Skip to main content

Please consider a video of Lighthizer and Trump on the legal meaning of Memorandum of Understanding. The video was made at the White House on February 22. It just came my way today.

Lighthizer Response

Image placeholder title

Here's the full video where Lighthizer corrects Trump on the legal definition of MOU, not once but numerous times.

The debate went back and forth with Lighthizer repeatedly correcting Trump.

Scroll to Continue


Trump said to Lighthizer "I don't care if you do it [an MOU] or not. To me it doesn't mean very much. But if you do a memorandum, how long will it take to put that into a final binding contact?"

Since the MOU is a binding contract, Lighthizer answered: "What? From now on we're not using the word memorandum of understanding anymore. No more, we'll never use the term again. We'll have the same document. It's going to be called a trade agreement. We're never gonna use MOU again."

Trump still did not get the idea that the MOU and the trade agreement were the same thing and asked: "Are they going to put that into another agreement?"

An exasperated Lighthizer danced around for a bit talking about "major hurdles", concluding "assuming you decide on an agreement, it will be signed by the two people and it will be a trade agreement between the United States and China."

Trumpian Vocabulary

Trump was pleased.

Please strike MOU from your Trumpian vocabulary.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock