Sen. Graham: 'Here's the Big Question for 2020: Who Do You Want to Take On China?'

By Susan Jones | April 7, 2020 | 11:26am EDT
President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping during a business leaders event at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017. (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images)
President Donald Trump with China's President Xi Jinping during a business leaders event at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 9, 2017. (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images)

( - "Here's a question for 2020," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News's Sean Hannity Monday night.

"Who do you want to take on China? Trump or Joe Biden? I don't think that would be a hard decision for most people."

President Trump repeatedly has mentioned his good working relationship with the Chinese president, most recently on Monday, when he told a news conference he thinks China will honor the trade deal his administration arranged:

"They're going to spend billions of dollars for agriculture. They're going to spend billions of dollars for many different things whereas China never...never spent money in our country."

Trump noted that the U.S. has had the "biggest trade deficits in the history of the world" with China. "Now, China is going to spend a lot--has agreed to spend $250 billion--many billions of dollars in our country, much of it going to farmers and manufacturers."

Trump said he'll wait to see what China does, "because it's time for them to help us."

“He noted that the trade deal was signed "with great goodwill and spirit, and it's time that our farmers benefited, our manufacturers benefited and will see whether or not that deal is honored. I think it will be, because I know President Xi, who I like and respect. And I think he will honor the deal he made with us. It just went into effect four days ago....The deal just started, so I will let you know.

"But, you know for many, many years China ate our lunch because we had people in this position that I'm in right now that allowed China to get away with absolute murder, and it should have never happened."

One of those presidents was Barack Obama, Biden's boss for eight years.

Biden has a more adversarial attitude toward China, a country that holds a sizeable chunk of U.S. debt:

At the Democrat primary debate in South Carolina in February, Biden called Chinese President Xi Jinping a "thug."

"Would you allow Chinese firms to build critical U.S. infrastructure?" Biden was asked by the debate moderator.

"No, I would not," Biden responded:

And I spent more time with Xi Jinping than any world leader had by the time we left office. This is a guy who is -- doesn't have a democratic--with a small 'D--bone in his body. This is a guy who is a thug, who in fact has a million Uighurs in 'reconstruction camps,' meaning concentration camps.

This is a guy who you see what's happening right now in -- in Hong Kong, and this is a guy who I was able to convince should join the international agreement at the Paris agreement because, guess what, they need to be involved.

You can cooperate and you can also dictate exactly what they are, when in fact they said, 'We're going to set up a no-fly zone, that you can't fly through our zone.'

He said, 'What do you expect me to do,' when I was over there. I said, 'We're going to fly right through it. We flew B-1 bombers through it. We've got to make it clear. They must play by the rules...period, period, period.

In that same debate, Biden said he would insist on sending a team of U.S. medical experts to China to investigate the emerging coronavirus:

"And here's the deal. I would be on the phone with China and making it clear, we are going to need to be in your country -- you have to be open; you have to be clear; we have to know what's going on; we have to be there with you, and insist on it and insist, insist, insist.

"I could get that done. No one up here has ever dealt internationally with any of these world leaders. I'm the only one that has."

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