US President Donald Trump proclaimed himself “the Chosen One” Wednesday as he defended his trade war against China, indicating that it was his destiny to take on Beijing.
Trump — who had earlier approvingly retweeted a description of himself as the King of Israel — said his predecessors had allowed the United States to be taken advantage of on trade and intellectual property and it had befallen him to undo the damage.
“This isn’t my trade war. This is a trade war that should have taken place a long time ago by a lot of other presidents,” he told reporters at the White House.
“Somebody had to do it,” Trump said, before looking up to the heavens and adding: “I am the Chosen One.”
Trump has slapped steep tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, with a further $300 billion in imports targeted for new duties in two more rounds, September 1 and December 15.
“Somebody had to do it, so I’m taking on China. I’m taking on China on trade, and you know what? We’re winning,” he said.
The president said he was “put here by people to do a great job. And that’s what I’m doing.”
The comments came shortly after he promoted a claim that he has achieved godlike status in Israel and that the Jewish population of the country adore him as their “king.”
Trump tweeted the remarks by radio host and conspiracy theorist Wayne Allyn Root, which were broadcast Tuesday on his show.
“President Trump is the greatest President for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world, not just America, he is the best President for Israel in the history of the world…and the Jewish people in Israel love him like he’s the King of Israel,” Trump quoted Root as saying. “They love him like he is the second coming of God.”
“But American Jews don’t know him or like him,” the tweet continued. “They don’t even know what they’re doing or saying anymore. It makes no sense! But that’s OK, if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’s good for all Jews, Blacks, Gays, everyone. And importantly, he’s good for everyone in America who wants a job.”
“Wow!” added Trump, while thanking Root for “the very nice words.”
The tweets came a day after Trump lashed out at Democrats over what he claimed was their lack of support for Israel, suggesting that American Jews who intend to vote for his rival party in the 2020 elections would be displaying “great disloyalty.”
“I think any Jewish people who would vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” Trump said during an Oval Office meeting with President Klaus Iohannis of Romania.
Trump was commenting on the uproar in Washington over Israel’s barring of Democratic congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering the country due to their pro-Palestinian and Israel-boycott activism.
American Jewish leaders condemned Trump’s loyalty remark saying he was employing a dangerous anti-Semitic trope.
“It’s unclear who @POTUS is claiming Jews would be ‘disloyal’ to, but charges of disloyalty have long been used to attack Jews,” tweeted Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League, calling on the president to stop “using Jews as a political football.”
American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris called Trump’s comments “outrageous.”
Agencies contributed to this report.