BEIJING — Xi Jinping is coming to dinner -- and Donald Trump ain't pleased.
In an appearance Monday evening on the "The O’Reilly Factor," the presidential candidate and sayer of things about China criticized the Obama administration for its plans to hold a state dinner when the Chinese president visits Washington next month.
"I would not be throwing him a dinner. I would get him a McDonald’s hamburger and say we’ve got to get down to work because you can’t continue to devalue," he said, according to a transcript published by the Daily Caller.
"We’ll give him a state dinner and what he has done is suck all the jobs, suck all the money right out of our country."
But the proposed breach of diplomatic protocol is nothing personal, it seems. Trump said the problem was not China or its president. When talked turned to "trade wars" between China and the United States, Trump called China's leaders "intelligent."
"Their leaders are intelligent. Ours aren’t. We don’t know what we are doing."
Trump's comments echo earlier remarks he made about China's apparent strength relative to the United States — even as China's economy tanks.
In the first Republican debate, Trump invoked China several times, casting China "the winner" as a foil to an America in decline. "We don't win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico both in trade and at the border. We lose to everybody," he said.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has also called for the cancellation of Xi Jinping's state visit.
"Why would we be giving one of our highest things a president can do — and that is a state dinner for Xi Jinping, the head of China — at a time when all of these problems are pending out there?" he told reporters on Monday.
We should say those ... honors should only be bestowed upon leaders and countries that are allies and supporters of the United States, not just for China, which is a strategic competitor."
Chinese authorities have not responded to either remark.
The state visit is still very much on.
No word, yet, on the menu.