Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) conceded that former President Donald Trump “took bold and aggressive” action against Communist China but added that he did it in a manner that divided America from its allies.
The Democrat from President Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, predicted a change under the new administration fueled by an era of bipartisanship to confront China.
“President Trump took bold and aggressive steps to confront China’s economic and intellectual theft of our innovation … but he did so in ways that genuinely divided us from our allies,” Coons told Axios.
When it comes to China, the Senator envisioned an end to the deeply partisan political climate of recent years.
Unlike Trump, Coons indicated, “Biden’s approach focuses instead on bipartisanship and working with allies,” the news outlet added.
“The first order of business for us is to invest in our own country and in strengthening our own democracy,” Coons declared.
Currently, three major bipartisan bills targeting China’s influence and boosting the U.S. response are working their way through the legislative process in Congress and expected to pass.
Coons told Axios:
The harrowing experience of January 6 [Capitol riot], the sharp divisions we saw in our election last year, and the rise of a more aggressive and assertive China and Russia, [have] really helped focus our country in the urgency in coming together and working to make a difference.
The January 6 incident was a “shock to the system that both hurt our reputation around the world as a functional democracy and made many of us here in Congress reflect on ways that we demonstrate we can legislate in ways that can solve people’s problems,” he added.
Coons’ comments about Trump’s position on China are consistent with testimony from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee early this year.
“President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China. I disagree very much with the way that he went about it in a number of areas. But the basic principle was the right one, and I think that’s actually helpful to our for our foreign policy,” Blinken said under questioning from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).
“I think President Trump opened everybody’s eyes in terms of China’s malign intent,” Sen. Johnson added.
Blinken’s comments about the Trump Administration being “tougher” on China suggested that his predecessor was not as hard on the communist country.
Secretary Blinken has vowed to deal with China from a position of strength.
However, he has acknowledged that the Biden administration is willing to engage and work with Beijing in areas of mutual interest.