“So far, every action, every nomination that we have seen from the nascent Biden administration, insofar as it concerns China, has lessened the scrutiny, has lessened the sanctions, has lessened the pressure on communist China,” Cruz said in a speech during a Senate meeting on Tuesday.
“We are seeing a steady and systematic embrace of communist China, and that is dangerous. That is dangerous for our nation. It is foolhardy.”
Cruz opposed the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s pick for Commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo, who he believed has joined the “rush to embrace the worst elements of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Raimondo, the governor of Rhode Island, has refused to clarify whether she would uphold the trade restriction on Chinese telecom giant Huawei, which Cruz described as an “espionage agency of the Chinese Communist Party.” The Senate voted 84 to 15 Tuesday to confirm her as the coming secretary of Commerce.
Over the past two years under the Trump administration, the Department of Commerce placed Huawei and roughly 150 of its affiliates on the sanction list in a bid to cut the firm from critical American technology and software. The Federal Communications Commission officially designated Huawei a national security threat last June.
During her Jan. 26 confirmation hearing, Raimondo, a Democrat, pledged a hard stance on China to protect U.S. telecommunication networks from anti-competitive Chinese behaviors, but declined to say whether she would maintain the blacklist on Huawei. Pressed by Cruz, she said she would work with lawmakers, industry, and allies to “make an assessment as to what’s best for American national and economic security.”
“As my colleagues know, nominees will never be more engaged, more transparent, or more forthcoming than during their confirmation process,” Cruz said. “That governor Raimondo has refused to be any one of these speaks volumes to how she would act if confirmed as secretary.”
The Biden team has projected a tough-on-China image but often remained elusive on details.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has described the two countries’ relationship as “one of strong competition,” citing the need to deploy a strategic, multilateral approach when dealing with China.
Katherine Tai, nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, described the Chinese regime as “simultaneously a rival, a trade partner, and an outsized player whose cooperation we’ll also need to address certain global challenges.” President Joe Biden’s CIA director nominee William Burns called Beijing a “formidable, authoritarian adversary” but also noted areas of “mutual interests,” such as climate change.
Chinese officials have meanwhile escalated their rhetoric, laying out demands for the United States on issues such as trade, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and human rights as preconditions for “healthy” diplomatic relations.
While officials from both political parties have mistaken Beijing as a friend, the COVID-19 pandemic has led the world to see the “systemic pattern of lies and deception and death coming from the Chinese communist government,” Cruz said.
Following the pandemic, the UK, which was on the path of allowing Huawei to build its 5G network, awakened to the regime’s threats and “stepped back from the brink,” Cruz said.
He expressed hopes that the perceived pattern of the new administration appeasing China “will not lighten up on our allies and encourage them to move forward with Huawei, to allow the espionage architecture to be put in place in their nations.”
“That would render America more vulnerable. It would render our allies more vulnerable. It would render the world more vulnerable,” he said.