WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio is amplifying his criticism of President Donald Trump’s abrupt turn on Chinese telecommunications company ZTE, saying he should “think very seriously and very carefully” about what he’s doing.
“He’s in a very strong position right now. I urge him to think very carefully about the next step and to listen to the people and his administration that are talking to him about the ZTE issue for what it is, a national security threat and much bigger than just one company in the telecom industry,” Rubio said Tuesday on the Senate floor.
Trump’s move to relax a crackdown on ZTE has confused lawmakers and sparked a host of theories, including how “odd” it is for the America First salesman to cater to a single company.
For Rubio, who has been criticized for not following through on pledges to stand up to Trump, it represents a test and he’s responding with increasingly tough words.
“This trade dispute with China is about a lot more than trade,” Rubio said. “It’s about geopolitical balance. It’s about fairness, and this is our last chance to get it right. It is almost too late.
“It is almost too late, and I’m telling you if we get this wrong, if we back down, when historians write about this period of time in history, they will say Americans gave it over to the Chinese because they were more interested in short-term gain and willing to turn over the future. And we will live in a world where China dominates the top fields, including many that are critical to the defense of our interest and our nation.”