The New York Times reports:
President Trump said he resisted punishing China for its mass internment of ethnic Uighurs last year for fear of jeopardizing trade talks with Beijing, a blunt admission of his transactional approach to human rights and willingness to subordinate other U.S. policy priorities to a potential trade deal he considers vital to his re-election.
“Well, we were in the middle of a major trade deal,” Mr. Trump said. “And when you’re in the middle of a negotiation and then all of a sudden you start throwing additional sanctions on — we’ve done a lot,” he added. “I put tariffs on China, which are far worse than any sanction you can think of.”
Mr. Trump has taken a selective approach to human rights as president, imposing sanctions over rights abuses in countries he aims to intimidate, like Iran and Venezuela, while turning a largely blind eye when it comes to an ally like Saudi Arabia, or in the case of China, where he hopes to strike a trade deal. After he began to pursue a nuclear deal with North Korea, Mr. Trump abruptly dropped his criticisms of that country’s infamous human rights abuses.