Joe Biden claimed on Monday that President Donald Trump was less popular across the globe than the Chinese strongman Xi Jinping.
The former vice president, who has a long claimed China’s economic growth is good for the United States, made the remarks while attacking Trump’s foreign policy record during a campaign swing through New Hampshire.
“Take a look at what the international polling has shown,” Biden said. “It shows that among leaders in the world, Xi Jinping is more respected than the President of the United States.”
Biden made the claim, without citing the name of the poll in question, despite his own fluctuating stance on China’s communist regime. Shortly after launching his 2020 campaign, the former vice president drew strong rebuke from both foreign policy experts and Republicans and Democrats alike for downplaying the economic threat posed by China.
“I hear these stories about how China is going to eat our lunch. Give me a break!” Biden told an Iowa audience in May, before adding, “They’re not bad folks.”
The former vice president continued:
Come on, man. … They can’t figure out how they are going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what: they’re not competition for us.
Although Biden tried to clarify his remarks, his initial dismissal of China raised eyebrows, especially given his long record in public office. Since the mid-1970s, Biden has sought cooperation with Beijing, arguing China’s rise was “positive” for the American economy.
The former vice president said during a White House summit with Chinese leaders in 2011:
As a young member of [the] Foreign Relations Committee, I wrote and I said and I believed then what I believe now. That a rising China is a positive, positive development, not only for China but for America and the world writ large.
Since Trump took office, however, that position has become increasingly controversial, especially as President Donald Trump wages a trade war with the communist power over its exploitive and manipulative economic practices. As such, Biden has sought to distance himself from his past positions, resulting in numerous flip-flops on the topic.
“You bet I’m worried about China—if we keep following Trump’s path,” the former vice president said during a June rally in Iowa. “While Trump is tweeting, China is making massive investments in technologies of the future.”
These reversals, though, have not allayed concerns about Biden’s stance on China, which has been made all the more contentious because of his youngest son’s business ties to the communist regime.
As Peter Schweizer reveled in Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, Hunter Biden inked a multibillion dollar deal in 2013 creating Bohai Harvest RST—a private equity fund bankrolled by the Bank of China.
The timing of the lucrative deal has been brought into question, as it came only 12 days after Hunter visited China with his father aboard Air Force Two. Officially, the then-vice president was visiting the country amid escalating tensions over islands in the South China Sea and decided to bring his granddaughter and son along.
In a March 2018 interview with Breitbart News Tonight, however, Schweizer detailed the political machinations that preceded Hunter Biden’s $1.5 billion venture with China:
In December of 2013, Vice President Joe Biden flies to Asia for a trip, and the centerpiece for that trip is a visit to Beijing, China. To put this into context, in 2013, the Chinese have just exerted air rights over the South Pacific, the South China Sea. They basically have said, ‘If you want to fly in this area, you have to get Chinese approval. We are claiming sovereignty over this territory.’ Highly controversial in Japan, in the Philippines, and in other countries. Joe Biden is supposed to be going there to confront the Chinese. Well, he gets widely criticized on that trip for going soft on China. For basically not challenging them, and Japan and other countries are quite upset about this.
Since its creation, BHR has invested heavily in energy and defense projects across the globe. As of June, Hunter Biden was still involved with BHR, sitting on its board of directors and owning a minority stake of the fund estimated. Apart from the shadowy timing of BHR’s inception, the company and Hunter Biden have also caught the eye of investigators in Congress for the purchase of a U.S. company with insight into military technology.
In October, Hunter Biden resigned from the BHR’s board of directors, but he has not announced if he will keep his ownership stake, which is estimated to be worth millions.