WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, today joined John Roberts on America Reports to discuss the Biden Administration’s approach to confronting the China challenge.
Hagerty on Speaker Pelosi going to Taiwan: “She’s the Speaker of the House. She’s made her statement clear and frankly, the Congress has stepped up and backed this. We actually increased our defense expenditures above what the White House has asked for. So I think she’s certainly entitled to do this and I don’t think the White House should be finding themselves in an area where they are disagreeing with her just because they have received some complaint from Beijing.”
Hagerty on the White House’s lack of a consistent message on Taiwan and confronting the Chinese Communist Party: “[Speaker Nancy] Pelosi makes her plans and then [President] Joe Biden walks it back. Joe Biden three times has said he is going to support Taiwan in the event of an incursion [of] the Taiwan Strait, the White House walks it back. Since Afghanistan, we’ve been sending terrible messages to the Chinese Communist Party. There’s no consistency. I’ll compare this to the Trump Administration who… didn’t ask for permission slip to send my friend Alex Azar there when he was Secretary of Health and Human Services. So this administration needs to be on the same page. They need to get coordinated and we need to have a unified message… we need to be wholly coordinated as we think about an adversary, like the Chinese Communist Party, which in my view is the biggest threat that we face.”
Hagerty on the Biden Administration operating from a position of weakness: “We need to be on firm ground [as we deal with China]. I wish that our economy was in a stronger position. I mean, the Biden Administration’s taken every step it can to weaken us from the standpoint of our energy security. Our economic security is in great threat, now partially related to the energy crisis that has been precipitated here. But we have an economy that is not strong. We’re speaking from a position of weakness when it comes to what happened in Afghanistan. We need to get back on our game. We need to be pushing a strong America agenda.”
Hagerty on the need for the U.S. to reshore our supply chains and reduce China’s strategic leverage over us: “The amount of funds that we’ve sent from the United States to China have been more than adequate to fund a great expansion in their military. If you think about our dependence and our strategic concerns, there’s chip legislation right now in the Senate that we’re working on right now. We need to reshore these supply chains that are so critical to our high technology industries, to our defense industries and international security and our overall economy. So we’re working on relieving the issue right now. I think corporate America’s had the opportunity to wake up to this as well, because they’ve been the victim of predatory practices by China, whether it’s stealing intellectual property, subsidizing industry, or other means of unfair competition. We need to get these supply chains back to make our nation stronger and give China much less strategic leverage over us.”