a huge influence on how other countries act and react with us. And we should be looking at these trade deals."

How are you better off without China?

- Christine Todd Whitman

Whitman believes China is too big of an economy to isolate them as a country we will not trade with.


FOX Business' Jonathan Garber contributed to this report