Senate Confirms Biden’s Pick for U.S. Ambassador to U.N. Despite Links to China

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: Linda Thomas-Greenfield appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on her nomination to be the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, on Capitol Hill on January 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)
Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed Linda Thomas-Greenfield, President Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, on a 78 to 20 vote.

Democrat Senators confirmed the new U.S. envoy to the U.N. with the help of 26 Republicans.

During her confirmation hearing last month, the 68-year-old African American woman vowed to fight Communist China’s global influence, saying that Beijing’s “authoritarian agenda” is the antithesis to U.N. values.

However, the conservative House of Representative’s Republican Study Committee (RSC) issued a report last week accusing the ambassador-to-be of downplaying China using its growing political and economic clout to undermine America’s push for democratic values in Africa.

Moreover, the report added, “Thomas-Greenfield is former Senior Vice President for the Albright-Stonebridge Group, which has held a number of senior CCP officials as clients including Jin Ligang, a former senior Chinese government official.”

The RSC report further noted:

Ambassador Greenfield has a history of troubling comments praising and welcoming China’s role in Africa. As Senator Ted Cruz [R-TX] has pointed out, in 2006, Greenfield said she was not concerned about China’s growing influence in Africa, and in 2013 she stated that she does not see the U.S. competing with China in Africa.

Sen. Cruz and Republicans expressed concern over a 2019 speech the diplomat gave on “China-U.S.-Africa Relationships” at the Savannah State University Confucius Institutes’ fifth-anniversary lecture event.

The Washington Post carried excerpts of the speech in which she called Chinese intervention in Africa a “win-win-win situation” for China and American.

She indicated Beijing’s presence in Africa would pave the way for U.S. and human rights violator China to work together to promote “good governance, gender equity, and the rule of law.”

“I see no reason why China cannot share in those values,” she added. “In fact, China is in a unique position to spread these ideals given its strong footprint on the continent.”

During her confirmation hearing, the nominee expressed regret for comments at the Savannah State University Confucius Institute. She said she now backs an effort to crack down on the Confucius Institutes that begun under the Trump Administration.

Still, Republicans cited the 2019 speech for voting no.

Fox News quoted Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) as declaring in a statement:

Let’s be clear that Linda Thomas-Greenfield has a record of praising and sympathizing with the Chinese Communist Party. It is not an anomaly. An Africa expert, between 2013 and 2019 she testified before both chambers of Congress that the U.S. ‘is not competing with China in Africa.

Using a procedural move to push the Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote from earlier this month, Sen. Cruz delayed the timeline for her confirmation, to no avail.

All 20 Senators who voted against the nomination of Thomas-Greenfield were Republicans. Another 26 GOP lawmakers joined Democrats in confirming her nomination.

The RSC members lambasted Thomas-Greenfield’s suggestion that Beijing and Washington can work together in Africa, considering China is promoting communism as an alternative to democratic values on the continent and is a strategic U.S. rival seeking to replace America as the world’s leading superpower.

Beijing has deliberately and aggressively weaponized its political and financial investments in Africa to displace the United States as an influential force on the continent.

Beijing’s engagement in Africa resembles a new form of colonialism consisting of “debt-trap diplomacy” that seeks to saddle borrowing countries with difficult-to-pay enormous debts collateralized with natural resources or other strategic assets to increase Beijing’s leverage on the continent.

In 2019, a top U.S. commander warned that China might expand its military presence in Africa.

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