Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined The Story with Martha MacCallum to discuss China’s efforts to spy on and influence American politicians, and the prospect of former Mayor Pete Buttigieg as U.S. Ambassador to China under a potential Biden Administration. See below for highlights and watch the full interview here.
On China’s efforts to spy on and influence American politicians:
“There are legitimate questions. I’m not accusing anyone of anything. It is perhaps exactly the way [Congressman Swalwell] says… The broader question here is there are a lot of legitimate questions that I think are important to answer, not just as a member of Congress to his constituency, but in the House if he wants to continue to serve in the important role.
“The broader issue of the Chinese espionage issue is a huge issue. This is exactly what they do — they do recruit mayors, they do go down and try to get close to students and activists, but also through people in business and others. They try to get close to local leaders. They play the long game, and this is a prototype of exactly the kind of efforts they try to carry out. They get to know you when you’re a city councilman in the hopes that one day you might be a U.S. Senator, a member of Congress, a member of the Cabinet, and in a position to help them, at minimum because you have a pro-China view of things, a pro-China narrative in your head, but also potentially because they have compromising information on you that they can use to get you to vote or support issues that they want. It’s very troubling, and I don’t think this is isolated to this one story unfortunately.”
On the prospect of former Mayor Pete Buttigieg as U.S. Ambassador to China under a potential Biden Administration:
“Look, and it’s no disrespect towards the Mayor, who frankly just doesn’t have the breadth and depth of experience interacting with China. In fact, his only experience with China, to my understanding, is he worked at McKinsey, a consulting group… there’s China-related issues with regards to them and some of the companies that they’ve supported.
“It doesn’t mean he’s not qualified to be an ambassador somewhere. I just personally believe that you are dealing with the second largest economy in the world, the second most powerful military in the world, a near-peer competitor to the United States, the country with whom the relationship we have will define the rest of the 21st century. I think it’s important that we send someone to that post that has some depth of understanding about all the issues related to that country and our relationship with them. And again, with all due respect to the former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, I just don’t think that that’s what gets you ready for it.”