Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) took aim at Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s record on the Chinese Communist Party in his speech at the virtual Republican National Convention on Thursday.
“Joe Biden aided and abetted China’s rise for 50 years with terrible trade deals that closed our factories and laid off our workers,” Cotton said. In contrast, “President Trump stands up to China’s cheating and stealing and lying,” he added.
The longtime China hawk listed a series of missteps Biden has made on China, saying he “allowed Chinese fentanyl to flood across our southern border.”
Cotton also recounted how Biden downplayed China as a potential competitor on the global stage while campaigning in Iowa last year. “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man,” the former vice president said. “I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They’re not competition for us.”
Cotton juxtaposed Biden’s record with that of Trump, who he is said is addressing America’s geopolitical competition with China head on.
“Trump is clear-eyed about the Chinese threat and he is making China pay,” Cotton said. “But China’s not giving up. In fact, they’re rooting for Joe Biden.”
Biden has long supported expanding trade relations with China: In 2000, he voted to approve Permanent Normal Trade Relations with the country, which created a path for China to become a member of the World Trade Organization one year later.
Earlier on Thursday, a video of Biden speaking in China in 2011 resurfaced online in which he says he “fully understand(s)” the country’s policy that limited families to having only one child.
Cotton has been a vocal critic of China and was one of the first to caution that the country’s Communist Party was covering up the severity of the coronavirus. Earlier this year he published an article at National Review titled “Joe Biden Is China’s Choice for President.”
Cotton, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, also used his speech to take Biden to task for his record on foreign affairs, quoting former secretary of defense Robert Gates in saying, “Joe Biden has been wrong on nearly every major national security decision over the past four decades.”
He criticized Biden for letting “ISIS terrorists rampage across the Middle East,” for opposing the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden, for treating Israel “like a nuisance” and for coddling socialist dictators in Cuba and Venezuela.
“We need a president who stands up for America, not one who takes a knee,” he said. “A strong and proud America is a safe America. Safe from our enemies and safe from war.”
“No one who’s seen the face of war desires to see it again,” he continued. “Too many of our fellow Americans are already honored at the hallowed grounds of Arlington.”