With less than 150 days left before the U.S. general election, the incumbent, President Donald Trump, will be looking at ways to appeal to his base and to draw in undecided voters.

He will also need to demonstrate that he is making progress with China on the Phase One trade deal while at the same time remaining critical of China over the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump needs to steer attention away from his handling of the coronavirus and blame China for the disease that has ravaged both country’s economies.

On Friday, Trump gained a victory of sorts when the unemployment data released was unexpectedly upbeat, showing the addition of 2.5 million jobs for May after the huge loss of jobs caused by COVID-19 shutdowns in April.

Also on Friday, Trump also talked about his trade deal with China. Tensions between the two countries were already high before the virus spread out of Wuhan over Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea, the unrest in Hong Kong plus other issues about human rights and trade. COVID-19 only escalated those tensions.

Trump suggested that the Phase One trade deal with China was intact, delivering a rare note of optimism about bilateral relations with China. He talked about China’s purchase of American goods and said, “I will say [China is] buying a lot from us, and in that way, I respect, and getting along with China would be a good thing. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. I’ll let you know.”

He also continued to hammer home the usual litany of criticism toward the Communist superpower, calling COVID-19 “the China plague” and speculation that the coronavirus was developed in a Wuhan lab. Trump commented on how the pandemic skipped Beijing as it spread to the rest of the world. He said, “It didn’t go to Beijing, it didn’t go to other parts of China … How come it came out to Europe, to the world, to the United States? Somebody has to ask these questions.”

Trade will likely continue and grow even with the other problems because China and the U.S. need each other to prevent further damage to their respective economies. China is more than ready to continue implementing the Phase One deal because it needs American food products like produce, meats, grains animal proteins, pet food, dairy and infant formula to feed its more than 1.4 billion people.

US President Donald Trump likened the unexpectedly good employment data to a "rocket ship" indicating the economy is rebounding US President Donald Trump likened the unexpectedly good employment data to a "rocket ship" indicating the economy is rebounding Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) announced last month that China has opened its markets to blueberries, California Hass avocados, barley and other livestock feed grains, and approved imports of meat from more American processing facilities.

Trump signed a deal with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He in January to loosen import restrictions on American potatoes and pet food products, an end to a ban on U.S. poultry products, and a broadening in the lists of facilities from which the U.S. may export

The positive unemployment numbers touted by Trump was likely due to the economic relief measures that included a $1,200 cash payment to individuals and a host of other aid packages meant to spur the economy. If the HEROES stimulus package means another round of stimulus payments, Americans will need tech products like computers and cell phones made in China to spend it on.

Agricultural products sold to China will make American farmers happy, a new smartphone will make many individuals happy, China’s battered economy will improve, and a possible famine will be avoided. If the protests and violence over the death of George Floyd dies down and COVID-19 becomes “old news” by November, then Donald Trump will have possibly engineered a landslide victory over the Democratic candidate Joe Biden.