Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton on Thursday said China is “rooting for Joe Biden” because the Democratic presidential candidate is weak.
“Joe Biden would return us to a weak and dangerous past,” the foreign policy hawk said in a speech at the Republican National Convention.
“Biden said the Chinese Communists aren’t even our competitors, aren’t ‘bad folks’ — just months before they unleashed this plague on the world. President Trump is clear-eyed about the Chinese threat, and he’s making China pay,” Cotton said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic.
“But China’s not giving up—in fact, they’re rooting for Joe Biden. America’s other enemies won’t give up either. But Joe Biden would be as wrong and weak over the next four years as he has been for the last 50.”
Cotton said that “weakness is provocative” and “President Trump’s strength has kept us out of war.”
“Joe Biden aided and abetted China’s rise for fifty years with terrible trade deals that closed our factories and laid off our workers,” Cotton said. “Joe Biden allowed Chinese fentanyl to flood across our southern border. President Trump sanctioned Chinese drug dealers for poisoning our kids.”
The Trump administration’s top counterintelligence official, National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina, this month said that China appears to favor Biden, and that Russia seems to favor another Trump term.
“We assess that China prefers that President Trump – whom Beijing sees as unpredictable – does not win reelection,” Evanina said.
“China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China,” he said.
“[China’s] public rhetoric over the past few months has grown increasingly critical of the current Administration’s COVID-19 response [and] closure of China’s Houston Consulate.”
China “harshly criticized the Administration’s statements and actions on Hong Kong, TikTok, the legal status of the South China Sea, and China’s efforts to dominate the 5G market [and] recognizes that all of these efforts might affect the [election],” Evanina said.
Cotton, 43, is known as a foreign policy hawk on Mideast and China policy.
He opposed former President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. And Cotton was among the GOP senators sanctioned by China this month as relations nosedive between the countries, including over deception about COVID-19 before it became a global pandemic that killed 180,000 Americans and left millions unemployed.
The Chinese foreign ministry said Cotton and other senators “behaved egregiously on Hong Kong-related issues” after the Communist-run central government ended Hong Kong’s political autonomy.
On domestic policy, Cotton’s priorities have clashed with Trump’s own. For example, he unsuccessfully tried to rally Republican opposition to the Trump-supported First Step Act, which reformed prison and criminal sentencing policies. Trump signed the bill in 2018 and often boasts of doing so.
A June op-ed in the New York Times written by Cotton urged Trump to “support local law enforcement with federal authority” following nationwide riots in response to the Minnesota police killing of George Floyd.
Cotton’s opinion piece led to outrage among non-opinion section staff at the Times and the resignation of opinion editor James Bennet. Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger said there was “a significant breakdown in our editing processes.”