Bernie Criticizes Biden Over China Dismissal: ‘It’s Wrong to Pretend’

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders criticized Wednesday remarks former Vice President Joe Biden made on China, wedging a distinguishing barrier between the two Democratic presidential candidates on trade.

The former vice president downplayed China’s potential threat to the U.S. at a campaign event in Iowa. “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man,” Biden said. “They’re not competition for us.”

“They can’t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the east, I mean in the west,” Biden said at the event. “They can’t figure out how they are going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what, they’re not competition for us.”

Former US vice president Joe Biden
Former US vice president Joe Biden arrives at a rally organized by UFCW Union members to support Stop and Shop employees on strike throughout the region at the Stop and Shop in Dorchester, Mass., on April 18, 2019. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images)

Sanders responded in a tweet the same day, saying it is wrong to ignore the threat China poses to American trade. The Vermont senator said that since the China trade deal passed in 2000, a bill he opposed as a House member and Biden voted for as a senator, the trade deal has cost the U.S. more than 3 million manufacturing jobs.

“Since the China trade deal I voted against, America has lost over 3 million manufacturing jobs,” Sanders tweeted. “It’s wrong to pretend that China isn’t one of our major economic competitors. When we are in the White House we will win that competition by fixing our trade policies.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during the “We the People" summit
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during the “We the People” summit featuring 2020 presidential candidates, at the Warner Theatre in Washington, on April 1, 2019. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump called Biden’s remarks “naive” and “very dumb” during a Thursday evening interview with Fox News’s Catherine Herridge.

“He is very naive about China,” Trump told Herridge. “Right now we lose $500 billion. After I sign the deal, it won’t be anything like that. China, during the Obama years in particular, just took advantage of our country so badly. Very, very big competition, China. I’ve stopped it. And I am stopping it.”

Trump has devoted a large amount of time to negotiate a trade deal with China that will better benefit U.S. workers and threatened to hike tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a National Day of Prayer event in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, on May 2, 2019. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

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