Sen. Ted Cruz grilled President Biden’s pick for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, on whether she would push back against China following a controversial speech she delivered in 2019.
“My message to Team Biden: The role of the UN Ambassador is not to cheer on the Chinese Communist Party at the expense of America,” Cruz said on Twitter, accompanied by a video of Thomas-Greenfield’s confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
My message to Team Biden: The role of the UN Ambassador is not to cheer on the Chinese Communist Party at the expense of America. pic.twitter.com/5oR9EdAyNU
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) January 27, 2021
Cruz said during the hearing that he has grown “increasingly concerned over the last two weeks by a pattern among Biden administration nominees of consistently moving towards and embracing the Chinese Communist Party.”
He then cited a story published by the Washington Post about Thomas-Greenfield’s “past remarks on China’s strategy in Africa, some of which were delivered at a Chinese Communist Party-funded Confucius Institute” in 2019.
“Confucius Institutes are paid for by the Chinese Communist government. We have had repeated problems of espionage and propaganda. That’s why the Chinese Communist government funds Confucius Institutes. Congress has passed bipartisan legislation cracking down on Confucius Institutes,” Cruz said.
Thomas-Greenfield responded that she delivered the speech at the request of Savannah State University and spoke on Africa, U.S., and China policies and said she expressed “strong” feelings about the “unacceptable” things the Confucius Institute was doing in Georgia.
“Is it the role of America’s U.N. ambassador to be cheering on the Chinese Communist Party at the expense of the developing world and at the expense of America?” Cruz continued.
“Senator, it was not my intention, nor do I think that I cheered on the Chinese Communist Party. What I recommended in that speech is that Africans need to open their eyes on how they deal with the Chinese. And I would like to see the United States government do more in Africa to compete,” she responded.
“My final question: Did you have even a word of criticism about the Chinese Communist Party? About its murders? … Did you have even a word of criticism in the speech you gave at the Confucius Institute?” the Texas senator continued.
“I spoke about human rights there. That’s the speech, but you don’t see my other engagements with students that asked questions that I answered frankly. And I don’t ignore human rights,” she responded.
“As I said, I regret this … This is one speech in my 35-year career. And I do regret that speech, but if you look at what I have done prior to that, there’s no question that I understand — that I am not at all naive about what the Chinese are doing. And I have called them out on a regular basis, including today,” she continued.
Thomas-Greenfield previously served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs during the Obama administration.
Author: Emma Colton