Trump gave the advice to his top trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, during an Oval Office meeting with top officials in September, according to an Axios report on Sunday that cited people familiar with the conversation.
The group was discussing whether to pull out of a free-trade deal with South Korea, a threat Trump has floated since early September. Trump then began coaching Lighthizer on how to proceed, according to the sources who paraphrased the exchange for Axios:
“You’ve got 30 days, and if you don’t get concessions then I’m pulling out,” Trump told Lighthizer.
“OK, well I’ll tell the Koreans they have got 30 days,” Lighthizer replied.
“No, no, no,” Trump interjected. “That’s not how you negotiate. You don’t tell them they have got 30 days. You tell them, ‘This guy’s so crazy he could pull out any minute.’”