Trump, known for his fiery rhetoric against Chinese trade practices and his general dislike of Iran came out in favour of ZTE which is on the verge of going under because of the US ban.
The move hacked off Republican and Democratic lawmakers after he pledged to work with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help ZTE, saying too many jobs in China had been lost.
Sen. Marco Rubio on Monday criticised President Donald Trump's pledge to help Chinese technology company ZTE, saying he hopes the president is not "backing down" from his hawkish stance on China.
In a tweet Monday morning, Rubio argued that the "problem with ZTE isn't jobs & trade, it's national security & espionage". He said telecom companies "can be forced to act as a tool of Chinese espionage.
"We are crazy to allow them to operate in US without tighter restrictions." He is a Senate Intelligence Committee member.
“ZTE, the large Chinese phone company, buys a big percentage of individual parts from US companies. This is also reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi”, Trump said on Monday.
ZTE paid more than $2.3 billion to 211 US exporters in 2017, a senior ZTE official said on Friday. US companies are estimated to provide 25 percent to 30 percent of components used in ZTE’s smartphones, network gear and other products.