Billionaire liberal financier George Soros offered some rare praise of Donald Trump’s policies in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Tuesday, but said he’s worried the president will undermine his own strategy.
Soros called Trump’s policy on China, “coherent and genuinely bipartisan” as well as “the greatest — and perhaps only — foreign policy accomplishment of the Trump administration.”
Specifically, Soros said the Trump administration was right to put Huawei on the Commerce Department’s “entity list” as a national security threat, which prevents U.S. companies from engaging in business with the firm.
In the op-ed, Soros called China “a dangerous rival in artificial intelligence and machine learning” but said its ability to compete in the 5G market is seriously hampered by Huawei’s dependence on U.S. companies.
“As long as Huawei remains on the entity list, it will lack crucial technology and be seriously weakened,” Soros wrote.
But Soros said he worries Trump could remove Huawei from the entity list as a concession to China during trade talks. Soros said he believes Trump will want to arrange such talks in the lead-up to the 2020 election. While amendments have been introduced in the House and Senate to prevent Trump from removing Huawei from the list without congressional consent, Trump has sought to block that restriction, Soros wrote.
“If Republicans allow Mr. Trump to bail out the Communist Party-run telecom giant, they will be abdicating their most basic democratic responsibilities,” wrote the 89-year-old billionaire, whose Open Society Foundations have helped countries transition to democracies.
The U.S. has long had concerns about Huawei, claiming the company has a cozy relationship with the Chinese government, which could use its technology to gain an espionage advantage. The Justice Department filed criminal charges against the company in two separate cases earlier this year, claiming Huawei committed fraud and stole trade secrets. Huawei, for its part, recently accused the U.S. government of using “unscrupulous” tactics to interfere with its business.
Huawei and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.