Donald Trump taints everything he touches. If he supports a cause, he damages it. If he takes a stance, the instinct of most self-respecting liberals is to rush to the opposing side. So when Trump rails against China, a favourite bete noire, it can make a progressive pause.
That’s especially true when the US president lurches so easily into casual bigotry – referring to the coronavirus as “kung flu” – and when his hypocrisy is so rank. Thanks to his former national security adviser, John Bolton, we know that, for all his talk, Trump begged Beijing to meddle in this year’s election in his favour, breezily granting US blessing to what Amnesty International calls the “gulag” of camps in Xinjiang, in which China holds a million Uighur Muslims against their will.