Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) told Breitbart News exclusively that the Chinese Communist Party is “singing all the way to the bank” thanks to President Joe Biden’s various policies in his first two weeks in office.
Hagerty, in an exclusive interview on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel, said that Biden’s orders closing down the Keystone XL pipeline and shutting down leases for drilling on federal lands embolden China and undermine the United States.
“Broadly look at what the Biden Administration is doing on energy,” Hagerty said. “By canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, Biden is giving a huge gift to China. Look at what it did to Canada. If Canada can’t move their oil through the XL pipeline, they’re going to sell it to China. Well, guess what? China now has a huge store of oil headed its way courtesy of the Biden administration. And this Paris Climate Accord that they want to get back into? That’s going to put an immediate burden on the U.S. economy. China is not going to have to comply anywhere in the near term. Theirs was the only economy that grew last year. Ours didn’t. They’re going to put more burden on us while China is singing all the way to the bank thanks to the Biden administration. So we have some real reasons to be concerned.”
The Chinese have another friend in Biden’s selection for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfield, Hagerty said. A speech that Greenfield gave to a Confucius Institute event in 2019 that surfaced last week saw her praising the Chinese Communist Party’s Belt and Road Initiative in Africa. Hagerty argued that CCP Belt and Road efforts compromised the man who would become the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, by trapping his native Ethiopia in debt.
“Look at this U.N. representative that they put forward, Linda Thomas Greenfield, she clearly doesn’t get it,” Hagerty said. “She’s praising China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Africa. Look no further than Ethiopia and what happened there with this Belt and Road Initiative. When Dr. Tedros was the health minister and the foreign minister, the Ethiopian government took billions of dollars in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. Then, when it was necessary, China had Dr. Tedros running the WHO and he stepped right up and parroted their line and helped cover up the pandemic when they wanted him to do it. This is textbook debt trap diplomacy, they’re using their influence for nefarious means, and I cannot imagine a U.N. representative who does not understand that.”
Asked about the speech and whether it could jeopardize Greenfield’s confirmation prospects in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats have a narrow majority in the 50-50 split chamber when Vice President Kamala Harris v0otes to break the tie, Hagerty said he thinks she could.
“I think this speech and that it’s come to light—given at a Confucius Institute no less, she was paid by the Chinese to give this speech—the naïveté that her position underscores is extremely disturbing and I think it’s going to make it very difficult for her to get confirmed,” Hagerty said. “If you think about 2019 as you mentioned, the whole world knew about China was doing with the Belt and Road. You and I talked about what they did in Sri Lanka with that deep water port. They put a tremendous amount of debt on a small country, Sri Lanka, built a second deep water port that the country didn’t need, they foreclosed on it before it was even finished and they never even moved the Chinese workers, they speak Chinese at that port right now, they operate under Chinese law, and it’s along one of the busiest most strategic shipping lanes in the world. They know what they’re doing. They’re going into these small countries and like I mentioned with Ethiopia and they’re pushing their influence. They’re putting a tremendous amount of debt, which gives them leverage. For her not to understand or see that is deeply concerning.”
While there are definitely policies, comments, and actions from Biden himself on down through several of his top administration officials signaling a softening towards Beijing, Hagerty did say there are some in the Biden administration, like Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who seem to understand the threat.
“It’s a mixed bag. I think Secretary Blinken does have a much more clear-eyed view about what’s happening than most members of the Biden administration,” Hagerty said. “He and I talked about this at length. He’s acknowledged Secretary Pompeo’s designation of the Chinese as committing genocide with the Uyghurs there. That’s correct. Secretary Blinken was right to acknowledge that. He was also right to acknowledge the Trump administration largely got it right on China. I was pleased at the inauguration, the Biden Administration invited the Taiwanese rep to come to the inauguration—that sent a strong message, even stronger frankly is sending the USS Teddy Roosevelt into the waters off of Taiwan to push back against Chinese military aggression there with the Taiwanese and that incredibly important ally there. But if you look at it more broadly, I don’t think Biden gets it. You look back to the campaign, he said ‘oh China is not our competition come on man!’”
Hagerty on Wednesday introduced a series of amendments to the budget resolution in the Senate, including some specifically targeting the CCP. He and his office are hoping for bipartisan support behind these measures, including ones that would “end the inappropriate classification of China by international organizations that gives China an advantage over America and enhance accountability at those organizations” and “ensure that the United States leads other nations in holding China accountable for engaging in genocide and crimes against humanity with respect to Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Province of China.” These are the first amendments Hagerty, a freshman senator just elected in November, has offered as a U.S. Senator. Others include protections for American workers from open borders and amnesty immigration policies, efforts to preserve former President Donald Trump’s wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, and support for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.
In his interview on Breitbart News Saturday, Hagerty again ripped the Biden administration for its energy orders, saying that they will empower the Chinese Communist Party
“The first and the most immediate concern is the fact that Biden is killing jobs. He’s killing American jobs at a time when we’re trying to recover from a pandemic-driven recession,” he said. “Who would do this? He’s doing exactly that. Energy independence was one of the biggest strategic victories of the Trump administration. I worked very hard to get the Japanese to invest in infrastructure to become an importer of U.S. energy. We would certainly want our allies to be utilizing U.S. energy rather than Russian energy or energy from other nations that don’t have our best interests at heart. That was a very powerful strategic tool for us, a very powerful strategic step. Biden wants to make us now dependent on nations again that don’t have our best interests at heart. He wants to make us energy dependent on foreign countries and wants to get us the oil we would otherwise be doing business here lowering our costs of doing business, lowering our output costs, lowering the cost of gas at the pump for American citizens—he wants to raise that price and send the benefit to China because the Chinese are going to get the oil that the Canadians will no longer be selling to us. This is ludicrous. It’s killing American jobs. It’s damaging our economy. It’s strengthening our strategic competitors and weakening us in the process.”
Overall, Hagerty said, the Biden Administration policies amount to an effort by the Democrats to again silence the so-called “forgotten man” that led to former President Donald Trump’s rise in 2016.
“It is just amazing. That’s why the Trump administration and our policies toward places like China, toward security, toward things like immigration, resonated so much within America and certainly within my home state of Tennessee,” Hagerty said. “The forgotten man, forgotten woman, the forgotten citizen has been extremely concerned about this. This amnesty program, not only is it unfair to our workers, it’s only going to invite more and more illegal immigration because they’re moving the wrong direction on border security as well. They’re just going to invite more of this cheating and more downward pressure on the American worker. This is absolutely a wrongheaded policy and as you say we’ve got this COVID pandemic to put behind us yet they’re focused on all of these policies. By encouraging and even creating an incentive for more people to flood in across that border rather than securing it, we will have an even harder time combatting the pandemic and getting out of it.”
LISTEN TO SEN. BILL HAGERTY ON BREITBART NEWS SATURDAY: