Publicly, Trump is downplaying the importance of trade during the global pandemic. Describing a Thursday night phone call with President Xi Jinping about the coronavirus, the President said, "This whole invisible enemy has taken over the world. Nobody cares about trade."
But behind closed doors, White House officials say, Trump continues to emphasize farm product sales to China, even as he grapples with the most significant crisis of his presidency and a looming presidential campaign. His focus on the issue reflects his increasing concern about protecting America's economic health -- a central plank in his reelection campaign -- as well as public health.