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U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Special Report with Bret Baier to discuss the impending government shutdown, the possibility of a Saudi-Israeli normalization deal, and the indictment of Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ). See below for highlights and watch the full...
ICYMI: Rubio Joins The Hugh Hewitt Show
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined The Hugh Hewitt Show to discuss the COVID origins report, China, and more. See below for highlights and listen here.
On the new COVID origins report:
“We had a great team of researchers, including State Department fellows and others, who went into Chinese language, official government information that was still publicly available at the time we were doing the research. You have to know where to look and how to translate it. And what it indicated were three things.
“The first is there’s clear indications by the middle to late of  that Chinese scientific leaders were issuing dire warnings about the Wuhan Institute of Virology biosafety situation. They called it urgent. They called it a blinking red light. They said it was a very dangerous situation.
“Then there are indications that at some point in the late summer of 2019, something happened at that lab. For example, they had this drill in Wuhan in which they told the airport, we’re going to drill or practice how to shut down the airport and restrict it. And the mockup was a novel COVID virus. They actually called it that in the language. Something happened in the late summer of 2019, early fall.
“Other indications, movements by party officials and the like, indicated they knew something was up certainly by November, probably as early as October. And recall, they didn’t even acknowledge there was any sort of outbreak until December 31st of 2019.
“Everyone wants it to be [clear-cut, but Communist China] is a totalitarian regime. So the smoking gun is either dead or in jail or destroyed. But you have a growing mountain of evidence now that there were warnings about the biosafety of this lab, they were practicing what to do with the pandemic that they actually called the novel COVID virus, and indications of party leaders scrambling by early November, certainly by late October, about something that had happened there.
“These three things, taken together with all the other stuff that’s in the public domain, begin to put a lot of weight on the scale towards it being a lab accident. There was certainly a lab accident in Wuhan in 2019, of that, there is no doubt…. I think there’s strong reason to suspect that that accident happened to be COVID.”
On the Biden Administration’s approach to China:
“I think that there is a duality within the administration. There are some people that want to be a little stronger and others that want to cut a climate deal with China. David Ignatius wrote a piece a couple days ago that talked about, and you could tell it was leaked, an insider handed it to them to write this narrative, that Biden had found his voice on China. He didn’t want another Cold War. The Chinese were coming around to that notion.
“The Chinese are very simple. They are convinced that the US will do whatever it takes to prevent them from becoming a great power, and now they want to avoid being blamed for the breakdown in our relationship. They certainly want to avoid any short-term conflict with the US that could imperil or delay their rise or wake us up. But ultimately their intentions are clear….
“There are plenty of people in this administration that still think that we could sort of reach an accommodation with the Chinese and take them at their word when they talk about things like win-win scenarios. But everything they do is about ‘they win-we lose’ scenarios…. The traditional, conventional, highly educated elites that have governed the State Department and American diplomacy for a long time are all believers that we can still work it out with China. I think we’re going to have to get stronger before we can.”
On the need to put America’s interests first:
“[There] is still this belief that somehow if we’re just nicer to China and a little bit less abrasive, they’ll have an interest in working it out with us. I think it’s just this underappreciation of the fact that throughout human history, authoritarian regimes that have clear goals in mind will do anything. They’ll lie, they’ll hide their strength, and they’ll sign deals that they have no intention of keeping to achieve their goals. They think we’re dealing with Belgium, and we’re not. We’re dealing with the Chinese Communist Party.
“It’s the same people that tried to reset relations with Vladimir Putin, if you remember the infamous reset button with Medvedev and Hillary Clinton back in the day. It’s this notion that somehow any conflict, every potential conflict, every sticking point in international relations can somehow be worked out if diplomats just sit down over a series of days and issue a joint communique. These things are human nature. Nationhood matters. Nations matter.
“Both China and Russia are acting in their national interest, America has been acting in the global interest for far too long. I’m not an isolationist, but who is going to [value] America’s interests if we don’t do it now?”
On cracking down on forced labor in China:
“I have [the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act] that prevents the importation of anything made in [Chinese slave labor camps]. There’s the presumption that if you make it in Xinjiang, it’s made by slaves. The problem is the enforcement. What they’re figuring out how to do now is get around the de minimis rule or mislabel through fraud and hide the supply chain so they can still get it into the country in the end. We have the law, but the law has to be enforced.
“The Biden Administration lobbied against my bill, which was a bipartisan bill. Now [the Commerce Department] is not wanting to enforce it strictly. Obviously, they’ve got Nike and everybody else who makes stuff over there in their offices explaining to them how inflationary this is going to be and how catastrophic it will be for the economy…. Maybe that’s where Wendy Sherman is going to go work at, one of these corporations. Who knows? These people come back in, they lobby for these things, and they’re undermining the enforcement.
“You can pass laws, but you’ve got to enforce them. It’s the same with our border. It’s illegal to enter the United States without the proper documentation, but thousands of people do it every day, and they’re allowed to stay.”
On China’s role in geopolitics:
“All of China’s policies are the fusion of commercial, technological, and military interests [into the] geopolitical. When these Chinese companies go around the world and give away money and invest in bad deals, it’s a geopolitical play. As an example, when they try to dominate industries from pharmaceuticals to rare earth minerals to solar panels to car batteries, they’re doing it not just because they want to make money, they’re doing it out of their national interest. So these issues are now interrelated….
“We’re already facing challenges with our military industrial base. Ultimately our national security is imperiled if we can’t source things either in the US or from an allied source. These issues are interrelated very closely.
“These priorities conflict. They say we want more solar panels, we want more electric cars. But then you turn around and say, the only people who make batteries at scale now and components for the solar panels are the Chinese. So we have to feed that industry. The same is true for they want to crack down on energy. They want to crack down on rare earth mineral mines and so forth in the US. All you are doing is just driving the global traffic to these other places.
“Every time we don’t pump a gallon of oil, that’s a gallon we’re buying from some other country. That’s probably not a democracy. It’s 50/50 whether they’re even an ally. We’re certainly not creating American jobs as a result of it. So you’ve got this climate agenda that isn’t just nonsensical from an economic standpoint, but runs directly contrary to our national interests. In essence, it is empowering our adversaries.”
On a potential China-Taiwan conflict:
“The Chinese have reason to be concerned that if they invade Taiwan, it won’t turn out well. I don’t think the Chinese have had a war in a long time. We talk a lot about the Chinese, but we are still quite capable militarily of inflicting tremendous damage, and they can’t afford it. It would probably bring down the Communist Party if they failed.
“The only thing that I think could cause the Chinese to move faster than they want to or are comfortable with is if there’s some sort of an independence move inside of Taiwan that they think they’ve got to respond to. The best thing we can do is to continue to equip Taiwan to defend itself and to have the assets we need to be able to live up to our commitments to come to their defense. I don’t think there’s anything ambiguous if we do that.”