“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 denounced the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s selection for Commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo, who he thought has joined the “rush to embrace the worst elements of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Raimondo, the governor of Rhode Island, has denied explaining whether she would uphold the trade restriction on Chinese telecom giant Huawei, which Cruz called 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 approximately 150 of its associates on the sanction list to try and cut the firm from critical American technology and software. The Federal Communications Commission officially appointed Huawei a national security threat last June.
During her Jan. 26 confirmation hearing, Raimondo, a Democrat, promised a tough position on China to protect U.S. telecommunication networks from anti-competitive Chinese behaviors but refused to say whether she would support the blacklist on Huawei. Pushed by Cruz, she said she cooperated with lawmakers, industry, and associates 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 proposed a tough-on-China picture but often remained obscure on details.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki has called the two countries’ relationship “one of strong competition,” indicating the requirement to use 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.
In the meantime, China's officials escalated their rhetoric, giving demands for the United States on issues such as trade, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and human rights as preconditions for “healthy” diplomatic relations.