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Trump said ‘lot of things that proved to be true’, says Liz Truss

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Former US president Donald Trump said lots of things that “proved to be true”, Tory leadership candidate Liz Truss has said as she vowed to get tougher on China.

The foreign secretary said she wanted the G7 group of leading democracies to be turned into an “economic Nato” that can defend itself better against Chinese influence around the world.

Ms Truss – favourite to be the next prime minister as she vies with Rishi Sunak for the leadership – set out her credentials as a hawk on China and Russia in an interview with The Atlantic.

Asked if Trump had been proved right that China had “stolen America’s lunch”, Truss said: “There’s a lot of things that Trump has said that have proved to be true.”

The foreign secretary then added: “There are also things he’s said that haven’t proved to be true.”

Asked about the prospect of Trump running to be president again in 2024, Truss said it was “a matter for the American people who they elect as their president”.

The leadership frontrunner, who is polling ahead of Mr Sunak with Tory members, said the west had been too slow to challenge China and Russia because leaders prioritised free trade. “We failed to think through all of those things, because we took freedom for granted.”

Ms Truss also criticised United Nations (UN) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) for being too open to authoritarian regimes. “This is consciously saying the UN and the WTO have not worked to challenge this behaviour,” she said.

Calling for a strengthened G7 and Nato, she added: “This is why we really need to lean into these groupings, these partnerships – coalitions of the willing, if you like – to get things done.”

She also criticised Germany and France for arranging the so-called Minsk agreements between Ukraine and Moscow-backed separatists after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

“We should’ve been there,” she said. “The UK is the biggest European spender in Nato. The US is the major force in Nato. Both the UK and the US should’ve been involved, and we’re not going to make that mistake again.”

Ms Truss has claimed her experience as foreign secretary shows she “gets stuff done”. She has pointed to the ongoing, unresolved dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol as an example of her delivery – despite her failure to reach a deal with the EU after several months of negotiations.

She vowed on Thursday to “bulldoze” through “endless government bureaucracy” if she becomes prime minister and would not “take no for an answer”.

Asked how she would confront the Treasury with her contentious plan for immediate tax cuts, the Tory leadership hopeful told reporters: “What I would do and I’ve done this as foreign secretary, I’ve done this as trade secretary, is I’ve bulldozed through the blockages.

“I get stuff done, whether it’s the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, whether it’s the dozens of trade deals, whether it’s the sanctions regime on Russia … because I don’t take no for an answer and I go in and I fight for what is right.”