Chinese Officials Tried To Strong-Arm the U.S. During Trump’s November 2017 Visit — General Kelly and the Boys Threw Down, Because America

John KellyU.S. Chief of Staff, and former General in the United States Marine Corps, John F. Kelly. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

This event took place during President Donald J. Trump’s visit to China in November of 2017. The small incident was kept hush-hush by both sides, on China’s end probably because of shear shame and embarrassment, while on the U.S. side likely because they don’t care. Not very many people knew about the “scuffle” until February 2018, when Axios’ Jonathan Swan provided the scoop on how events unfolded.

How it all went down, according to the Swan source, and subsequently reported by Fox, The Hill, CNBC, and other news outlets, are as follows.

On November 9, 2017, President Trump was in Beijing, China, as part of his Asia tour.

At the capital city’s “Great Hall of the People,” where President Trump and company were paying a visit, Chinese officials blocked the way of one U.S. military aide from entering the premises. The American official in question was holding an important briefcase, the “nuclear football,” pivotal for the authorization and launch of a nuclear strike.

According to The Hill, “The nuclear football is the black briefcase containing the nuclear launch codes for the president. The aide carrying it is required to remain close to the president at all times.”

In response to Chinese obstruction, another American official ran to inform U.S. Chief of Staff, former U.S. Marine General John Kelly, of the situation.

Kelly, who was in a nearby room, promptly arrived on the scene and instructed the Americans to go on through.

“We’re moving in,” were the words of General Kelly, and the Americans pressed forward.

A Chinese official then put his hands on Kelly, grabbing him, before the former U.S. General shoved the Chinese official’s hand away.

In the next instant, a U.S. Secret Service agent got involved and tackled the Chinese official to the ground.

According to Axios, while several sources familiar with the event said that the U.S. Secret Service agent had downed the Chinese official, an official statement by the U.S. Secret Service denies that anyone actually got knocked to the ground.

The situation de-escalated from there.

Everything happened very quickly, and it was over in an instant.

Later, the Chinese head of security detail apologized to Trump and the U.S. for the “misunderstanding.”

While the Chinese call it a “misunderstanding,” there is reason to doubt their claim. This is not the first time that China has overstepped their boundaries and tried to disrespect a visiting delegation, nor will it be the last.

In December of 2017, only one month after the quiet kerfuffle with the Trump delegation, Chinese guards were caught on video beating a South Korean journalist during South Korean president Moon Jae-In’s visit to Beijing. It is said that the guards were acting under direct orders from the Chinese police.

Much further back, in September of 2016, the Chinese pulled a stunt on then-U.S. president Barack Obama as well.

During the 2016 G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, then-president Obama was denied a red carpet welcome and a staircase to exit from Air Force One. As a result, Obama had to come out through a side door of his plane, “the ass” of Air Force One, before navigating his own way to the red carpet. Below, Chinese officials were clashing with Obama administration officials, with the host nation screaming at the Americans, “This is our country! This is our airport!”

The entire incident was said to be a “calculated diplomatic snub,” designed to deliberately insult and make the U.S. look weak. All the other world leaders at Hangzhou, including Britain’s Theresa May, India’s Narendra Modi, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, had received a red carpet welcome, staircase and all. The only, only country not to receive this formal courtesy was the United States and Obama. In classic Obama fashion, he just took it quietly, downplayed the insult, put a positive spin on his own feeble response, and let the Chinese get away with it.

Luckily, with Trump in the White House, this sort of thing doesn’t fly anymore. When commenting on the fiasco in 2016, then-candidate Trump was mocked by liberals for calling out China and saying he would have left if the Chinese treated him that way. Looking back now, it seems Trump knew exactly what he was talking about.

In the case of Obama, the Chinese were loud, obnoxious, and audacious about their blatant disrespect of the United States.

With President Trump, and the smackdown laid by General John Kelly and the U.S. delegation, the Chinese apologized, and quietly hoped that the Americans will not mention the event. According to the Swan source, U.S. officials were “asked to keep quiet about the incident,” but it is not specified in the report who had made that request.

Strong leadership. It makes a difference.

America.

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