A Florida congressman is warning that China is the most formidable adversary the U.S. has ever faced, because it’s the first one to have an economy comparable in size to America’s and a navy that’s larger.
Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., issued the warning about Beijing and the Chinese Communist Party on Monday in a panel discussion at the America First Policy Institute summit in Washington.
China “is the toughest adversary, I believe, the United States has ever faced in its history, because it’s the first one with an economy as big or bigger than ours,” said Waltz, a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
“We see now that the Chinese navy is bigger than the United States Navy. They’re building ships at a rate of 5 to 1 compared to us,” he said.
The second-term congressman and retired U.S. Army Green Beret expressed anger and frustration with how the Chinese are funding their military, while also calling out Democrats and major corporations for their support of the Chinese Communist Party.
“The thing that pisses me off the most, as we desperately try to get our military ready, is [the Chinese are] funding their military buildup with your dollars, with our dollars, with our tax dollars, and it is completely unacceptable,” he said. “We are drunk, as a society, on Chinese money.”
“I tell the Democrats all the time … They want to talk about defunding the police that are defending our neighborhoods and keeping our families safe. Let’s defund dictatorships. Let’s put your money where your mouth is,” Waltz said.
Earlier this year, Waltz accused NBC of refusing to air his commercial critical of the Chinese Communist Party and U.S. companies such as Coca Cola, Visa, and Nike, among others, that sponsored telecasts of the Beijing Winter Olympics. The commercial, which Waltz appeared in, also featured then-NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom, an outspoken critic of the Chinese Communist Party.
“When we are sending our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines over there to face this threat, and they built their military on our money and hypocritical corporations that … want to preach social justice at home, but turn a blind eye when it comes to over there, it’s absolutely unacceptable,” Waltz said, adding:
My message to everybody is, when you see ‘Made in China,’ put it down. It’s not just a jobs issue. It’s a national security issue.
Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., who served as U.S. ambassador to Japan during the Trump administration, made an observation similar to Waltz’s at the same panel discussion.
“The term ‘adversary’ needs to be part of the lexicon, and I say China’s our greatest strategic adversary,” Hagerty said. “It’s a force to be reckoned with.”
The Tennessee lawmaker, who first moved to Tokyo in 1988 and lived there for three years, described a “dramatic change in China’s posture.”
“They are the greatest predators, not only in the region, but I think, in the world, with respect to their military predatory practices, their economic predatory practices, their diplomatic predatory practices,” he said.
Hagerty credited former President Donald Trump for raising awareness about China’s increasingly aggressive and growing influence.
“If I could take you all back in time to 2015, 2016, I think if you asked the average American what they thought about China, [they’d say,] ‘Oh, it’s our friend. We get cheap T-shirts and goods at Walmart,’ and that sort of thing,” he said.
“It took President Trump stepping up and actually talking about this, actually waking the American public up, and frankly, I think he woke up the rest of the world,” Hagerty said.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plan to visit Taiwan next month amid escalating tensions between the island nation and China has drawn criticism from Beijing and words of caution from the Pentagon and President Joe Biden.
“The military thinks it’s not a good idea right now,” Biden told reporters last Wednesday.
But the plan by Pelosi, D-Calif., drew support from a former House speaker who also took part in the America First Policy Institute panel discussion.
Former Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., encouraged her to visit Taiwan with a bipartisan congressional delegation.
“I feel very strongly that Speaker Pelosi should go to Taiwan and that she should take a bipartisan congressional delegation,” Gingrich, who as speaker led a bipartisan delegation to Taiwan in 1997, said at the America First Policy Institute summit on Monday.