ZTE Deal On Brink Of Collapse After Senate Vows To Derail Trump Agreement
Update: In what looks like a last-minute attempt to save face, the White House is insisting that it does, in fact, want to block an amendment that would derail its deal to save ZTE.
- Senior White House Official: White House to Try to Block ZTE Language in Senate Defense Bill
- White House Will Fight to Change ZTE Language Later In Legislative Process -- Senior White House Official
- House Has Already Passed a Defense Bill That Needs To Be Reconciled With Senate Bill
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Now that President Donald Trump has notched what he views as another foreign policy victory in his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Republican lawmakers have noticed something unusual: Trump isn't trying to dissuade lawmakers from supporting a measure that would thwart a White House deal with Chinese telecoms giant ZTE - a deal that many viewed as a sop to secure Chinese President Xi Jinping's blessing for this week's summit with North Korea, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Trump hasn't resorted to using any of his favorite tactics for whipping up votes (for example, using Twitter to bash lawmakers who oppose him), and, in fact, has done little to stop the measure - which the Senate yesterday attached as an amendment to a "must-pass" defense authorization bill - from moving forward.
Trump's lack of enthusiasm for saving ZTE has prompted some lawmakers to speculate that he "doesn't care" about saving the company, which would effectively be forced to shut down if it's cut off from buying US exports.
"I don’t think the president cares about ZTE," Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) told reporters. "Someone told me that he gave [GOP lawmakers] a wink and a nod and told them he didn’t care. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I think he did what he did for the Chinese leader but he doesn’t really care what Congress does."
Representatives for the White House, the Commerce Department and ZTE didn’t immediately comment.
ZTE shares plunged 41.5% last night - the company's largest one-day drop in its history - when they opened for trading in Hong Kong after being suspended for two months. The drop wiped out some $8 billion in market value. Shraes of NXP fell 1.4% in premarket trading in the US Wednesday extending a weekly decline on news that the amendment to kill the ZTE deal might go through.