President Joe Biden boasted that he has likely spent more time with Chinese President Xi Jinping than any other American leader while gently offering up criticism of the Communist leader.
In an interview with CBS News’ Nora O’Donnell, Biden estimated he had spent about 25 hours with Xi while serving as vice president under former President Barack Obama, intimating that the Chinese leader isn’t at all interested in democracy.
“Why haven’t you called Xi Jinping?” O’Donnell, the anchor of the CBS Evening News, asked the president.
“Well, we haven’t had occasion to talk to one another yet,” Biden said before adding there is “no reason not to call him.”
Biden to @NorahODonnell on Xi Jinping
“he's very bright. He's very tough. He doesn't have– and I don't mean it as a criticism, just the reality, he doesn't have a democratic, small D, bone in his body.”
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) February 7, 2021
“I’ve probably spent more time, I’m told, with Xi Jinping than any world leader has because I had 24, 25 hours of private meetings with him when I was vice president, traveled 17,000 miles with him, I know him pretty well,” Biden said during an interview that will air during the Super Bowl on Sunday.
“There’s a lot to talk about,” O’Donnell responds.
“A whole lot to talk about,” Biden replies regarding China. “He’s very bright, he’s very tough, he doesn’t have, and I don’t mean it as a criticism, just as a reality, he doesn’t have a democratic (small-d) bone in his body.”
Biden then said, “we need not have a conflict, but there will be extreme competition.”
“I’m not going to do it the way — he knows this because he’s been sending signals as well — that I’m not gonna do it the way Trump did,” he added.
And that’s going to be a problem, according to the former president’s ranking diplomat.
In an interview with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo on Thursday, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed with the host that Trump took the hardest line on China of any American president.
“The strategy that had been in place for decades was one of appeasement, of tolerance,” Pompeo explained. “It was about chasing the dollar for cheap labor inside of China — was a huge detriment to ordinary citizens all across America. Tens of millions of jobs lost because the United States refused to tell the Chinese you can’t dump your products here you can’t steal our intellectual property.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 5, 2021
“Eyes have been opened. Even corporate America, in some corners of corporate America, have figured out that you were right to do this pushback that you have been doing,” Bartiromo responded while blasting the Biden administration for thus far refusing to push back against China’s sanctioning of Pompeo and 27 Trump Administration officials for “prejudice and hatred against” Beijing.
“It is the obligation of every administration to protect the previous administration and all the people who were working on behalf of the United States government,” Pompeo answered. “I hope they will do that. But, more importantly than protecting myself or others, this is bigger… This policy with China matters to every one of the people who is out there seeking employment.”
The former top U.S. diplomat then offered a warning to the Biden administration.
“If we get this wrong, Maria, we’ll live in a world that is so deeply different,” Pompeo continued. “We will see these sanctions on our leaders pale in comparison to the pain and the absence of prosperity that will be here in the United States of America if we don’t get this right.”
In a follow-up interview with Fox News’ Trey Gowdy, Pompeo dismissed Biden’s previous pledge to “repair our alliances and engage with the world once again.”
“America is back. Diplomacy is back,” Biden said.
“Oh goodness gracious, does he mean back to when ISIS controlled a caliphate in Syria that was the size of Britain?” Pompeo responded. “I hope not. President Trump and our team took that down.
“When he says ‘back,’ when America is back, does he mean back to letting China walk all over us, destroying millions of jobs in places like Kansas and South Carolina, that we know so well? I hope that’s not what he means by back,” he said.