But in a series of tweets on Wednesday, Trump caused confusion by saying the ZTE issue "pertains to the larger trade deal".
Trump had on Sunday taken to Twitter with a pledge to help the company, which has suspended its main operations because the penalties had cost too many jobs in China.
"I hope the administration does not move forward on this supposed deal I keep reading about", US Senator Marco Rubio said.
As a second round of crucial trade talks between Washington and Beijing opens this week, the USA president made abundantly clear again that he wants China to offer remedies to current bilateral trade practices that he considers to be "unfair" and costing American jobs.
The Washington talks will start as USTR finishes up public hearings on the first batch of US tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods proposed as punishment for alleged violations of USA intellectual rights.
Top Trump administration officials such as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had tried to separate the president's push to boost the telecommunications company from trade talks with China.
The world's two largest economies are locked in a tense standoff with tariff threats hanging over billions of dollars of goods many fear could spark a damaging trade war between the economic superpowers.
On Wednesday, the president appeared to suggest the negotiations are just getting started.
However, the United States ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, who took part in the talks in Beijing, acknowledged on the same day that the two sides were "still very far apart".
Trump on Monday partly defended his decision to revisit penalties on ZTE for flouting United States sanctions on trade with Iran, saying that it was reflective of the larger trade deal the USA is negotiating with China.
He added that, "We have not seen China's demands yet".
This week's meetings follow US-China trade talks in Beijing earlier this month where the two countries failed to reach an agreement on the long list of US demands.
The US has threatened to impose 25 percent punitive duties on up to $150 billion in Chinese goods while China has targeted $50 billion in American exports.
The moves against waste imports have thrown the American recycling industry into a tailspin as China was one of the most important destinations for USA trash.
In a meeting with USA business leaders in Beijing, Vice President Wang Qishan struck a more conciliatory tone. On Wednesday, he will meet with Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the Republican chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, along with other lawmakers, according to two congressional aides. Hatch chairs the Finance Committee, the Senate counterpart to Brady's panel. "It's really divorced from the trade story", Kudlow said. There has been no folding as the media would love people to believe.
Trump's tweet on Sunday was quickly met with bipartisan criticism. "They will use a ZTE phone to spy on any American company and steal their intellectual property".
That's right Mark... On Sunday, Trump tweeted that he was going to ease penalties levied on ZTE for violating USA sanctions by trading with North Korea and Iran.