Trump in ‘Gettysburg Address’ pledges to label China a currency manipulator in first 100 days as president

The speech was billed by his campaign as a major outlining of his policies and principles

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 October, 2016, 10:38am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 October, 2016, 11:30pm

With next month’s US presidential election drawing ever closer, Republican candidate Donald Trump has outlined plans for the first 100 days of his presidency, vowing to create 25 million jobs over a decade, label China a ­currency manipulator and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).

Trump’s campaign team cast his 45-minute speech on Saturday in Gettysburg – where Abraham Lincoln delivered his key civil war address to try to unite the nation – as his “closing arguments” with just over two weeks to go before the November 8 election.

The billionaire also attacked his critics, threatening to sue the “liars” who have accused him of sexual assault, and saying his Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton should have been barred from running.

“Change has to come from outside our very broken system,” Trump told a room of several hundred supporters, invoking Lincoln’s example to heal sharp divisions. “Our campaign represents the kind of change that only arrives once in a lifetime.”

Trump then listed a number of measures he would undertake in the first 100 days of his administration, delivering prepared remarks rather than employing his trademark off-the-cuff style.

This is my pledge to you, and if we follow these steps, we will once again have a government of, by and for the people
Donald Trump

Trailing Clinton in most national polls and in many crucial swing states, the real estate mogul vowed to take a tough line on trade deals, singling out China and Nafta – which was signed by Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton, when he was president.

Trump has previously said the sheer volume of trade gives the US leverage over China. He accuses China of undervaluing its currency to make its exports artificially cheap and proposes tariffs as high as 45 per cent on Chinese imports if Beijing doesn’t change course.

However, such action could risk a trade war that would make many products in the US more ­expensive.

Clinton has said the US needs to press the rising Asian power to play by international rules, whether on trade or territorial ­disputes.

Trump vowed to repeal and replace Obamacare, which is currently in trouble as premiums soar and insurers bolt the insurance programme. Trump also pledged to cancel “unconstitutional” executive orders issued by President Barack Obama, and said he’d find a suitable nominees for the Supreme Court.

Although mostly a recap of policies he’s proposed before, Trump’s speech included a few new elements, such as a freeze on hiring new federal workers and a two-year mandatory minimum sentence for immigrants who re-enter the US illegally after being deported a first time.

In a pledge sure to raise eyebrows on Wall Street, he said he’d block a potential merger between AT&T and media conglomerate Time Warner. AT&T has agreed to buy Time Warner for US$85.4 billion. AT&T would pay US$107.50 a share.

Additional reporting

by Associated Press