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Donald Trump dismisses concerns about trade war

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Donald Trump.
Donald Trump.Mel Evans

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Donald Trump wanted to talk trade, telling an audience here last week that the country is ''getting killed'' and losing jobs.

He ticked off the names of companies that have moved or planned to move their business overseas. If they do that while he is president, he said, they're going to pay a 35 percent import tax.

''And these dummies say, 'Oh well, that's a trade war.' Trade war? We're losing $500 billion in trade with China,'' Trump said.

China is ''behaving very, very badly'' by devaluing its currency, Trump said, adding that once he is president, China will ''behave and China will be our friend.''

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The presumptive presidential nominee headlined a fund-raiser in New Jersey Saturday to help the state's governor, Chris Christie, retire his campaign debt.

Christie introduced Trump, saying, "He has brought greatness to every enterprise he has ever led.''

The businessman spent a good chunk of time on the subject of trade, decrying NAFTA and vowing to bring back American jobs.

''My trade deal is very simple,'' he said. ''Here's what it is: I'm going to make great deals for our country.''

The candidate cited the example of Carrier, an air conditioner company that plans to leave Indiana for Mexico, as a business that probably wouldn't leave if there were a 35 percent tariff tacked on to its imports. Trump often talked about the company while campaigning in Indiana, a state where he handily won the GOP vote.

As he has before, Trump blasted Nabisco for moving operations to Mexico and also teased Christie. ''I'm not eating Oreos anymore. . . neither is Chris,'' Trump said.

Republican activists in Virginia and Vermont gathered over the weekend to select more delegates to the party's national convention, but with Trump as the apparent nominee, the races were less contentious than at past state conventions.

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The six-hour gathering in Virginia's Seventh District convention on Saturday was part of the final round of meetings before the party turns its full attention to the national convention in Cleveland in July.

''I think we're moving rapidly toward supporting the nominee at this point,'' Mike Rubino, Trump's Northeast regional director, said at the Virginia meeting.

At Vermont's state convention in South Burlington on Saturday, 8 of 13 delegates who were selected to go to the national convention this summer said they would support Trump, the Associated Press reported.

Party leaders called for unity and argued that Trump would appoint conservative Cabinet members. They also stressed that Trump was preferable to Clinton.

Trump won about one-third of Vermont's primary vote March 1, followed closely by Governor John Kasich of Ohio, who has since dropped out of the race.